Several times a year I am asked to inspect a home for mold and the only mold found is in the closet. So, why is there mold growth in your closets and how do you remedy the problem?
Why does mold grow in closets?
- Closets have little to no air flow. Why should that matter? you ask. Well, there are mold spores everywhere, so when you close the closet door you are closing up your stored goods with 100 or thousands of mold spores in a dark area. So, if anything is placed in a closet that is not completely dry mold spores will land on it the item and if moist then mold will grow.
- Closets have no windows (of course) and no sunlight. Mold loves dark areas because there are no UVC sterilization waves (part of sunlight). Sunlight can kill most molds or about 99% in just a few hours. The rest of the air in your home is circulated from room to room and at times this circulated air is exposed to sunlight. The sunlight does not remove the mold spores but can sterilize or make the mold spore not able to grow.
- Closets have no humidity control: The humidity control in your home comes as a by-product of your heating and air conditioning unit functioning. So, the majority of closets do not have heating and air vent. With no heating and air circulating in your closet, there is no humidity control. This may not be a large problem but if anything is put away damp it may not dry before mold starts to grow on it. Damp may not even look damp, just not fully dry.
Steps to reduce mold in your closets
- Install a louvered door. This is a solution that worked for centuries and one of the old building practices that should not have been abandoned. Louvered doors allow air flow in otherwise stuffy spaces. Many closets only need a louvered door to prevent mold. There are tons of modern designed louvered doors so there’s no sacrificing form for function.
- Clean out your closets yearly. Wipe down and clean all surface with a basic disinfectant such as Lysol or other safe cleaner that list 99.9 percent disinfectant against fungi and bacteria.
- Consider adding an air vent to your closet, if it’s large enough. Talk with your HVAC contractor and make sure you do not over chill the closet. If the items are too cold and the dew point is reached, it can have an opposite effect and encourage mold.
- Inspect the surrounding areas of all of the closets for mold. Specifically the crawlspace under the closets, the attic above the closet, and abutting rooms. Any signs of mold growth or dampness should be viewed as potential mold sources.
Potential Sources of Mold
- Bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms are notorious sources of mold due to the potential of leaks and exhaust issues.
- Attics are another potential source due to leaks.
- Crawlspaces without adequate weather proofing and encapsulation are often problematic for mold growth.
- Walls and siding should be checked for holes, gaps and other functional problems. Gutters malfunctioning, poor drainage, and grading can also be a problem.
Mold in your closet could mean a large mold problem exists in your home. Tracking down the source of the mold is the only way to eliminate the problem. The best way to make sure that you have found and completely eliminated your mold problem is to hire a professional who knows exactly what they are looking for. We are Licensed Mold Inspectors in South Carolina and conduct a comprehensive mold inspection.