Mold is commonly thought of as a seasonal issue, and many homeowners believe that mold isn’t a threat in the winter months. However, while the temperature does affect the way mold grows, it is still a year-round problem––especially during wintertime. In fact, these cold, damp months are a prime season for mold growth; rain, melting snow, and ice mean moisture is tracked into our tightly-enclosed homes where it has no means of escape. In the coldest climates, windows and doors are only left open for as long as it takes to get in and out of the house, so little fresh air is introduced. The heating systems that make our homes warmer than the outside also create condensation. And when combined? All of these elements allow the omnipresent mold spores in the air around us to grow and feed on surfaces and items in our homes.
Over time, an unremedied household mold problem can damage your property and belongings, degrade indoor air quality, and pose serious risks to your family’s health. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent and control mold growth any time of year. Read on to learn more.
Does Cold Weather Kill Mold?
A common misconception is that cold weather kills mold. However, while freezing temperatures will cause mold spores to become dormant temporarily, they will begin to multiply and grow again as soon as the temperature rises.
It’s also important to note that different types of mold thrive under different conditions and some molds are more likely to grow in the winter months than others. Most varieties of mold thrive in environments between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. And unfortunately, the optimal temperature conditions for mold growth are also ideal for our comfort––and during the winter months, we tend to heat our homes to stay within those parameters. The use of steam radiators and humidifiers, along with the regular use of moisture-generating appliances such as dryers, can cause humidity levels to rise in a home. And while taking a hot shower or boiling soup on your stovetop may be good ways to beat the cold, they can also add to indoor humidity. Because mold thrives in humid environments, your various attempts to warm up could actually cause winter mold to grow. When combined with all the extra moisture winter brings, the excess rain, and melting snow and ice, mold has its ideal conditions to thrive.
Where is Mold Most Likely to Grow During Winter?
During the wet winter months, mold is most likely to grow on surfaces around the home that collect and trap moisture, like basements, entryways, and window panes. Not to mention, when the air is drier during winter, humidity can rise and become trapped in the attic, causing mold to grow inside hard-to-detect areas like inside the walls, crawlspaces, and in the attic.
How Can Mold Be Prevented in the Winter?
Here are a few tips to help mold from invading your home in the winter months:
- Maintain roof gutters. Before the harsh winter months, make sure to clean out your gutters, drains, exposed pipes, and outside window sills to prevent moisture from building up on collected debris.
- Ensure adequate ventilation in critical areas. Make sure moisture-prone areas, like your attic and basement, have sufficient ventilation.
- Address water leaks as soon as possible. Regularly inspect gutters, drains, basements, and any exposed pipes in and around your home (under sinks, in the laundry room, showers, etc.) and fix any leaks as soon as possible (ideally within 24 hours) to prevent water from collecting. A trained restoration professional should be consulted regarding cleanup procedures for severe flooding and severe water damage that lasts more than 48 hours.
- Try to keep the humidity below 50% throughout your home at all times. Remember, along with the right temperature conditions, mold needs humidity to grow. Using dehumidifiers around the house and a moisture meter to test ambient humidity levels will help stop moisture from building up and prevent mold growth. Also, be sure to exhaust fans while cooking or showering to increase air circulation while reducing the moisture lingering in the air.
- Take care when storing items for winter. Many people keep warm-weather items like summer clothing, camping gear, sports equipment, and outdoor gear in the basement, garage, attic, or shed during the colder months. Before storing, wash any clothing or fabric items with an Anti-Allergen Laundry Detergent and make sure items are completely dry. Always try to use plastic storage tubs rather than cardboard boxes (which are attractive to mold and pests like cockroaches), and store the tubs on shelving units that sit off the ground to ensure they stay dry all winter even if leaking or flooding occurs.
- Mop up any standing water in entryways from shoes immediately. While it might evaporate eventually, any standing water in your home will raise the humidity and lead to mold growth, especially under mats and rugs. Be sure to hang damp rugs to dry, and use elevated shoe racks to make sure your boots and shoes dry out. P.S., if you find your snow boots becoming moldy, musty, or otherwise stinky, use Vital Oxide to clean, sanitize, and deodorize them quickly.
- Regular clean mold-prone surfaces around the home with Vital Oxide to help prevent mold from growing in the first place. Focus on bathroom surfaces, kitchen surfaces, window sills, and other moisture-prone areas. Vital Oxide controls mold growth on hard and soft surfaces.
Use Vital Oxide to Prevent and Control Mold
When faced with a mold problem, reach for a product that will destroy mold from its roots, like Vital Oxide. Vital Oxide is a 3-in-1 cleaner, EPA-registered disinfectant, and mold growth inhibitor that controls mold and mildew on a molecular level––neutralizing spores and inhibiting fungal growth––without damaging the surfaces treated. Think of Vital Oxide as your effective sidekick in your fight against mold.
Unlike bleach and other harsh products that are only effective on hard, non-porous surfaces, Vital Oxide can also effectively penetrate surfaces like carpets, upholstery, drywall, concrete, and wood––and destroy the roots of tough mold and mildew.
At Vital Oxide, we’re proud to offer a revolutionary product that’s powerful enough to kill 99.9% of viruses and bacteria without harsh chemicals or alarming safety ratings. If you have any questions, please Contact Us or Send Us a Message on Facebook. We’re here to help.