How to Control Mold & Mildew in a Basement

Mold is a fungus that feeds on moisture. Not only is mold aesthetically unappealing, it also can have health consequences. Basements are often ideal breeding grounds for mold because of the often high levels of moisture. Controlling mold and mildew in a basement requires controlling the moisture in the basement. By taking the proper precautions, you can make your basement mold-resistant.

Step 1

Repair any leaks in the basement. This includes repairing leaky roofs and plumbing, as well as filling any foundation cracks with water-resistant cement.

Step 2

Use fans in the basement and open windows in warmer weather to increase the air flow. Make use of exhaust fans in bathrooms and laundry rooms that are in the basement.

Step 3

Clean up any water in the basement within 48 hours. Carpet, bedding, furniture and clothing that have been exposed to water can lead to mold and mildew growth. Use hot, soapy water to clean these items. If the water damage is extensive, the items may need to be removed from the basement completely.

Step 4

Be sure the ground outside slopes away from the home. This will direct water away from the house rather than it collecting and possibly leaking into the basement. Contact a professional if the ground is not sloped and needs to be repaired.

Step 5

Install a humidity meter in your basement. These can be purchased at most hardware or home improvement stores. Keep the humidity in the basement at less than 60 percent. Installing a dehumidifier can help pull moisture from the air and reduce the overall humidity.

Step 6

Vent clothes dryers outside of the basement rather than inside. Drying clothes produces moisture in the air and if the vent is inside, the moisture is being retained in your basement.

Step 7

Install insulation over cold surfaces in the basement such as cold water pipes. This will help to eliminate condensation.

Step 8

Clean out your gutters and direct the downspouts away from the home's foundation. Install window wells and seal the basement windows tightly to prevent moisture from seeping through.

Step 9

Examine the basement windows for condensation and water droplets. Wipe these spots up immediately to prevent mold from growing.

Step 10

Clean and vacuum the basement frequently. This will remove mold spores.

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