Keys to Mold Prevention
Here are some practical tips to prevent mold in your workplace:
1. Get the Wet Out
Unfortunately, there's no feasible way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment. But controlling excess moisture is the key to stopping indoor mold growth and reducing the presence of mold in your workplace (or home). These include:
* Use exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens to vent moisture to the outside.
* Use a dehumidifier to remove moisture from damp areas such as the basement. Be sure to drain the dehumidifier regularly, and clean condensation coils and the collection bucket.
* Raise the temperature in damp areas to help lower humidity levels.
* If you must use a humidifier in the winter months, be sure not to overuse it, and remember to properly clean the unit regularly.
* Increasing indoor air circulation can also help reduce indoor mold. Open doors between rooms, especially doors to closets that may be colder than the rooms. You can also increase air circulation with fans and by moving furniture from wall corners to promote air and heat circulation.
2. Keep It Clean
Cleaning also helps reduce mold at work and in the home.
* Be sure to scour sinks and tubs at least monthly. Fungi thrive on soap and films that coat tile and grout or other bathroom surfaces. Your normal bathroom cleaner will usually work on small patches of mold.
* For problem areas, use 1 or 2 ounces of ordinary laundry bleach diluted in a quart of water. Fungicides can also be used, but the most important thing is to give a good scrubbing.
* Clean garbage pails frequently. They're a prime breeding ground for mold.
* Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials and furnishings within 24 to 48 hours to prevent mold growth.
* Finally, clean mold off hard surfaces all around the workplace or home. Be sure to dry surfaces completely after cleaning.
* Remember, when cleaning mold, always wear the proper PPE, which includes gloves, eye protection, and a mask if airborne spores are present.
3. Plug the Leaks
Leaks are a major source of mold because moisture provides an ideal environment for mold growth.
* Quickly repair any plumbing leaks, blocked drains, poorly vented clothes dryers, or water seepage through walls.
* Put a plastic cover over dirt in crawlspaces to prevent moisture from coming in from the ground.
4. Use Building Supplies
You can also prevent mold growth by using common building supplies.
* Add insulation around windows and piping and to walls, roofing, and floors to reduce condensation.
* Pay special attention to carpet on concrete floors. Carpet can absorb moisture and serve as a place for biological pollutants to grow. One approach is to use area rugs that can be taken up and washed often. Another approach for especially damp climates is to use a vapor barrier of plastic sheeting over the concrete, then cover that with a sub-flooring of insulation covered with plywood before installing wall-to-wall carpet.
Storm windows also help prevent condensation on windows when temperatures fall, and this helps prevent mold growth around windows.