As a homeowner, one of the worst things you can have growing in your house is mold. Not only does it have the ability to thrive in just about any moist environment, but it can also spread like wildfire, making a small sign of mold eventually turn into a big problem.
Mold can also cause significant health problems, particularly those with Asthma. At its most basic level, mold acts as an irritant, so any lung, nose, or throat issues will inevitably be affected by the presence of mold. Though the research on mold’s impact on human health is inconclusive, it has been known to cause an allergic reaction, manifesting itself in fevers, rashes, and fever-type symptoms.
So where can mold grow? In a word: anywhere. All it takes for mold to grow is a moist, damp environment, which can happen with a busted pipe or water leak. Below are five of the most common problem areas for mold.
Under the Kitchen Sink
That dark, forgotten area where you probably keep your soaps and hand towels can be a haven for mold to grow in, and since you most likely do not check every corner very often, it can often go unchecked for months at a time. A water leak on a poorly connected pipe can drip for days a, leaving a residue that slowly but surely begins to grow fungus. Another candidate for mold growth is that old towel or rag that is used to clean the countertop and then thrown underneath the sink. Mold can grow on cloth too, so be sure to throw them in the wash once you’re done with them.
Corner of Your Shower and Bathtub
Since these areas receive a ton of regular water exposure, the tub and shower are two of the most common areas for mold to grow. But the inside of the tub and bottom of the shower are not the parts that you want to keep an eye on; the corners – where the water drips off the walls and collects – are where you’ll start to see mold more often. To help prevent this, wipe down the corners with your towel every week or so to keep water from pooling for long periods of time. If you see mold already starting to appear, use bleach to scrub the mold off.
Behind the Toilet
Behind most toilets is a water line that connects straight into the wall and hooks up to the tank of the toilet; if this line is compromised or not connected properly, it can drip slowly and cause mold to grow. Not only that, but the very…ahem…nature…of what the toilet is used for leaves the area prone to bacteria buildup, which can hasten the arrival of fungi. Moreover, most bathrooms are naturally humid anyway, so make sure you check regularly behind the toilet in order to see if anything is beginning to build up.
On Top of Your Mattress
This might be one of the last places that you would think to find mold, since it has very little direct contact with water itself (waterbeds are another issue), but the humidity that can drift from a bathroom and into the bedroom can create a sauna-like atmosphere that leaves many mattresses smelling rancid after a while. In addition to that, for people who sweat heavily in their sleep, the water from that can drift down into the mattress and create mold issues as well. To remedy these problem areas, invest in either a mold-resistant mattress or buy a fully enclosable mattress cover that you can throw in the wash.
Inside Your Fireplace
Unless you’ve got the spinal consistency of Gumby, looking inside your fireplace to check for mold is most likely impossible. The cool, dark atmosphere inside the chimney, however, can make this area ripe for mold growth without you most likely even knowing it. If you live in an area that receives regular rainfall or snow, be extra cautious here: the precipitation can drift down the chimney and collect inside the pipe. A regular chimney cleaning should get rid of most of your mold problems, but it’s still a good idea to get it checked periodically.