If you are ever stymied by trying to have a more portable way to clean for mold the way most folks clean for bacteria with their ever-ready canister of antibacterial wipes, I have created a simple recipe and solution to help you out.
Now why should you care? Why is it important to clean or wipe down for mold on the go? Why not just use antibacterial wipes and call it a day?
If you are allergic to mold, like my son, or your immune system has taken a hit from being exposed to a mold-toxic environment, like my husband, the slightest encounter can send you reeling. Antibacterial wipes are NOT ant-ifungal and do NOT kill mold. Thus, they are not a viable solution for people allergic or sensitive to mold. For those with these issues, According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, the following reactions can happen almost immediately: sneezing, itching, runny nose and congestion, scaling skin, hay fever symptoms, and even an asthmatic attack. That is pretty serious. And while I can clean the heck out of my home and constantly test it to make sure it is mold free, I cannot always control the environments we are entering on a daily basis.
What I can do is keep a canister of my DIY mold wipes with me to help make the temporary environments safer and more hospitable for my family. The simplest way to use these wipes is to wipe down all surfaces that your body will come into contact with. For example, a school desk and chair, your purse, backpack, briefcase, or folio, an exercise mat or equipment at the gym, a telephone receiver, a computer keyboard, a mobile phone that is going to touch your face, vinyl or leather seats, dash, steering wheel, etc. in a car, a fold-down tray on an airplane—do see where I’m going here? The list could go on and on. Basically, I’ve learned that if it could be laden with bacteria, it could also have high mold and fungal counts.
Here is how to make your own environmentally-friendly portable canister of anti-fungal wipes:
- 8 oz. aluminum coffee can or plastic canister with a lid. (An empty plastic canister of antibacterial wipes will work well, but these canisters are usually larger than 8 oz, so you may have to double the recipe. I love LavAzaa coffee, so these are the ones I use, and have in abundance at our home.)
- 1 cup of distilled water (DO NOT USED TAP WATER.)
- ¼ cup of EC3 Mold Solution Concentrate, or white distilled vinegar (Note: EC3 is anti-fungal and antibacterial, so it packs a double punch.)
- ¼ cup witch hazel
- 10 drops tangerine oil, lemon oil, or any other citrus essential oil with a fragrance that you enjoy. (The citrus is anti-fungal and the fragrance will make using the wipes much more pleasant. I use pure essential tangerine oil, and it has a faint orange color. It doesn’t bother me to have the color on my wipes, but choose something colorless, if that is what you prefer.)
- 1 roll paper towels (I highly recommend using good-quality paper towels. The thinner they are, the more likely they are to rip when you are pulling them out of the can. I use Bounty. I also prefer the standard cut paper towels, but it is fine to use the pick-a-size ones, if you think you will want the option of using smaller squares.)
- Serrated knife
- Clean your canister of choice thoroughly with hot, soapy water.
- Pour your water, EC3 or vinegar, witch hazel, and essential oil into a large bowl. Mix all ingredients together well.
- Measure your paper towel roll against your coffee can. Make sure you measure it, so that the roll will fit inside the can and the lid will be able to seal. Mark your measurement on the roll. Cut your paper towel roll with your serrated knife.
- Place your cut paper towel roll inside the coffee can, cut side down.
- Pour your homemade anti-fungal solution over your paper towel roll inside of the coffee can. Seal can with lid and allow paper towels to soak up solution for at least 10 minutes.
- Open can and flip it over to make sure all liquid has been absorbed. Flip it back the right way and place on a flat surface.
- Pull the cardboard roll out of the center of the paper towels. This should pull your first wipe up to the top to make it ready for use.
- If you have excess liquid sitting inside that has not been totally absorbed, you can pour it out at this time.
- Use your wipes as you would any canister wipes.
- Always make sure to close to top completely, to seal moisture inside between uses.
- If you need additional moisture or if wipes seem to be drying out, add distilled water a little at a time to re-moisten.
Now you have a DIY solution that is portable and easy-to-use. I hope you will try these. I carry them with me to the gym, to sports practices, and out and about. My son has some in his cubby at school, and my husband never travels without them. I hope you will try my recipe and let me know what you think!