If you rent a self storage unit, then you may be concerned about your belongings and the development of mold and mildew. This is a serious concern for many individuals and why it is wise to invest in a climate controlled storage unit so that low humidity and temperature levels can be maintained. However, if you do not want to spring for the extra expense of a climate controlled unit, then there are some easy things that you can do to keep mildew at bay in your storage space.
Keep An Eye On Humidity
Moisture in your storage unit is one of the bigger concerns that will cause mold and mildew to develop. Water is one of the three main requirements for mildew to form. Moisture is not always going to be a concern though, especially if your belongings are being stored during the drier summer or winter months. This means that you should keep on eye on humidity and then control moisture once a problem is noted. To do this, purchase a digital hygrometer for your storage space. The device will provide you with a readout of the relative humidity in the space. Relative humidity is the percentage of water vapor in the air in relation to the air's temperature.
When using the hygrometer, watch out for humidity levels that reach 60% or above. This moisture level is when mold is most likely to develop. If you notice this humidity, then place desiccants in the unit. A desiccant will remove the moisture in the air to return the space to a drier environment. You can purchase silica gel and place two cups of the gel in a bowl. Place the bowl in the center of the unit so the material can absorb moisture. You can also add one-half cup of the gel in four paper bags and then place one bag in each corner of the space.
Desiccant dehumidifiers are an option as well. These devices use a fan to move humid air over a filter or a container filled with a desiccant material. The water is removed and the dry air is released back into the storage space. While some dehumidifiers do require electricity, you can find devices that use batteries. These are best for storage spaces since electric devices are rarely allowed in storage units.
Once the humidity level drops both inside and outside the storage space, consider propping the door of the unit up a few inches. This will allow some air to flow into the space. Mold and mildew growth is most significant in areas where air is stagnant. The flow of air will help to disrupt mold spores that have gathered in the unit and keep them from developing mold on your belongings.
Use Synthetic Packing Materials
Most people will use cardboard boxes, newspapers, cotton cloths, and other organic materials to pack up their belongings in storage units. While these materials may seem like an obvious choice, they can contribute to the formation of mold and mildew. Mold spores feed off organic materials and they can eat anything and grow on any object that contains cellulose. Cellulose makes up paper, cotton, and other packing materials. This means that mold can develop on these things and then grow to infest your objects.
One good way to prevent mildew and mold formation is to use synthetic packing materials instead of natural and organic ones. Choose to use plastic totes instead of cardboard boxes and also use bubble wrap instead of newspaper. Instead of covering furniture items with cotton drop cloths, use plastic painting tarps instead.
While wood pallets are often suggested for use on the bottom of the storage unit to keep water away from containers and furniture, you should skip the pallets since mold can grow on them. Use bricks or cinderblocks to elevate belongings instead.
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