Why does everything in my apartment get moldy?
September 28, 2008 11:45 AM   Subscribe

Why does everything mold over in our apartment?

Our apartment isn't kept particularly warm, but all of our food gets moldy superfast. Potatoes in a dry paper bag at the bottom of the pantry, oranges on the counter, peaches in a basket, apples in a fruit bowl. Is our place just full of mold spores (ew)? If so, what can we do about it, besides start keeping everything in the fridge?
posted by OLechat to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Is your building damp? Does your apartment get good air circulation? I imagine that a good dehumidifier would do wonders. Or just wait for the winter heat to kick in.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 12:18 PM on September 28, 2008

The mold situation maybe exacerbated by mold growing behind your walls and leaking in through vents and cracks. You can try to cover or seal these up to prevent further spread.
Also, heat is only part of the equation for excessive mold growth. Moisture is also a big contributor. You can get a dehumidifier to lower the moisture in the air. Also make sure to bathrooms after use.

Unfortunately, there is only so much you can do, especially with older apartments and buildings with mold overgrowths in the walls.
posted by nikkorizz at 12:25 PM on September 28, 2008

We had a pretty bad mold problem in our apartment. We washed everything—walls, dishes, cupboards, drawers, floors, ceilings—with a bleach solution. Then we got a dehumidifier which we run pretty much constantly. The mold situation is dramatically improved. That said, it sucks to have to run the dehumidifier all the time... it is loud, uses a lot of electricity, and makes the air drier than is comfortable. We're planning on moving.

Good luck.
posted by thinman at 1:01 PM on September 28, 2008

I keep a lot in the fridge, but there are also some air-tight containers such as these that I use for smaller items.
posted by TravellingCari at 1:23 PM on September 28, 2008

FWIW, my house is pretty moldy this year, but it's a new phenomenon, because it was such a humid summer. I don't know where you live, but as it's been drying out here in Chicagoland, I've been seeing less mold and will be hoping for a drier summer in 2009.

I also had some work done on my basement which involved new concrete and a lot of water, so I ran a dehumidifier constantly for a few weeks. I had to empty it twice a day. That really helped. I recommend them.
posted by iguanapolitico at 2:04 PM on September 28, 2008

Potatoes in a dry paper bag at the bottom of the pantry

Paper bags give of ethylene, which accelerates ripening in a lot of fruits; I'm pretty sure for potatoes this will accelerate sprouting, and consequently spoiling (because of conversion of starch to sugar).

oranges on the counter, peaches in a basket, apples in a fruit bowl.

None of these are things I would store at room temperature at any time of the year (except peaches when ripening), unless I was eating them immediately. Info on storing oranges, peaches, apples.
posted by advil at 2:47 PM on September 28, 2008

Paper bags give of ethylene

Not really. Paper bags trap ethylene produced by the fruit itself. Just sayin'.

posted by thinman at 7:08 PM on September 28, 2008

As I learned doing plant tissue culture in college: EVERYTHING is covered in mold spores, their abiliity to proliferate is based on two factors: Water Activity, and Warmth. Is the humidity high, even if the temp is low? Also, organic foods tend to bite it faster in my experience, because in normal food, the surface pesticides prevent growth, and the wax on the fruits in lowers water activity. So, no pesticide, no wax, high humidity. You got any of these?
posted by wuzandfuzz at 9:28 PM on September 28, 2008

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