The Mold Problem in Your Home
AHCHOO!!! It’s that time of the year again, where the dreaded allergy bugs hit with full force. The most common time for this is usually around spring, but some people are more susceptible and actually suffer a lot longer throughout the year.
Although allergy symptoms have a lot of causes which can remain undetected, there are some which are more obvious and if you have the opportunity to remove these from your environment, you’ll find that the indoor air quality in your home is much fresher and your sneezes – or other allergy symptoms – are much less prominent. One of these is mold.
It’s disturbing, but mold could actually live everywhere in your home, though it prefers areas that are damp and dark. The thing with mold is that when you agitate it, it spreads through the air. For example if you have mold in your HVAC system and you haven’t used it in a while before you turn it on, you’re spreading a plethora of fungus spores throughout your home. And yes, it is as gross as it sounds. Those spores float through the air, getting into your lungs, causing you a number of allergy-related problems – some of which can be quite serious. In fact, mold has been linked to many other illnesses that stretch far beyond allergies, including cancer, Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS), Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and multiple sclerosis.
How to Solve The Problem
So what’s your best option? Prevention is obviously the key and a good place to start is to buy a hygrometer, which tests the amount of moisture in the air. Mold thrives on moisture in the air, it’s what helps it to grow. A hygrometer is pretty cheap and you’ll be able to find one at your local hardware store. Once you have one at home, you want to test regularly and make sure the humidity that is in your home is ideally between 35% and 50%. If your humidity is over 60%, you’re asking for trouble.
If your humidity is too high, get the fans working, turn on your air conditioner (one with a HEPA filter is best for keeping mold spores out), or use a dehumidifier to help regulate the air flow through your home. Any of these options is going to help.
Now, take a look around. Don’t freak out when I tell you there are more than 10,000 species of mold, because these fit into three major types: allergenic, which is the most common type and is usually either green or black; pathogenic, which can lead to things like pneumonia; and toxigenic, which is more likely to grow on food and is highly dangerous.
In particular, you want to check the walls, floors, ceilings and braces of your kitchen, bathroom, basement and your attic. If you find mold growing in your home, or even if you only THINK you have mold growing there, get it removed right away. You want to be checking the roof and walls and if you see any kind of dampness, or any discoloring, take time to investigate it.
You can try to do this yourself following our handy tips below; or get a professional mold remover in to do the job for you. It really depends on how much time you have, and how bad the mold infestation in your home is. If your allergies or other symptoms are pretty bad, you’re definitely better off getting a professional.
If you are considering cleaning up the mold yourself, there are a number of methods you can try, such as mixing bleach and water, or using things like Ammonia, Hydrogen Peroxide and Distilled Ethanol. If the mere thought of introducing those mixes into your home makes you cringe, don’t worry – there are also four other proven methods, using more natural ingredients, that you can use that won’t damage your indoor air quality even further.
Tea Tree Oil: Head to your local chemist or supermarket and get a bottle of tea tree oil. Mix about one teaspoon of oil with around one cup of water and then go to pour it into a spray bottle. Spray onto the surface and leave it there. Leaving it helps prevent the mold returning.
Vinegar: Grab yourself a bottle of white vinegar and a spray bottle the next time you head to the shops. Spray the vinegar anywhere you can see mold or mildew growing, leave it alone for a few minutes, then wipe it away with a cloth.
Baking Soda: This is definitely the cheapest method for cleaning up mold with boxes of baking soda only costing a few dollars (if that). Add a quarter of a teaspoon of baking soda to some water, mix it in a spray bottle by shaking it up until the soda is dissolved. Spray your mold then grab yourself a scrubbing brush and start cleaning. Once you’ve finished, rinse the area using some clean water and a sponge, then dry the surface.
Grapefruit Seed Extract: Not as cheap as the other versions, but it will leave your place smelling amazing. Grapefruit Seed Extract is available at pharmacies and some supermarkets. If you get yourself a small bottle, you want to put about 10 drops of that into a spray bottle with a cup of water. Shake it up and then spray it on the mold. Leave it there and with any luck, your mold will stay away.