Those black spots around the shower and tub, as well as any powdery, white spots growing on the cardboard boxes in your basement, are mold. This fungus grows in areas with excessive moisture, no sunlight, and poor ventilation. Mold can ruin your home and valued possessions, as well as trigger allergic reactions. It’s important to stop mold growth in its tracks, and get rid of it.
Stop Mold Before It Starts
- Mold needs lots of moisture to grow and thrive. Keep your home dry to keep mold from growing in the first place.
- Whenever you shower or bathe, run the vent fan, and leave it going for 15-20 minutes after you’re done.
- Get a dehumidifier for your home. Try to keep the indoor humidity level at 40% or lower to stop mold.
- Increase the airflow in your home with a fan, and keep the furniture away from the walls to increase the airflow.
- Don’t push stored items, such as books and boxes all the way back to the wall, to prevent condensation. Also, give clothes room to breathe when hanging in the closet.
- Change the filters for your air conditioner and heater regularly to prevent mold from spreading.
- Inspect and clean your outdoor rain gutters and downspouts so that any water is directed away from your home’s foundation. This will prevent moisture from building up in your basement or crawlspace.
Getting Rid of Existing Mold
The basement, bathroom, and kitchen are the places in your home most at risk for mold because these places get the most moisture. With the right conditions, mold can grow in as little as 24-48 hours.
While chlorine bleach is very effective for killing mold and removing mold stains, it does emit toxic fumes. It can also bleach out the color on fabrics, or damage some surfaces. If you use bleach, dilute ¾ cup of bleach in one gallon of water, scrub with a brush, then rinse off. Bleach is best used on things like sinks, showers, and tubs.
Hydrogen peroxide can also effectively kill mold on a variety of surfaces, and it’s far less toxic than bleach. Also, it won’t bleach out the color. Simply pour straight 3% hydrogen peroxide into a spray bottle. Spray the moldy surface until it’s saturated and let it sit for 10 minutes. Finally, scrub the mold off and completely wipe away.
Vinegar is a mild acid that kills more than 80% of mold. Just pour straight vinegar into a spray bottle, and spray it on the moldy surface. Leave it for an hour. Finally, wipe it down and rinse with water and allow it to dry. Any vinegar smell should dissipate in a few hours.
Baking soda can also be used to kill mold, and it’s very safe around your children and pets. It can also absorb excess moisture to discourage mold. Simply add one teaspoon of baking soda to a spray bottle filled with water, and shake until it’s completely dissolved. Spray the mold with the baking soda solution, and use a brush to scrub away all of the molds. Finally, rinse it with water.