I am in Florida right now vacationing with my family, and because of the way that I travel now—with all of my mold prevention products and remedies—everyone suggested that I should write a post about it. I actually cannot believe that I haven’t done this sooner, since it has become my “new normal,” but better late than never, I suppose.
First of all, when you or your family members are mold sensitive, entering a new “home away from home,” or hotel room can be quite scary. You just don’t know if you can trust what you are walking into. The fear of getting sick again may even cause such great anxiety that you opt out of vacation altogether. I used to dread vacation. That is sad, I know, but after losing my health for so long, I wasn’t willing to chance anything, even for a vacation. These days, after much experimentation, and lots of preparation, I feel like my family and I can go just about anywhere, and am ok. There are definitely some environments that would be toxic to just about anyone, but a typical hotel room, condo or vacation rental home doesn’t worry me much anymore.
I bring an arsenal of mold-cleaning, prevention, and immune-boosting products with me. These products seem to do the job of keeping me and my family well outside of our mold-free bubble. So, instead of yammering on any longer, I am going to give you my tried and true lists of tips and tools to take with you when getting away for travel or on vacation.
(This list consists of the products I pack to bring with us on our trips. Obviously, if plane travel is involved, you may have to curate and filter your own list according to how much you can pack.)
(Note: All of these products offer temporary solutions or “barriers” to less-than-ideal indoor environments or air quality. They will not solve an extreme or toxic mold problem. Please use all products and supplements in this list as directed, and with the understanding that they are for keeping you well in your temporary environments.)
- CitriDrops Nasal Spray – I pack this in my purse, and label each bottle for the members of my family. I want to have it handy to spray our noses to keep our sinuses free of mold spores. It comes in handy if you are flying as well. I find that whenever we go to a rest stop, restaurant, or anywhere else where I feel like the air quality is subpar, if I go ahead and spray my nose with the CitriDrops Nasal Spray as soon as I leave, I don’t end up congested and sick.
- Sinus Defense – I use this product everyday to foster my fungal resistance to mold and to build up my immune system. (Here is the LINK to my post all about Sinus Defense, what it is, how it works, and why I love it.) This product can be used more often if you know you have taken a mold hit. It will help your body fight the fungal invaders more efficiently.
- EC3 Air Purification Candles – These are amazing. Within an hour of continuous burning time, the candles can bring the mold count down to zero in a closed room. (Here is a LINK to my post on the candles and how to properly use them.) For a house rental, I bring one candle per bedroom and 2 for the common areas. For a hotel room, I bring 2-3, depending on how long we are staying. Don’t forget to bring a lighter as well. The candles are designed to sit inside the tin top-lid to minimize fire hazards. As always, though, I caution you to never leave a candle burning unattended and to never leave a burning candle within reach of a child or pet.
- If I will have laundry access—EC3 Laundry Additive – This product will come in handy for clothes washing while you are away. Use it in every load per package instructions to ensure that you aren’t picking up and bringing home any unwanted mold spores from your trip. (Here is a LINK to my post on EC3 Laundry Additive, should you want to know more about it and how I typically use it.)
- EC3 Mold Solution Spray – This product can be used for just about anything. You can spray surfaces, textiles, carpets, rugs, luggage, anything you feel might contain mold. MicroBalance even offers a small TSA compliant size that is easy to pack or to throw into your purse for travel.
- Hydrogen Peroxide – A bottle of 3% drugstore peroxide can make a world of difference in a space that needs a little extra mold clean-up. You can use it to run through a washing machine in a rental prior to putting your clothes in it, or to wipe down a countertop. It is just great to have on hand. We actually used peroxide on our trip to clean the mold from the rubber gasket on a front-loading washing machine in our rental house.
- CitriDrops Dietary Supplement – This product works for so many different applications. You can put a few drops in a glass of water to help cleanse your system of bacteria, microbials and fungus, you can use it on produce to wash off chemicals, pesticides, bacteria and molds, and you can use it in a nasal wash, if you feel like you need a more thorough cleansing than what the CitriDrop Nasal Spray provides. (Here is a LINK to my post on nasal washes. Here is a LINK to my post on using the CitriDrops to wash produce.)
- Wein Mini-Mate Personal Ionic Air Purifier – This personal purifier comes in handy on planes, in hotel rooms and for restaurants, etc. to purify your immediate air supply. It destroys odors, chemical contaminants and dust before they can enter your nose. It can be clipped onto your clothing or worn around your neck.
- High-Quality Vitamin C Supplement – When traveling, I take 1000mg of Vitamin C everyday to help boost my antioxidant production and to help my immune system. I advise you to check with your doctor before adding any supplements to your diet.
- Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc and Vitamin D Supplement – This supplement is a potent combination that will help your body fight bacterial and fungal contaminants. Calcium, magnesium and zinc are 3 of the most important minerals to help the body maintain health. Zinc is essential to immune function. Definitely consult your doctor before adding any supplements to your diet.
- Preview where you will be staying – I highly recommend this. We go to the same beach in Florida every summer, but we always rent different houses, depending on when in the summer we have to go. Each year, we have started booking next summer’s trip while we are there. We take an hour or so out of our current trip to preview a few potential rentals for next year. You can walk in and know whether or not the air quality is good sometimes. I react pretty instantly to mold, so if I feel crummy in a home, we DO NOT rent it. You can also look for moisture intrusion, visible leaks and mold. If any of these are present, do not stay there.
