- Choose a climate-controlled facility
Many facilities use both air conditioning and dehumidifiers, and both help prevent mold and mildew. Mold starts to form at around 60% relative humidity, and forms faster as humidity increases. Similarly, mold and mildew prefer very hot temperatures of 30 degrees Celsius or more.
You can see evidence of both in your fridge: vegetables still mold because the humidity is too high, but they do it very slowly because the temperature is low.
Climate-controlled facilities are a good idea if you have any of the following mold-attracting goods:
- Clothes or cloth-covered furniture
- Leather goods or furniture
- Soft plastics
Moisture absorbers suck the water out of the air, and even a small amount can have a big impact.
For example, 1 kg of silica gel can absorb about 400 mL of water from the air. That doesn’t sound like much, but look at it this way: at 60% relative humidity, there is about 4 mL of water per cubic foot. In a 10 by 10 storage unit, that means that the total amount of water is 4 L. Take 400 mL out of that, and you bring the humidity down to 54%, within the zone where mold can’t form.
If you use several pouches, an investment that will cost you only a few dollars, you can bring the humidity down even more.
Fabric usually comes pre-treated with water repellent, but this treatment wears off over time. You can buy spray-on products to re-treat your fabric and prevent beads of condensation from building up and feeding mold.
Plastic covers intuitively feel right, but they’re not. Moisture gets trapped easily underneath plastic, and the soft plastic surface can itself host mold.
Clean every surface with baking soda before putting it in storage. This removes any mold spores that may already exist.
If moisture has built up to the point where you can see condensation on the walls or floor, you have a problem. Run a fan to help the moist air circulate out, and replace all your silica packets with new ones. You can also consider keeping a dehumidifier running in your unit at all times.
Jiffy storage units are known for their impeccable success rate in preventing mold and mildew in storage units, but many other facilities can’t say the same. Do your research before choosing a storage center to ensure that your items come out in the same condition they went in!