Sunday, January 03, 2016

Homes Cures for Mold and Mildew Problems do Exist

Contact: Bob Schultheis, natural resource engineering specialist
Headquartered in Webster County
Tel: (417) 859-2044

MARSHFIELD, Mo. -- Wet weather, rain on storm damaged homes, and residential flooding can all create mold problems inside a home. But according to Bob Schultheis, a natural resource engineering specialist with University of Missouri Extension, this type of wet weather does not mean it is a good idea to test a home for mold.

“If you can smell mustiness, mold is present. The cure is to eliminate the source of the moisture and improve airflow under the house and in enclosed areas like closets. Generally, a mold test is just an unnecessary expense using money that can be better used to fix the problem,” said Schultheis.

The key is to keep water out and that means checking for plumbing and roof leaks and repairing any leaks that are found.

“Make sure the house has working gutters and downspouts that direct roof runoff away from the foundation.  Every inch of rain you divert off the roof of an average-sized house is about 1000 gallons of water that won’t be trying to get into the house,” said Schultheis.

It is also a good idea to put 6-mil polyethylene plastic down on the dirt floor of the crawlspace and seal the edges and seams.  According to Schultheis, this will prevent as much as 20 gallons of water vapor a day from moving up into the living area of the home.

“Another option is to keep the foundation vents open year-round to allow water vapor to escape.  This also reduces radon gas buildup, if you have it,” said Schultheis.

It is also important to make sure the vents from clothes dryers, bathroom fans and range hoods exhaust to the outdoors, not just into the attic or crawlspace.

The best way to check moisture levels in a home is with a digital temperature and humidity gauge. The indoor relative humidity should ideally be in the 30 percent to 50 percent range.  A list of sources for these gauges is available at

“Too much humidity will show up as excess moisture on the windows and favors dust mite and mold growth.  Too little humidity can cause static electricity in carpets and scratchy throats and bloody noses for the occupants, said Schultheis.

For more information on solving moisture and mildew problems, contact the nearest University of Missouri Extension Center and ask for MU Guide GH5928 “How to Prevent and Remove Mildew — Home Methods,” see the mold control resources at, contact Schultheis at the Webster County Extension Center, 417 859-2044, or visit the MU Extension website at


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