Mold and your baby

Mold is a fungus that often looks like fuzzy spots of different colors, like green, gray or black. It spreads through tiny spores (cells) that float through the air.

Mold can be inside or outside. If mold grows inside your home, it may cause health problems for your baby.

How can mold affect your baby’s health?

Mold affects some babies more than others. If your baby lives somewhere with a lot of mold, he's more likely than other babies to have allergies, asthma and other health problems. An allergy is a reaction to something you touch, eat or breathe in that makes you sneeze, itch, get a rash or have trouble breathing. Asthma is a health condition that affects airways and can cause breathing problems.

Breathing in or touching mold can cause:

  • A stuffy or runny nose and sneezing
  • Sore throat 
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Red or itchy eyes 
  • Skin rash
  • Headaches

If your baby has these signs and symptoms often, she may be exposed to mold. Talk to her health care provider about how you can keep your baby safe from mold. 

Where does mold grow in your home?

Mold can grow anywhere, but it grows best in places that are warm, damp and humid. In your home, you may find mold in:

  • The kitchen, basement and bathrooms
  • Air conditioners and humidifiers
  • Trash cans
  • Mattresses
  • Carpet

How can you prevent mold?

The best way to control mold is to control moisture. It’s impossible to prevent all mold growth, but doing these things can help prevent mold from growing in your home:

  • Fix plumbing leaks and other water problems as soon as possible. Clean and dry your home within 24 to 48 hours after flooding. Remove and replace carpets, fabrics and upholstery that can’t be dried quickly.
  • Make sure your home gets good air flow, especially in the kitchen, laundry area and bathrooms. In the kitchen and bathrooms, use exhaust fans or open a window to help keep the air dry. Be sure the clothes dryer vents outside . 
  • If you see moisture collecting on windows, walls or pipes, dry it quickly. Open windows or use an air conditioner or a dehumidifier to keep the air dry, especially in damp spaces like the basement. 
  • Clean and repair roof gutters on your roof.
  • Try to make the ground slope away from your home so water doesn't come in or pool up around around the foundation. 
  • Before painting or caulking, clean and dry moldy areas. Paint doesn't always stick to mold. If you paint a surface that has mold on it, the paint may later peel.

How can you clean (remove) mold?

If you can see or smell mold, clean it up. If the moldy area is small (less than 3 feet by 3 feet), you can probably clean it up yourself. If the moldy area is larger, you may want to hire a professional to clean it up. 

To clean small areas of mold from surfaces like walls and window frames, wear gloves and use one of these:

  • Soap and water
  • A mixture of bleach and water. Use 1 cup of bleach per 1 gallon of water. Don’t mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners.
  • Cleaning products that kill mold. You can buy these at hardware and grocery stores.

Do you need to have your home tested for mold?

If you can see mold in your home, the best thing you can do is remove it. You don't really need to know what kind of mold it is. Mold affects everyone differently, and testing can be expensive. Knowing what kind of mold you have doesn't help you protect yourself and your family from health problems. If you decide to test your home for mold, hire a professional. 

More information


Last reviewed: September, 2014

Mold is a fungus that often looks like fuzzy spots of different colors, like green, gray or black. It spreads through tiny spores (cells) that float through the air.

Mold can be inside or outside. If mold grows inside your home, it may cause health problems for your baby.

How can mold affect your baby’s health?

Mold affects some babies more than others. If your baby lives somewhere with a lot of mold, he's more likely than other babies to have allergies, asthma and other health problems. An allergy is a reaction to something you touch, eat or breathe in that makes you sneeze, itch, get a rash or have trouble breathing. Asthma is a health condition that affects airways and can cause breathing problems.

Breathing in or touching mold can cause:

  • A stuffy or runny nose and sneezing
  • Sore throat 
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Red or itchy eyes 
  • Skin rash
  • Headaches

If your baby has these signs and symptoms often, she may be exposed to mold. Talk to her health care provider about how you can keep your baby safe from mold. 

Where does mold grow in your home?

Mold can grow anywhere, but it grows best in places that are warm, damp and humid. In your home, you may find mold in:

  • The kitchen, basement and bathrooms
  • Air conditioners and humidifiers
  • Trash cans
  • Mattresses
  • Carpet

How can you prevent mold?

The best way to control mold is to control moisture. It’s impossible to prevent all mold growth, but doing these things can help prevent mold from growing in your home:

  • Fix plumbing leaks and other water problems as soon as possible. Clean and dry your home within 24 to 48 hours after flooding. Remove and replace carpets, fabrics and upholstery that can’t be dried quickly.
  • Make sure your home gets good air flow, especially in the kitchen, laundry area and bathrooms. In the kitchen and bathrooms, use exhaust fans or open a window to help keep the air dry. Be sure the clothes dryer vents outside . 
  • If you see moisture collecting on windows, walls or pipes, dry it quickly. Open windows or use an air conditioner or a dehumidifier to keep the air dry, especially in damp spaces like the basement. 
  • Clean and repair roof gutters on your roof.
  • Try to make the ground slope away from your home so water doesn't come in or pool up around around the foundation. 
  • Before painting or caulking, clean and dry moldy areas. Paint doesn't always stick to mold. If you paint a surface that has mold on it, the paint may later peel.

How can you clean (remove) mold?

If you can see or smell mold, clean it up. If the moldy area is small (less than 3 feet by 3 feet), you can probably clean it up yourself. If the moldy area is larger, you may want to hire a professional to clean it up. 

To clean small areas of mold from surfaces like walls and window frames, wear gloves and use one of these:

  • Soap and water
  • A mixture of bleach and water. Use 1 cup of bleach per 1 gallon of water. Don’t mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners.
  • Cleaning products that kill mold. You can buy these at hardware and grocery stores.

Do you need to have your home tested for mold?

If you can see mold in your home, the best thing you can do is remove it. You don't really need to know what kind of mold it is. Mold affects everyone differently, and testing can be expensive. Knowing what kind of mold you have doesn't help you protect yourself and your family from health problems. If you decide to test your home for mold, hire a professional. 

More information


Last reviewed: September, 2014