Storage 101: Protecting against Mildew and Mold in Self Storage

The best way to keep your items safe from the damages of mildew and mold is to take advantage of climate controls in your self storage facility. It is virtually impossible to get rid of all the mold spores that exist on your personal effects, and reducing the amount of moisture in the air is the most important way to prevent the mold and mildew from spreading.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you should simply throw your items into a climate-controlled storage unit and hope for the best. With the right planning and preparation, you can protect all your items from long-term damage—and rest assured that your belongings are safe in the self storage facility of your choosing.

Mold and Mildew in Self Storage

Mold and mildew can grow on a variety of items in self storage. These tiny fungal organisms are found virtually everywhere, but because they are invisible to the naked eye, we rarely notice or worry about them. However, whenever you create a contained space (such as a storage unit full of your belongings), you are creating an ideal environment for them to spread—and become not only visible, but problematic.

Although you might think that temperature alone can help prevent mold and mildew spread, humidity is actually the biggest culprit. If you can keep the humidity below the 50 percent range, you have a better chance of reducing mold and mildew spread, as these are not ideal conditions for the organisms to grow.

The items most susceptible to damages include:

  • Leather
  • Clothing
  • Soft plastics
  • Paper products (including cardboard boxes)
  • Wood
  • Upholstered furniture
  • Mattresses

Kitchen appliances that haven’t been properly cleaned before storage can also pose a high risk of mold growth. In fact, if you don’t take care of these items before you put them in storage, they can exacerbate the mold problem, causing it to spread faster to the other items in the storage unit.

How to Prevent the Spread of Mold in Self Storage

Every item you put in storage should be treated before it gets put away. While there are specialty disinfecting cleaning products you can purchase for things like leather couches, the best way to do this is to clean all surfaces with baking soda or another non-abrasive cleaning product. This is especially true for the insides of refrigerators, stoves, and other appliances that may have food residue in them.

You should also avoid putting items in plastic to keep them protected, even though this seems like the wisest course of action. Unless you are vacuum-sealing the plastic, you are actually encouraging mold to grow by trapping water vapors inside the plastic.

You can also purchase products that are designed to be placed in a self storage unit to draw moisture and mold from the air. Like baking soda in the fridge, this is a relatively low-cost self storage mold solution.

Of course, you can also talk with your self storage provider for tips and tricks. Always look for climate controlled storage units first, and from there, you can add layers of protection on your own.

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