Somewhere in your laundry room, a growing danger could be lurking. If it's not addressed promptly, mold can make you and your family members sick. Learn how to stop mold before it develops, identify it when it does, and eliminate it before it causes health problems for you or your loved ones.
Why the Laundry Room Matters
Unless you're doing a load of clothes, you probably don't think about your laundry room much. It's worth checking up on, though, because this room naturally creates a perfect environment for mold. The space is hot and humid, the perfect environment for growing these pernicious fungi. If mold is taking root in your home, it’s probably in this room.
To decrease the likelihood of mold popping up, make the laundry room less humid with a dehumidifier. Aim to keep the room at less than 50 percent humidity, and turn on the dehumidifier every time you run the machines.
If you know your laundry room becomes humid, or you live in a naturally humid area, consider coating the room with semi-gloss paint that repels mold growth. You can even get paint that has an anti-mold agent built right in.
If your appliances don't have alarms, use a timer when you’re washing the laundry (anything from an app to a classic kitchen buzzer). This will remind you to remove clothes from the washing machine as soon as they're ready. Clothes left in the washer can develop mold, and the spores from that mold can travel outside the machine and create problems elsewhere.
Reducing heat is also a good way to make things harder for mold, so if possible, keep the temperature a little lower in your laundry area.
Searching for Mold
Inspect your laundry room for mold regularly. It often begins as very small black dots. Pay particular attention to areas of the room where moisture tends to gather. When the dryer is running, go into the room and look for any signs of perspiration. These are the spots where mold is most likely to grow.
Because it can look like harmless dust or discoloration, mold can be difficult to identify. If you're not sure whether you're looking at dirt or mold, get a mold test kit at a home improvement store.
If you see anything that could be mold, remove it as soon as possible. Suit up properly in gloves to protect your hands, and wear a dust mask over your mouth. Open any windows and doors in the room for ventilation. If the mold is especially heavy, you may also want to use protective eyewear. Once you're prepared, get a brush and clean all the mold with a solution of water and bleach. Scrub thoroughly and rinse the area with water, then wipe it all down a second time with an antibacterial cleaning product.
If you find mold in your laundry room drywall or insulation, you will have to cut out these bad materials and replace them. This is the only safe way to remove mold from these areas. To be totally safe, you may want to contact a professional mold removal service in this situation.
Make Your Laundry Room Safer
The laundry room can become ground zero for a mold problem that poses a significant health risk. Mold can’t be ignored; it must be removed completely or it will spread to other areas of the home and cause potential health problems for all inhabitants, even pets.
Make your laundry room safer by taking action to prevent mold from growing. Take regular surveys of the area to make sure you don't have problems brewing. And if you do find mold, get rid of it with a deep clean as soon as possible.