Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

June 05, 2012 11:08 ET

Let's Clear the Air: What You Should Know About Mold in Your Home

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 5, 2012) - Mold is a fungus that grows on food or on materials that have become damp. According to Health Canada, mold inside your home could become a health risk. Children, seniors, pregnant women and anyone who suffers from asthma or allergies are more at risk when exposed to mold.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) offers the following tips on how to find and fight mold in your home:

  • Know where mold likes to grow:

Be sure to take a close look for mold in areas that are damp or which suffer from frequent condensation, leaks or water damage. Some common places where mold tends to grow indoors include basements, crawl spaces and closets; around sinks and tubs; along the bottom edge of window sills; on damp carpets or furniture; on damp drywall, wood and paper products; and on walls or floors in the kitchen, bathroom and laundry areas.

  • Clean up small areas of mold immediately:

Moldy areas that are less than one square metre in size can usually be cleaned up easily. Scrub the area with unscented dish detergent mixed with warm water; then sponge with a clean, wet rag and make sure to dry it quickly. For cleaning drywall, use baking soda instead of dish detergent and do not allow the area to become too wet. Painting over a moldy surface will not take care of the problem.

  • Put safety first:

When cleaning up mold, always wear a suitable mask, eye protection, and rubber gloves.

  • Know when to leave it to the experts:

If your home has more than three small individual patches of mold, a moldy area that is larger than a square meter in size, or mold that keeps growing back after repeated cleaning, contact your Band Housing Manager for guidance. If you or any family member suffers from asthma or breathing problems or other health problems that get worse inside the house contact your Environmental Health Officer (EHO). You can also contact your local CMHC office for more information.

  • Keep your home dry:

Once you've cleaned up the mold, find and fix any water leaks that allowed mold to grow in the first place. Make sure your clothes dryer, bathroom and kitchen fans, and any oil or propane heaters all vent to the outside. Be sure your eaves troughs and downspouts are connected, are clean and that they direct water well away from your house. Ensure all the surfaces around your house slope away from the foundation.

  • Practice mold-prevention habits:

Lastly, encourage everyone in your family to take steps that can help keep mold away. For example, always turn on an exhaust fan or open a window when showering or cooking; clean and dry any surfaces that get wet; vacuum your carpets and furniture on a regular basis; avoid hanging laundry indoors; use a dehumidifier during humid weather if possible; avoid storing firewood inside your home; and report moisture and mold problems that you can't solve to your Housing Manager.

CMHC has workshops on mold prevention and remediation available for First Nations communities. The Mold in Housing - An Information Guide for First Nations Communities: Home Occupants' Guide helps First Nations communities determine when there is a mold problem in a house and what to do about it. The guide explains what mold is and why it is a concern, provides tips on how to find out if a house has mold, and offers advice on how to prevent mold and moisture from growing indoors. It also includes a checklist for finding and removing mold throughout the house.

For more information or to order a free copy of one of CMHC's 'Mold in Housing - An Information Guide for First Nations Communities' publications, visit or call CMHC at 1-800-668-2642.

CMHC has been Canada's national housing agency for more than 65 years. CMHC is committed to helping Canadians access a wide choice of quality, environmentally sustainable, affordable housing solutions, while making vibrant, healthy communities and cities a reality across the country.

Contact Information

  • For story ideas or to access CMHC experts or expertise:
    CMHC Media Relations - National Office
    (613) 748-2799