Helpful Hints For A Healthy Home
- Keep humidity low, 35% if possible, but in no case over 50%. Use a humidity gauge to monitor relative humidity.
- Use an air conditioner or dehumidifier in times of high humidity with the windows closed. Dehumidifiers must be emptied of water regularly or connected to a constant drain. Special air conditioner filters can be added to help trap the airborne allergens and room air cleaner can help clear the air of mold spores.
- Very tightly insulated houses prevent the escape of moisture and thus encourage mold growth. Allow adequate ventilation.
- If you must use humidifier in the winter, avoid too much humidity. If mold is present, rinse the interior of the unit with the diluted NBCC solution. Some humidifiers prevent mold growth by a special heating process. Central humidifiers should be checked and cleaned frequently.
- Clean walls and ceilings and add mold inhibitor to paint before applying.
- Window condensation can lead to moisture and mold growth on the window frame.
- Although indoor plants are not a major source of indoor mold spores, it is prudent to limit the number of houseplants.
- Mold is present on the bark of wood. If using a fireplace or wood burning stove, do not store firewood inside. Avoid live Christmas trees.
- Carpet and pad should not be laid on a concrete floor. Vinyl flooring is a better choice.
- Correct seepage or flooding problems and remove any previously flooded carpet. If a dirt floor is present, you may want to cover with a vapor barrier.
- Keep the basement free of dust and remove moldy stored items.
- Add a mold inhibitor to paint, especially on brick or cinderblock walls.
- Allergic individuals should not have their bedroom on the basement level.
- Use an exhaust fan or open window to remove humidity after showering. Use a squeegee to remove excess water from shower stall, tub and tiles.
- Wash shower curtain, bathroom tiles, shower stall, tub, toilet tank and tiles with mold-preventing solutions.
- Do not carpet the bathroom.
- Follow steps to decrease dust exposure. Ideally, carpeting should be removed and mattresses encased in allergen-impermeable zippered covers.
- Avoid foam rubber pillows and mattresses since they are particularly likely to become moldy.
- A dehumidifier or air-conditioner can help reduce humidity.
- Mold grows in closets that are damp and dark. Dry shoes and boots thoroughly before storing. Use desiccants in closets and storage spaces to help prevent mold growth.
- Good quality HEPA air cleaners can remove mold spores from the air.
- Convection heat units can make mold spores nonviable and help reduce the spread of mildew.
- Use an exhaust fan to remove water vapor when cooking.
- Mold can grow in refrigerators, particularly around door gaskets. Empty water pans below self-defrosting refrigerators frequently. Remove spoiling foods immediately.
- Molds grow in garbage containers. These should be emptied frequently and kept clean. Spray with Mold Solution.
- Vent the clothes dryer to the outdoors—not under the house. Dry clothing immediately after washing.
- Avoid cutting grass and raking leaves or use a well fitting facemask if the allergic individual must do these chores. Avoid exposure to soil, compost piles, sandboxes, hay, fertilizers and barns. Prune or cut trees to avoid shading of the home. Eliminate vines.
- Correct drainage problems near the house as pooled water greatly increases mold formation.
- Avoid camping or walking in the woods where mold growth on rotted logs and other vegetation is high. Some mold spores are spread on dry and windy days, others at times of rainfall.
Work And Other Environments
- Greenhouses, antique shops, saunas, sleeping bags, summer cottages and hotel rooms can be sources of increased mold exposure. Automobile air conditioners may harbor mold.
- Occupational exposure to mold occurs in farmers, gardeners, bakers, brewers, florists, carpenters, mill workers, upholsterers, and paperhangers. Your physician can offer specific recommendations.