Once rainy weather hits, it hits with a vengeance. For some of you (Seattle) drizzle has been a part of the daily forecast since mid-September. For other more sun-friendly cities, the joint-aching dampness of winter is just settling in. And as it does, so does the mold.
Mold is tricky. It’s something you’re supposed to look out for when you’re looking for an apartment to rent – but you’re doing so during summer, chances are mold is invisible.
Come winter: your apartment is a haven of mold spores and funguses.
What is mold?
In short, it’s the gray-blue-black speckles on your window sills, walls, bathroom counter, and anywhere moisture can linger.
Unless you’re living in an utter hovel, your molds are not going to be the kind of ultra-destructive, health-endangering, move-out-or-perish monstrosities you see when you Google “house mold.” Your black mold is going to be small and confined and only a little bit nasty. But it’s still better to eliminate it before it becomes a problem.
Mold needs moisture to grow, and it won’t stop growing until that moisture disappears (which is why a lot of black house mold is seasonal).
Causes and Solutions
Mold will show up in your home, usually, for one of two reasons.
1. There is water getting into your apartment.
A leaky shower, unsealed window, a hole in the roof – there is water getting in or soaking through and mold is a-bloomin’.
What to do: Fix it. There is really no other option but to find the source of the water and plug it. Whether that is caulking around your window sills or calling in remodeling professionals depends on the severity of the mold and the leak problem.
On the plus side, your landlord will probably have to pay for most, if not all, of this.
2. Water cannot escape your apartment.
Humans produce moisture. Long steamy showers, sweaty dance parties, warm breath as you sleep: if your windows are steamed up, you’re home is collecting moisture that can’t get out.
What to do: This is a problem more common with newer apartments, condos, and houses that have super-insulated walls and windows. These features mean you save BIG on heating bills; mold is an unfortunate tag-along.
Luckily, cutting down on moldy moisture is fairly simple: give the moisture a way to get out. Keep the bathroom fan pumping away until the mirror is completely steam-free. Crack open a window in your bedroom as you sleep – even just ½ a centimeter.
If you can find the source of the water, mold is easy to take care of, especially if it’s just seasonal window sill mold and not invasive, wall-disintegrating mold. Just wipe it up with a nice eco-friendly cleanser and live in mold-free bliss until next winter!