Home closets can be packed with everything from your daily wardrobe to winter coats to household odds and ends. But, one thing you certainly don’t want to find inside your closet is mold.
Mold thrives in moist environments and is a fungus. Closets are an ideal breeding ground for mold to grow because they are often dark, humid, and have limited ventilation. It tends to grow in the back of closets in drywall or carpeting, and it can potentially spread to clothing or other items in the closet.
Mold can cause a range of health problems, from skin irritation to respiratory problems. If you have mold in your closet, it is important to take action to remove it. We always recommend consulting a professional to remove mold, but if the mold affects a small area of less than ten square feet, this blog will discuss some at-home treatments you may try, using proper safety measures.
What is Causing Mold to Grow in the Closet?
Closets are prime locations for mold because they’re typically darker and damper than other rooms in the home. Condensation can form on the walls, floors, wood shelves, and hanging garments when humidity levels rise—especially if your closet doesn’t have proper ventilation or air circulation.
Humidity is one of the biggest reasons for moldy closets, but leaky plumbing and attic mold can also be factors. A pipe leaking behind the closet walls can cause enough moisture for mold or mildew growth. In this same sense, attic mold or a leaky roof can trickle down and affect closets or other lower-level rooms.
What Are Some Signs of Mold Growing in Your Closet?
The most obvious sign of mold in closets is the presence of visible mold. This black, green, or white fungus can grow on the walls, floors, ceilings, and even clothing. However, not all mold is visible, so you should also be aware of the following signs that could indicate a mold problem:
- Unpleasant smells, which can be a musty odor, earthy, or cheesy
- Increased relative humidity levels in the closet
- Spots on the walls or closet ceiling that look different from the surrounding surface
- Brown or black spots on the closet floor or carpeting
- Unexplained health issues including allergic reactions, respiratory issues, and headaches
There are many signs of mold in a home. If you suspect mold growth in your home, it is always best to reach out to a professional who can test your air and determine if mold is present.
How to Treat Mold Growth in Closets
Mold can be dangerous, especially toxic mold, so we always recommend you call a professional to handle the situation. If you have a small area of mold (less than ten square feet), you can try treating it yourself using some common household items. Take into account that these are not the same procedures a trained mold treatment specialist would use.
If you choose to remediate the mold yourself, always take care when working with mold and wear proper PPE (Personal Protection Equipment), such as rubber gloves, eye protection/goggles, and an N-95 mask. Never try to remove large amounts of mold yourself—leave that to professionals.
- Remove everything from the closet and clean it thoroughly. Wash all undamaged clothes and linens, and toss obviously-soiled clothes. Vacuum or sweep the floor, and scrub the walls. Cover the closet floor and any furniture you can’t remove with a sheet or plastic covering to protect everything while you work.
- Apply a disinfectant to the entire closet. You can use something as simple as distilled white vinegar. Just put the vinegar into a spray bottle and spray it directly on the moldy area. Let it sit for about 30 minutes before scrubbing it.
- Rinse everything off with fresh water and rags and let the closet dry.
- Place a box fan in the closet and leave it running for 24 hours to help increase ventilation. Be sure to remove excess moisture and completely dry the area. This is extremely important as any remaining moisture will lead you right back where you started in terms of mold growth.
- Re-clean the closet every week for four weeks to ensure that the mold growth has been fully remediated.
If you have a larger area of mold (ten square feet or more), we recommend hiring a professional like PuroClean. We have all the proper equipment and know-how to safely remove the mold without causing further damage to your home.
Treating mold in closets yourself is not generally recommended. If you have any concerns, always consult a professional for mold remediation.
Prevent Mold Growth in Closets
Mold spores are all around us. Mold spores may be found in the air we breathe and on everything we touch. The mold must find a way to attach itself and develop under favorable conditions. There are a few things you can do in discouraging mold growth in your closets:
- Keep humidity at bay. Mold thrives in humid places. You can regulate moisture and humidity by using a dehumidifier or air conditioner, or by opening the windows for that fresh air circulation. Silica gel packets can also help control moisture through absorption. Placing silica gel packs throughout your closet is an inexpensive method to decrease humidity levels compared to buying a dehumidifier.
- Install proper ventilation in your closet so air can circulate freely. This can be done with a box fan or an exhaust fan.
- Place a low-wattage light bulb in closets, at a safe distance from clothes or other flammable items. Leave the light on for several hours. The heat from the bulb helps keep the closet and the clothing dry.
- Remove shoes and other items that can create moisture buildup.
- Clean the closet regularly, especially during times of high humidity.
- Inspect your home for any water damage and repair as needed. Mold grows where there’s moisture, so check for any plumbing leak or other water issues. Keep your closet dry.
By following these tips, you can prevent mold and help reduce the chances of having a mold-infested closet. If you do find mold, however, take action right away to reduce the growth and your exposure.
Call the Mold Remediation Experts at PuroClean!
If you suspect mold in your home, it’s always best to reach out to a professional who can test your air and determine if mold is present. Besides an unpleasant smell, mold can cause health and home problems.
If you do find mold or notice any signs of possible growth, call PuroClean at 1-800-775-7876 for 24/7 emergency service! Our technicians are trained to handle your mold problem with care and compassion.