How to Rid Your Home of Mold and Mildew

By: Danny Lipford

Our house has a musty smell, and we recently found mold growing inside some of the closets and cabinets. How can we get rid of it? -Joseph

Hi Joseph,

Since mold and mildew require warm, moist conditions to grow, start by eliminating any unwanted sources of water, such as leaks in the roof, dripping pipes, or gaps around tubs or showers. Check to be sure your outside walls are weather tight and that rain isn’t coming in around windows and doors. Finally, correct any moisture problems under your home in the basement or crawlspace.

Humidity levels indoors over 60% can promote mold growth, so monitor the relative humidity in your home with a humidity gauge (hygrometer). If the humidity is high, lower it by running the air conditioner or installing a dehumidifier. Also, consider improving air circulation in your home by using bathroom and kitchen vent fans, as well as paddle or portable fans.

To remove small amounts of mold and mildew, scrub the surface with water and detergent then dry it thoroughly. For more serious cases, use a product specifically made to kill mold. While diluted bleach can kill mold on nonporous surfaces, it’s largely ineffective on porous materials, including wood, and will damage fabrics.

Good luck with your project,

Danny

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5 Comments on “How to Rid Your Home of Mold and Mildew”

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  • JOHN ERNEST SMITH Says:
    November 21st, 2015 at 10:36 pm

    IN OUR ATTIC IT LOOKS LIKE BLACK MOLD, BUT I’M NOT SURE. THE BATH EXHUST FANS ARE ATTACHED (LOOSLY) TO THE ATTIC ROOF VENTS. I THINK THAT MOST OF THE STEAM FROM THE BATHROOMS DO GET TO THE OUTSIDE BUT I SEE THIS BLACK SUBSTANCE ON THE ATTIC CELING. THERE IS SO MUCH INSULATION THAT I CAN’T TELL IF THERE’S ENOUGH AIR FLOW FROM THE OUTSIDE VENTS UNDER THE EVES.



  • gordon smith Says:
    November 16th, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    Hi, wondering if you can help us with our problem. 2 years ago we had our mobile home insulated reboarded and covered. This year we have fungus growing on the outside walls in one particular place. we repainted last year with a specialized paint. Could there be water penetrating between the insulation and the boards? If so what is the best course of action we can take to eliminate this problem?



  • Gilbert Ibarra Says:
    April 21st, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    Danny, We seem to get a lot of mold on our outdoor carpet out of the front door and down the steps. It might be our Michigan weather here in Lansing. Can you give some ideas.?


  • Official Comment:


    Ben Erickson Says:
    November 9th, 2009 at 10:43 am

    Hi Warren,
    Mold can pose a health hazard to those allergic to it, and lead to rot and termite damage. You should kill the mold currently in your basement, then try to determine what’s causing the excessive moisture problem in your basement and correct it. There are a number of articles and videos on our site that should help. Start with the ones to the left of this article in “Related Articles” then try searching our site for the keywords mold and moisture. You can also find all the articles in the “Attics and Basements” category in the drop down navigation at the top of every page under “Home Improvement.”



  • warren bellamy Says:
    November 8th, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    Dear Danny, We live in a log home, and the dream just turned into a nightmare when we realized our basement ceiling is covered with grey mold spots just like the photo on this web site. We are sick. There is no water problem; it is simply humidity. Is this kind of mold a health hazard, or could we simply cover floor joists with plastic and then greenboard; or must it first be cleaned? Is the plastic/greenboard the correct strategy after cleaning?? Should we first have the ceiling (josts and osb subflooring) painted with Binz? We are now running our dehumidifier daily, even in the winter, but are concerned all the wooden walls in the basement will also soon be covered with mold spots. PLEASE help if you can. Thanks, Warren & Marty Bellamy, Medina, Ohio


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