Even if you have a healthy immune system and no allergies, mold can cause a variety of health problems — coughing, wheezing, and throat, skin, and eye irritation, to name a few. Mold is everywhere and, though you can’t fully control your exposure to it outdoors or in public spaces, you can check for mold in common places around your home and take measures to prevent and remove it.
You may love a long, hot shower but, unfortunately, so does mold. The warm, wet environment of a bathroom is practically an invitation for mold growth. Bathrooms that lack proper ventilation (from a window, a fan, or ideally, both) are especially prone to attracting mold. While it may be clear to check for mold on shower tiles, there are plenty of less obvious places for mold to grow in the bathroom.
In the shower and bathtub
Showers and bathtubs are one of the most common places you may find mold. With repeated use, these areas tend to be damp most of the time. If you aren’t properly ventilating during and after your shower or bath, mold spores will thrive. But mold isn’t always visible and obvious; be sure to check for mold on your shampoo bottles, washcloths and loofahs, shower curtain, in and around the faucet and shower head, and in the tile grout.
The sink and toilet
The presence of water, combined with the humid nature of bathrooms, makes sinks and toilets prone to mold growth. The surface of the sink and counters, if not cleaned and dried, are the most noticeable places to check. You should also inspect toothpaste and toothbrush caddies, the tank of the toilet, behind the toilet, underneath the bathroom sink where cleaning supplies are stored (any excess moisture leftover from using the supplies can cause mold), and all of the pipes for both the sink and toilet.
In the walls and on the floor
From top to bottom, mold growth is likely in a bathroom. In addition to the places mentioned above, pay attention to any water leaks coming from the walls or floors — these leaks can cause mold to grow quickly. Bathroom rugs are also known to harbor mold, and are usually not washed as often as they should be.
Some tips to keep your bathroom free of mold
- Use a ventilation fan during your bath or shower, and keep it on for at least 30 minutes after
- Use a dehumidifier or air conditioner to keep humidity levels down throughout your home
- Keep all surfaces, including counters and floors, clean and dry
- Check for leaky faucets and pipes
From long-forgotten leftovers in the back of your fridge to the not so easily forgotten dishes that pile up in the sink, there are ample surfaces for mold to take up residence in your kitchen. The added levels of humidity from using the stove
and running hot water from the sink can cause kitchen mold to grow quickly. Some of the most common places to check for mold in the kitchen include:
In, on, and under the kitchen sink
A lot happens in your kitchen sink. Dirty dishes pile up (it happens!), food goes through the garbage disposal, wet sponges sit in the sink or in caddies and collect bacteria, and faucets run. All of these things contribute to the potential for mold growth, so check in these areas often if you want to prevent mold. Oh, and don’t forget to check underneath the sink — leaky pipes are a big problem for mold.
The refrigerator and pantry
Food, especially if it’s expired, can cause mold. Your fridge and pantry should remain free of old food, and the surfaces should be wiped down regularly. In addition to those evident places, fridge drip trays and water dispensers collect water and are, therefore, the ideal place for mold to grow.
Microwave and stove
These food-centric places of your kitchen see a lot of food spillage and grease splatters — two things mold loves to call home. Not only is keeping these things
clean and dry important for having a clean home but it’s also an easy way to prevent mold.
Other places in the kitchen
Wooden cutting boards, trash cans, behind the stove (where food crumbs fall) and windows and window sills in the kitchen are like heaven for mold spores. They feed off of these places, so keeping them clean and dry is critical for keeping mold at bay.
To keep your kitchen mold free, be sure to:
- Ventilate when cooking and doing dishes by opening a window, using a fan, or both
- Wash the dishes every day, so they don’t pile up in the sink
- Clean and dry the stove top, microwave, counters, cabinets, and window sills regularly
- Clean out the inside of your fridge and your fridge drip tray often
- Take the trash out every day
It’s clear now that mold can form in any room of your home. The living room is no exception. From meals in front of the TV to the household plants you use to keep the air fresh, the chance for mold growth is compounded with every element you add.
Couch and curtains
Fabric and upholstery do a great job of collecting mold spores. If your couch (or other cloth-covered furniture) or curtains become moist, you may notice a foul, musty smell. This should alert you to mold. However, even if it hasn’t gotten that noticeable, it’s wise to check.
Greenery in your home can be good for air purification but, if not monitored, can also cause mold to grow. Ensuring your home is at an optimal humidity level and that you don’t over-water your plants should be enough to prevent this.
Fireplace and chimney
When not in use, fireplaces and chimneys are cool, damp, and dark, making them magnetic to mold spores. And because the brick used to build most fireplaces is porous, the mold can spread quickly.
Here’s how you can prevent mold from growing in your living room:
- As always, use a dehumidifier to keep moisture levels low in your home
- Ensure that fabric couches and curtains stay clean and dry
- Have your chimney and fireplace cleaned by a professional