How Do I Prevent Mold Growth?

7 mold prevention tips for your home

It’s green. It’s black. It’s orange.

If you’re seeing an odd, colorful growth on your floor, walls or in your shower, chances are you have mold. Mold grows in many colors, and sometimes there are health risks involved when it does. Left to grow, mature mold spores can produce allergens, irritants and sometimes toxins.

Where you find mold, you are also likely to find a water problem. If you do, it must be cleaned and the water problem fixed to reduce the chances of mold returning. In fact, the best way to control mold — and the health effects of mold — is to keep your home as dry as possible.

Mold prevention tips

If you’re wondering how to prevent mold, help is here. Fighting mold starts by fighting moisture.

When you find water in your home, stop it at the source, dry wet surfaces quickly, and increase ventilation to the area.

Take these 7 steps to keep moisture at bay:

  • Take steps to fix plumbing leaks as quickly as you can.
  • Dry all wet items as best as you can within one to two days.
  • Keep kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms well-ventilated with an open window or a fan to diminish mold growth.
  • Regularly maintain roof gutters, and ensure that water does not collect near the foundation of your home.
  • Check air conditioning drip pans and drain lines often.
  • Keep indoor humidity level lower than 50 percent. To check the humidity level of your home, get a humidity meter — available at many hardware stores.
  • Alternatively, you will be able to tell if your home has a high humidity level if you notice condensation on windows, walls or pipes. Insulate cold surfaces like cold water pipes.

If you are living in a rented property with a water or mold problem, immediately tell your landlord.

How to remove mold

If you’re wondering how to prevent mold, help is here. Fighting mold starts by fighting moisture.

When you find water in your home, stop it at the source, dry wet surfaces quickly, and increase ventilation to the area.

Take these 7 steps to keep moisture at bay:

  • Saturated ceiling tiles and carpet cannot be salvaged because mold will grow in crevices that cannot be reached. Unfortunately, you will need to throw those items away. For other areas, if the mold is no larger than a 10-foot x 10-foot patch, you can take care of it, but you’ll need special supplies to do it:

    • Respirator. To limit exposure, consider investing in an N-95 respirator, which can be purchased at a local hardware store. These respirators cost between $12 and $25. Whichever model you buy, be sure it fits properly.
    • Gloves. If you are using water and detergent, household rubber gloves will suffice. However, if there is more developed mold growth, you’ll probably need to use disinfectant, which will require gloves that extend to your mid-arm.
    • Goggles. To prevent mold spores from getting into your eyes, choose goggles with minimal ventilation.
  • If the affected area is larger, call a professional contractor who has experience cleaning up mold. Ask for details about their experience before hiring them to help you.

  • For more tips on how to clean mold, see our Types of Mold and Mold Removal article.

    Examine the growth site a few days after clean-up to confirm that the water problem has been fixed and the mold has stopped growing. If you smell mold-like odors, the problem may not have been remedied. Dry any visible moisture and increase ventilation as an extra measure — portable fans are often a good solution.

    Take these simple steps to beat moisture—and mold—in your home.