DMV Fire and Flood

Places to check for Mold Growth

Mold grows anywhere with moisture present. In particular, mold can be found in the shower, under carpets, in your washing machine, and even in your mattress. Most mold is relatively harmless. However, it should be removed, and preventative action should be taken immediately to prevent further spread..

Where does Mold Grow?

 The better question may be, where doesn’t mold grow? Mold is a common nuisance and potential health risk, and it can grow in any number of places. Since mold can spread in as little as 48 hours under the right conditions, it’s important to know where mold typically grows so steps can be taken to remove the mold right away.

From where people sleep to where they eat, mold can spring up anywhere and anytime. All it takes is moisture and a bit of time for mold spores to take hold. Here are some of the top places mold can grow.

1. The kitchen

In residential spaces, the kitchen has two factors that encourage mold growth: water and rarely cleaned dark areas. Make sure the kitchen doesn’t turn into a breeding ground for mold spores by checking the following areas:

  • Refrigerator drip pans: The drip pan is located underneath your refrigerator. It is designed to collect water that results when your refrigerator goes through its normal defrost cycle or when water drips from condensation coils. Because they’re out of sight, drip pans are easy to forget about. The combination of moisture and their location makes them a potential breeding ground for mold spores. Depending on your make and model or refrigerator, some drip pans can be pulled out, while others may require some disassembly to access.
  • Around the dishwasher: Even a small leak around your dishwasher can create a major mold problem. If there are signs of a dishwasher flooding or any moisture around the base of the dishwasher, call an appliance repair specialist immediately. The inside of the dishwasher is also at risk of growing mold if used infrequently, as it contains both moisture and food remnants.
  • Under the sink: Leaks from water pipes or garbage disposals may be easier to detect, but even moisture from wet sponges can create enough humidity for mold spores to take hold.


2. Living Room and Den

We don’t usually think of the living room as a prime place for mold to grow, but there are several places worth checking.

  • Window sills: The combination of exposure to condensation, poor air circulation, and dirt can create ideal conditions for mold around windows and doors. It’s important to ensure windows and doors are properly sealed to reduce the amount of condensation that can develop during extreme weather.
  • Carpets: People might think carpets only get moldy if they get wet, but moisture from concrete floors or wet crawl spaces can work its way into a carpet and encourage mold growth.
  • Behind furniture: Furniture that is positioned against the wall may cause mold to grow on the walls or the furniture itself due to humidity and lack of ventilation. Bookcases, in particular, can cause mold to grow if there’s moisture present.

3. The Bedroom! Yes!

Mold in the bedroom can be particularly detrimental to your health, so it’s important to know where to look for it.

  • Mattress: Certain types of mattresses, such as memory foam, can retain moisture in particularly humid environments or if the person tends to sweat at night. If the bed or room itself is not well-ventilated, then mold can grow..
  • Windows: Similar to window sills in living rooms, mold can grow along windows, especially if they are improperly sealed or left open often, letting moisture in.
  • Vents: Excess moisture can develop in vents, which are prime areas for mold growth.

4. The Utility Room

These rooms are often small with minimal natural light and poor ventilation, making them one of mold’s favorite places to grow.

  • Washing machine: Front-loading, high-efficiency washers are great, but they’re also notorious for having a musty odor because of mold growth. It’s beneficial to periodically check and clean around the door and seal on your front-load washer to keep mold from developing.
  • Water heater: Traditional tank water heaters are often placed in areas that are already at risk for mold growth: closets, attics, or utility rooms. With drip pans or slow water heater leaks, it’s a recipe for the development of mold.
  • Wallpaper: It may seem strange, but mold can grow under wallpaper in rooms with high humidity and poor air circulation. The best way to avoid this kind of mold growth is to remove the wallpaper and use mold-resistant paint instead.
  • Floor mats: Because mats are typically used to remove mud and moisture from shoes, they also create a hospitable environment for mold spores to grow. Remove, rinse, and let floor mats air dry periodically to keep them free from mold.

5. Bathroom

While bathrooms usually have overhead exhaust fans, they’re still typically not well-ventilated. That, coupled with frequent moisture and warm temperatures, can lead to mold growth. Here are some common places mold can grow in the bathroom:
  • Shower and bathtub: Because showers and baths are used frequently, they often won’t dry fully between uses, making them an ideal place for mold to grow.
  • Sink: Similar to the shower, sinks are used frequently and, therefore, stay moist, which can cause mold to grow.
  • Toilet: Toilets will often form condensation, which can lead to mold growth, particularly behind the toilet and in the tank.
  • Walls and floor: Because of the repeated moisture and warm temperatures in bathrooms, the walls and floor may be susceptible to mold growth. This is especially true if you have wallpaper in your bathroom. Mold can also develop behind walls when the drywall or tile is damaged or compromised.
  • Toothbrush holder: A glass or ceramic holder is a convenient spot to store a toothbrush. However, it’s also a perfect habitat for mold, which thrives on the water that drips from the toothbrush into the container.
To keep mold from developing in these areas, try to keep them as dry as possible and clean them regularly with a disinfectant.