We all would agree that mold is not only disgusting to look at but that it also can slowly destroy your home and things. And if you have a mold allergy, you will likely suffer from symptoms such as nasal congestion, watery eyes, and more. But mold is also harmful to your health if you are not allergic to it. If you wake up tired, need to get up often at night, or have difficulties falling asleep, the problem could be mold in your bedroom.
When it comes to mold, of all the rooms in your house your bedroom is the most vulnerable. This is simply because of the considerable amount of time you spend there. While sleeping soundly, you expose yourself to mold.
Whether you own or rent your house, it’s up to you to protect yourself from mold by preventing mold growth and removing it immediately when you find it. Read on to learn more about molds and how to avoid and remove them from your bedroom so you can enjoy a mold-free sleep.
What is mold?
Mold is a type of fungus consisting of small organisms. It can be found almost everywhere, outdoors or indoors, and at any time of year. As long as it has a humid, warm environment, mold will thrive.
There are different types of molds, but the ones you are most likely to encounter at home are Cladosporium, Penicillium, Aspergillus, Alternaria, and Stachybotrys.
The different kinds of mold vary both in appearance and where you are most likely to find it. Some (like Aspergillus) can produce mycotoxins that can be harmful to both humans and pets. Others (such as Alternaria) contain spores that, when inhaled, are responsible for the typical symptoms that interfere with sleep, such as itchy eyes, runny nose, and constipation.
Stachybotrys, also known as “black mold” can cause similar flu-like symptoms but is much more toxic to humans. Fortunately, black mold is not so common in most households as it requires very high humidity to thrive. However, if you live in a very humid area you may find it on paper or household surfaces that have collected dust or fluff, or in building materials such as wood, plasterboard or fiberboard. In case you detect visible signs of mold in your home, call an expert who can check it out and knows how to remove it.
How mold grows in your home
As molds multiply, they produce tiny microscopic spores that easily float through the air and can be carried for great distances. These spores can survive even if they are in a dry area that is not conducive to mold growth. As soon as the area develops moisture, the mold grows.
Different types of molds can live in a typical house. Some (like Aspergillus) can produce mycotoxins that can be harmful to both humans and pets.
Others (such as Alternaria) contain spores that, when inhaled, are responsible for the typical symptoms that interfere with sleep, such as itchy eyes, runny nose, and constipation. These symptoms are not to be taken lightly, and not only because they can cause sleepless nights.
Another type of mold (black mold) can cause similar flu-like symptoms but is highly toxic to humans. Black mold is not common in most households as it requires very high humidity to thrive. However, if you live in a very humid area or there are visible signs of mold in your home, call an expert who knows how to remove it.
Where in your home can mold grow?
Because of their high moisture content, bathrooms and basements are the most likely rooms in a house where molds thrive. But molds can grow anywhere – even in your bedroom.
- Shower cabins
- Under washbasins or around sanitary facilities
- Mattress and bedding
- Moist clothing
Can you get sick of mold in your house?
The mold itself usually is not dangerous or toxic, although some types of mold produce poisonous mycotoxins, such as black mold. For most people, however, it is mold allergy or sensitivity that leads to allergic reactions. Fortunately, these disappear as soon as the mold is removed.
It is common for people to be allergic to mold, although reactions may vary depending on the type of mold. People with a mold allergy typically react immediately as soon as they are exposed to the mold and may experience one of the following symptoms:
- Watering, itchy or red eyes
- wheezing, sneezing or coughing
- Running nose
- skin rash
- Asthma attacks in people with asthma
- Hypersensitivity pneumonia in people with a weakened immune system
The psychological effects of molds
Mental states like depression can lead to insomnia. A study by researchers at Brown University found that there is a link between moldy houses and depression.
The study was based on data from over 5,8000 people in nearly 3,000 households. Research had already shown that molds could affect many body systems, including the nervous and immune systems, due to their toxicity. Mold can also affect brain function, especially in terms of memory, impulse control, problem-solving, and socialization.
However, the Brown study showed that molds could also cause psychological problems that affect mood and well-being. The researchers stress the importance of healthy homes for your overall health, including mental health.
Signs of mold in your bedroom
Unfortunately, everyone agrees that molds pose a health risk, but there are still no government guidelines for residential buildings that must be adhered to in terms of an acceptable level of molds. This means that it is up to you, as the homeowner or tenant, to detect mold growth in your bedroom.
- You can see mold (black, grey, white, or brown spots).
- A musty smell is present
- You and/or your bed partner show the allergic symptoms listed above
- Recent flooding or water damage
The shape of the mold is quite easy to recognize. You may notice brown, gray, green, or black spots. There may also be a slightly musky smell.
If you have allergy symptoms or smell mold but cannot see it, look for it in hard-to-reach areas such as on or under your carpet, floor or ceiling, in air ducts, behind furniture on the wall or even in the walls, around windowsills, on all upholstered furniture or your mattress.
Since mold can develop in areas that you can’t see, it’s crucial to maintain prevention practices in your entire home.
How does mold get into your bedroom?
Remember, mold can develop anywhere in a damp or humid environment. Depending on the climate in which you live, the quality of the insulation in your house and even the location of your bedroom in your home (basement bedrooms are most vulnerable), your bedroom may be prone to grow mold.
Keep in mind, that mold spores can also enter from outside through an open window, the clothes you were wearing or your pet.
Mold can also develop on your mattress as a result of the moisture from perspiration. Mattresses contain soft, porous materials such as cotton covers or foam comfort layers. Any of these substances can absorb moisture and cause your mattress to mold.