- Read online reviews about where you are going to stay – Many times, if there is mold, leaking, moisture, or air-quality issues, people will mention it in their reviews. I would avoid any rental or hotel where people have reported leaks or that the hotel is unkempt or dirty—disrepair can indicate poor maintenance as well. With online access to just about anything these days, use it to your advantage, and do your research.
- Opt to stay in newer properties – Whenever possible, we choose newer hotels and homes to stay in. Newness doesn’t designate mold-free, but it does offer the probability of less time for the home or hotel to acquire leaks, deep moisture intrusion and toxic mold growth.
- Call hotels or property managers/owners ahead of time and inform them of your mold sensitivity – You need to make sure that the room/home you are staying in has good air quality. Just taking this extra step will many times alert them to your needs and give the hotel/rental owners/managers the opportunity to put you in a good room, or to fess up to previous or current mold issues. Believe me, it is better to know and to cancel a reservation before a trip, than to show up and have to deal with it there. For hotels, you can also ask if they have PURE Rooms or you can go to the PURE Rooms website to find hotels with their approved process. (Here is a LINK to my post on PURE Rooms, if you want to find out more.)
- If you are doing a long-term rental—for 2 weeks or more—I would ask the property manager or homeowner if you can pay extra to have the ducts cleaned before your arrival – We actually did this with the house we are currently renting in FL. The management company was extremely amenable to having that done for us. We were charged the cost of the cleaning, and they emailed us a copy of the invoice to show it had been done prior to our arrival. It was an extra $300 to our rental bill, but we travel with 2 other families, so split between all of us, it was well worth the price for the peace of mind.
- Bring your own pillows and pillow cases from home – I don’t recommend this for plane travel, because the contamination that a pillow will encounter during travel would negate the benefits. But, when you are driving and then going straight to your room or rental, bring your pillow and pillowcase along. Since your face touches this item each night, it is extremely important that it is mold-free. Every morning, I mist my pillow with the EC3 Mold Solution Spray. This helps keep it mold-free while I am there. I also wash my pillowcases with EC3 Laundry Additive as soon as I get home to prevent any mold from coming back into my house.
- Upon arrival, light your EC3 Air Purification Candles – In a hotel room, light one or two and place them in top of their lids in safe places where they cannot cat anything on fire and cannot be knocked over. In a house rental, place one in each bedroom, and one or two in each common area, depending on its size. I would leave the candles burning as long as possible this first day. They need to burn for at least an hour, but longer is better to knock out the mold counts in the air. Also, light the candles whenever you are in the rental or room for a prolonged amount of time.
- Mist bedding, carpets, drapes, pillows, and even furniture, especially in the bedrooms, with EC3 Mold Solution Spray – Just walk around misting upon arrival. Allow it to air dry. You will notice the air quality improving as the spore counts go down. I cannot reiterate enough how much this simple task will temporarily improve your new environment.
- If there is a washing machine, run a cycle without any clothes, but on a hot water setting, and with 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide added to the tub while filling – Do this prior to washing any of your clothes. It will clean the machine of mold, bacteria, and residue before you put your clothes inside. You can also use the peroxide to clean the rubber seal on a front loader if you find that it is harboring mold from previous use.
- Use the EC3 Laundry Additive with each load to keep your clothing mold free – This will help prevent you from bringing mold spores back into your home as well.
- Mist luggage, bags and suitcases with EC3 Mold Solution Spray outside before bringing them back into your home – Luggage can harbor all sorts of bacteria and molds. It gets thrown around and is often on the floor. Help keep your home mold and bacteria free by misting it all over and allowing the spray to dry before bringing it back into your home after a trip.
- Dry all swim suits, beachwear, and towels thoroughly before packing them in your suitcase – This may seem like a no-brainer, but packing wet or damp swimsuits and towels promotes mold growth in your luggage. If you must leave with wet or damp clothing, pack it separately in a plastic bag, and empty and wash the items in the bag immediately with the EC3 Laundry Additive as soon as you get home.
- Beware of vinyl wallpaper – The use of vinyl wallpaper promotes trapped moisture and mold growth under the wallpaper. If a hotel or rental has copious amounts of vinyl wallpaper, it most likely has hidden mold. You don’t want to jeopardize your health by staying there.
- Choose hotels/rentals with central HVAC and thermostats, rather than manual/window units- Manual/window heating and air conditioning units are notorious for harboring mold, because they don’t run continuously to circulate the air. Water from condensation can easily pool in the units too, because the fan doesn’t run as often to dry them out. If you have the option, choose rooms with thermostats instead. The air quality is generally better, and you can keep your room at a more constant temperature and promote better ventilation.
I know this seems like a long list, but I promise you, doing all or even some of these things will make travel so much more comfortable for you and your family. Mold and environmental illness are so debilitating. Now that I am in recovery, for the most part, a little extra planning and work to take a vacation or to hang out with friends and family is worth it to me.
Please let me know in the comments if you have any other tips or tricks that I left out. I would love your input.