Mold & Mildew Prevention

As part of the University’s Mold Management Plan, the Office of Residence Life and Housing provides the following information about the potential for mold/mildew.


Things To Know About Mold

  • Molds produce allergens, but like any other allergen, exposed individuals will respond differently.
  • If you are having symptoms you believe may be the result of mold allergens, make an appointment with the Student Health Service for an examination. The Student Health Service can be reached at 336-758-5218.
  • The EPA reports that “there is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture”.
  • Wake Forest University does have a Mold Management Plan in place to identify and treat areas of potential mold growth.
Mold Growing

Learn More About Mold From The EPA

Molds are part of the natural environment and can be found everywhere, indoors and outdoors. Mold is not usually a problem unless it begins growing indoors. The best way to control mold growth is to control moisture. This website provides guidance about mold and moisture for homes, schools, multifamily and commercial buildings.

Read More

Tips For Preventing Mold/Mildew Growth

  • Do not open windows while heating or cooling units are operating. This will cause condensation and may contribute to mold growth.
  • Do not place furniture or other items in front of heating and cooling units that can obstruct airflow.
  • Do not place potted plants or any other source of moisture on or around heating and cooling units.
  • Set thermostats no lower than 70 degrees when cooling and no higher than 74 degrees when heating your room, fans should be set on low speed.
  • Do not leave wet or damp clothes, towels or shoes in closets. Set them out on a drying rack until completely dry.
  • Please empty your room and bathroom trash on a regular basis, do not let it accumulate in your room.
  • Do not use foam mattress pads on your bed, they do not allow air circulation between the pad and our waterproof mattresses.

If you see or suspect mold… Immediately call Facilities and Campus Services at 336-758-4255 to have the area inspected.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at housing@nullwfu.edu or 336-758-5185.

Mold/Mildew FAQ

  • Is there mold in Johnson Hall, or any other residence hall?

    Yes . . . and in every other building you normally occupy, including your home, and outside, all the time.  Mold spores are always present in outside air and indoor air, except in sterile environments such as certain laboratories and medical spaces.

  • Is there a mold problem in Johnson Hall, or any other residence hall?

    No.  Repeated inspections and testing have confirmed that there are no systemic water intrusion or mold problems in Johnson Hall.

  • Is the indoor air quality in Johnson Hall safe?

    Yes.  Repeated testing has shown the air to be normal, safe and consistent with outside air levels.

  • If I see little dark spots or splotches on a window sill, sash or frame or on a pipe or other surface, is that mold?

    Maybe.  Mold spores are always floating in the air and will grow when they have the right amount of moisture.  Condensation around windows or on pipe insulation, for example, can allow certain types of fungus to grow.  What you see could also just be dirt, dust, and particulates that settle and collect on those surfaces.

    If those spots are mold, are they dangerous?

    Almost certainly not.  We all breathe and touch many types of microscopic mold spores every day and the great majority of people have no reactions.  Some people who have chronic respiratory issues, such as asthma, or who are already sick or what is called immuno-compromised, may have reactions to certain types of mold.

  • What should a student do to report mold?

    If a student thinks there is a mold issue in their room, they should immediately contact Facilities & Campus Services at 336-758-4255 or workorders.wfu.edu. Students may also choose to notify the Office of Residence Life and Housing (housing@wfu.edu) in addition to notifying Facilities & Campus Services.

  • How does Wake Forest respond to a mold report?
    1. Staff members trained to identify and assess mold quickly and promptly check the area in question.
    2. If mold is found, the University’s mold management plan is activated by Facilities and Campus Services. Developed in conjunction with third-party industrial hygienists, all practices in the plan are in line with guidelines provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
    3. Wake Forest has several methods of responding to reports of mold growth, in accordance with the University’s Mold Management Plan:
      1. Affected areas are cleaned and treated with products that have mold inhibitors.
      2. When mold growth requires complex or sizable (greater than 10 sq ft) remediation, the University works with an approved third party abatement contractor to address the issue.
  • Are more students sick this year than in past years?

    Student Health Service frequently sees patients concerned about common seasonal illnesses such as the flu, “stomach bugs” and respiratory illnesses that might affect their ability to keep up with academic commitments and social activities. The Student Health Service tracks these illnesses closely and looks for any meaningful trends. Following a review of illnesses to date, there are no notable differences between this year and past years. Further, there is no notable difference between our South Campus communities. 

    One of the challenges of being a student on a college campus is exposure to illnesses among friends, classmates and hallmates. Communal living environments – as well as busy, active lifestyles – contribute to college students’ risk of contracting common contagious illnesses.

  • Has Wake Forest taken a look at how other schools address mold?

    Yes. Wake Forest has been in contact with several universities and learned that our procedures are similar to theirs or, at times, more advanced.

  • Is mold an allergen?

    Mold produces allergens, but like any other allergen, exposed individuals will respond differently. Some may have no reaction, others may experience hay fever-type symptoms and others may experience more significant symptoms. It is important to keep in mind that many students new to North Carolina will experience seasonal allergy symptoms, even without a prior history of this condition. Symptoms typically will arise during the first or second year at Wake Forest. Having never experienced problems with seasonal allergies, many students may attribute these symptoms to a sinus infection or become concerned that there is mold in their residence hall.

  • Are there government regulations governing how the University must treat mold?

    Mold is not regulated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Mold is a natural byproduct of various conditions, often occurring in warm and moist environments where there is abundant vegetation such as trees, landscaping plants, and ground coverings. According to the EPA, mold cannot be totally eliminated in the environment unless extreme measures are taken constantly, as would be the case in a “clean room” laboratory.

  • What might contribute to indoor mold growth, such as that found in some locations on campus?

    Indoor sources for mold may be leaking pipes, standing water, damp clothing or towels and condensation in the area. The University is equally concerned about finding the source of the mold and  cleaning it. If mold can be prevented by taking certain steps, the University does so.

  • What are some recommendations the University has made to students to reduce the likelihood of mold growth in their living area?

    Some recommendations, shared with students via informational email:

    • Keeping your space open, clean and dry will prevent mold growth and will reduce the amount of dust, dust mites, particulates and other allergens in the air.
    • Operate your heating/cooling units within proper parameters. Do not leave windows open during cold weather while running the heat, not during hot weather while running the air conditioning.
    • Never leave damp material like clothes, towels or shoes on the floor or any other surface, they give an ideal environment for mold.
    • Don’t overcrowd your space with furniture and other items. Keep all furniture and other materials away from heating/cooling units to allow proper airflow and to prevent creating dark, cramped spaces where mold can flourish.
    • Immediately report any leak or sign of water intrusion that you notice.