Mold is everywhere - in the air and on many surfaces. Molds will grow in damp places, such as around leaky roofs, windows, or pipes, or where there has been flooding. Mold growth, which often looks like spots, can be many different colors, and can smell musty. No matter what type of mold is present, it should be removed.
Exposure to damp and moldy environments may cause a variety of health effects, or none at all. For people that are sensitive to molds, it can cause stuffy nose, throat irritation, coughing or wheezing, eye irritation, or skin irritation. People with mold allergies may have more severe reactions. Immune-compromised people and those with chronic lung illnesses may get serious infections in their lungs when they are exposed to mold. Since the effect of mold on people can vary greatly, sampling and testing is not necessary to know the health risk. The best practice is to remove the mold and work to prevent future growth.
Read below to find out more information about cleaning molds, preventing them from growing in your home, controlling moisture in your home, and how to report mold problems if you are a renter.
Visit our Mold page for more information.
If there is mold growth in a home, it should be cleaned up and the leaky plumbing or other factors that led to damp conditions should be fixed. If the moldy area is less than about 10 square feet (less than roughly a 3 ft. by 3 ft. patch), in most cases, you can handle the job yourself, by following the Mold Cleanup Tips and Techniques . Mold growth can be removed from hard surfaces with soap and water, or a bleach solution of no more than 1 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water. Absorbent materials (such as ceiling tiles & carpet) that become moldy may have to be replaced.
You can keep molds from growing by making sure that your home stays dry; promptly fixing leaky roofs, windows, and pipes; ventilating shower, laundry, and cooking areas; and thoroughly cleaning and drying the area after flooding. If you can see or smell mold, clean it up. Also, be quick to investigate any signs of water damage:
If you rent a home in Los Angeles County, you may report problems with mold to 888-700-9995 . You can also file a report online . An inspector may be able to visit your home and determine if there is a mold problem that the property owner is required to solve.