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Mold Prevention

About Mold

Controlling moisture is ultimately the key to controlling mold in your housing.

Note that as part of the natural environment, molds may begin growing indoors whenever mold spores land on wet or damp surfaces.

Molds produce allergens, but like all allergens, individual reactions will differ. Some people may not be affected, while others may experience hay-fever type symptoms or have a stronger reaction. If you believe you may be having a reaction to mold allergens, contact Student Health for an appointment.

Molds are part of the natural environment. Outdoors, molds play a part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees, but indoors, mold growth should be avoided. Molds reproduce by means of tiny spores; the spores are invisible to the naked eye and float through outdoor and indoor air. Mold may begin growing indoors when mold spores land on surfaces that are wet. There are many types of mold, and none of them will grow without water or moisture.

It is impossible to get rid of all mold and mold spores indoors; some mold spores will be found floating through the air and in house dust. The mold spores will not grow if moisture is not present. Indoor mold growth can and should be prevented or controlled by controlling moisture indoors.

-- Environmental Protection Agency

Prevention Steps You Can Take

There is no way to eliminate all mold and mold spores indoors. Following the guidelines below can help prevent mold and mildew growth:

Keep windows closed

Do not open your windows, regardless of whether heating or cooling systems are operating. Doing so will cause condensation and may contribute to mold growth. Plase see our HVAC Instructions page for more information about HVAC systems in UVA housing.

Don't store wet clothing

Do not leave wet or damp clothes, towels, or shoes in closets. Hang these items on towel racks or place them on drying racks until they are completely dry.

Keep moisture sources away from HVAC units

Do not place potted plants, or any other source of moisture, on or around heating and cooling units.

Don't obstruct HVAC units

Do not place anything in front of your heating or cooling unit. Doing so blocks the airflow from the unit and makes mold growth in your housing more likely.

Know your heating system

Many housing areas operate on fixed systems, which only cool or heat, with the University making an informed decision about switching from one system to the other. If you live in an undergraduate apartment, graduate housing, or faculty/staff housing, you may have the ability to regulate your air-conditioner settings. Please see our HVAC Instructions page for more information about which system is in your housing, and recommended settings.

Keep appliances away from thermostats

If your housing contains a room thermostat, do not place heat-generating appliances directly underneath it.

Clean your housing regularly

Small amounts of mold can be easily cleaned with a general household cleaner. Maintain good housekeeping practices, including cleaning your room, bed linens, clothing, and towels on a regular basis. Please see our Cleaning Tips page for suggestions on how, and how often, to clean your housing.

Additional resources and information about mold, including assessment and prevention advice, is available on the CDC's website.

If you believe there is a mold or mildew issue in your room that is pervasive or resistant to removal, please report it by submitting a work order with Facilities Management.