While you should protect all areas of your home from mold, the basement is one of the most common areas to find it. Since it is underground, dark, and can be a moist, cluttered environment, this is almost the perfect place for mold to grow in the home.
You might be able to smell the mold in your basement, but be unable to see it because it tends to hide behind sheetrock, wallpaper, under carpets, rugs, and etcetera. If you suspect mold exists in your basement, then the best thing to do is call in a professional or buy a mold testing kit.
What can you do after the mold in your basement is removed to keep it from returning? Here are a few tips.
If there are any water spills or leaky pipes in your basement, do your best to get them cleaned up and dried as quickly as possible. Mold loves moisture and will grow almost anywhere that it exists. It can start to grow in as little as 48 hours after water is introduced to an environment.
A humidity meter can be purchased at the hardware store and you want to try and keep the humidity in the basement below 60 to 65 percent. You can also purchase a de-humidifier to help with this if you're having trouble controlling the humidity.
If you see condensation on your basement windows or on any pipes, dry these surfaces immediately and continue to try and reduce the humidity.
If your clothes dryer or shower is located in the basement, make sure that the hot air it puts out is vented to the outside.
The soil outside your home should be sloped away from the foundation so that water flows away from the basement. If it is not, water will begin to leak inside and allow mold to begin growing in the house.
Keep the air moving around in the basement. Allowing air to become stagnant is another factor that encourages mold to grow. Well-ventilated areas of the home are rarely as moldy as areas that have no ventilation at all.
Try not to store papers or cardboard boxes directly on the floor. Mold likes to eat anything that has its base in organic material, especially paper and wood of any kind. It is the natural job of mold to decompose organic material, but you do not want it doing this in your basement.