Health TipsPreventing Mold
Interactive ToolsMold Allergy Quiz
Diseases and ConditionsAllergens: Mold
Molds in the Environment
Indoor molds can be found where humidity levels are high, such as basements or bathrooms.
When mold is present:
Walls and ceilings are discolored and show signs of mold growth or water damage. Mold comes in many colors.
The air in the room may have a musty, earthy smell.
People with asthma, allergies, or other breathing conditions may be more sensitive to mold. Mold can cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to it, and can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of anyone, whether allergic or not.
People who are sensitive to mold may experience a stuffy nose, irritated eyes, wheezing, or skin irritation, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says. People allergic to it may have difficulty breathing and shortness of breath. People with weakened immune systems or chronic lung diseases, such as obstructive lung disease, may develop mold infections in their lungs (such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).
People who are allergic to molds should first see their health care provider, who can decide if they need a referral to an allergy specialist.
Controlling moisture in your home is the most critical factor for preventing mold growth:
Fix plumbing leaks and other water problems as soon as possible.
Use an air conditioner or a dehumidifier during humid months.
Keep bathrooms well-ventilated by using exhaust fans or opening a window after taking a shower or bath.
Don’t paint or caulk moldy surfaces. Clean up the mold and dry the surfaces before painting.
Don’t carpet bathrooms or basements.
If there’s mold in your home, clean it up and fix any water problem, such as leaks in roofs.
To eliminate indoor mold:
Dry all household materials that have become wet from a leak or flood within 24-48 hours to help prevent mold growth.
Remove all porous items that have been wet for more than 48 hours and can’t be thoroughly cleaned and dried. This includes carpets, drywall, wallpaper, and upholstered furniture.
Scrub mold off hard surfaces with a bleach solution of no more than 1 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water.
If you use bleach to clean up mold:
Never mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners. Mixing these products can produce dangerous, toxic fumes.
Open windows and doors.
Wear nonporous gloves and protective eye wear.
Remember, it’s easier to prevent than remove mold. You can help prevent it by keeping your home dry and clean.