When I was putting clothes away in my closet last night I noticed it smelled musty. Upon investigation I found that the canvas hanging shelving unit was moldy , and an older pair of my sandals were, ummm, totally furry.
I threw away the sandals and the shelf, and washed all the sweaters that had been stored on the shelf. I also vacuumed the entire closet (including the walls). Now what? it doesn't smell in there anymore but does this mean everything in that closet is contaminated with mold spores?? I should probably wash everything, right?
How on earth can this happen in the first place? Granted we keep the closet closed and it gets very cold in there, but mold can't grow without damp right? I could put a silica thingie in there to absorb the moisture and stop closing the door I guess. But the closet is in DS's room so if its contaminated I probably need to do more than that.
Ug, I know...but its a daunting task. Its really the only closet in the house and as such is has all my clothes and sweaters, bedsheets, blankets, sleeping bags....
Luckily none of the kid's stuff though.
My mom's friend suggested that the room/closet needs more air circulation. Its true that its a pretty stagnant room and the windows offering no insulation means it can be pretty moist too. Maybe a ceiling fan would help?
I'd say clean everything really well, wash all the clothes and wipe everything down otherwise you're just leaving spores around to come back. Plus you don't want to ruin your items if there is mold on them and they aren't cleaned (stains and whatnot) If you think the closet/room stays too moist maybe you could put a door on the closet that isn't solid (has louvers) that way the closet will get more air circulation, but it will still be closed off...
I'd also say to take everything out of the closet and make sure you're not getting any water in there from anywhere, like a small leak from upstairs, the roof, or whatever. It may not be leaking all the time but you may have gotten water in just one time, but if you can figure out where the moisture is coming from you'll be better prepared if it happens again.
I had that happen a few years ago, in a different house.
I took everything out and washed it, and wiped down the solid things (likes shoes) with bleach water. I also sprayed the walls with bleach (I know not very crunchy, I was more afraid of mold than bleach). Then we put one of those silica bags in the cupboard and replaced it regularly.
Permaculture Design Student & Wannabe Urban Homesteader
This has happened to us in our closets that are along exterior walls. In our case, our walls do not have insulation, so the overall humidity in our house can get high. I have decluttered the closets, and I am careful not to let anything touch the wall or the floor. There has to be a few inches of space for air circulation. We also only use metal wire racks in the closet. This way, we can still store stuff, but air can circulate as well. We do leave the doors open as much as possible. Somebody suggested that we leave a light on in the closet, but it seemed like too much of a fire risk.
Sorry you have to deal with this. It's no fun not being able to store lots of stuff in a storage space!
ETA: We did clean the walls with a mixture of water and bleach. I washed what could be washed. I wouldn't worry too much about mold spores unless someone is allergic. They would have gone all over your house by now, anyway.
I've lived through this. It's too bad it's happened to you - it's a pain to deal with it.
I tossed the stuff that were too disgusting to try to save - a couple of pairs of old shoes and some bags. I thoroughly laundered or dry cleaned everything (coats, clothes, shoes, purses, blankets). Despite the cleaning, the mold came back on some leather boots and a leather bag (even though I didn't put them back in that closet), so they were tossed too.
After everything was cleaned, I put it all out in full sun for a day.
The closet was scrubbed with soap, water and bleach.
I bought some silica gel in a pail in the closet to try to prevent a recurrence and tried to keep the closet aired out.
I can't afford to dryclean all the unwashables because there are too many (I collect sweaters and I love wool skirts). So I hung all the wool outside to air. Thank goodnesss its nice out today!! I washed the closet down with bleach and talked my DH into getting a celing fan for the room. Hopefully that will be enough...
Oy. What a PITA. It looks pretty comical in my yard right now though. And laundry is on the menu for the forseeable future.