Mold often lurks in areas that people don’t expect, such as dishwashing surfaces and carpets. With a bit of education, you can identify the telltale signs of mold and prevent or clean up the problem before it has a chance to grow out of control. It’s easy to take a building for granted until hidden surprises start wreaking havoc. Mold — those pesky organisms that thrive on dampness — is one such surprise you might not see coming. Although mold is often associated with damp basements and bathrooms, it can hide in unexpected areas — even offices, kitchens, and bathrooms. No matter where you live, your home, or business, visible and hidden mold can wreak havoc on your health.
1. Sitting in a Sticky Situation
The most common item in the office kitchen area is sticky notes. They’re used to leave reminders, temporarily label file folders, and more. Unfortunately, they can also be the perfect breeding ground for mold and bacteria. Paper items that stay wet too long or are kept in the dark places tend to foster mold growth. If you see black spots on your notes or notepads, mold has likely taken hold and needs to be removed right away.
Mold can spread quickly in basements because they provide ideal conditions for mold growth, including cool temperatures and lots of moisture, which is what mold needs to survive and multiply rapidly.
3. Between file cabinet drawers
The interiors of file cabinets and desk drawers are often warm and moist, creating an excellent environment for mold. Wipe them down with bleach and water to remove the mold.
4. Around water pipes
The piped water inside buildings or through plumbing can harbor mold and bacteria. When people have allergies or asthma, they’re more likely to suffer a reaction to mold exposure than others.
5. Underneath your desk
The underside of your desk is rarely exposed to fresh air, so it’s a prime location for moisture-loving mold to grow. It may be due to water from leaks in the building or condensation from wet pens and pencils. When this happens, it’s essential to clean the area with a solution of bleach and water.
6. Inside trash cans and recycling bins under desks
People frequently throw wet garbage into these receptacles, so the inside is often damp and moldy. If you can’t find bleach, use one cup of household chlorine bleach to one gallon of water and wipe it down.
7. Walls underneath sinks or behind appliances may have plumbing leaks or moisture from running water
Water from these sources can create an ideal environment for bacteria and mold ground. If you can’t find bleach, use one cup of household chlorine bleach to one gallon of water and wipe it down.
8. Picture frames
The glass oxygenizes the air, so mold is often easily attached to picture frames. Soak them in a 10% bleach solution and remove any mold by scraping them off with a plastic credit card or wooden spoon, being careful not to scratch the surface of the glass.
9. In file folders
The linings of file folders are usually treated with oil, which attracts water and can make them very moist, so they’re an ideal environment for mold growth. It
may lead to moles, cysts, lumps, tumors, and even skin cancer.
10. Behind toilet seats
Mold spores can proliferate in moist areas, such as those underneath the toilet seat, creating a health hazard if they’re not cleaned regularly.
11. Tissues or paper towel dispensers in restrooms with no ventilation
Public restrooms are often poorly ventilated and don’t get a lot of fresh air, so they can quickly fill up with mold spores and increase illness and allergies in people who use them frequently.
12. Behind computer monitors
The interior of your monitor is warm and moist, creating a suitable environment for mold to grow in the space behind the monitor, so it’s best to wipe down the surface with a damp cloth to prevent any dust buildup or buildup of mold spores.
The key to preventing mold in your office is to keep it dust-free and dry, especially in high-traffic areas like underneath your desk or between file cabinet drawers. Wipe down surfaces routinely with a mixture of one part bleach and ten parts water. To prevent mold from growing on clothing in your closet, try opening the closet door as often as possible, and make sure your clothes are hung up after each wear. Heating and air conditioning ducts should be cleaned regularly using commercial mold cleaner purchased at a home improvement store. If you’ve discovered mold in your home, there are things you can do to lower the risk of exposure to it. The key is to get rid of it as soon as possible. Soak rugs in a mixture of 1 part bleach and ten parts water for 12 hours, then rinse well with clean water. Ensure that any area under carpets is well-ventilated, especially if you have young children or pets in the house.