Moisture Control-Problems & Cures
1. Check for signs of leaks and mold growth. Look for stains and streaks on walls, ceilings, and
floors, bubbles in paint and plaster, or loose wallpaper. Promptly repair any leaks.
Likely leak locations:
- attics, basements, garage
- bathroom, especially around tubs and shower stalls and under sinks
- kitchen, especially under sinks
The nose knows: if you've got a musty, moldy odor, you've got a moisture problem.
- Inspect the inside frames and sills of all windows where moisture might be collecting.
- Check all exposed pipes for signs of past or present leakage. Clues: water or moisture
condensation, rust or mineral deposits.
- Properly vent all home heating and water heating appliances, vent bathrooms and dryers to the
- Make sure that air conditioning drain pans are pitched for effective drainage and that there's no
mold growth in the pan.
- Examine carpets (esp. in basement rooms) for any signs of moisture. Use a carpet cleaning
professional to clean and dry out wet carpets.
- Check the wooden tack strips under the carpet for dry rot, mold or rust around the tacks.
- Never install carpet directly on an unsealed cement slab, e.g., basements. The cement can
conduct moisture and promote condensation.
- Remove carpeting and furniture from any room that is prone to flooding or leaks.
10. Keep vegetation and irrigation at least 10' away from outside walls.
- Keep cabinets clean and dry
- Clean using a disinfectant (antibacterial) cleaner formulated to kill mildew (read the label).
- Keep counters and sinks clean and dry.
Take it out frequently.
The warm, moist atmosphere in the bathroom is ideal for growing mold and mildew. To help prevent
this growth, repair any leaks; use exhaust fans; increase overall air circulation and light; and keep
surfaces clean and dry.
- Most shower curtains can be laundered using detergent and liquid household bleach.
Read and follow care label directions for the curtain.
- Before washing cloth curtains, presoak heavily mildewed areas in 1/4 cup liquid
household bleach and 1 gallon water test on an inconspicuous corner to be sure the bleach
is safe for the fabric).
- If liquid bleach is not safe for the fabric, use a solution of color-safe bleach and water,
following bleach label directions.
1. Before laundering vinyl curtains, scrub heavily mildewed areas with liquid bleach or a
- Vinyl shower curtains should not be dried in the dryer. Remove curtains from washer and
rehang on a shower rod to drip dry.
Tip: There are shower curtains that are mildew resistant. They may be helpful in keeping
mildew at bay.
- Clean diaper pails using a disinfectant (antibacterial) cleaner or liquid household bleach.
Tip: Mold can grow on towels and bathmats, too! Loosely hang towels and bathmats to air
dry after each use, and launder them at least 1X a week.
In the shower
- Use the exhaust fan when bathing or showering.
- Use a sponge or squeegee to wipe down shower walls after showering.
- Keep shower doors and curtain open after use to allow shower walls to air dry.
- Clean shower stalls and bathtubs using a non-abrasive, All-Purpose or disinfectant
- Mildew can grow on soap scum, that "ring around the bathtub." A soap scum remover will
easily clean those deposits.
- There are products for spraying on shower curtains and walls to prevent mildew growth.
AT THE SINK
- Dry faucets and handles.
- Keep the area under sinks clean and dry.
- Clean using a non-abrasive, All-Purpose or disinfectant (antibacterial) cleaner.
Alert: Plumbing leaks or condensation can grow mold and mildew.
- Vinyl or ceramic tile using a floor cleaner or a non-abrasive, All-Purpose cleaner.
- To avoid a "cloudy" residue, use a no-rinse product or rinse the floor well after each cleaning.
- Do not use wall-to-wall carpeting in the bathroom. It holds moisture and cannot be
Tips: Areas under the sink or where the tub/shower meets the floor are likely spots for water
to collect and mildew to grow.
1. Keep those areas dry.
2. Clean using a non-abrasive, All-Purpose cleaner. Then, dry and disinfect the areas.
3. Regular use of a disinfectant has been shown to control mold/mildew.
In the Kitchen . . . In the bath- about mold, mildew and germs
Mold/mildew and germs thrive on moist surfaces, such as tubs, showers, tile grout, sinks, counter-top, shower curtains, faucets, garbage cans, diaper pails, litter boxes and animal cages. It is very
difficult to completely kill mold and mildew. Killing the mildew and mold is important but it is
equally important to find the source of the problem and eliminate the problem. Because if you do not
eliminate the problem, then the mold and mildew will continue to come back.
3 options in the battle against mold & mildew:
To remove mildew and its stains, look for a product labeled "mildew remover" or use liquid
bleach. (Liquid bleach can be dangerous. Do not mix bleach with any other products and be careful
because of the fumes.)
- Mildew removers and bleach should be used in a well-ventilated area.
- Most should not be used by an asthmatic person.
- Label instructions usually suggest spraying the mildew, wait a few seconds to let the
cleaner penetrate, then wipe and wait.
- Most contain bleach and should not come in contact with clothes, fabric, carpet, wood,
rubber or painted or papered surfaces.
Kill It (Disinfect) Very difficult.
Look for products that say they control or prevent the growth of mold and mildew; disinfectants
or disinfectant (antibacterial) cleaners.
- Disinfectants kill germs but do not clean surfaces.
- Disinfectant (antibacterial) cleaners clean and kill germs.
- Some disinfectants and disinfectant cleaners also kill mold and mildew. Read the label to
determine if a product has this property.
Disinfectants or disinfectant (antibacterial) cleaners used 2-3X @ wk. will prevent mildew's
- First, clean the surface to remove the mildew stains.
- Then, use a disinfectant product 2-3X @ wk. to control the growth of mold or mildew.
Safety 1st: Do not mix different cleaning products together; hazardous gases can be produced.
For more articles on the relationship of health and disease to environmental factors, see the list of available articles and other information available here