Prevent Mold in Closets and Storage Areas
LESLIE: Janie in Tennessee is dealing with some mold. Tell us about where you see it, what it looks like. What’s going on?
JANIE: My husband’s on the extension, too. We’ve discovered …
TOM: Ah, we have a husband and wife call right now, huh?
JANIE: How about that? (chuckling)
JANIE’S HUSBAND: We’re moldy, too, you know.
TOM: Alright. (Leslie chuckles)
BUTCH: Yeah, we are getting moldy, yeah. (chuckling)
TOM: Moldy. You’re not a moldy husband and wife, are you?
JANIE: Yeah, 34 years of marriage, you know, you got to watch for mold.
TOM: Is that what happens? The mold sets in?
JANIE: (chuckling) If you’re not careful. Yeah.
TOM: Alright, how can we help you?
JANIE: We discovered mold on a wall where we have an L-shaped bunk bed that has the storage underneath and all that.
JANIE: This wall butts up against a bathroom.
JANIE: So we suspect that either the wrap-around that we installed a few years back is leaking or I don’t know if the overflow pan is leaking or something. But there’s mold. It was black and I had just gotten in there to get something out of the little cubbyhole storage because this area has rot in the corner of this L-shaped bunk bed in the far corner …
JANIE: … and we don’t get in there very often.
TOM: Well, very often, if you have an area that doesn’t get a lot of airflow – I mean this very frequently happens inside closets and things like that. This may not necessarily mean that the bathroom on the opposite side of it is leaking. Could just be a still, you know, damp area where you don’t get a lot of airflow and it could simply be developing a mold problem because of the moisture in the air and the fact that it’s not cleaned regularly. So I wouldn’t necessarily assume that you have a leak here. But let’s talk about the mold that’s there now. How big of a space are we talking about with mold on it?
JANIE: Oh, Butch, do you remember …
BUTCH: Around three-foot by four-foot; something like that.
TOM: Three-foot by four-foot. That’s a pretty good space. What I would do is if you want to try to clean this up yourself is you want to wear some respiratory protection and you want to wear safety glasses and long sleeves. But you could mix up a bleach and water solution and spray the moldy area …
TOM: … because this’ll kill any mold that’s left behind.
LESLIE: The bleach is going to kill everything.
TOM: Yeah, and then wipe it off and then monitor it and see if it comes back.
BUTCH: Do we – how would we combat it if it – if it’s not a leak from the other side of the wall, is there any way you can control it?
TOM: (overlapping voices) Well, if it’s not a leak from the other side of the wall and it’s just happening because it’s sort of a very still, damp corner that you don’t get to very frequently – this could have taken, you know, many months or even a year for it to build up.
LESLIE: Well, and especially if you’re storing a lot of things there. I’m sure you’ve got cardboard boxes, clothing. All of that is organic material which the mold is going to feed on so once you get rid of the mold that’s there I would transfer everything that you have stored under there into plastic containers. If it’s clothing or fabrics I would wash them just to kill anything that’s had a chance to grow on those things themselves and then store it in an inorganic material so you don’t have to worry about the mold sort of finding things to feed on.
TOM: If it’s a smaller area like that you can do your cleanup yourself. If it gets much bigger then you’re going to need a pro but at this point it sounds controllable.
JANIE: Thank you.
BUTCH: Yeah, thank you.
TOM: Alright, thanks guys. Thanks both of you for calling in today.
JANIE: Alright, you’re welcome.