Mold: The Top Five Common Sources in Your Home

by in Allergies, Asthma, Mold/Mildew, Reader Questions, Respiratory Disease June 9, 2008

fiveflower.jpgIs your house a mold factory?

If you are fatigued, with a chronic itchy nose, you may be reacting to hidden sources of mold in your home.

Regardless if you have a mold allergy- mold spores proliferating in your home are surely not improving your health, especially for those with seasonal allergies, asthma, snoring, sleep apnea, or other respiratory problems.

Generally speaking, mold proliferates in dark, damp areas.

Older homes, and homes without ample sunlight will typically generate more mold.

For more detailed information on eliminating mold, read our article “Mold: Getting rid of it in your home”.

If your entire family is sick with allergies, don some masks and do a thorough home clean up! If you are sensitive to mold, have someone else do the clean up.

Here are five common hidden household sources of mold:

  1. Washing Machine– A great way to grow and breed mold in your clothes is to let them sit wet in your washing machine for days on end before drying them. The heat from the dryer will only further proliferate the growth of mold, especially if you don’t allow your clothes to dry completely. Transition clothes from the washer to dryer immediately. When not in use, leave the lid to your washing machine up.
  2. Shower-Any black or green discolorations in your shower are the warning signs of mold overgrowth. Kill the mold, caulk and seal surfaces. Keep your shower clean on a weekly basis. For those with mold allergies or allergic asthma, showering in steamy aerosolized mold is surely contributing to breathing difficulties. Open windows and use your bathroom fan to decrease mold promoting water vapor in your bathroom.
  3. Kitchen Sink-Not only is the kitchen sink a similar breeding ground for mold as your shower, but dishes left to soak overnight or for days on end are surely growing mold. Wash and dry dishes promptly. If you must allow something to soak, change the water daily.
  4. Refrigerator– Leftovers and spoiled food are the leading causes of mold that we ingest. Throw out leftovers after 48 hours max, 24 hours is ideal. Stay on top of expiration dates, the more moldy foods in your fridge, the faster newer foods will spoil. Throw out breads and baked goods after a week. Do not “cut the mold off cheese” throw it away! Wipe down contents of fridge once monthly.
  5. Plants and Humidifers– Although intended to improve our health, plants and humidifiers are also mini mold factories. Do not over water plants. Be sure your plants are not sitting in a trays of moldy water. Change humidifier water daily, and clean your humidifier often.

Although mold may be proliferating in other areas of your home, be sure to stay on top of the most common mold producing areas that we all interact with. Many people with allergies will improve just from these simple tips.

In naturopathic medicine we address the “total load” of allergies. Food allergies, and allergies such as mold, will almost always worsen seasonal allergies. The less your immune system is required to react to, the healthier and less symptomatic you should ultimately be.

For those with severe allergies and respiratory problems I would recommend the use of a HEPA air filtration system to further fight the war on mold and other household allergens.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen table! Feel free to leave any questions or share additional suggestions in the comments section.

~ Dr. Nicole Sundene

Naturopathic Physician

  1. As I live on the coast mold can be a very serious problem indeed. Friends of mine bought a home and had a crew in to undertake mold removal just this spring. The home was only 2 years old but the previous owner failed to leave any baseboard heat on through the winter months and only used the house in the summer. What a mess! It was a whole month before the job was completed. Wallboard had to be replaced because it was growing both mold and mushrooms on the inner side. Finally the job was done on June 1st and they were willing to move their two asthmatic children into the house. I’m passing the url for this article which I have stumbled onto others.

  2. Oh my gosh! Well they have more issues at hand than the kitchen sink. Be sure to have them read the other article too as it is more in depth. Their poor kids. Yikes! Hope they get some air filters going in there.

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