Mold in Your Home

What is it?
Symptoms
First Aid
Prevention
 

What is mold?

Mold is a fungus that grows well in damp and warm areas. Indoors, mold can be found in humid areas such as basements and bathrooms.

Can mold make me sick?

For most people, mold is not a problem. Some people are sensitive or allergic to mold and can develop symptoms if they have it in their homes. Someone with asthma may find that being around mold makes their asthma symptoms worse.

If you are sensitive to mold, having it in your home may give you:

  • A stuffed up nose
  • Irritated eyes
  • Difficulty breathing, like wheezing

What should I do if I have mold in my home?

If you think you are having symptoms from an allergy to mold, make an appointment to see your doctor. They will do a basic exam and ask you questions about your home and work environment and symptoms. They may do a skin or blood test to see if you are allergic to mold.

If you are having difficulty breathing, call 911.

How should I clean up mold?

Even if you do not have symptoms, it is a good idea to remove mold if you can see it or smell it.

To clean up mold:

  • Open windows and doors for fresh air
  • Wear waterproof gloves and protective eye wear
  • If there has been flooding, remove carpets and furniture upholstery that were soaked
  • For cleaning hard surfaces, use one of the following:
    • A commercial product labeled for mold clean up
    • Soap and water
    • A bleach solution (1 cup of bleach and 1 gallon of water). Never mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners.
  • If there is a large area with mold (more than 10 square feet), read the US EPA guide Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings.

The CDC does not recommend testing for mold. Testing can be expensive, and it cannot tell you if the mold in your home will be a problem for you, because every person reacts differently.

To prevent future mold growth:

  • Use a dehumidifier or an air conditioner to keep humidity low. Some thermostats will tell you the humidity level, which should be less than 50%.
  • Run the exhaust fan in your bathroom when showering and bathing. If your home does not have a bathroom exhaust fan, open the window instead or consider having a fan installed.
  • Clean your bathroom with mold-killing products, such as a bleach solution.
  • Do not use carpet in bathrooms and basements.
  • If you are painting walls, add a mold inhibitor to the paint before you apply it.

Last Updated: Tuesday May 17th 2016