ASTHMA FACT SHEET:
What is mold?
Mold or mildew are fuzzy growths. Mold usually has a musty or earthy odor and can be different colors like black, blue, green, red, orange and white. Molds reproduce by releasing tiny spores, too small to see with the naked eye, that float thru the air. Mold spores need nutrients, average room temperatures and moisture to grow.
Where is mold found indoors?
Mold spores are in the air and on all surfaces. Mold spores are very tiny and light-weight so they float in the air for a long time. Common places to find mold growth are in the bathrooms, kitchens, basements, and the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) unit. Watch for signs of moisture such as condensation, standing water/wet surfaces, and water-damaged materials.
How can mold growth be controlled indoors?
- Mold is reduced when the home or building is clean and dry
- Keep humidity levels between 40 – 60%. Running an air conditioner helps keep humidity levels low. Avoid using humidifiers or vaporizers.
- Install a humidity monitor to gauge humidity levels.
- Use a dehumidifier as needed. Many detect the humidity level, and turn on and off to adjust. Empty and wipe out the reservoir daily.
- Wipe hard surfaces with a damp, soapy cloth weekly.
- Inspect the roof for damage. Repair any damage right away.
- Be sure the ventilation system is clean and working properly.
- Fix plumbing leaks and clean or replace water-damaged materials.
- Be sure carpets are dry, clean, and free of food waste. Do not install carpeting in rooms or areas where there is a constant moisture problem.
- Replace absorbent materials, like carpet and ceiling tiles, that have been wet for more than 24 to 48 hours.
- Vent clothing dryers, showers, and exhaust fans outdoors.
- Use exhaust fans while cooking, running dishwashers, and showering.
- Clean out the refrigerator often. Throw away old food. Wipe shelves, walls, inside and under drawers with a damp, soapy cloth. Check drip pans under the refrigerator for standing water. Drain water and wipe with a damp, soapy cloth.
- Limit the number of houseplants. Mold grows in the soil. Repot plants yearly.