How to Prevent the Growth of Mold
The EPA recommends steps to prevent the growth of mold in homes and business spaces.
Riverdale, NJ — Mold is a type of fungus that occurs naturally in almost any environment. Outdoors, mold is a microorganism that plays a critical role in decomposing dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees. In indoor environments, however, mold growth can be dangerous, with symptoms ranging from itchy eyes and sneezing to full-blown asthma attacks and anaphylaxis.
To reproduce and grow, mold spores need a source of food (dust or dirt) and a specific temperature range. The problem is that the temperatures most people find comfortable are also ideal for mold growth. When it comes to their food source, it’s practically impossible to eradicate all dust and dirt in a facility or home. The solution, then, is to remove moisture from the equation—although there are many types of mold, none of them will grow without moisture.
To prevent the growth of mold in homes and business spaces, the EPA recommends the following steps:
- Replace carpeting in moisture-prone areas, such as bathrooms, with tile or linoleum
- Clean bathrooms and shower stalls regularly using disinfectants specifically designed for mold removal
- Switch on the bathroom’s exhaust fan when showering, as well as the fan in the kitchen when cooking
- Use a dehumidifier when indoor humidity goes over 50 percent
- Dry clothes thoroughly before storing them
- Use paints that specifically discourage mold growth
- Conduct regular maintenance of pipes and plumbing
- Repair water leaks in the basement as soon as they begin
- Repair gutters and downspouts that cause water to pool near the foundation of your home
Merely cleaning up traces of mold is just half of the solution. You also want to remove mold spores to discourage infestations and to keep everyone safe. It’s important to understand that filters only capture mold spores and the gases produced by mold as they grow. Purifiers are not able to kill mold that’s already growing on surfaces. The only way to remove mold is through routine cleaning and preventing moisture from creating the ideal environment for mold to grow.
Molecular, or carbon, filters are often suggested to control mold. However, care must be taken because molecular filters target the volatile organic compounds that produce the moldy-musty odor, which are made when mold feeds on debris. It’s possible to mask a mold problem by removing the odor and assume the mold is under control.
Air filters with high capture efficiency can be a great help for people who are sensitive to mold. These filters purify the air by removing most mold spores, along with other allergens like pollen, dander, and dust, preventing them from circulating in the air. By capturing mold spores, air filters help prevent the spread of mold.