Mold & Mites in the Walls Behind Electrical Outlets

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Remove outlet coverss to clean behind them.
Remove outlet coverss to clean behind them. (Image: Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Mold and mites are two nuisances that can cause homeowners headaches. Mold is a type of plant fungus that can decay walls, and mites are a type of insect pest that can also eat away at walls. Both favor areas with little light and ventilation with damp conditions. Thus, the small area of the wall that is behind electrical outlets can attract and be a haven for mold and mites. Prevent them from thriving there to keep them from spreading to other areas of your home.

Mold Growth

Mold is a type of fungus that decays organic matter. When it grows in your home, it will eat away at the wood and resin in your walls. It is especially adept at doing this when it grows unnoticed and unchecked. Once mold growth is large and visible, the mold will send out microscopic spores to start new colonies. This is why you often see spots of mold growth clustered in an area. Thus, when it grows behind your electrical outlet, mold can easily spread to other areas of your home.

Mite Development

Mites are small and sometimes microscopic pests that can live and thrive in your home. All homes have a certain amount of mites. They can cause an allergic reaction in some people, and some types can cause damage to your walls. Mites, especially dust mites, can gather in the space behind your electrical outlet. They do this because they eat the dust that has collected there.

Removal

Removing the mold and mites behind electrical outlets is essential to preventing them from spreading throughout your home and from causing you and your family allergic reactions. To do this, remove the electrical outlet cover by unscrewing the plate and prying it off the wall. Turn off the electricity to that room by flipping the switch in the breaker. Spray a home cleaning solution that contains bleach on the area of the wall with mold growth. Scrub the wall until it appears clean. Wipe the area with a clean cloth and let it dry completely.

Prevention

Prevent mold from growing behind your electrical outlets by making sure that your home has a healthy relative humidity. Some homes have a high humidity, which only encourages mold growth. Keep your home within a healthy range of 30 to 60 percent humidity. Mold may still grow in your home and may settle behind your outlets. Mites will settle there no matter what. Prevent both from becoming a problem by removing the outlets at least once per month and cleaning the wall behind it.

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