Prevention is key, but contact a licensed professional for assistance
Mold can take a hold just about anywhere in your home: bathrooms, kitchens, garages, and more. Learn more about this household issue and how to prevent and control it from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
ABOUT MOLD AND MOISTURE
Molds are living organisms that grow in damp places in your home. These numerous organisms can stain or discolor surfaces and smell musty.
Mold can grow almost anywhere in your home: on walls, ceilings, carpets, or furniture. Humidity or wetness—caused by water leaks, spills from bathtubs or showers, or condensation—can cause mold to grow in your home.
Mold spores are tiny particles that float through the air. These can sometimes cause health problems, and different people are affected differently when mold is breathed or inhaled. People with allergies to mold may get:
- Watery eyes
- Runny or stuffed noses
- Difficulty breathing
- Asthma attacks for those with this health condition
In addition, some molds produce toxins (poisons) that may be hazardous if you are exposed to large amounts of these molds. Mold spores and their mycotoxins can also pose a serious health threat to individuals who have compromised immune systems.
PREVENTING AND CONTROLLING MOLD
To prevent mold:
- Keep your house clean and dry.
- Fix water problems such as roof leaks, wet basements, and leaking pipes or faucets.
- Make sure your home is well ventilated and always use ventilation fans in bathrooms and kitchens.
- If possible, keep humidity in your house below 50% by using an air conditioner or dehumidifier.
- Avoid using carpeting in areas of the home that may become wet, such as kitchens, bathrooms and basements.
- Dry floor mats regularly.
To find mold that might be growing in your home:
- Search for moisture in areas that have a damp or moldy smell, especially in basements, kitchens, and bathrooms.
- Look for water stains or colored, fuzzy growth on and around ceilings, walls, floors, windowsills, and pipes.
- If you smell a musty odor, search behind and underneath materials such as carpeting, furniture, or stored items.
- Inspect kitchens, bathrooms, and basements for standing water, water stains and patches of out-of-place color.
To control moisture problems and mold:
- Fix any water problems immediately and clean or remove wet materials, furnishings, or mold.
- Clean up spills or floods within one day. If practical, take furniture that has been wet outside to dry and clean. Direct sunlight prevents mold growth.
- Dry all surfaces and fix the problem or leak to prevent further damage.
- Install a dehumidifier when a moisture problem is evident or when the humidity is high.
INFORMATION AND ASSISTANCE
The California Department of Public Health has further information in multiple languages to help homeowners and renters address mold. If you contact a contractor to do related repairs, check that the professional is licensed by the Department of Consumer Affairs’ (DCA) Contractors State License Board. If you have health concerns that you suspect may be related to mold, contact one of the many health professionals licensed by DCA. You can check a professional’s license at https://search.dca.ca.gov.