Mold and Mildew: The Scourge of the Damp Towel

Ever forget to hang up a wet towel only to find it invaded by fuzzy green mold or mildew? Damp towels make the perfect environment for mold to grow especially when left in a dark location for extended periods of time. Mold thrives in places like bathrooms or pool houses there is often little outside light or air circulation: college dorm rooms can become incubators for mold colonies, complete with the stench of unwashed socks from the laundry hamper. While the “gross factor” of mold and mildew is enough to raise the alarm, there are also serious health concerns associated with uncontrolled mold.

What exactly is mold though? It is a type of fungi that grows both indoors and out in dark, damp areas. There are hundreds of varieties of mold, most of which release tiny spores into the air that when breathed in can cause a variety of illnesses due to the presence of mycotoxins. This is why mold is such a big concern to homeowners and especially those with respiratory problems like asthma. Other symptoms that may arise due to exposure to mold mycotoxins include:

Mold Symptoms
Headaches  Sore throats  Trouble breathing Wheezing and shortness of breath
Nasal Congestion Coughing Sneezing  Red itchy watery eyes
Asthma attacks or asthma-like symptoms Pneumonia  Bronchitis Chronic sinusitis (sinus infections)
Rashes or hives Fatigue Depression Depressed immune system

So what can you do about a mold problem? Depending on the severity of your situation you might need to seek the help of professionals to locate mold growths and stop them at the source. There are also many home remedies involving washing clothing or linens with ammonia or other fungicidal products . The best way to stop mold outbreaks is to prevent mold from growing in the first place: do not allow moisture to gather indoors, especially in darker areas like attics, basements, or bathrooms. Hang up clothing and towels in well-ventilated areas, or in direct sunlight. If you don’t have the space to air-dry clothing such as a dorm room or small apartment, you can also use a heated towel rack to guarantee that your towels stay warm, dry, and mold/mildew free!

So next time you leave your used towel crumpled in a heap on the floor, remember you might be inviting some unwanted green visitors into your home!

Looking to take care of a mold problem? Head over to Mold-Advisor for remediation, tips, and professional resources.

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    • Thank you for this question Penny! Mildew and mold are both fungi — living organisms that need specific conditions to grow, in this case, they need water and a specific temperature range to thrive: damp places with reduced light and no air circulation will see greater growth compared to well-lit and ventilated spaces.

      Basically the time it takes for a towel to mold will depend on how hospitable your bathroom is for mold/mildew — if conditions are right your towel can start mildewing within 24-48 hours. Hanging your towels on one of our heated towel racks dries your towels quickly, eliminating the water that is essential for fungi to grow!

      Wikipedia’s Article on Mold is a great source for more information

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