Did you know: Approximately 50 percent of U.S. homes have visible evidence of a dampness problem or mold contamination. Yikes. Here's how to avoid becoming a part of that statistic.
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More Mold, More Problems
About half of U.S. homes have a mold contamination according to studies from IAQ Scientific Findings Resource Bank. Mold poses a serious problem for any homeowner or renter: It releases particles that may cause headaches, asthma, and allergies, and has been linked to even more dire health concerns like cancer. Not to mention it hurts the integrity of your home, targeting doorways, windows, and vents, and especially damp areas.
But don't worry! Prevention is your best bet, and we have several ways of doing this excerpted from "Martha Stewart's Homekeeping Handbook."
As soon as you notice mold on surfaces, clean it immediately before it has time to spread. The best way to remove mold is with a solution of 1 part chlorine bleach to 10 parts water. Wearing rubber gloves, saturate a clean sponge or cloth with the bleach solution and apply it to the mold. Let the solution soak in for 15 minutes, then rinse it off. Thoroughly dry the surface and throw away the sponges or rags you used (to avoid spreading mold spores to other surfaces). Increase the proportion of bleach to water and retreat the area if mold remains.
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Wipe surfaces regularly, especially countertops using a few drops of mild dishwashing liquid (or dishwashing liquid added to the bleach solution previously mentioned) to remove dirt and oils, which will attract mold.
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Monitor areas you've cleaned for signs of mold speedily reappearing. If the area becomes moldy again right away, or if the mold spreads to an adjacent area, you may have a leak that needs repair.
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Clear Out Condensation
Add insulation to prevent condensation on cold windows, pipes, exterior walls, and other cold surfaces.
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Check the Carpet Too
If mold is present on insulation or throughout a carpet, discard it immediately; and if mold is a result of flooding, to avoid health risk, it should be managed by a professional cleaner who specializes in mold.
Clean and disinfect basement-floor drains regularly. Before finishing a basement, patch all water leaks and provide outdoor ventilation and adequate heat to minimize condensation. Operate a dehumidifier in the basement if needed to keep humidity levels between 30 and 50 percent.
Photography: Johnny Miller8 of 8
Ask a Professional
Moisture control and ventilation are key in preventing mold: Keep air-conditioning and humidifier drip pans clean, check with a local building inspector who specializes in mold remediation or visit the EPA website for more information.