If you have found mold in an area of your bedroom, do a thorough search to make sure it is not somewhere else in your home as mold can quickly spread.
Is it safe to sleep in a room with mold?
No, internal molds of any kind are worrisome, but molds in the bedroom are particularly alarming, simply because of the number of hours you spend in your bedroom and breathe them in while you sleep.
Can mold cause sleep problems?
Yes, in addition to allergy symptoms, mold exposure often causes sleep problems. When you sleep, your body needs to breathe as smoothly as possible. Otherwise, your brain will need to focus more on keeping you breathing, which compromises your sleep quality. Therefore, sleeping in bedrooms with molds can lead to the following sleep disorders:
- snoring or sleep apnea
- sleep deprivation
- daytime sleepiness
People with allergies usually suffer even more than people without allergies. If you have a mold allergy, you may experience a more extreme form of these sleep disorders.
18 tips how to stop the growth of mold in your bedroom
The most effective way to avoid mold growth in your bedroom is prevention. Follow these tips to keep your home mold-free.
- Whenever water enters your bedroom, clean and dry the area immediately.
- Vacuum your carpet regularly by using a HEPA vacuum cleaner to remove spores.
- If you live in an area with high humidity or moisture, run your air conditioner and ceiling fans regularly or use a dehumidifier to keep the indoor air dry. Ideally, indoor humidity should be less than 50%. Buy a hygrometer to monitor your indoor moisture throughout the day.
- Keep your bedroom door open to improve air circulation.
- If your bedroom is directly connected to a bathroom, open the window or let the exhaust fan run for about half an hour after the shower. Then hang up your towel so it can dry instead of clumping it on the floor or in a laundry basket in your closet where mold can grow.
- Keep your bathroom clean and pay particular attention to the corners of your shower, under your sink and shower curtain. Do not store body wash and shampoo bottles in the shower as they can cause mold.
- Your bedroom cabinet can also be a hazard to mold, as some clothes, such as outwear, can bring in mold spores from the outside.
- Make sure that all the clothes are completely dry after cleaning and do not fold them or put them away until they are. If you are storing clothing for the winter, make sure it is dry before sealing it in a box that can capture any moisture.
- Place the bedroom furniture away from the walls to allow airflow and prevent mold growth.
- Wipe all furniture regularly to remove dust.
- If you have plants in your bedroom, check them regularly for mold, especially the soil. If you see anything gray, there is mold. Repot the plant with new soil and get rid of the old soil. To avoid mold, add antifungals to the new soil.
- Have your house inspected for water damage or faulty sanitary installations. Check the windows, walls, and ceilings for mold.
- Maintain your ventilation openings regularly and clean the drip pans to ensure proper air circulation.
- Make sure that your windows, roof, and floor are properly insulated and check them regularly. This will minimize condensation and prevent mold spores from entering your house.
- Keep your house warm during colder months to avoid the formation of moisture or condensation.
- If your bedroom is on a lower floor or in a basement, do not use carpets. Instead, use area carpets that you can clean regularly.
- Check the outside areas regularly to ensure that no water can enter your house from the outside.
- When you repaint your bedroom, add mold inhibitor to the paint or buy anti-mold paint.
Follow these tips to avoid mold growth in your mattress
- Due to body sweat and other moisture, and because it is covered with your bedding mattresses are one of the most critical areas where molds can grow in your bedroom.
- Use a waterproof mattress cover. This will not only prevent moisture from sweating but also stains and other damage that will help prolong the life of your mattress.
- Buy a hypoallergenic mattress. While any mattress may develop mold, some mattress types are more allergy-friendly than others. Full latex beds or organic mattresses are your best choice.
- Clean your mattress regularly. This is one of the best ways to prevent mold growth, and it is easier than you think.
- Finally, try to sleep in a way that minimizes perspiration at night. We tend to keep our bedrooms warmer than they should be. Set the temperature of your bedroom to 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Sleep naked or wear pajamas made of breathable materials. Also, invest in breathable bed linen and use multiple layers so you can remove them if you are getting too hot.
How to remove mold from the bedroom
If you have found mold in your bedroom, remove it immediately. It doesn’t matter what kind of mold it is; it’s all bad. Here is what you should do if you find mold in your bedroom:
- If it is a hard surface, such as your floor or wall, scrub hard with a stiff brush and detergent, soap and water, or a mixture of 1 cup of borax and 1 gallon of hot water. Make sure the surface dries completely.
- Do NOT use bleach. Many people believe that bleach is the right solution for removing mold, but it is exactly the opposite. Bleaches lose their effectiveness over time and can actually contribute to sustained mold growth over time.
- If it is on a soft surface such as carpet, clothing, mattress, bedding, drywall or furniture, best is to throw it away.
- Never treat the mold with bare hands, not even when cleaning it. Always wear gloves.
- If you find mold in your mattress, cleaning won’t do the trick. You should get rid of the mattress.
Once you have removed the mold and cleaned the area, follow the mold prevention tips above to ensure the area stays dry.
In cases of larger areas of 10 square feet or more, you should consult a professional for mold removal. These people are experts at identifying all areas that are infected. They can completely remove the mold from your home, even if it has spread significantly.
Mold is harmful to your health and that of your family. As we spend most of the time in our homes in the bedroom sleeping, it’s time give your bedroom a mold check. If you discover mold, don’t panic. Take the right steps to remove it and some precautions to prevent it from growing again.
There is a lot you can do yourself. However, if you are unsure or have a mold allergy, don’t hesitate to call an expert for mold removal. Many also offer free home consultations.