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Decreasing Mold Exposure

Decreasing Mold Exposure<br>
Discouraging Growth

Mold flourishes in dark, damp places which are poorly ventilated and in areas where water pools. Moisture and warmth can accelerate the growth of dormant mildew spores on most surfaces. Once the area of mold growth has been identified, a miticide should be used to kill the mold spores and an inhibitor used to prevent regrowth. Modifications such as increased ventilation and proper drainage should be used to discourage mold growth.

Indoor Care

Keep humidity low, between 35 and 40% if possible, but in no case over 50%. Use a gauge to monitor relative humidity. Use an air conditioner or dehumidifier in times of high humidity. To help trap airborne allergens, use a special air conditioner filter and/or a HEPA room air cleaner or Air Sterilizer. Convection heat units can make mold spores non-viable and reduce the spread of mildew. Avoid over-humidification in the winter. Keep humidifier mold-free by cleaning with a diluted bleach solution or white vinegar. Central humidifiers should be checked and cleaned frequently. Clean all visible mold from walls and ceilings. Add a mold inhibitor to paint before applying. Mold is present on the bark of wood. If using a fireplace or wood burning stove, do not store any firewood inside.

Bedroom Care
Moldy Carpet

Ideally, carpeting should be removed. Encase bedding in allergen-impermeable zippered covers. Avoid foam rubber pillows and mattresses as they are particularly likely to become moldy. Because they are damp and dark, closets attract mold. Dry all shoes and boots thoroughly before storing. Use a chemical moisture remover in closets and storage spaces.

Bathroom Care

Use an exhaust fan or open windows to remove humidity after showering. Use a squeegee to remove excess water from the shower stall, tub and tiles. Wash shower curtain, bathroom tiles, shower stall, tub and toilet tank with mold-killing and mold-preventing solutions. Do not carpet the bathroom.

Kitchen Care

Use an exhaust fan to remove cooking vapors. Mold grows in refrigerators, particularly around door gaskets. Empty water pans below self-defrosting units frequently. Remove spoiling foods. Empty garbage containers frequently and keep clean to prevent the growth of mold.

Basement Care
Cleaning Mold

Dry all clothing immediately after washing and vent the clothes dryer to the outdoors. Allergic individuals should never have their bedroom on the basement level since it is a an area of high humidity and therefore, promotes mold growth. Carpet and pad should not be laid on a concrete floor. Vinyl flooring is a better choice. Correct seepage and/or flooding problems and remove water-damaged carpet. Cover dirt floor with plastic vapor barrier. Remove moldy items and keep basement clean. Add a mold inhibitor to paint especially on cinderblock or brick walls.

Outdoor Care

Proper filtration can help prevent mold from entering living quarters. Air conditioners and vent openings are prime locations for trapping molds at point-of-entry. Vent or central furnace filters and room air cleaners are helpful in removing airborne spores. Units with heating elements to kill airborne mold spores can prevent the spread of mold. A tight-fitting face mask is important for preventing the inhalation of mold spores when doing yard work. Avoid exposure to soil, compost piles, sandboxes, hay, fertilizers and barns. Prune or cut trees and eliminate vines to prevent shading of the home. Correct drainage problems near the house as pooled water greatly increases mold formation. Avoid camping or walking in the woods where mold growth on rotted logs and other vegetation is high.

Page last modified: 01/16/07
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