Mold in apartment
August 28, 2018 2:39 PM   Subscribe

Rental company is so far cooperative, but I don’t really understand the physics of mold and want to protect my stuff in the meantime.

A couple months ago our landlord fixed what they called a leak in the wall when we spotted some mold growing near the windowsill. They tore open the whole wall, found moisture, and used an industrial dehumidifier, but there was confusion as to the source of the “leak.” There is a closet in this corner of the building which was sealed off while they worked on it. Afterward we moved our stuff back into the closet. Today I pulled out a pair of shoes I wanted to wear and the soles and seams of the leather were covered in fuzzy white spores.

There is also an interior wall separating the bedroom from the living room. We noted that a backpack left near the wall developed white mildewy spores as well. It seems unlikely due to location that both walls are dealing with the same leak. My theory is that the apartment is simply hot and damp— there is no ventilation outside of the bathroom, the windows are not well insulated, and it’s humid San Francisco late summer. I tend to open the windows a lot to dry things out at night when I’m at home, but my boyfriend doesn’t like them to be open and closes them once we go to bed and while we’re out.

Is it possible the air is just humid/wet and causing moldy conditions? Perhaps there is condensation on the walls causing the mildew? One moldy wall is facing a cold concrete parking garage so I’ve heard the cold and wet encourages the mold spores. But then I don’t know why the interior wall is doing the same.

Our apartment complex is working with us and will most likely move us to a new apartment while they work on this one, but I am wondering if it’s possible the main room just needs some ventilation and a dehumidifier. (I don’t want it to be at my expense so I’m not planning on fixing it myself, just curious if I should keep opening the windows, pull stuff away from all walls, etc. until we move out.)

There is other furniture near walls throughout the apartment and I don’t see any mold on it so far. I started noticing a musty smell very recently, like within the last couple weeks, so this seems like a problem that has recently escalated. So my basic question is what should I do in the meantime to keep my belongings safe?
posted by stoneandstar to Home & Garden (4 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Keep the windows open as much as possible and use small fans to circulate air into unventilated spaces. Tell your boyfriend to just deal with the draft or breeze or whatever he doesn’t like about having windows open. You don’t want mold in your anything, especially not your face, which totally happens in musty air.

Keep things away from walls and corners so the air can move freely. If there’s rugs, pull them up. Don’t store things on the floor, put them on a shelf, etc.

Glad your ll is stepping up; some don’t take it seriously.
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:53 AM on August 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

When I was looking at a house with mold and doing some research, I saw this medical brochure that has this tidy summary of symptoms from mold:

(1) Coughing
(2) Head aches
(3) Death

Take this shit seriously.
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 6:39 AM on August 29, 2018

I had this problem in San Francisco, all of the stuff on the floor of my closet a got destroyed by mold. I had to push my landlord, they finally started investigating and found a burst pipe underneath the bathroom (which was on the other side of the wall from the closet). (Initially they tried to tell me that it was "just San Francisco", and I was like "yeah I'm from here, this is not normal.) Don't try to talk yourself out of this being real. Push your landlord to work on this ASAP.

Definitely pull stuff away from the walls and off the floor. Check your clothes, shoes, furniture, constantly for mold. Check under the bed. I imagine that spraying the walls and floors down with a bleach solution would also be helpful.
posted by radioamy at 2:03 PM on August 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

Best answer: This won't treat the source, but if you need to treat any moldy items I can recommend the "Concrobium" line of products. They carry it at Home Depot. It explains it's mechanism of action on the label. They also have a fogger for the product you can rent if you like. I had a pretty good experience using it to treat mildew on a couch. Are use it in conjunction with several dehumidifiers and lots of pulling the sectional in pieces out into the sunshine to dry completely
posted by elgee at 7:54 PM on August 29, 2018

« Older nature shows for little kids?   |   Am I supposed to bag my own groceries? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.