9 Mistakes That Cause Mold in Your Home

Mold in the home is a health risk, and you may be making mistakes that cause mold to form. Find out the most common ones in this article.
9 Mistakes That Cause Mold in Your Home

Last update: 27 May, 2022

Mold in the home is a health risk, and you may be making mistakes that cause mold to form in your home. For example, humidifiers or air diffusers are increasingly present in homes with cold and dry weather; however, this equipment can create permanent moisture on walls or other surfaces in the long term.

Nevertheless, as stated in an article published in the journal Plos One , mold and moisture in the home increase the risk of diseases such as asthma. So, to avoid this and other risks, it’s important to correct those mistakes that indicate their appearance.

Below, we’ll reveal them in detail.

Mistakes that cause mold to form in the home

Although mold is important because it helps in the decomposition of organisms, you don’t want to host it in your home. Not only will it ruin your structures, but it can compromise the health of you and your family. To prevent it from thriving, be sure to avoid the following mistakes.

1. Your bathroom lacks proper ventilation

Warmth and humidity are two characteristics necessary for some bacteria, mold, and fungi to thrive. Unfortunately, most bathrooms are damp and warm, making this area of the home that’s ideal for mold and mildew.

What can you do about it?

Ensure proper airflow in the room by opening doors and windows.

Consider incorporating an exhaust fan in the bathroom if you don’t have windows. On the other hand, it’s important to keep surfaces dry. If possible, do a superficial cleaning to remove potential water deposits. Also, keep a dry cloth handy to dry the sink countertop.

El baño no cuenta con una ventilación adecuada
The bathroom is one of the wettest spaces in the home. Therefore, it should be cleaned regularly to prevent mold growth.

You might like to read: Blinds or Curtains – Which Option is Better For My House?

2. Overwatering houseplants

Many are often concerned about the hydration of their plants. However, in an attempt to ensure enough liquid, excess water is applied to them. This situation affects the health of the plant and causes humidity and fungus to form.

What’s wrong with this?

Well, apart from possible damage to walls or surfaces, sensitive people will experience allergic reactions. For this reason, if you see white moldy soil in the pots, you should throw it away.

Use a spoon to remove the contaminated soil and put the fresh ground in its place. That being said, it’s also a good idea to look up information on how often you should water each plant species or wait until more than half of the soil is dry.

3. Over-steaming when cooking can cause mold

Steaming food is very healthy, and we’re not recommending that you give it up.

Instead, open windows and doors while you have pots of water boiling. Also, if you have an extractor fan, turn it on during cooking. Use pot lids while cooking, and wait for the food to lose a little heat before removing them.

On the other hand, spills happen, and you should clean them up immediately. Dirty dishes and utensils are other factors to avoid. Large piles of soggy dishes and pots and pans contribute to keeping moisture in the kitchen, which leads to mold and mildew. Also, don’t forget to spread out kitchen towels after use.

4. Not cleaning carpet spills – even when it’s just water

Any surface with moisture is a potential for fungus growth. Yes, carpets are no exception. Think twice before you don’t immediately address a spill on this surface, even if it’s just water. This is one of the mistakes that can lead to mold and mildew in the home.

In fact, a timely clean-up can save you some inconvenience, such as permanent stains on the carpet or floor, if the liquid does seep in. Most importantly, of course, it prevents mold and mildew growth. Remove the rug, clean it, and let it dry thoroughly before replacing it.

5. There’s a buildup of stuff in tight spaces

You don’t have to be a compulsive hoarder; most homes have space for items that are rarely used. But if this space isn’t cleaned regularly, it’s an environment for mold and mildew to grow. Rodents and bugs can even infest the house.

Don’t wait for the attic or cupboards to get out of control. Try quarterly cleaning days to get rid of things that are past their expiration date or that you won’t use anymore. This will make it easier to notice mold growth in time.

6. Ignoring small leaks

Small leaks from faucets, pipes, or leaks are the main causes of mold and mildew in homes. Here again, observation comes into play as the main method of prevention.

What should you look for? Leaks in walls, ceilings, or surfaces near water sources and water leaks in pipes or faucets.

Don’t forget to inspect the area and connections of the toilet, washing machine, dryer, dishwasher, water tanks, and water heaters.

Did you find any leaks that compromise the structure of the house? Call a specialist as soon as possible; no matter how small the leak, don’t delay repairing it.

7. Wet towels left in a pile can cause mold

The rush of everyday life may force you to overlook certain tasks, such as putting wet towels out to dry after taking a shower. This, like leaving damp clothes in piles, makes it easier for mold and mildew to grow.

As a result, clothes or towels become smelly and can deteriorate. To avoid this, spread the clothes out and allow them to dry completely, preferably in sunlight, before putting them in the hamper or wardrobe.

Las toallas mojadas se dejan amontonadas
After each use, it’s important to dry towels. Otherwise, they can be a breeding ground for fungal growth.

8. Storing stacks of cardboard boxes

Beware of storing huge amounts of cardboard in damp places. Basements and garages are often used to store cardboard boxes of Christmas, Halloween, and other holiday items. If this is your case, try waterproofing the storage area. Keep in mind that mold thrives very well on damp cardboard.

Another way to reduce mold risk is to use plastic containers instead of cardboard boxes. But if this isn’t an option for you, try to space the boxes far enough apart to allow air to circulate between them. Likewise, some sprinkles of cat litter or charcoal will help control the humidity in the room.

9. Storing fresh firewood indoors

Fresh firewood releases moisture as it ages. Therefore, if you store it indoors, even in the garage, you should be aware of possible mold growth.

If possible, store it in an outdoor location that is protected from rain or other factors, but has good air flow.

Prevent mold from forming in your home

Mold can thrive quickly if you’re not especially careful. Leaving towels in piles for too long or forgetting to ventilate the bathroom are some of the common mistakes that cause mold to form in the home.

The big problem is that this compromises your health, since it triggers allergic reactions and respiratory problems. And that’s not to mention that they also damage the structures by forming dark spots or deterioration of materials. So, pay attention if you’re making any of these mistakes and get down to work!

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Quansah R, Jaakkola MS, Hugg TT, Heikkinen SA, Jaakkola JJ. Residential dampness and molds and the risk of developing asthma: a systematic review and meta-analysis [published correction appears in PLoS One. 2014;9(3):e93454]. PLoS One. 2012;7(11):e47526. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0047526
  • Weinhold B. A spreading concern: inhalational health effects of mold. Environ Health Perspect. 2007;115(6):A300-A305. doi:10.1289/ehp.115-a300
  • Cox-Ganser JM. Indoor dampness and mould health effects – ongoing questions on microbial exposures and allergic versus nonallergic mechanisms. Clin Exp Allergy. 2015;45(10):1478-1482. doi:10.1111/cea.12601

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.