Are you worried about the potential for mold and mildew around your home? Mold and mildew can be difficult to get rid of—and difficult to distinguish from each other. While mildew is less dangerous than mold, it can still be a sign that something's wrong. Here are a few places that you might commonly find mold or mildew inside of your property.
Mold and Mildew: What's the Difference?
We're familiar with dark, fuzzy things growing in the moist cracks and crevices of our home, but what are they exactly? Both mold and mildew are attracted to moisture, but one is easier to get rid of than the other.
Mildew is a soft, powdery growth that tends to grow just on the surface of something moist. It can easily be wiped off and removed. Mold, on the other hand, grows upwards and will reach into a surface, making it harder to remove completely. Mold often recurs if it's not treated and there are dangerous forms of mold.
The Dangers of Mold and Mildew in Your Home
While mildew isn't dangerous in and of itself, it generally highlights where there is moisture and heat in your home. Not only can this become a breeding ground for mold (which is potentially dangerous), but it can also indicate areas of structural damage or leaks.
Mold and mildew can really grow anywhere. They are a fungus and the spores are very common. Some amount of mold and mildew is going to occur in pretty much every environment. If it's left untreated, however, it can become very dangerous.
If left untreated, even common mold can lead to allergies and illness. Mold is particularly dangerous to the elderly as well as children. Over time, it can lead to lung and breathing issues, and it can trigger asthmatic attacks. Some types of mold are more dangerous than others.
Common Places to Look for Mold or Mildew
Under the sink is a common place for mold or mildew to grow, as they can accumulate moisture if pipes are leaking. Condensation may also lead to mold or mildew, if you have metal pipes and fixtures.
Behind the refrigerator tends to collect condensation, which can collect dust, dirt, and mold. If your refrigerator has been leaking, it can compound the issue. You need to clean the back of your refrigerator periodically regardless, which can be a good time to check.
Microwaves can grow mold inside of them if they aren't frequently cleaned, including around the interior vents. Mold can be resistant to the heat inside of a microwave, and the condensation caused by cooking will lead to moisture.
Bathroom tile is the most common area for mold and mildew to grow, because it can gain purchase in the grout. To avoid this, make sure you clean thoroughly on a regular basis.
Under and around the bathroom sink can grow mold, if moisture is allowed to sit and remain. Check under the sink to make sure there aren't any leaks, especially around the wall where the pipe enters it.
It can surprise people to find mold in and around their mattresses, but it can happen especially in areas of high humidity. When cloth becomes moldy, it can be very difficult to recover it. Cleaning regularly can help.
Air conditioning vents are often breeding grounds for mold and other issues. A regular duct cleaning can help you, as well as wiping down the vents frequently.
If your washing machines don't completely dry out, they can grow mold inside of them. It's a good idea to leave your washing machine open for a little while after running a load for exactly this reason. The interior of the washing machine should be periodically cleaned out, especially around the seal around the door.
Basements can grow mold just about anywhere, as they are often dark and damp. If you have an unfinished basement, it's more dangerous. You can avoid this by sealing your basement against moisture and regularly inspecting it for potential moisture damage.
Outside your home
Outside your home, mold can grow on patios, exterior brick, and walkways. While mold outside of your home isn't as dangerous, it can be unsightly. If mold grows on the ground, it often becomes slippery and potentially dangerous.
These are only a few places you might find mold or mildew in your home. Any place that has the right amount of moisture and humidity can grow it. If you do find mold around, it's important to treat it as soon as possible.