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Quick Tips

Causes of Mold in the Kitchen and How to Avoid It

Mold can be a huge problem, not just for your house but for your health. See what causes mold and how to prevent it.

Mold under the kitchen sink

Causes of Mold in the Kitchen and How to Avoid It

No one wants mold in their house, least of all in the kitchen. Mold is disgusting and, depending on what kind it is, it can present a real threat to your family’s health. Unfortunately, kitchens are prone to mold and mildew growth because of the high levels of moisture and humidity that are present in them.

Mold in kitchens is most often found under the sink, in and behind cupboards, around window sills, behind appliances and kitchen furniture, on walls and around taps or sinks. In order to protect your family from the serious health effects of kitchen mold, you need to understand what causes it, what you can do to prevent it and how to get rid of it.

What Causes Kitchen Mold?

Kitchen mold is quite often the result of increased humidity from kitchen activities like cooking, washing dishes or running appliances like a dishwasher or washing machine. Kitchens are often the location of leaking pipes and appliances, spills and even floods. Poor ventilation in many kitchens compounds the problems caused by excess moisture and humidity.

Leaky plumbing, faulty weatherproofing and defective roofing materials can also contribute to mold problems in the kitchen, as well as elsewhere in the house.

How to Prevent Kitchen Mold

Mold in moist, humid areas like kitchens and bathrooms can grow quickly, seemingly developing overnight. In just a few days, a small spot of mold in the kitchen can grow into a huge problem. However, before you panic about the prospect of mold growing in your kitchen, learn the difference between mold and mildew – mildew, while not attractive, poses far less of a threat than mold and is usually easier to deal with.

One of the most important things you can do to prevent mold in the kitchen is to make sure that your kitchen is well-insulated, the windows are adequately weatherproofed, and that plumbing is functional and operating without leaks. Make sure your kitchen is adequately ventilated with a range hood, and use it when you’re cooking to remove humidity from the air. It’s also a good idea to open a window, if you have one and weather permits, to release humidity from your kitchen during cooking.

How to Get Rid of Mold in the Kitchen

Despite your best efforts at prevention, mold may still grow in your kitchen. While factors like poor insulation, faulty plumbing, bad weatherproofing and inadequate ventilation can contribute to mold and mildew growth in the kitchen as well as in the rest of the house, mold can grow in any house, even in a brand-new home with great insulation, weatherproofing and plumbing. Mold spores are everywhere, and sometimes it’s a question of how to get rid of the mold, rather than how to prevent it.

What do you do when you find mold in your kitchen, under the sink, around the window or tap, on the wall, inside a cupboard or elsewhere? If it’s mildew, rather than mold, you can clean it up with a 1:10 solution of bleach. You can also use vinegar or a fungicide solution to deal with mildew.

But, does bleach kill mold? Most restoration experts caution that, while bleach does kill mold, it’s only effective at removing mold from non-porous surfaces. That’s because mold extends roots deep into the surface on which it grows, so if you use bleach to clean mold on a wall, cupboard or other porous surface, it will grow back and could even come back worse. Instead, use vinegar or a commercial fungicide to clean up mold.

Do you need to call a mold removal specialist for every kitchen mold infestation? No; most forms of mold are non-toxic and can be safely cleaned up with the right cleaner and a pair of rubber gloves. If it’s a small amount of mold, as it likely will be if you use your kitchen regularly, you’re probably safe to clean it up yourself, as long as it’s not toxic black mold.

Toxic black mold, or Stachybotrys chartarum, typically grows in water-damaged areas, so if you’ve had a recent flood or had a pipe burst and haven’t cleaned up and dried out your home properly afterward, you could be at risk for this kind of mold infestation. If you see greenish-black, gelatinous mold in your kitchen, you should call a mold removal expert to make sure all traces of this toxic mold are removed from your home. Toxic mold removal costs vary widely, however, depending on how much mold there is and where it is in your home; it can run from $500 for removal of mold from a small area to as much as $6,000 for mold removal from the ducts, walls, crawl spaces and attic.

Few things can put you off your dinner like discovering a patch of mold in your kitchen. Fortunately, a small amount of kitchen mold isn’t a big deal. As long as you stay on top of cleaning and prevention, there’s no reason it has to take over your home or your life.
 

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