How to Detect House Mold

Mold is a type of fungus that grows in poorly ventilated and damp areas like bathrooms, basements and even air vents throughout your home.

It can be harmful to your health, depending on the quantity of mold and how large of an area it covers. Properly detecting and getting rid of mold is essential to keeping you and your family healthy, since it can trigger allergic reactions and stick to your lungs if breathed in directly.

Locate areas of your home that are poorly ventilated and tend to stay damp or have high levels of humidity. Check the corners of bathrooms and near windows. If you a basement or lower level, check baseboards and corners in each room if you have multiple rooms. Checking for mold in places like vents is trickier, so the best thing to do if you suspect mold in your vents is to contact a professional.

If you have carpeting in a room such as a basement, and the basement has flooded at one time, also check beneath the carpeting; mold can grow under it as well.

Determine if the room you are inspecting has mold. Mold comes in a variety of colors but is most commonly seen as dark green or black. It also appears as multiple dots on a surface, and is patchy. It can be contained to one area, or in multiple areas, but that also depends on the lack of ventilation and if the area has been damaged by water. It will also have an unpleasant odor.

Take action to remove the mold. If the mold is in a small area, a solution of diluted bleach soaked on the area for 15 minutes and then wiped or scrubbed off will remove the mold. If mold is in a larger area, or has grown through drywall and wood, those may have to be removed and replaced. Consult with a professional to have them remove the mold if the job seems too big for you.

Prevent mold from growing back by lowering the humidity in the rooms affected by mold. If your bathroom has trouble with mold growth, and you do not have a vent, consider installing a vent to run while you are using the shower or bath and afterward to properly vent the room. Also leave the door open or cracked. This will help prevent its growth.

For a room such as a basement that seems to constantly be humid, run a dehumidifier. A dehumidifier will dry out the air so mold spores do not have any moist surfaces to attach to.

Tip

  • If you are not sure about how to locate mold, contact a professional, who will come to your home and use tools designed to locate mold in areas you cannot see.

Warning

  • Never touch mold without wearing mouth and nose protection and gloves. If mold spores are released into the air and breathed in, you can become very sick.

About the Author

Denisa Gipson is a writer from Northwest Indiana who has been writing professionally since 2009. She specializes in how-to articles, and her interests range from parenting to pets. She has written articles for eHow and Answerbag. She holds a Bachelor of Science in computer science from Davenport University.