Avoid Mold in Kitchen Cabinets
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got David from North Carolina on the line who’s dealing with a mold issue.
DAVID: I live in a – it’s a cinder-block house. And in the cabinets, it’s bad in the cabinets and in the closets, especially. You can feel the moisture on the back walls of the cabinets and in the closets.
DAVID: And lately, it’s – since it’s started getting colder, it’s on the bedroom walls, as well.
TOM: So, what are you actually seeing?
DAVID: It’s green mold and moisture, like dew on the walls.
TOM: Have you ever had this problem before in any of the past winters?
DAVID: Last winter, it was a little bit bad. And my wife cleaned it with bleach and water and stuff and it pretty much went away. But then in the cabinets, it started coming back almost immediately after she cleaned it.
TOM: And how is your house heated?
DAVID: It’s gas.
TOM: So it’s forced-air?
TOM: Do you have a dehumidifier or a humidifier running?
DAVID: No, not at all.
TOM: OK. Well, here’s the thing. You may have a situation here where the mold spores are starting to take hold and they’re multiplying and that’s why it’s happening more frequently. It also could be made worse by the weather conditions. And by that, I mean the weather conditions inside your house, in terms of the humidity and that sort of thing.
TOM: So, what I’d like to suggest you do is a number of things. First of all, when you clean mold – and you should only be doing this if it’s a small amount, which it sounds like it is although it’s spread in different areas. When you clean mold, you want to make sure that you’re killing the mold spores first. And you do that – the easiest way is to simply spray that with a bleach solution that’s about 10-percent bleach and 90-percent water. And you let it sit on the areas for a good 15 minutes. So you don’t want to spray and wipe; you want to spray, wait and then wipe.
TOM: And that makes a difference because this way, the bleach actually kills the mold spores. You’re not just wiping them away and moving them around and sending them back to the air where they’re going to settle immediately. If you can spray it with a bleach solution and let it sit there and then rinse it off and clean it as a second step, that’s important.
TOM: In terms of the closets, if you can get more air into those closets – and typically what we do in some homes is add additional vents to the closets. I don’t know – it depends on the way your closet is configured but sometimes, we put louvered doors on them or add vents to the side walls, that sort of thing.
TOM: But if you could improve the ventilation in the closets so more of the warm air gets in there – and after you clean that – the closets and the cabinets – try to leave them open a little bit longer than you normally would, so that the warm air from the house gets in there and doesn’t let the mold kind of reignite that quickly. Because that warmth from the forced-air heating system is going to create a condition where mold really can’t grow, because it’s going to be drying out that air.
The moisture in the air is working against you here. And I know that we like to have a little bit of moisture in the house during the winter, because the heat system can be very dry, but an excessive amount can cause a mold problem to develop. Does that make sense?
DAVID: Yes, sir.