Getting Rid of and Preventing Mold GrowthMolds are a type of fungi, a living organism separate from animals, bacteria and plants, which grow naturally and rapidly in environments that are dark, humid and temperate. Mold, and especially mildew, a specific kind of mold, even grows in our homes, where it produces reproductive bodies known as spores. These spores are so small as to be nearly microscopic, and once they break free from the whole, they float through the air until we breathe them in or they land. When they land, they stick to the surface, and under the right conditions, they root and grow new mold. The most disgusting and even health threatening aspect of these mold spores is that they’re forming and floating in your air long before you ever see or smell the mold. Mold is reproducing as soon as it appears, yet it must accumulate to a certain level to be perceptible. In addition to being utterly repulsive and perhaps even sickening, these mold spores can greatly exacerbate symptoms for those who suffer from allergies, asthma and even other respiratory conditions. So let’s examine the steps to getting rid of mold and then keeping it gone for good.
- Determine what factors are contributing to the mold. Sometimes the causes are natural to that particular environment, such as a dark and damp unfinished basement. But mold factors can also be due to errors or malfunctions, such as excess water from a leak. If the cause is repairable, take steps to fix it immediately.
- Prepare a cleaning solution. Commercial mold cleaning solutions are available, but you can make a highly effective, safe and cost-effective solution right in your own home using one part bleach and four parts water.
- Prepare yourself for the mold, which is generally harmless, but do not take anything for granted. Some molds are toxic, especially if you have allergies or other conditions. Wear rubber gloves, a facemask, or better yet, a respirator, and protective eyewear. These steps will ensure that you don’t touch mold or inhale mold spores.
- Before you start cleaning the mold, fill a clean spray bottle with tap water, and then spray all of the visible mold spots with a light mist. You can spray the spots again right before you clean them. The reason we do this is to prevent dryness. If the mold is too dry, spores will release during the cleaning process.
- Wearing the proper gear and armed with your cleaning solution, clean visible mold using a nylon brush that you’ve dipped into the cleaning agent. Scrub profusely until the mold is gone. In addition, wipe down the entire area where the mold was using a washcloth dipped in the cleaning agent, and then rinse it using a clean, moist washcloth.
- After rinsing, sanitize the affected area using white distilled vinegar, which is a natural fungicide. The easiest way to apply the vinegar is with a spray bottle. Spray it, let it sit for several minutes and then wipe it clear with a clean, moist washcloth. Repeat this step once per day for the next several days for maximum effectiveness.
- Purchase a stand-alone HEPA air filter and begin using it year-round. The HEPA air filter will help immediately to remove mold spores still in the home, and it will help long-term to manage mold. A HEPA filter traps nearly all particulates in your indoor air, and it can significantly reduce symptoms for those with asthma and other conditions.
- In addition to providing proper filtration and ventilation, we must control the moisture in our home. Do this by installing exhaust fans in kitchens and bathrooms. And if that doesn’t take care of the problem, then you should consider a dehumidifier to keep the house at a relative humidity between 40 and 60-percent.