How to Prevent Mold & Mildew in a Storage Unit

Mold is destructive, unhealthy and causes many household items, like clothes, to smell bad. It can spread, too, especially if you don’t know it’s there. Many a storage unit renter has been surprised by mold because they don’t know how to prevent mold and mildew from living in their units.

Mold is a living organism. It eats things like grease, oil, dead skin cells, and other stuff. The problem is that this stuff can be on your jeans, your curtains, your sheets, and more. If it is, mold can form there. (Yeah, we know, gross.) The problem gets worse, though, because mold eats the material it grows on, which is bad news for your stuff. If it’s not prevented, mold can cause severe damage to your stuff.

That’s why, to help you prevent mold in your storage unit, we collected our top mold and mildew prevention tips! Most are easy, affordable, and work like a charm, protecting your stored stuff from mold and mildew. So read on for our…

Tips On How To Prevent Mold & Mildew In a Storage Unit!

Tip #1- Make Sure Everything You Store is As Dry as Possible

Mold, for those not in the know, usually forms where there’s moisture. Combine moisture with warm air, and you’ve got the perfect breeding ground for mold. That’s why you should do your best to make sure everything being stored is as dry as possible. That goes especially for clothing, some of which can soak up moisture like a sponge. It’s essential you dry your clothes thoroughly before you store them. 

Anything that might have been exposed to water should also be dried completely. Outdoor furniture, for example, the curtain from your bathtub or an inflatable pool. Dry it all as well as you can. If need be, leave things in the sun for a day or two to let them dry out.

Tip #2- Choose the Correct Container(s)

Choose the Correct Container to prevent mold and mildew in storage units

A lot of folks toss everything they own onto cardboard boxes, and that’s fine. They’re cheap, easy to use, and, even better, reusable. Unfortunately, they’re also the worst choice for clothing, sneakers, linens, and anything made from fabrics. They don’t protect against moisture, and, even worse, bugs and rodents can easily get inside them. Cardboard boxes are just fine for books, but you may want to get acid-free boxes. (That’s especially true if you have valuable antique books.) To help, here’s a list of different containers the can help prevent mold and mildew in storage units and the items that you should store in them:

Cardboard Boxes (Small, Medium, and Large)

  • Kitchen items
  • Toys & games
  • Books (Acid-free boxes if needed.)
  • Dry and canned goods
  • Tools
  • Electronics

Double-Thickness ‘Dish-Pak’ Boxes

  • Dishes
  • Glasses, mugs, and steins
  • Vases
  • Serving plates
  • Stemware

Clear, Plastic Bins

  • Folded clothing
  • Linens and towels
  • Winter apparel like scarves, gloves, hats, etc
  • Pillows
  • Shoes and sneakers

Wardrobe Boxes

  • Hanging clothes like dresses, suits, jackets, your wedding gown, etc.
  • Umbrellas
  • Standing lamps (The clothes protect them beautifully!)

Mirror Boxes

  • Mirrors
  • Framed posters
  • Paintings

Tip #3- Don’t Put Things Directly Against Storage Unit Walls

To prevent moisture from causing mold, there should be adequate airflow around your stuff. That being said, try not to push things directly against the walls of your storage unit. That includes furniture, dressers, sofas, and other large items. Also, keep some space, however small, between everything you’re storing. When you do, air can circulate, moisture will dry, and mold will be out of business.

Tip #4- Place Desiccants and Cedar Balls in Boxes with Clothing and Linens

Place Desiccants and Cedar Balls in Boxes to prevent mold and mildew in storage units

If you’ve purchased new shoes or sneakers lately, you know what desiccant is already. It’s a small packet filled with tiny balls made of silica. Silica absorbs moisture, keeping new shoes and sneakers fresh until you buy them. You can do the same in the containers where you store your clothes and linens. Purchase a bag of silica gel packs and toss 2 or 3 in each box. It’s easy, fast and safe, and will absorb any moisture, keeping mold and mildew at bay.

Cedar balls don’t absorb moisture, but they do repel insects. Plus, cedar has a unique and enjoyable aroma. When you finally take your clothes and linens out of storage, they’ll smell fabulous. One thing to keep in mind is that you shouldn’t put cedar balls directly on clothing or linens. Instead, put it in a small plastic bag and leave the bag open. You can also do the same thing with cedar shavings. It’s the best answer for how to prevent mildew in storage units.

Tip #5- Consider a Climate-Controlled Storage Unit

Storage facility hallway with multiple doors

Depending on where you live, storing clothes in a regular storage unit is usually sufficient. On the other hand, if you live in an area with extreme temperatures, your stuff might suffer. If you’re worried about mold and mildew, the best prevention is to rent a temperature-controlled storage unit. That way, no matter what the weather is outside, It stays dry and stable inside your storage unit.

Now, truth be told, it also depends on how long you plan to store your things. If it’s only for a few months, a regular storage unit should be fine. However, if you plan to store things long-term, a climate-controlled storage unit might be your best choice. 

It also depends on the time of year that you will be storing your things. If the weather is mild and stable, a regular storage unit works perfectly. (As long as you plan to move your things out before the weather changes, naturally.) If it’s the middle of winter or summer, though, the extreme cold and heat might be problematic. In that case, a temperature-controlled storage unit is recommended. Read more tips here on how to prevent moisture in your storage unit.

Tip #6- Use Cat Litter (yes, cat litter) In Your Storage Unit

The funny thing about cat litter; it absorbs moisture incredibly well. That’s why, to prevent moisture inside your storage unit, you can leave out a tray of cat litter. It will absorb moisture and protect your things, even if there’s no cat in sight. Just make sure to change it regularly. Under “how to prevent mold in storage unit’, this is one of our best tips.

Brought To You by Moove-In Self Storage

We hope you found all of these tips on how to prevent mold in storage unit helpful. Use them to avoid any moldy situations while your stuff sits safely and securely in storage. If you have questions, please feel free to chat online with one of our self-storage experts. If not, best of luck storing your stuff mold-free!

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