What Causes Mold in the Closet?

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Did you discover mold among your clothes? Whether you have a spacious walk-in closet that's perfectly organized with your favorite outfits on display or a smaller closet with clothes jammed in tight, mold can be an issue for a variety of reasons. Mold spores need moisture to grow, so you likely have too much moisture in your closet if you notice mold. Discovering the cause of mold in closet spaces helps you fix the problem so it doesn't come back.

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Mold in closets grows when moisture is introduced from leaks, wet clothes, or general humidity in your home.

Plumbing or Ceiling Leaks

Since mold spores need moisture to grow, a water leak is often the culprit when you discover mold growth. The water can come from a plumbing leak in a pipe that runs behind the walls, under the floor, or above the ceiling of your closet. You might also get moisture from a roof leak that seeps into your closet area. You might not notice the leak until mold starts to grow.

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Look for signs of water damage, such as water marks or damp drywall. If it's a plumbing leak, you might notice an increase in your water consumption or a decrease in the water pressure throughout your home. Have the plumbing leaks or roof damage repaired immediately to stop the water from coming into your closet.

Generally Humid Conditions

If you live in a humid climate or your home is very humid in general, it can increase the chances of mold in the closet. Humidity often gets trapped in closets since they're small, enclosed spaces. Use a hygrometer to check the humidity levels, which should be between 30 and 50 percent.

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To control closet humidity, use a dehumidifier when the relative humidity exceeds 50 percent. You can also leave a product like DampRid in the closet to soak up extra moisture in the air. Leave your closet door open when possible if the space has a higher humidity level than the rest of your home.

Damp Clothes in the Closet

Putting your clothes away when they're still damp or leaving a damp towel in your closet can encourage mold growth. The clothing fibers provide nourishment for the mold spores to help them grow. Mold growing on clothes can spread to the walls and other areas. Ensure your clothes are completely dry before you hang them in your closet and never leave any wet items in the closet.

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Improper Clothing Storage

Clothes that are improperly stored can create moldy conditions. Ensure you only store clean, dry clothes in your closet. Avoid jamming the clothes tightly together, as this can trap moisture and increase the chances of mold. If space is limited, use small closet organizing strategies, like over-the-door closet organizers or coat hooks on the walls to spread out your clothing.

Avoid putting clothes inside enclosed areas, such as tightly sealing storage bins or plastic from the dry cleaners. This can trap moisture and result in mold growing on clothes. Piling clothes on the floor can also trap moisture, especially if there's a leak under the floor since the clothing traps the moisture and creates an ideal spot for mold to grow.

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