Keep It Clean: Preventing Mold and Bugs

Keep It Clean

Preventing Mold and Bugs


Living in a tropical environment like Hawaii can increase the risk of mold, mildew, and bug infestations. Even if one takes all preventative measures, it’s difficult to avoid these issues altogether. Here are some tips to help you prevent and treat them when they occur:


Mold & Mildew 

Hawaiʻi's warm and humid climate creates ideal conditions for mold and mildew growth. Mold and mildew are both types of fungus that thrive in moisture. Mold tends to grow upward and can have a fuzzy texture, while mildew is usually flat and can be powdery. Both can be found even in clean rooms, due to spores in the air. No room is invincible to mold and mildew! The CDC and EPA have more information on their websites. 

  • Dark, moist conditions are prime for mold growth. 
  • If it's wet, don't store it away. Hang it to dry or use the washer and dryer. Don't lay wet items on your bed or desk chairs.  
  • Clean regularly. Wash clothes on the highest heat setting recommended by the manufacturer. Thoroughly dry items and use a vinegar-water solution to neutralize mold/mildew growth. 
  • Leather items are especially prone to mold growth in humid environments. Clean and dry items like shoes, hats, and backpacks regularly. 
  • Wash bed linens and towels at least once per week. 

Air Movement 

Good ventilation can minimize mold growth.  

  • Open doors and windows to increase airflow, but only when weather permits.
  • Leave the doors of the suite open to increase air flow into the bathroom, which will help increase circulation.
  • Using additional fans can supplement air flow provided by open windows or air conditioning.
  • Hang items up to dry with space in between for proper airflow.

Mold & Mildew Treatment 

Nipping mold & mildew in the bud is key to minimizing the problem

  • Wash or discard personal belongings with mold immediately.
  • If you find mold or mildew on an item, spot clean or pre-treat with a vinegar-water solution to neutralize the mold/mildew growth. Then, if necessary, wash the item per the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Clean mold and mildew on bathroom surfaces right away.
  • Report mold on walls or furniture to maintenance staff.

ants & Cockroaches 

Regular cleaning can lower the risk of infestation. 

  • Do not leave food out in the open, and clean up food messes promptly. 
  • Cockroaches sometimes “hitchhike” into buildings. Check all items before bringing them inside. 

Remember, if you have any questions or concerns about mold or bug infestations in your campus housing, please submit a facilities request.