There are places you expect mold growth, like on your shower liner or in the forgotten corner of your basement. But there are other spots prone to growth that many people overlook . Keep these places in mind to protect your home, and yourself, from the potential dangers of mold.
"Your refrigerator drip pans gather a lot of food spills and moisture over time," says Harriet Jones, cleaning and maintenance supervisor for . As more moisture collects, it becomes more likely mold growth will follow. Wipe this spot regularly with a Clorox Disinfecting Wipe ($7, ) to prevent buildup.
"The gasket of the washing machine is a hotbed for mold because we rarely leave the machine's door open after usage and the moisture stays trapped in there for who knows how long," says Jones. To prevent this, once you're done with your laundry, wipe down the condensation on the glass door and gasket before you close it.
Similarly, if you leave wet clothes in your dark machine, they're prone to growth too, which is what happened to Reddit user . Another mistake? "If you leave a damp t-shirt or hoodie in your 'to wash' bin for too long, it could also develop mold," says Bartholomew Hearn of says. Carolyn Forte, the Director of the Cleaning Lab, says this is how you can remedy your mistake: "Take your clothes outside and brush away any loose mold spores from the fabric. Then, wash them in the hottest water that's safe for the fabric with either chlorine or all-fabric bleach. Treat any stains with a laundry prewash or liquid laundry detergent."
The space between your electric toothbrush head and body might be the last thing you want to put near your mouth. As shown here, after continuous use, growth may occur. The American Dental Association that you store toothbrushes so they can air-dry in an upright position instead of in a dark medicine cabinet. Also, be sure to wipe it clean on the regular.
Since the water tank in your toilet is dark and wet, it's susceptible to mold, which Reddit user found out the hard way. Hearn says to watch out for your toilet bowl cleaner too: "Considering the fact that these products are meant for usage in an environment heavy on moisture, many fail to resist the growth on mold. There isn't any other solution than changing your toilet freshener regularly."
On , one reviewer tried to alert others to what she found when she cut the legs off of her child's "Beware!! If you have a drooly baby, moisture will get in the hole and you'll end up with mold!" writes Amazon user . "The only way to prevent mold inside plastic toys is to make sure they are cleaned and thoroughly dried," says Forte.
Millions of cups were recalled in 2016 after the company received thousands of reports of mold in the opaque valves of the cups. There were 68 reports of kids experiencing diarrhea, vomiting and other symptoms after sipping from the cups. In this case, there was a manufacturer error, but it's important to wash these cups regularly and make sure they're dry before storing them in your dark cabinet.
Reddit user suffered this issue with his , which is a breeding ground for growth. If your maker looks similar, Forte says to take the removable pieces off, wash them in hot sudsy water, rinse and dry thoroughly. "Empty the reservoir and brew a quart of white vinegar through the machine (without any coffee, of course). Then brew a full reservoir of clear water through to rinse away the vinegar smell and taste," she says. Another spot to watch for: your dish rack. "If you stack dishes before they are fully dry, mold has the perfect opportunity to grow, as a dark and damp environment is all it needs," says Hearn.
Reddit user was horrified when she found mold on her lip balm. When the growth comes into contact with the product, it's best to toss it. You should also monitor your bath product containers. "Thoroughly inspect the bottom of each bottle or product you store in the bathroom," says Jones. "The high humidity in the bathroom can cause mold to grow but it should be relatively easy to wipe it away."
Reddit user shared a picture of his wife's microwave at work, which is covered in mold as a result of germs and fingers touching it all day long — but the inside is at risk too. "The sauce from your dish may spill or splatter and stick to some of the corners inside your microwave and stay there unnoticed. If you don't use or open the door in the next couple of days, it can get moldy pretty quickly," Catherine Burns, a professional cleaner at .