Preventing Mold and Mildew Growth

Mold and mildew are serious health hazards. The best way to control the growth of fungus is to prevent its growth in the first place.

A clean, dry, light filled environment discourages its formation.

Basic prevention is all dependent upon controlling the environment of a mold and mildew prone the area. It is easier to control the environment if you consider the two major areas where mold and mildew grow—the exterior and the interior of your home.

 

Prevention of Exterior Mold and Mildew:

Mold growth on masonite siding.
Every source of unnecessary moisture to the house should be avoided or repaired. For example, dense plantings close to the house can trap moisture and provide an ideal environment for mold and mildew to grow.

  • Maintain sprinkler systems and redirect sprinkler heads so the house stays dry.
  • Repair leaky gutters.
  • Eliminate areas where rainwater can accumulate.
  • Wash the siding and soffits every spring with a pressure washer and mild multi-purpose cleaner.
  • Trim landscape plants so they allow air to circulate freely and sunshine to dry things out.
  • Trim hanging tree limbs away from your home.
  • Rake leaves away from foundations.
  • Keep mulch away from your home.

 

The building should get as much direct sunlight as possible.

Prevention of Interior Mold and Mildew:

Mold on basement baseboard trim.
When working inside it is important to test cleaners for compatibility on a hidden area before washing large painted areas.

These tips will also help prevent mold and mildew from growing.

  • Install ceiling fans to promote air circulation.
  • Install and use exhaust fans in bathrooms.
  • Use dehumidifiers in rooms that are prone to humid conditions.
  • In naturally humid regions, whole house dehumidifiers should be installed.
  • Wash walls often with bleach and water. A mild solution of 1 cup per gallon should be safe for most painted surfaces. Always test first.

 

Interior mold can be a major problem around aluminum window frames. When cold weather arrives, the cold from outside travels through the metal and the warm air inside the house condenses on the cold metal surface. This creates a very welcoming environment for mold growth.

One way to take care of this problem is to wipe the window frame and window sill daily with rag wrung out in a dilute bleach and water solution of 1 Tbsp. bleach to 1 gallon water. A dehumidifier in the room can also help. Rubbing alcohol is also a good anti-mold agent and will help to reduce condensation for a short while.

Both inside and out, the primary way to fight the return of mold and mildew is to keep things dry. If you do this, your home will be healthier and more attractive as well.


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