Ventilation, eliminating moisture keys to stopping mold in its tracks

By Anna MorelockMarch 26, 2019

WIESBADEN, Germany - Mold is something most people don't think about until they see it. Or smell it. Being proactive is the best way to keep mold at bay. This means increasing ventilation, removing moisture and immediately cleaning any beginning signs of its growth.

So, once you detect mold in your house or apartment, what's the best course of action?

Some types of mold are more dangerous than others, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says testing is neither necessary nor reliable.

"If you are susceptible to mold and mold is seen or smelled, there is a potential health risk; therefore, no matter what type of mold is present, you should arrange for its removal," according to the CDC's website.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, if the problem is relatively small in size, it can be cleaned up without professional help. "If the moldy area is less than about 10 square feet (less than roughly a 3 foot by 3 foot patch), in most cases, you can handle the job yourself."

Areas that are often wet or damp are particularly susceptible to mold.

"If there's some mold in the shower or elsewhere in the bathroom that seems to reappear, increasing ventilation (running a fan or opening a window after every shower) and cleaning more frequently will usually prevent mold from recurring, or at least keep the mold to a minimum," according to the EPA website.

Commonly available cleaning products containing diluted bleach are recommended for bathroom disinfection. Follow the safety precautions on the container label, opening windows to ventilate, and using gloves and eye protection.

The agency urges caution when using products containing bleach. Concentrated bleach is extremely corrosive to the eyes and can cause permanent damage.

The generally accepted concentration is one part concentrated bleach to 10 parts water. Residents should never mix different chemicals or chemical products together, especially bleach and ammonia.

Keep mold out of your home with these simple tips.

Incomplete and improper ventilation may cause mold to grow on walls, furniture or personal property. Mold can be responsible for irritant and allergic reactions. Wet, damp weather, combined with closed windows, causes walls to "sweat," forming mildew and mold.

Mold is everywhere; it's an integral part of the natural environment. The key to mold's growth is moisture. Controlling mold is a matter of controlling moisture. Once the moisture problem is cured, it is very likely that the mold won't come back.

The following tips will assist with proper ventilation and preventing mildew or mold build-up:

• Ventilate your house for a minimum of 30 minutes daily.

• Cross ventilation is necessary, so interior doors must be opened along with windows on opposing sides.

• Keep your kitchen door closed and the room ventilated while cooking or operating your dishwasher.

• Keep your bathroom door closed during showers and baths. If you have an exhaust fan, it should be turned on. If there is no exhaust fan, the window should be ajar to let moist air out.

• Furniture should not be placed against walls. Move furniture four to six inches away from walls so air flows between them.

• During winter months, rooms on the north side of a home are colder. Make sure those rooms are heated slightly more than rooms facing south.

If your walls are already damp, resolve the moisture problem. Then scrub the mildew or mold off hard surfaces with detergent and water and dry completely. Open windows so there is a draft. Leave windows open for approximately 10 minutes. Then turn up the thermostat; by increasing the temperature, the air will remove the moisture from the walls.

After three to four hours, the air will be filled with water again. Open the windows for another 10 minutes and repeat the process of exchanging the water-filled air with dry air from the outside. Continue to repeat this procedure. Following this process every day for about two weeks will help your walls to dry completely. Following these simple steps should help alleviate any mildew or mold issues in living quarters.

(Courtesy of KMC Housing Facilities)