Keeping Mold Out of your Closets

Have you ever noticed a constellation-like string of tiny brown dots on your clothing? Those spots are mold and no amount of detergent or elbow grease will help. Wondering what that fine dusting of “powder” is on your leather handbags, jackets and shoes? Mold! And what is that wet, musty smell your closets? Mildew! How do you keep closet mold away?

Mold is a natural part of the environment that can happen anywhere. It’s when the tiny spores land on damp surfaces or in dark crevices that all hell breaks loose.

Remember, black mold is dangerous stuff, and anything with the slightest indication of mold should be pitched — immediately!

How to keep closet mold away

There is really no foolproof way to completely prevent closet mold, but there are ways to ward off the malicious curse:

closet mold• Leave closet doors slightly ajar or, preferably, leave them open all the way so they can ventilate. (Yes, this means you may have to organize your closets a little more.)

• Never hang clothes in the closet unless they are completely dry. This can cause closet mold.

• Mold thrives in plastic. Remove clothing from the plastic dry cleaning bags immediately.

•  To avoid moisture and keep dust-free, stuff handbags with tissue paper and store inside cloth dust-cover bags.

•  Keep shoes in tip-top shape by stuffing tissue tightly into the toes of all closed-toe shoes; try not to store shoes in plastic boxes.

•  Opt for paint instead of wallpaper in your closets. Wallpaper can absorb moisture and provides a comfortable home and meal for mold. Wallpaper is often the worst cause of closet mold.

•  Read What is moisture?

• The strip of colored foam that comes on some dry cleaning hangers should be removed immediately. It disintegrates quickly and can stain your clothing and is also a mold magnet.

• Place one or more containers of DampRid moisture packs in each closet and empty once a week.

• Clothes need to breathe. Using your hand as a gauge, place one finger between each piece of clothing to create sufficient space (1-inch minimum) between hangers.

• Keep your air conditioning running in the summer and check air ducts for debris to avoid closet mold.

• Use thin hangers such as wire ones from the dry cleaners. Better yet, invest in matching hangers; the ultra-thin “huggable” hangers are an excellent choice and will add space to your closets, allowing your clothes enough room to breathe.

•  If you’re building or renovating a home, avoid positioning closets in or adjacent to the bathroom, keeping closet humidity low is key to avoiding mold

Remember, not all molds are “bad.” While “good” molds such as penicillin can save lives, leave the harvesting to the scientists and strive to create as dry an environment as possible in your home and workplace to avoid the need for mold removal.