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How to Prevent Mildew Growth on Wall Frames

  • by Arthur Harrison
  • 4 min read


Although mold growth is not a very common issue in the dryer locales of the world, it does happen occasionally in more humid climates. Mold can accumulate behind pictures hanging on exterior walls. This is due to condensation caused by the interior of your home being cool with a relatively high humidity level, and the exterior being warm during the summer months. 

So if you’re like most people, you probably don’t check behind your frames very often (or ever) but after reading this article, you may want to investigate and see what’s going on behind your frames.

An image that shows the back of frames and a zoom in on mildew occuring

What You Need to Know About Mildew

The brown spots you may occasionally see behind wall frames are mildew spots. Mildew is a type of mold that grows on flat surfaces and on organic matter such as wood and clothing as well as other materials such as acrylic. 

FEMA describes it as “early-stage mold” and according to JSE Labs, mildew is a microscopic fungus that travels through the air in the form of tiny spores. When they land in damp or humid environments, that’s when mildew begins to grow.

This is highly common in places that are very humid, insulated and are not well-ventilated. You may see mildew more in frames that are hung near the corners of a wall or in frames that are hung flush against the wall. This is mainly because there’s no good airflow between the wall and the picture frame or art piece.

Although mildew spores don’t penetrate surfaces and grow into them like mold does, mildew is still considered unsightly and should be removed ASAP. The good news is that mildew is easy to spot and get rid of. All you need is a good cleaner and a scrub brush.

But of course, it’s always best to just take some necessary precautions to avoid it from the get-go. Check out the next section to learn how!

How to Prevent Mildew Growth on Your Framed Pictures and Art 

Let’s not allow these pesky brown spots to ruin our beautiful hanging photo display and artwork showcase. Here are 7 ways to prevent mildew growth on your framed pictures and art!

Use picture hanging bumpers for good airflow.

We’ve established that good airflow can help minimize mold and mildew growth. Hence, it’s important to have a spacer in between the frame and the wall and bumpers are designed to do just that.

Close up shot of bumpers

Picture hanging bumpers help push a frame off the wall, allowing some space for them to breathe. Since good ventilation is important to preventing mildew growth, bumpers are a very useful picture hanging accessory.

There are different types of bumpers that differ in shape, size, and color. Choose the kind of bumper that’s most suitable for your application.

Check behind your frames regularly.

You may occasionally inspect your valuables to ensure they are secure and in good condition, so you may also want to schedule a day where you examine your picture frames. This will help monitor any signs of mold so it can be removed promptly before it causes further damage. You may also wipe the walls dry and keep dust from forming under the frame. 

Maintain cleanliness in the space regularly.

Speaking of dust, make sure the surroundings of the frames are clean. Behind the frame, over and under the picture hangers, and spaces in between picture frames. Vacuum and wipe walls and countertops regularly to avoid dust accumulation. Mold and mildew are more likely to occur in the presence of dust.

How to Prevent Mildew Growth on Wall Frames

 Avoid hanging frames or decor in the corners of a space.

Choosing the right picture hanging location is essential to ensuring the best viewing angle, as well as ensuring the picture is hung securely (finding a stud, for example). Additionally, it serves as a barrier against mildew growth by providing ventilation from the sides and back of the frame. 

“Dry” the air using air conditioners and dehumidifiers.

Cold air holds less moisture than warm air, which is why air conditioners help tremendously to keep artwork safe and for preventing mold and mildew from growing. 

On the other hand, you can use a dehumidifier if you are hanging pictures or art in damp places or rooms without an air conditioner, like a basement or a sunroom. 

Can you imagine flipping your beautiful artwork over only to see those icky brown spots? We have discussed a few suggestions to help you avoid mildew taking over, however, it is extremely important to check your artwork regularly. Make sure to watch out for any indication of localized high humidity so you can address it immediately to prevent mildew from growing.

About Bumpers

We’ve established that mildew occurs in areas behind and around pictures that aren’t well-ventilated. Fortunately, we have a picture hanging accessory that can help provide adequate space between the wall and the frames on the wall.

Types of Picture Hanging Bumpers

Picture hanging bumpers are small rubber adhesives designed to stick to the back of the frames. As mentioned earlier, there are different types of bumpers. These are:

  • Tapered rubber bumpers
  • Round rubber bumpers
  • Dome rubber bumpers
  • Square rubber bumpers
  • Tall rubber bumpers
  • Round felt bumpers

The type of bumpers you should choose depends on your goal for applying them. We recommend the Tall Clear Bumpers and the Tapered Rubber Bumpers for the most amount of  airflow between the frame and the surface. They are 6-7 mm tall, compared to the regular bumpers which stand at around 2-3 mm tall.

RELATED ARTICLEEverything You Need to Know about Picture Hanging Bumpers

To learn more about bumpers, you can read the article linked above or email us at support@picturehangsolutions.com and we will be glad to assist! You can purchase bumpers from our website or our Amazon Store

Final Thoughts

It’s important to know how and where mildew can possibly grow especially if hanging pictures and art is something you do regularly. This way, you can do your best to prevent it or get rid of it as quickly as possible if you encounter it. Now go check those frames and make sure they’re mildew-free!!

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