Preventing Mould at Home: A Room-by-Room Guide
Some of our daily activities can increase the risk of mould at home, including showering, cooking and washing clothes.
Fortunately, you can avoid mould growth by taking preventative action to reduce moisture inside your home.
It’s important to take these precautions as Health Canada considers indoor mould to be a significant health hazard. Health issues that can arise due to mould include irritation of the nose, throat and eyes; sneezing; labored breathing; and, worsening of asthma. While everyone is susceptible to the health risks related to mould, those at greatest risk include babies, children, seniors and people with asthma.
Protect yourself and your family with these tips for each room of your home:
- Run your exhaust fan while showering or bathing, and keep it running for at least 30 minutes afterwards. (On that note, install an exhaust fan if there isn’t already one in your bathroom.)
- Remove excess moisture by squeegeeing or toweling off the tiles and walls after your shower or bath.
- If you notice cracked or damaged tile, grout our caulking around your tub, shower or toilet, make sure to promptly repair or replace to avoid moisture from permeating your walls and floor.
- Use the range hood fan every time you cook. Also, regularly clean and check the vent and fan blades to ensure air is flowing freely (plus, removing built-up grease will also reduce the risk of a fire!).
- Trap excess moisture while cooking by covering pots with lids.
- Don’t boil water under your cupboards. Make sure the kettle is pulled out from under any overhead cupboards to avoid steam damaging the wood.
- Avoid storing items in cardboard boxes, which are a breeding ground for mould. Use plastic bins instead.
- Keep as many items off the floor as possible. This can help reduce the amount of damage and mould growth in the case of a flood or sewer backup.
- If your basement is particularly damp, consider running a dehumidifier. This will help remove excess moisture in the air.
Bedrooms and living rooms
- Make sure heat and air flows freely around your home. To do this, leave interior doors open, do not block vents, and keep furniture and bedding away from walls along the perimeter of your home.
- Open your blinds or curtains during the day. Closed window coverings can trap cold air and cause condensation to build up.
- Check for and wipe away condensation from your windows and windowsills daily. Also inspect walls and floors around windows and wipe up any water that has dripped down.
- Did you know mould can grow inside your washing machine? Leave the washer door open when it’s not in use to allow excess moisture to dry completely.
- Check and repair the washing machine hose if there are signs of leakage.
- Keep in mind that hanging wet clothes inside will increase humidity. If possible, hang clothes to dry outside or, if you choose to hang indoors, consider running a dehumidifier.
- Clean the lint trap every time you use your dryer. This will help air flow freely as well as minimize a fire hazard!
Plumbing and venting
- Make sure all vents—such as for the bathroom fan, hood range and clothes dryer—vent outside and not into your attic. All exterior vents should also be kept clear to ensure air flow is unrestricted.
- Regularly inspect all plumbing pipes around your house to check for and remediate any leaking or condensation. This includes checking your walls and ceilings for stains, which could signal there is a leak.
Rain and snow are inevitable. But you can prevent outside water from seeping into your home and causing mould with these nine yard and exterior home maintenance tips.
If you have mould issues at home, considering contacting a professional to help with cleanup. Alternatively, if you would like to attempt the cleanup yourself, follow health and safety guidelines such as these from the Government of Alberta.