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Allergic to Mold? How to Keep It Out of Your House

Do you have nasal allergies but still find yourself sniffling and sneezing after the first frost? If so, mold may be the culprit.

The stuff is everywhere — outdoors on leaves and rotting wood, and indoors in damp basements and bathrooms. So mold allergies can cause trouble year-round.

The symptoms are similar to any kind of hay fever — runny or stuffy nose, itchy, watery eyes, and of course, plenty of sneezing.

Want to keep a lid on this type of allergy? The key is to avoid mold whenever you can. That isn’t always easy outdoors. But you can take steps to limit your contact with it inside your home. First, find out how it forms, and then learn how to clean it up and keep it from coming back.

How Mold Causes Allergies

It’s a type of fungus that has an important job in the natural world: It breaks down dead plants. Molds don’t have seeds. Instead, they grow and spread through tiny things called spores, which cause an allergic reaction in some people.

Keep Moisture Down

Mold likes humidity, so it’s important to lower moisture levels in your home, especially in areas that tend to get damp, such as bathroom tiles, near sinks, in basements and crawl spaces, and around windows.

There are simple ways to keep the moisture down.

In your bathroom, open the window or door, or use an exhaust fan when you shower. Also clean the room often, and pay special attention to tile and shower curtains, where soap scum can harbor mold. Clean sinks and tubs at least once a month.

Make sure your clothes dryers and stoves vent to the outside. This helps cut moisture and humidity levels in your home.

Fix all plumbing problems and leaks right away, and wipe up any extra moisture. You can help keep mold from growing if you dry wet or damp areas within 48 hours.

In the kitchen, open a window or use exhaust fans when you cook or run the dishwasher to reduce humidity.

Throughout your house, clean up condensation on windows, walls, or pipes right away. You can also try a dehumidifier to keep indoor humidity levels between 30% and 60%. Make sure you empty and clean the machine’s drain pan regularly.

Another strategy: Think about removing carpets. Mold can easily grow on them, and it’s hard to get rid of it.

If your basement is damp, one way to cut humidity is to raise the temperature.

Another way to prevent moisture from getting into your home: Check that water on the ground outside drains away from your home. And keep your rain gutters clean so they don’t get clogged.