Basements are no longer dark, dingy storage areas of a home. Many families use basement space for entertaining, as a family recreation area, or even a second kitchen/dining area. Warm, humid weather often brings mildew as an unwanted visitor to basements, and homeowners often aren’t aware of this growing mildew problem until it’s almost too late. Here are some tips to prevent mildew in your home this summer.

According to the government website,, high humidity in a building can cause problems with your home and your health if mold and mildew develop and are left untreated.

People typically think of mold or mildew inside their home after experiencing a water leak or a plumbing malfunction. Hot, humid weather are perfect breeding conditions for mildew to begin, especially inside basement walls. Indoor humidity levels above 70 percent and temperatures of 77-86 degrees can promote mold and mildew growth, and the spores thrive on natural fibers, paper, drywall, etc.

Musty odors are often noticed in the basement, and those odors may also linger in upholstered furniture, which are a perfect hiding place for mildew to reproduce rapidly. Floor padding beneath the carpeting can be affected by damp conditions, causing mold spores to spread somewhat unseen beneath the carpet.

A whole-house air conditioner can help keep humidity levels low during the summer, if it is properly sized, installed correctly, and operating well. An air conditioning system that is too large for the airflow required will not adequately remove humidity from the air, so be sure a specialist installs the right system for the space. Ventilation fans can also assist with airflow, especially in the kitchen or bathroom, where humidity commonly occurs. Dehumidifiers pull additional moisture from the air, and are especially recommended for basement areas.

Home remodeling products now contain anti-fungal finishes, such as specialty drywall, wall primer and paints. But, if you suspect a mildew problem, a mold remediation specialist can help determine the exact location and the degree of severity. Special measuring devices are used to detect mold spores within the walls, which can then be treated or removed safely by an expert.

Keeping your carpet dirt-free reduces the food source that many mold spores seek. A complete carpet cleaning and upholstery cleaning with professional equipment will eliminate the growth along with the musty odors.

If you have a humidity problem in your home and suspect mold or mildew, call a specialist for an analysis. Families who use their basements as living spaces should also have a professional carpet or upholstery cleaning at least once a year in their basement areas, and ServiceMaster by the Border specializes in helping your home be clean and safe.