Mold and mildew growth in closets can cause a lot of problems. The musty odor and potential health issues from mold exposure make it important to prevent mold from growing in your closets. Fortunately, there are several effective tips for keeping mold and mildew out of your custom closets.
What Causes Mold and Mildew in Closets
Mold spores are present everywhere – both indoors and outdoors. When these mold spores land on damp areas, they can quickly grow into mold colonies. Closets often provide ideal conditions for mold growth because they are enclosed, dark spaces that can easily become damp.
The main factor that allows mold to flourish in closets is excess moisture. High humidity levels cause moisture to accumulate on the walls and surfaces inside your closet. Leaks, flooding, or excess condensation can also introduce moisture. This moisture allows mold spores to thrive.
If you notice a musty odor, see black or white speckles, or find fuzzy or slimy growth on surfaces in your closet, then you likely have a mold problem. Once mold is present, it will continue spreading if excess moisture persists. So it is essential to address both removing current mold and preventing future mold growth.
How To Prevent Mold in Closets: Easy Tips
Here are some of the best ways you can prevent mold growth in your custom closets:
1. Use a Dehumidifier
Installing a dehumidifier inside or just outside your closets is one of the most effective ways to prevent mold growth. Dehumidifiers work by removing moisture from the air, keeping humidity levels low enough to inhibit mold growth.
Aim to keep the relative humidity in your closets around or below 50%. Higher humidity allows mold spores to thrive. Check the humidity levels with a hygrometer, and adjust your dehumidifier as needed.
2. Allow Air Circulation
Stagnant air creates prime conditions for mold growth in closets. So it is essential to allow fresh air to circulate throughout your custom closets.
Keep closet doors open for a few hours each day. This enables air flow which will prevent excess moisture from accumulating. You can also use a fan to improve air circulation if simple air flow from opening the doors is not sufficient.
3. Clean Closet Walls and Surfaces Regularly
Dust and dirt provide additional nutrients for mold growth. By cleaning closet walls and surfaces regularly, you can eliminate this mold food source.
Use a vacuum attachment and microfiber cloth to remove dust and debris. Then sanitize all surfaces with a 50/50 vinegar and water solution sprayed from a spray bottle. Distilled white vinegar inhibits mold growth. Repeat this cleaning routine every 1-2 months.
4. Handle Leaks or Flooding Right Away
If you experience any leaks, flooding, or excessive condensation inside your closet, address the source of the moisture right away. Leaving excess moisture allows mold spores to grow rapidly.
As soon as you notice water intrusion or damp areas, remove everything from the closet. Thoroughly dry all surfaces and items. Then clean the entire closet with vinegar before replacing items. Address any leaks at the source.
5. Use Silica Gel or Charcoal
Silica gel and activated charcoal absorb and trap moisture. Placing these desiccants in your closet can further reduce humidity.
Rechargeable silica gel packs are reusable. Replace or dry out charcoal bags monthly as they fill up with moisture. Distribute these moisture-absorbing products throughout your closet or place them in problem areas prone to humidity buildup.
6. Ventilate Behind Closets
If your closet shares a wall with your bathroom or laundry room, moisture can transfer through the wall and create a damp environment. Improve ventilation between these moisture-generating rooms and adjoining closets.
Ensure bathroom exhaust fans vent outside, not just into the wall cavity. Check that dryer vents are properly connected and clear. Ventilating these damp areas prevents moisture from accumulating behind closets.
7. Store Items Properly
How you store items in your closet also impacts mold growth. Storing clothing inside plastic dry cleaning bags traps moisture and allows mold to grow.
Instead, store clean clothes loosely to allow air flow. Only use breathable garment bags. These allow moisture to escape, while still protecting clothing from dust.
Also avoid storing leather, books, or other mold-prone items directly on the closet floor. Keep them elevated on shelves to prevent moisture damage.
8. Clean Out Your Closet
Cluttered closets have less air flow which increases the likelihood of mold growth. Regularly go through your closet and remove items you no longer need. This creates more space for proper air circulation.
Storing fewer items in your closet also allows you to see potential mold issues early and address them quickly. So do a sweep every season to keep your closet clutter-free and mold-free.
9. Inspect for Signs of Mold Regularly
Make it part of your regular cleaning routine to inspect inside your closet for early signs of mold growth. Catching mold issues early makes remediation much simpler.
Look along the top and bottom of walls, on shoes, inside boxes, and anywhere moisture could collect. If you find mold starting to grow, address problem areas right away before it spreads further in your closet.
10. Take Proper Precautions if Handling Mold
If you do find mold growth in your closet, take safety measures when doing mold remediation yourself. Limit your exposure when cleaning or removing mold.
Wear goggles, an N95 respirator mask, gloves, and protective clothing. Work in a well-ventilated area, and isolate moldy items in plastic bags while cleaning. Safely discard moldy materials that cannot be salvaged.
Keeping Your Closets Mold-Free for Good
Preventing mold involves an ongoing effort to keep moisture under control in your closets. But implementing these tips will help stop mold growth in its tracks.
The keys are controlling humidity, allowing airflow, cleaning regularly, addressing water leaks quickly, and proper storage practices. Checking for mold frequently also allows you to respond promptly if you do see any signs of mold starting to develop.
With vigilance about moisture and mold prevention habits, you can successfully keep mold out of your closets for good. Consistently practicing these mold prevention tips will help ensure your closets stay fresh, healthy and mold-free for years to come.
For mold remediation services around Atlanta Georgia, contact Southeast Water Restoration today!