Where there’s moisture, there’s mold. We have this fungus to thank for things like cheese and penicillin, but it’s not something most of us want in our homes, schools, or workplaces. While some mold is relatively harmless, other species have can cause serious health implications for you and your family. From your coffee maker to your basement, mold can be found where you least expect it. Whether you’re worried about mold in your home or you have no idea whether or not you’re at risk, here are some must know facts about the dangers of mold and preventing it.
WHERE THERE IS WATER, THERE CAN ALSO BE MOLD
From window panes, to fans, to carpets, your home, unfortunately, can be a hub for mold. Humid spaces and those frequently exposed to water are the most likely to foster mold, as it grows in damp, dank environments. The most common health consequences from mold in your home are exhibiting cold and allergy symptoms, but more serious illnesses such as infection can occur in people with asthma or compromised immune systems. To prevent mold growth in your home, it’s important to address any leaks right away to avoid prolonged exposure to moisture. Its also helpful to avoid putting carpets in bathrooms, kitchens, basements, and other places that are often damp or susceptible to water.
MOLD CAN ALSO BE FOUND IN YOUR YARD AND OUTDOOR SPACES
Mold can also grow on outdoor decks, furniture, and even on your lawn. If your deck, patio, or outdoor furniture is frequently exposed to rain or water, it’s at risk for mold damage. Keeping an eye out for mold in these areas and catching it in the early stages is the best way to keep it from turning into a serious problem. Decaying wood is also a target for mold growth, so it’s important to monitor and address early (see below, structural damage). Mold can also grow in your yard if you have build up of decaying plants, although this type of mold typically won’t do much harm and is easy to get rid of.
MOLD MIGHT BE WHERE YOU LEAST EXPECT IT
Sinks, bathrooms, and other areas in your home frequently exposed to water are common places to find mold. There are several other areas in your home, however, that may be hiding mold you cannot see. In a 2011 study by the National Science Foundation, they named toothbrush holders, pet bowls, coffee makers, and pet toys among common places to household find germs and mold. No one wants a side of mold with their morning coffee, so regularly cleaning and drying your coffee maker is a good way to prevent this. Being aware of these household items as potential mold-hubs and being sure to clean them from time to time is an easy way to prevent mold from spreading throughout your home and causing bigger problems.
NOT ALL MOLDS ARE CREATED EQUAL
We’re all about equality, but when it comes to mold, there are many differences between the mold on your sandwich and the mold on your ceiling. The black, slimy mold that you can often find near the sink can produce toxins closely tied to allergies and illness. You’ll often find mold on your bread partially because mold are partial to the ingredients of bread, and partially because bread is often kept in warm areas of your home rather than in the refrigerator. Accidentally eating bread with a little mold probably won’t hurt you unless you have a compromised immune system, but it might make you feel nauseous. You can prevent mold on your bread by storing it in a tightly sealed area, or freezing partial loaves and later thawing it to avoid leaving it outside for too long. If you find mold in your food, you should also check other foods stored in the same area, as mold spreads very quickly from one place to another.