If you're like most people, you realize the importance of keeping a clean household environment. Not only does cleanliness help keep rodent and insect pest populations from gaining a significant foothold in your home interior, but it also has the potential to keep mold infestations from having a negative impact on the health of household residents or from causing unpleasant odors and leaving stains on affected surfaces. Because mold multiplies via airborne spores, it can enter your home through open windows and doors, and once inside, it can be circulated throughout your home through your HVAC system. Once established, the spores multiply in place and become mold colonies.
Black mold has the potential to cause health problems in humans as well as their domestic pets. Fortunately, you don't have to simply live with mold infestations. Following are four proactive strategies designed to help you win the war on household mold.
Monitor Areas Under and Behind Water-Based Appliances
The areas under and behind washing machines and automatic dishwashers are prime environments for mold colonies to form and multiply. Not only are they dark and damp, but they're out of your normal line of vision. It's important to move these items and deep clean these areas at least once per year — twice if you live in a part of the country where atmospheric humidity is high. It's also important to monitor these appliances for potential leaks. Even small amounts of water seeping out on the floor in front of your dishwasher or washing machine could signify a serious leak, and a leak isn't something that is just going to go away.
Put Exhaust Fans in Your Bathroom and Kitchen — and Use Them
Newer construction should come with exhaust fans, but if you live in a vintage home, your kitchen and bathroom may not be equipped with them. Many people like to open windows to let out the excess steam when they bathe, shower, or cook, and although fresh breezes are pleasant, they also have the potential to carry mold spores into your home interior, and the dampness provided by the steam will make it easier for them to become established. To keep mold populations at a minimum, your next household upgrade should be the installation of exhaust fans in your bathroom and kitchen. It's also important to remember to use them — some people make the mistake of leaving them off if they're only going to hop in the shower for a few minutes.
Paint Ceilings and Walls With Mold-Inhibiting Paint
Mold also likes to establish colonies in walls and ceilings, so be sure to use mold-inhibiting paint the next time your home interior is due for a paint job. If repainting your interior walls and ceiling isn't in the cards now or in the near future, you can purchase a water-based protective coating to paint over surfaces that contains a fungicide that kills mold, mildew, and other fungal organisms.
Have Your HVAC Ductwork Cleaned on a Regular Basis
The air in your home interior is only as clean as the ventilation system that circulates it throughout the house, so be sure to schedule an appointment with a duct cleaning service on a regular basis. Many people choose to have this performed during spring and fall when the seasons change and households switch from using the air conditioner to the furnace.
A major sign of a mold infestation in your ductwork is a musty smell that seems to permeate the entire home and doesn't seem to have any focal point. This is because the mold is being evenly distributed throughout your home. It is also sometimes possible to see the mold in your ductwork — it will look like black or green streaks.