In many ways, winter is a great time to become a homebody. The rain is pelting down outside, and the air is so crisp that it would make your cheeks sting if you went out to brave it. But you don’t have to, because you can stay snuggled under a blanket inside, enjoying all of the atmosphere of the season without being exposed to any of its unpleasantness.
Until that is, you spot the first signs of mold growing in your home.
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Those telltale black spots around your window frames are always a worrying sign. Unfortunately, with condensation often part and parcel of modern window installations, it’s a worry that can now be found in as many as 70% of US homes. But, this high prevalence is by no means to suggest that you should sit back and let mold reign. In fact, with this issue posing problems to both your health and your home’s foundational structure, fast action is key to preventing an escalating issue.
The problem is that when mold starts growing quicker than you can clean it, it isn’t always easy to get on top of this issue. Certainly, most homeowners face a winter-long battle that involves a few key steps, which will typically be along the lines of –
- Opening your windows daily: While it might let the heat out, alternately opening the windows of each of your rooms throughout the cold season can help to clear condensation, and avoid mold spore growth.
- Dehumidifying: As well as keeping your rooms fresher, dehumidifying your space with either a standalone dehumidifier or high-quality air conditioning filters removes the moisture on which mold spores thrive, and is an easy way to keep your home mold-free.
- Keeping things warm: Thoroughly heating your home to an ideal temperature of around 20°C can both clear moisture, and make it harder for mold to grow.
These are pretty obvious pointers, and they’re things you should be doing every winter as standard to keep unwanted mold growth at bay.
But, with many homeowners who do these things still suffering from at least some mold growth throughout winter, it seems like even more drastic action is necessary. Luckily, we’ve got some somewhat less obvious mold-fighting tips to keep your home mold-free and looking fancy this winter and beyond.
Step 1: Shut your doors
Every piece of advice you’ve likely seen about fighting mold will be along the lines of airing your house, so the idea of shutting the doors for spaces like your bathroom and kitchen may seem like madness. But hear us out.
When you think about it, keeping the doors of damp spaces open doesn’t do anything to prevent moisture in that key area, but it does mean that steam and dampness are free to roam into typically dry areas, like your living room and bedrooms. And, given that you spend the majority of your home time in these areas, that can soon lead to the escalation of a pretty severe mold problem.
This isn’t to say, of course, that you should just let mold run riot in your confined bathroom, but it does mean that you should make an effort to close the door if you’re having a bath or shower. Then, simply make sure to clean that moisture as best you can with your extractor fan and by opening a window for a short while afterward.
Step 2: Clean your carpets
Most of us consider mold as a wall-based issue that typically festers the most around our windows. And, this is certainly true for the mold that you can see. But, did you know that mold also loves your carpets? In fact, spills or moisture build-up in your carpets can see mold growing within as little as 48-72 hours. And, you probably won’t even realize it.
Unfortunately, carpet mold is just as bad for our homes as visible black mold on your windowsills, and it can also make mold elsewhere more likely. Luckily, there are at-home tests and professional testing available to help you determine whether carpet mold is an issue.
But whether you’ve had the problem confirmed or not, keeping your carpets clean with regular vacuuming and annual cleaning can go a long way towards keeping your home fresher, and free from mold at last.
Step 3: Clear your clutter
Clearing your clutter might sound more like Marie Kondo than mold prevention, but the surprising reality is that decluttering can also help to avoid mold buildup. This is especially true in areas like your cupboards and closets, where an excessive buildup of belongings can prevent airflow. Mold obviously loves that, and it’s not unusual to find notable mold problems in the corners and back walls of these areas when you do finally have a clear-out.
In light of this, an autumn clean can be far more efficient than any spring clean you’ve done before. Simply make sure to get rid of what you don’t need, and organize what you do in either boxes or damp-proof bags, long before winter mold has a chance to take hold.
Step 4: Make use of mold-resistant products
Did you know that you can invest in mold-proof watertight paints and fittings for your windows, walls, and fixtures? There are now hundreds of products like these on the market, and mold-proof paint even promises to keep mold growth at bay for up to six years.
For obvious reasons, these products are great for spaces like your bathroom, and that’s really where they’re designed for most. But, you can make use of mold-free paints, silicone, and more, throughout your house if mold is an ongoing problem.
Mold is a stress for many homeowners during winter, but prevention can go a long way towards tackling this worry. It’s also always worth investing in (or making) a reliable mold remover so that, even if a few stray spores sneak through your defenses, you’re able to keep your home mold-free for the whole winter long. Your health, home, and decor will surely thank you for it.