mold and mildew in gutters causing musty smell and fall allergies

Enjoy Fall While Avoiding Leaf Mildew and Musty Smells

Fall leaves are gorgeous—until they mildew outside your house and bring in musty smells that even the most aggressive vacuuming can't erase. Come to think of it, the vacuuming just spreads the odors around. What's a homeowner to do to avoid musty smells, wheezing, and sneezing?

You could cut down your trees, but that's a drastic solution. How about investing in clean air for your home? Veva air purifiers, air filters, and vacuum cleaner bags and filters keep the dust and debris from fall flora out of your house, so you can breathe easier. 

There's no way you can stop all the impurities from coming indoors, and vacuuming doesn't pick up microparticles. An air purifier, like the Veva purifiers, trap airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns, so the air that's circulating around the house is as clean as can be. Even if you don't have a Veva purifier, you can still install our filters in your existing air purifiers. Veva makes air filter replacements that are compatible with most major brands

Vacuuming often leaves a musty smell, so HEPA filters and microbags help combat that unpleasant aroma. Veva also makes vacuum bags that fit Kirby vacuum cleaners, and vacuum filters that are compatible with Bissell, Dyson, and Shark machines.

Common Causes for Fall Allergies

Even though trees and plants aren't blooming in the fall, they're still busy producing irritants and allergens. Also, dead leaves are the perfect environment for those mold spores that create that musty smell. Veva air filter replacements and purifiers are ready to come your rescue. 


Ragweed pollen is the primary culprit. This is what's commonly called 'hay fever', although there is no hay involved and very seldom a fever. If you or a family member are among the millions of people who suffer from pollen allergies in the spring, chances are good—like 75%—that fall ragweed will make you just as miserable. The ragweed season actually begins in August, when days are still hot but nights get cooler, and continues through October. Those marvelous fall breezes also spread the ragweed pollen all over North America, so you really can't avoid it. Sneezing and wheezing from ragweed is the worst around midday, especially during the still-warm, dry days of November.  


Mold, including mildew, is second major fall allergy trigger. This isn't the sort of indoor mildew that grows in damp closets or bathrooms, but an outdoor mold that just thrives in fall weather, particularly in fallen leaves. Fall weather—warm and moderately humid days with lingering morning dew create set the perfect stage for mold growth, providing oxygen, moisture, and food. 

Okay, you're thinking, I get the damp air, but what's the food source here? It's in the dead leaves, which by now are cellulose husks, a perfect host for mold spores to overachieve and become active colonies. When enough leaves fall in a given area, they create an insulated cocoon over the soil that retains moisture that causes the spores to thrive.

So those leaf piles that are so much fun for the kids to play in? Think twice before you let the leaves pile up, and if your offspring are jumping in the neighbor's piles, then stock up on antihistamines and tissues. There's nothing that spreads mold spores like jumping in the leaves, although simply raking or breezes also disperse them through the air. 

Learn more about black mold and how to get rid of it.

Dust Mites

Finally, dust mites are a problem for fall allergies. They live in the ductwork and are forced into the house when you turn the heat on in the fall. Mites aren't the only things can blow through the vents; dust and other residue comes through as well. You can vacuum up the dust, but the mites are attracted to shed human skin—yes, gross—so they'll migrate to rugs, upholstered furniture, and bedding. 

How to Reduce Fall Allergies

The first step in managing allergens in your home is to keep them outside. Practically speaking, this means keeping dead leaves and other yard debris from the house foundations, closing foundation vents so that dust and debris stay outside, and bagging dead leaves as soon as possible. 

Mold Spores Thrive in Trees

No matter where you live, chances are that native trees are havens for mold and mildew growth. Those beautiful oak, maple, and pine trees that pride summer shade and stunning fall colors are also where spores thrive. 

Powdery mildew is the worst offender in the fall mold universe. It looks like bits of snow on dead leaves, but blow on it—no, don't—and watch the spores fly. When you're out in the yard, wear gloves to keep spores off you hands, and clothing that you can leave in the garage or throw straight into the wash. Wear a mask so that you don't inhale any spores. 

Keep Your Windows Closed

It's a tough choice for many of us—sleeping with an open window and a cool breeze, or breathing easily? You can't have both if you're allergic, so you're probably going to sacrifice the open window. Don't forget to keep windows closed during the day, and remember that screen doors are sieves for anything blowing outside. 

Replace Furnace Filters

A good furnace filter is the first line of defense against dust and mites getting into your house, so make sure you are using a quality filter. You can get HEPA air filter replacements; they cost more but are worth it. When you replace the filters, bag them up before you take them outside—there's no point in changing them if you dust the halls with dust and mold spores. 

Learn more: Top 5 Fall Seasonal Home Upgrades For Clean Air Circulation

Run Your AC

Humidity is the mortal enemy for fall allergies, so the drier the air in your house, the lower the chances for mold to thrive. A dehumidifier can help, but in the cooler months can also irritate nasal passages and cause dry eyes and throats. The best way to keep humidity low in the house is to simply run the air conditioner in your bedrooms. Why the bedroom? Because that's where you spend one third of your life. 

When you install a Veva air purifier, or use Veva air filter replacements in your existing machines, you won't have to choose between breathing and being cold. 

How to Keep Allergens at Bay

The best way to keep allergens down is to be militant in vacuuming, dusting, and dust mopping. Invest in allergenic mattress and pillow covers, and wash all your bedding in hot water at least once a week. Dry on the highest heat or sanitize settings.  

Investing in air purifiers and super tight filters not only eases allergy symptoms, but clean air just makes for a healthier living environment. If you want to learn more about Veva air purifier and filters, visit us online anytime. 


Contributing Writer: Elizabeth Johnston

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