There are 3 important steps to preventing mold growth in your home.
1. Detect it
2. Remove the mold
3. Remediate the water source
If you smell mold, you have mold. The first step is finding the source of the smell. Once this is located and narrowed down to a relatively easy to inspect spot, then you are ready for step two.
Remove the Mold
Removing mold can be very messy and even dangerous if there is a large amount of it. Areas of heavy mold growth over a few square feet should be removed under containment or at least by a mold professional. It is possible to clean mold off of surfaces that are not porous such as glass and plastic, but it will not be possible to clean porous materials to a mold free level. Materials such as drywall, cloth, leather, shoes, basically any organic material will not clean very easily. If these materials cannot be put in a deep cycle cleaning machine, like a washer, then there is little hope of removing all of the mold.
Remediate the Water Source
The removal of the actual source of the water is the primary goal in preventing mold growth. If the source of water is removed or cut off, the mold will not continue to grow. It is true that mold will still remain alive after the water is gone, but it will not continue to grow. This is why, however, removal of moldy materials is only one of the important steps. Many mold removal and mold remediation companies do not perform this crucial step of water remediation and the mold only returns.