While the bathroom and the laundry room are two of mold’s top targets in a home, mold spores are more than happy to infest your kitchen with active colonies. Especially if they can find the moisture. Adding to this concern is the fact that the kitchen is rife with food supplies and water which mold can exploit.
If mold establishes a colony in your kitchen, the spores and mycotoxins can irritate the respiratory system of anyone who enters. Especially those with respiratory allergies, asthma, or chronic inflammation conditions. Not to mention the very real risk of getting sick if you accidentally eat food with mold on it.
It helps to be aware of the surfaces that can grow mold under the right conditions. This can include mold on walls near the sink or stove, windowsills, and the tops of kitchen cupboards. Though just about any area that comes into contact with moisture can turn into a prime breeding ground for mold spores. Especially porous surfaces like kitchen woodwork and windowsills.
What Causes Mold in a Kitchen?
Mold spores need moisture and warmth to germinate into an active colony. Then they need that moisture to remain to keep the colony from going dormant. Understanding what causes mold in the kitchen is the best way to prevent mold from invading. This starts with knowing where to look for signs of mold and taking a proactive approach to preventing mold from establishing a foothold in those places.
This starts with routinely checking places like:
- Woodwork & trim
- Crevices around the sink’s backsplash
- Around the oven hood
- Anywhere else in the kitchen where water or condensation might accumulate.
Reducing Moisture In Your Kitchen
Vigilance is key when it comes to preventing mold buildup in your kitchen. This starts with keeping an eye on any surfaces that are prone to condensation and lingering moisture. Mold and mildew also prefer a dark place with enough moisture and sufficient nutrients. In ideal conditions, a simple mold spore can germinate into an active colony in as little as 24 to 48 hours.
At the same time, you also need to be proactive about maintaining and making routine repairs around your home and kitchen to prevent things like water leaks before they start. This includes things like:
- Repairing pipe leaks
- Fixing any leaking drains
- Running and flushing out your garbage disposal
- Wiping up the backsplash and other small places where water might pool
Also, consider the structural areas of your kitchen. If your oven hood vents outside, make sure that there aren’t any potential gaps or leaks in the ductwork or the outside vent. Sometimes even the tiniest crack or gap can be enough to let rainwater invade your kitchen through the ductwork.
Also, take the time to consider the exterior features of your home. A loose shingle, unrepaired roof leak, or a clogged gutter near the kitchen window can let small amounts of rainwater in. Once it reaches the attic, that water can travel a great distance along stringers and beams to settle near the kitchen.
Other Ways to Reduce the Risk of Mold in Your Kitchen
Making essential repairs and adopting a moisture reduction strategy is a good first step toward reducing the risk of mold infesting your kitchen. However, it’s not the only thing you can do to keep mold at bay. This includes some of the following things:
Dispose of Food Promptly
Mold needs nutrients to develop a colony and thrive. Expired foods and things like stale bread or old cheese offer up a perfect nutrient base for mold to grow. Throwing out food as it nears the expiration date and getting rid of leftovers within a day or two, will go a long way toward reducing the nutrient medium that mold needs to colonize.
Clean the Refrigerator
Just like disposing of expired food and lingering leftovers, you also need to take a proactive approach to maintain a clean and sanitary refrigerator. This includes cleaning out old food items and routinely wiping down shelves and cleaning up spills.
Defrost Your Freezer When Needed
Excess frost in your freezer or in the door of your refrigerator can start to melt in small amounts. Over time these tiny water deposits can migrate to warmer environs under and behind the refrigerator/freezer. This can supply mold spores with enough moisture to develop into an active colony.
Always Use the Range Hood
The range hood in your kitchen is very handy for taking the steam produced by cooking food and diverting it out of the kitchen. Ideally, you want a hood fan that vents to the outside. Then you should diligently use it every time you cook.
Run & Flush Your Garbage Disposal Daily
If your sink has a built-in garbage disposal, you need to run it at least once per day. This will flush out any food matter that mold spores might exploit to develop a colony. Then make sure to flush the drain out by running hot water and dish soap for a solid three to five minutes.
If you notice foul odors coming from the garbage disposal, you can try pouring two or three caps of bleach down the drain. Then run cold water to help move the bleach along, without accidentally creating chlorine steam.
What To Do If You Find Mold In Your Kitchen
If you find a minor spot of mold or mildew you might be able to clean it up yourself. Though ironically bleach is not the ideal cleaning product for this. Especially if the mold is on window trim or woodwork. Bleach is too volatile and thus can’t kill the microscopic roots of the mold. For this, you want an oxygenated cleaning product that uses something like hydrogen peroxide as the primary disinfecting agent.
If you find a more significant mold colony in your kitchen, it’s best to leave remediation to the professionals. A lot of the cleaning products and equipment available at the retail level simply aren’t potent enough to kill mold down to its microscopic roots.
When you contract a professional mold specialist like Affordable Remediation, you get the peace of mind that comes with knowing that commercial-grade cleaning products and equipment are being used by highly trained mold remediation specialists.
Afterward, we can provide you with any necessary documentation about what was cleaned and how. This can come in handy later if you want to sell your home and there are any liability concerns. We can also help you refine your mold remediation strategy to prevent mold and mildew from redeveloping in your kitchen in the future.