Mold & Moisture

Mold is a fungal growth that forms and spreads on various kinds of damp or decaying material. Mold reproduces from tiny spores. When they land on a damp spot indoors, they may begin growing and digesting whatever they are growing on to survive. Mold can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods. When excessive moisture or water accumulates indoors, mold growth will often occur, particularly if the moisture problem remains undiscovered or un-addressed. There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.

Testing for mold is generally not necessary.  If you can see and smell it, you have a mold problem.  However, it is recommended that you do a thorough inspection to determine the cause of mold growth. 

Occasionally, mold can be found in the bathroom, on a windowsill, shower curtain, or wall.  This mold can be wiped off the surface with a damp cloth and cleaning agent (e.g. window or bathroom cleaner). Then, fix the cause of the mold. This  may be as simple as using a dehumidifier or fixing a simple leak.  For larger mold problems (about 10 square feet), follow the three phases that are described in the Mold in your Home: Cleaning Options.

Preventing mold growth requires controlling the moisture source. Here are some simple steps to prevent mold:

  • Keep humidity levels in your home as low as you can—no higher than 50%–all day long. An air conditioner or dehumidifier will help you keep the level low. You can buy a meter to check your home’s humidity at a home improvement store. 
  • Fix any leaks in your home’s roof, walls, or plumbing so mold does not have moisture to grow.
  • Clean bathrooms with mold-killing products.
  • Remove or replace carpets and upholstery that have been soaked and cannot be dried right away. Think about not using carpet in places like bathrooms or basements that may have a lot of moisture.
  • Be sure the air in your home flows freely. Use exhaust fans that vent outside your home in the kitchen and bathroom. Make sure your clothes dryer vents outside your home.
  • Learn more tips from CDC You Can Control Mold.