While you may keep a clean home, there may still be mold spores burrowing their way into the recesses of your closets. Where does mold in your closet come from?
Mold comes from having a combination of poor air circulation, excess moisture, and dark recesses, making closets an ideal place for it to grow. Humidity, water damage, and attic mold all contribute to mold growth. If you see mold growing, you should safely remove mold and make subtle changes to prevent regrowth from occurring.
In this article, you will learn more about the primary causes of mold and how to prevent it from touching the items in your custom closets.
What Causes Mold Growth
Humidity in the Air
Humidity occurs naturally in the air, especially during the summer months. The high humidity levels during certain seasons can cause mold to grow in dark spaces, such as your closets.
There are times in which you can add to the moisture in the air, either intentionally or accidentally. If you don’t dry your clothes completely before putting them in your closet, it can raise the air’s humidity level.
Closets located within close proximity to the bathroom often have a higher humidity level. Hot showers spit moisture into the air and encourage mold growth in those dark spaces.
Water Damage from Leaks
If you are still battling mold after addressing any humidity issues, you may have water damage. Water leaks are a significant cause of mold growth. Because moisture is a necessary element in the development of mold, you have to locate the source. The water damage could be from a leaking pipe behind one of your closet walls or perhaps from a leaky roof.
According to Valley Restoration, both closets and attics are prime breeding grounds for mold. Mold in the attic can spread throughout your home. It can seep down into the ceiling tiles and through to the drywall until it finds a place where it can grow without a problem.
If you are having trouble locating the mold source, it is time to look at other areas of your home. For mold in the attic, you’ll probably notice dark spots on your closet ceilings.
The Dangers of Closet Mold
Mold anywhere, including your closets, can cause health issues if left untreated. At first, the symptoms may mimic allergies with sneezing, rashes, irritated eyes, and runny noses. Mold is especially dangerous for those with asthma, as it can severely impact the ability to breath. The quicker that you remove the mold, the better.
Below are tips on how to remove mold both from your closets and your clothing.
Removing Mold from Clothing
According to Today.com, there are a couple of different methods for removing mold from clothing, one of which is using bleach, depending on the care instructions attached to each article of clothing. Most clothes with mold on them can be treated with color-safe bleach. Use a solution that is one part bleach and three parts water. Spray or soak the mold stains for several minutes, then launder your clothing as directed on the label.
If some of your pieces cannot be bleached, you can still remove the mold. All you need to do is apply a small sponge or a small cotton ball soaked in either white vinegar or lemon juice to the stain. Leave the sponge or cotton ball to sit on the item for several minutes and then remove it. Allow the area to dry in the sun to boost the effectiveness of the solution. If the stain persists, repeat soaking with vinegar or lemon juice. Once the stain is gone, launder as directed.
How to Clean Mold from Closets
To clean mold from your closets, you need to treat both the roots and the surface stains. Bobvila.com explains that to remove mold stains from closet walls, you can use a solution that is one part bleach to three parts water as you would with clothing. Before you begin spraying the solution, make sure that your space is cleared of all clothing and accessories and is well ventilated by opening windows and using a fan. Bleach fumes can irritate your lungs and nose when inhaled.
Spray the area and let it sit for several minutes. You want the area soaked in the solution to ensure that it kills the fungus. After several minutes, use a stiff scrub brush to remove the stains. You may have to repeat the process to ensure that the stains disappear for good.
Removing the mold stains is only part of the task. The bleach solution will kill the surface growth but not kill the roots deep in your drywall. If you don’t treat the roots, the mold will return. To treat the roots, spray the area with undiluted white vinegar. Let it dry, no scrubbing necessary. The vinegar smell will dissipate once the wall is completely dry.
If you don’t see mold growing, but consistently have a musty smell in your closets, it might be time to call someone in to check it out. Mold may be growing behind your walls and may not yet be visible.
Closet Mold Prevention
There are dozens of different ways to prevent mold growth in your closets including:
- Dry All of Your Clothing: To combat humidity in your closet area, and prohibit mold growth, make sure all of your clothing is completely dry when you put it away. Don’t store damp clothes; leave them hanging in your laundry room or bathroom to finish drying.
- Dehumidifiers: Another way to combat humidity is with a dehumidifier, as explained by Hunker.com. This device will remove the excess moisture in the air. Dehumidifiers can be electric, which require you to plug them in, and the water reservoir emptied periodically. You can also purchase desiccant dehumidifiers that do not require electricity. Instead, they use desiccant crystals to absorb excess moisture. Most are disposable once the crystals have all dissolved. Others are refillable. You can also use silica packs to help reduce air moisture.
- Open the Doors: To help reduce the humidity in your closets, during seasons of high humidity, make sure to leave the doors open. An open door helps to increase air circulation and keep moisture from settling on walls and shelves.
- Exhaust Fans: For closets located in or near bathrooms, the use of an exhaust fan will help to remove excess moisture. You should run the fan during your shower and for at least one hour after you’ve finished. If you don’t have an exhaust fan, keep the doors open and any windows that may be in the room. Opening doors and windows will help air circulate and reduce the moisture in the air.
- Breathable Storage Baskets: If you have storage baskets in your closets, make sure they have holes to allow air to pass through. The air passages keep moisture from building up within the baskets and mold from growing on the storage container or your clothing.
- Storage baskets made of plastic can be problematic. Plastic bins are often composed of polyethylene, which traps humidity around your fabrics. The trapped moisture will be enough to encourage growth on the clothing stored within. Use wire baskets if at all possible, as they are less likely to attract mold.
- Install a Special Lightbulb: As darkness is a crucial component to mold growth, consider leaving a light on in your closet. A low wattage, energy-efficient light will help prevent spores from developing even in humid areas. The bulb provides enough warmth to help dry the air and reduce the dark recesses that mold likes to grow in.
Closet mold doesn’t just happen overnight. It can be caused by excess humidity, water leak problems, or mold growth in your attic space.You can take steps to prevent it through the use of light, circulating air, and dehumidifying your space. If mold happens to appear in your closets, simply clean the area thoroughly using the tips above.