Scary Places Mold Might Be Hiding in Your Home
Is there goblin goop growing in your dishwasher? Sea monster slime sitting in your washing machine?! Eek! That’s not a Halloween prank; it’s mold! Find out where mold might be hiding in your home and how to kick it to the curb before it takes over!
Why bother checking for mold in your home?
No one likes cleaning up gross-looking or smelling gunk off their home’s surfaces, particularly when it’s not necessary. If you’ve noticed slimy growths and questionable specks in and around your place, you’ve probably wondered, “Do I need to deal with this now?”
The truth is, household mold can be more than a stinky and ugly inconvenience — it can be downright dangerous. Before turning a blind eye to the mildew in your home, consider the effects it can have on your family’s and your pet’s health:
- Allergy symptoms like runny nose, congestion, itchy throat, sores, or rashes
- Gastrointestinal problems like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, particularly if mold is ingested
- Chronic health issues like bronchitis and sinusitis, depending on type and severity of mold exposure
1. Overlooked nooks and crannies
When was the last time you cleaned the back of your toilet bowl? If the answer is, “I can’t recall or “never,” you’re not alone — most people forget to clean surfaces and crevices that aren’t immediately visible. However, mold loves dark spots, especially ones with plenty of moisture. Keep fungi in check by making it a point to “clean the unseen” surfaces in your home at least once a month.
Where to check for mold:
- In the bathroom: Under the sink, in and around the toothbrush holder and soap dish, behind the toilet bowl, along the edges of your standing shower door, inside cabinets
- In the kitchen: Inside cabinets, along pantry corners, in and around utensil caddies
- In the garage, basement, or attic: Behind the water heater, in dark and damp corners where water tends to pool, in and around storage bins such as cardboard boxes
- Along exterior facing doors and windows: On windowsills, door jambs, and hinges
2. Household appliances
Many things in your home rely on a series of seals to keep moisture in or out, like the rubber gasket at the bottom of your blender or the foam seals along the edges of your refrigerator doors! Though you may not think of deep cleaning these appliances and their seals often, they are constantly at work preventing moisture from leaking into spaces it shouldn’t.
However, with all that hard work keeping moisture at bay, these seals often become damp and mildewy themselves. Help prevent mold from thriving in these spots by cleaning them as often as possible, setting reminders for yourself, if necessary.
Where to check for mold:
- In your dishwasher: Along the edges and corners of the washtub, on the rubber door seal, in the soap and dry rinse compartment
- In your washing machine: On the rubber door seal, in detergent and fabric softener drawers, in the drum, and along interior drum walls
- Around portable and window A/C units: Within drain lines, inside condensation collection tank, on A/C filter, on foam strips used for insulation
- In your refrigerator: Between rubber door seals, inside and behind crisper drawers, in door shelves
- In smaller appliances: On the rubber seals and lids of your food processor or blender, inside your steamer or clothes iron
3. Porous surfaces and materials
You may have seen someone “eat around” the moldy corner of a stale piece of bread before or even done this yourself. However, mold can deeply penetrate porous materials such as bread before becoming visible to the naked eye. In other words, once you can see a green, fuzzy substance growing on your toast, it’s usually safe to assume that the entire loaf is moldy, too!
Unfortunately, mold growth on porous surfaces and soft foods is challenging to remove. In most cases, going through the time, effort, and expense of removing such mold growth isn’t worth it. Plus, taking your chances eating “questionable” looking foods is never a good idea.
Accordingly, we recommend that you dispose of any porous or edible items that look, feel, or smell moldy — “when in doubt, throw it out!”
Where to check for mold:
- In your kitchen: Dish sponges, water filters inside coffee makers, and in-door water dispensers
- In your bathroom: On toilet-cleaning brush, make-up application sponges, old loofahs, and washcloths
- In your refrigerator: On soft and porous foods like cheeses, baked goods, dairy products, and fresh fruits and vegetables
- In your bedroom: On improperly covered pillows and mattresses, especially if you live in a humid area or are prone to sweating in your sleep
- In your closet and other storage spaces: On cardboard boxes, wooden crates, and clothes stored in damp or dark closets
How to tackle mold in your house?
What you’ll need:
- An old toothbrush or similar scrubbing utensil
- A spray bottle with vinegar, baking soda, or bleach-based cleaner
- Paper towels
- Dishwashing gloves
- Blow dryer
- Silica gel packets
- Face mask and safety goggles
What you’ll do:
- Determine if the surface can be cleaned: Mold-infested foods and porous materials are nearly impossible to clean and should therefore be thrown out. Rubber seals and smooth surfaces, on the other hand, can typically be cleared of mold using proper removal techniques.
- Figure out the best cleaning solution for the job: Typically, bleach-based cleaners are best at removing mold, but their use isn’t always recommended, particularly in spaces where there’s food or linens involved. A good rule of thumb is to opt for vinegar or baking soda-based cleaners in the kitchen and laundry room and use bleach-based sprays in bathrooms and garages.
- Spot test your surface: Test the cleaning solution on an inconspicuous area of the item you’re cleaning.
- Apply cleaning solution generously: Spray your surface with your cleaning solution of choice, allowing it to sit for 10-30 minutes. If using bleach, ensure the area is well ventilated.
- Scrub away visible mold: Use your cleaning brush to scour away dark spots and fuzzy growths. Remember to wear protective equipment to help prevent mold spores from getting in your eyes or sinuses.
- Dry everything: Once you’ve removed all visible signs of mold, use a paper towel to soak up any remaining moisture. Help keep mold at bay by drying the surface off thoroughly with a blow dryer or using a dehumidifier (or even silica gel packets) to control moisture in the area.
What to do when household mold doesn’t go away?
The truth is, you can’t always be there to scrub the mold away! You may have moved into an apartment with older, unkempt appliances that have more mold than you can deal with, or you may simply live in an area where humidity takes over everything with time.
If you’ve scrubbed and scrubbed and can’t seem to get rid of the mold hiding in your home appliances, head to your nearest Rent-A-Center. We can help you start fresh with the best brands at our best prices. Reserve your appliances online now!