Learning Center

Mold Prevention in Homes

mold on wall with outlet

Don’t let mildew cause health problems in your home.

Mold can grow anywhere when the conditions are right. It thrives in moist, damp areas and can be found on windows, walls and floors.

Because it can lead to health problems, tackling a mold problem should be a priority. Even if you aren’t allergic to mold, it produces allergens, irritants and potentially toxic substances that can irritate your eyes, skin, nose, throat and lungs.

Taking some simple steps now can help deter mold from forming in your home.

Early mold prevention

  • Keep humidity below 60 percent (if possible, between 30 and 50 percent). Use air conditioners during humid months. Use dehumidifiers in damp spaces, such as basements and crawlspaces.

  • Properly ventilate shower, laundry and cooking areas. Use exhaust fans that vent outside your home.

  • Promptly fix leaky roofs, windows and pipes.

  • Add mold inhibitors to paints before painting walls. Don’t paint or caulk moldy surfaces.

  • Clean bathrooms with mold-killing products.

Mold cleanup

If you notice mold in your home, clean it up as soon as possible. And if your house has had water damage, follow these simple steps to prevent mold from causing additional problems.

  • If a small area is covered in mold, clean it with a commercial product or a bleach-and-water solution (not more than one cup of bleach per gallon of water) and dry completely.

  • Determine the cause of the mold and address it; otherwise the mold will most likely return.

  • When water damage occurs, extract the water and dry the area as quickly as possible by opening windows and using fans and dehumidifiers. You may also use an air conditioner to remove moisture from the home.

  • If an area larger than 10 square feet is covered in mold, consult the EPA’s guide, Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings. The tips in this guide also apply to other building types.

  • Absorbent or porous materials, such as carpets or ceiling tiles, may be impossible to clean and may have to be thrown away if they become moldy.

Additional mold resources

For more information about health problems associated with mold, mold prevention tips and cleanup, visit these sites:

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