Protecting Your Home and Health: What to Do When You Find Mold in Your Living Space

Mold is common in homes with water damage or high humidity levels. Older homes are also vulnerable. However, leaving mold where it is could be hazardous to your health, especially if anyone in your household suffers from allergies, asthma or other respiratory problems. 

Getting rid of mold as quickly as possible — and preventing it from growing back — is crucial for your family’s well-being. In this article, discover how mold affects your health, the necessary steps for removing it and some tips for keeping it away. 

How Does Mold Affect Your Health?

An allergic reaction to mold often involves hay fever-like symptoms, including:

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Congestion
  • Nasal drip
  • Skin rashes

In more severe cases, you might experience wheezing and shortness of breath. Since mold produces allergens, individuals with asthma or other chronic lung conditions may experience these more severe reactions. 

People with asthma or cystic fibrosis are also at a greater risk of allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis, which is a fungal infection. Mold may also cause an inflammatory response in the lungs, known as hypersensitivity pneumonitis.

Steps to Remove Mold From Every Surface

Mold exposure can occur anywhere — work, school, home and outdoors. You can easily inhale mold due to the spores becoming airborne. Sometimes, mold can penetrate the skin, which is why you must wear protective clothing during removal.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says most homeowners can handle removing mold from a 3-foot by 3-foot area — otherwise, they should call on the professionals for help. If you have mold in your living space, follow these steps to remediate the issue.

1. Protect Yourself

When removing mold yourself, you can never be too cautious. Even healthy people could face negative consequences of mold exposure. 

In addition to wearing long-sleeved shirts and close-toed shoes, you should also opt for a mask and goggles. An N95 respirator is also helpful for individuals with asthma or serious respiratory conditions. Additionally, slip on rubber gloves that reach your forearms to protect your skin.

2. Use a Cleaner

You can purchase a cleaning agent from a store, or you can make a homemade cleaning solution using everyday ingredients to avoid the harmful toxins common in harsher products. 

Start by mixing 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda and water in a spray bottle. Baking soda is a powerful alkali capable of dissolving dirt, grease and other grime. It can also effectively remove mold when mixed with a vinegar and water solution. 

Other natural cleaning ingredients include bleach, borax, hydrogen peroxide and white vinegar. Just avoid mixing bleach with vinegar, as it creates a lethal chlorine gas. 

3. Scrub and Wash

The type of sponge you use depends on the surface you’re removing mold from. A gentle rag is best for porous surfaces. You can use a sponge on tiles, around windowsills or on the exterior of your home.

Be mindful of the sponges you purchase for mold removal. Sponges hold onto germs and release microplastics when washed. Fortunately, you could buy an eco-friendly sponge for this project instead. 

Pro tip: Allow the solution to sit for 10-20 minutes before scrubbing unless a commercial product’s instructions tell you otherwise. 

4. Clean Up

Cleaning up after removing mold is essential — you don’t want to leave any mold behind. Dispose of all rags and sponges used during mold removal. You should also throw away paper towels, drop cloths and the rubber gloves you used.

Finally, wash the clothes you wore during the mold removal using hot water. It is best to run this load of laundry separately from your other belongings.

Tips to Prevent Mold in Your Home

The best way to protect your home and your health from mold is to prevent it from appearing in the first place. The following tips make a significant difference for mold prevention:

  • Declutter closets to improve ventilation and avoid condensation.
  • Keep indoor humidity levels under 50%.
  • Improve ventilation in bathrooms, laundry rooms and other moisture-prone areas.
  • Ensure your laundry machine vents to the outside.
  • Fix plumbing problems and water damage immediately.
  • Routinely inspect your roof, attic, crawl spaces and basement to ensure there are no leaks.
  • Apply mold-resistant paint throughout your home.
  • Seal cracks and gaps around windows, doors, sinks and tubs — but remove any visible mold beforehand.

It would help if you also considered purchasing a programmable or smart thermostat to control indoor temperature and humidity better. 

The older the home, the higher the risk of mold growth. However, preventive measures are straightforward and can protect your household members’ health.

Get Rid of Mold for a Healthier Home

The last thing you want is for mold to spread throughout your home. As such, it is best to tackle mold problems as soon as possible. Take safety precautions seriously when removing mold from your living space and stop it from ever coming back.

Hi! I'm Alexandra

I am an entrepreneur, author, and mom of 3 from Memphis, Tennessee. I fill my days pursuing the dream of being my own boss as a full time influencer and sensory marketing specialist while spending my evenings playing superheros, helping with homework, making dinner, and tucking in my littles.

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