Depending on where you live, the basement of your home may be a full room that’s been renovated for regular use or it could be a storage cellar where homeowners keep canned goods and vegetables for use throughout the winter. In some parts of the United States, homes don’t even have basements, just a crawl space or cement slab under their home. No matter what is under your home, it can get dirty and dusty. It can also become a home for rodents and insects, which means it’s important to maintain its cleanliness.
Is It Mold or Efflorescence?
Efflorescence is a deposit on brick or stucco that often resembles mold. It is a salt deposit that in itself isn’t a health hazard, but it does indicate that your home is not managing water correctly. Efflorescence is different than mold in that it forms on the inorganic building materials while mold and mildew generally form on organic substances. Efflorescence dissolves with water but deposits that have been around for a while may require some scrubbing. Small amounts of mold and mildew can be scrubbed with a wire brush and Soft Scrub®, but remember to use protective gear such as a face mask to protect your lungs from breathing in the pollutants.
Keep Your Basement and Crawl Space Dry
Keeping your basement and crawl space free from water is one of the most effective ways to prevent problems, such as mold, mildew, efflorescence, and insect infestations. Insects and rodents look for water, even the smallest traces. To prevent water in your basement and crawl space, do these things:
- In the winter, disconnect outside hoses from the faucet
- Regularly check for leaks, moisture, and water damage to your basement
- Check the insulation around your pipes to make sure that they don’t freeze in the winter
- Make sure the drain pans for your HVAC system are working effectively
- If you have a sump pump, make sure it operates properly and directs water away from your home
- Watch for signs of foundation damage and shifting, which cause cracks and allow groundwater to seep into your home
Check for Signs of an Insect Infestation
If you see signs that you have roaches or ants in your basement or crawl space, make sure you kill the nest. Spray insecticides are contact killers and only kill the pests that you can see. Combat baits and gels get to the source of the infestation, even if you can’t find it. The roaches or ants eat the bait and take it back to their nest or colony to eliminate it in a domino-like effect.