Due to the plumbing and moisture that comes into your kitchen, this room is one of the most likely places where mold will develop in your home. Mold often develops out of plain sight and away from direct light, which means these growths will probably be found in hidden and hard-to-reach places like the underside of your kitchen sink.
When mold growths develop in your home, they can pose a serious risk to your health as you inhale the spores released into the air. Depending on the type of mold and severity of the growth, the presence of mold can lead to respiratory problems, including a sore throat, coughing, stuffy nose, or even an allergic reaction.
Individuals with asthma may be even more likely to suffer strong reactions to the presence of mold. In rare cases, mold growths can lead to respiratory infections. The health hazards of mold can be avoided by taking steps to combat the presence of mold before it’s allowed to grow and thrive—and one of the best places to focus these efforts is underneath your kitchen sink, which can quickly become a breeding ground.
Causes of Mold in the Kitchen
Between cooking, running water, washing dishes and other regular cooking activities, the kitchen is host to regular high humidity that can lead to mold growths. Mold can develop on surfaces, in cracks around the base of your sink, on the underside of your sink, and inside the sink’s drainpipe, among other locations. Poor ventilation in your kitchen can make this risk even worse.
Specific causes of mold can include:
- High humidity, combined with irregular cleaning routines
- Leaks hidden in your cabinets and/or behind appliances
- Flooding or spills
- Water leaks from other parts of your home—such as your roof—that make their way into your kitchen
If you identify a growth or unknown substance around your sink drain, in your sink cabinet or in other parts of your kitchen, take immediate steps to clean it away and mitigate the risk of continued mold growth.
How to Clean Mold from the Sink Drain and Under the Sink
If you notice black mold in the sink drain and want to make sure it’s mold and not dirt or another substance, you can find out using the bleach mold test: place a small amount of bleach onto the black substance and see if it changes color within the next five minutes. If it brightens or turns white, it’s mold. If it stays black, it’s likely something else.
To clean mold from surfaces, use household cleaning products, including soap and water or a bleach solution of one part bleach to 16 parts water, and thoroughly scrub the surface to remove the mold. Wear rubber gloves and keep your kitchen well-ventilated while cleaning. It’s not enough to apply cleaning products to the mold—you also need to physically remove the growth.
To clean and remove mold in pipes, use a mixture of vinegar and baking soda, which has a high acidic content that can kill most mold growing in your pipes. You can also use a pipe cleaning brush to physically remove the mold from the pipes. If you suspect your pipe problems are serious, you may need to bring in a mold remediation specialist.
If you suspect mold and want to clean it up, you don’t need to figure out which type of mold you’re dealing with. All forms of mold can be effectively cleaned and removed through the same process. If you see white slime in the sink drain that is different from the black growth developing on the underside of the sink, you can treat it using the same process described above.
How to Prevent Mold Under the Kitchen Sink
Once you get your mold problem under control, the next step is to make sure you aren’t giving mold a comfortable habitat to grow and thrive. Even though some humidity and moisture are inevitable in a kitchen, here are some tips on how to keep the sink area dry, and how to eliminate environmental factors that invite mold into your home:
- Keep your home’s humidity under control. The best way to prevent mold is to keep your home’s humidity lower than 50 percent. When cooking, run a fan or open a window to ventilate the area and prevent the buildup of humidity.
- Check regularly for the presence of a new leak under the kitchen sink. If you find mold under the sink, clean it thoroughly and look for any hidden sources of moisture, including leaks around the seal of your sink, and/or a leaking pipe.
- Clean up spills or flooding immediately. Don’t give the water time to seep into cracks.
- Clean mold-prone surfaces regularly with cleaning products designed to kill and prevent mold.
- Add ventilation into your kitchen to improve airflow.
- Fix leaks, and seal cracks and gaps that may allow moisture to enter. This includes your sink and piping, windows and other structures that may allow outside leaks to enter your kitchen.
- Consult experts on effective mold prevention. When you hire a mold remediation service to remove mold, you’ll also receive guidance on how to easily prevent the return of mold under your sink—and elsewhere in your home.
Mold can be a serious problem in your home, but it’s easily addressed with the right approach to cleaning, removal, and prevention. To ensure mold is eliminated and doesn’t come back, consider working with a professional mold remediation service.
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