Today I’m sharing a link to the Sinusitis Wellness Blog. The article details how frequently you should be cleaning your home for mold–not just a normal cleaning, but a mold-specific cleaning. The article also links to the helpful Evaluation tool on the blog that will gather your specific information and level of mold sensitivity to target your individual needs. (Note: You do have to provide your email address to receive your results. It will also enroll you to receive the Sinusitis Wellness newsletters. You can opt out at any time.) I evaluated myself and my family, and we fall into the Severe category–no surprise there, right?!!! I mean, I do have a blog about cleaning for mold!
Let’s revisit that dreaded moldy Sippy Cup story in the news…
Recently, Mayborn USA recalled more than 3 million of their popular Sippy Cups due to over 3,000 reports of mold in the removable valves of the cups. Some 68 of these reports were from parents of children experiencing various mold exposure symptoms, including, but not limited to vomiting and diarrhea.
When our shower grout begins to show the telltale darkness and discoloration of mold and mildew, I almost can’t function until I clean it. In the past, I would spray it with Tilex or use a bleach pen, and then watch as the grout turned miraculously lighter and back to its normal color. Unfortunately, no matter how many times I performed this task, it always seemed to come back. Why? Wasn’t I killing the mold with the bleach? Shouldn’t that keep it away for more than a week or two?
The answer is no—bleach is not the answer, because it doesn’t eradicate the problem. Bleach actually does not penetrate porous surfaces, like grout. It just kills the top layer of mold/mildew, so the roots of the mold may still be there, and will return, sometimes, very quickly.
First, let’s address the obvious: Your bathroom and your shower or tub, in particular, is a perfect environment for mold. It is warm, airless (unless you keep the fan on), and damp—this equals mold, unless you maintain some established practices that will make your life easier.
Now that you’ve (hopefully) read my post about why you should clean your handbag, purse, folio, etc. for mold, and know how to clean it properly for more of a maintenance-type clean, today’s post outlines a more extensive and invasive cleaning method. I also finish this post with helpful tips and hints on keeping your handbag mold free.
I do want to warn all those with “investment” purses or handbags that this one is probably not for you, unless you feel that your purse has had a major mold exposure and either needs to be completely sanitized or needs to be thrown out. In other words, this intense-type of clean would only be a last resort for that type of purse.
The MAJOR Clean:
When your purse needs a more extensive, all-over, inside and out cleaning, this is what I would recommend. This process will clean any stains from your purse and remove mold and bacteria. I do want to add the disclaimer, that you clean your leather at your own risk. I DON’T recommend this procedure for an expensive investment-type bag. I will say that I have successfully laundered my own bags this way with zero damage and all clean wonderfulness, but I can NEVER guarantee that your leather will react and launder the same way. Please proceed with caution and possibly crossed fingers.
As I schlepped my purse with me to take the kids to school this morning, then to the doctor’s office, then to the gym, back home, then to my daughter’s ballet class, and finally to the ballpark for my son’s baseball game—with some public restroom breaks and a grocery run somewhere in between—I started thinking long and hard about what kind of bacterial and fungal hitchhikers I was picking up along the way. I mean, when I really think about it, my purse goes with me everywhere. It gets thrown on whatever bleacher, seat, or hook I can find, and then comes right home with me.
Whatever my purse is encountering, good, bad or ugly, I am most definitely also bringing right back into my home with me. While I make my friends and family members take their shoes off before entering our home, I recently realized that I am bringing my mold and bacteria-laden purse right in with me, no questions asked. I think nothing of putting my purse on tables where we eat and setting it on our furniture to boot. It’s pretty gag worthy, when you think about it.
Now that I’m always thinking about mold and preventing it from festering in our home, I have decided to make some changes about how I handle and clean my purse too.
When I’m mopping my kitchen, bathroom and wood floors, I’m always always thinking about mold and bacteria. I may be crazy, but I don’t think I’m the only one. I worry that I’m just pushing the dirt and grime back and forth and into new crevices and corners with my rag mop. My brain asks the questions, “When I dunk my mop in the bucket of hot water and cleaner, am I rinsing the grime off and killing the mold and bacteria, or am I putting it back on the floor? Am I actually cleaning my home of potential health concerns when I mop?”
Rather than continue to question the value of my cleaning, I decided to do something about it. First, I researched the best mop to be using—old school rag mop, steam mop, sponge mop, Wet Jet squirt mop—what is the best choice? There are two answers to this question: The first is a steam mop.
I’m always interested in little Do-It-Yourself projects around my home to help protect my family from mold. Unfortunately, for those of us whose health declines almost immediately when exposed to mold, keeping our homes safe is a constant battle. But, if you look at mold from a more macro-cosmic point of view, like, mold needs a food source (any dead, organic material), oxygen and a temperature between 40 degrees and 100 degrees F to grow, you can evade it before it becomes a major problem.
Here is a list of actions to take, most should not require the assistance of a contractor or mold abatement professional, to make your home a less hospitable environment for mold:
- Open all of your cabinets below water sources, in other words, your kitchen, laundry room and bathroom sinks. Get a clear view of the pipes and all back corners of the cabinets. Make certain there is no evidence of water, water damage or leaks. I check ours a few times a year. If you are opening these cabinets and smelling any musty or mildewy smells, you probably already have a leak. If you find any water, evidence of water, or leaks, remove everything from the cabinet and fix and seal the leak—this will require a plumber, unless you are extremely handy. Now the cabinet needs to be treated for mold, and everything in it needs to be thrown out or treated for mold, as well. To treat the cabinet for mold, dry it out completely. Then, I use the EC3 Mold Solution spray or a homemade spray with mold-killing ingredients to kill the mold. For more homemade mold mixtures, see my blog post on how to clean after a toilet overflow.
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.
Deciding what to do with belongings that have been exposed to mold can be a daunting task. This recent article from the Sinusitis Wellness blog tackles the difficult decision and offers tips to help. This article addresses the issues, both sentimental and financial, that are at play when you have to chose between your health and your stuff.
While I try to address cleaning for mold from every angle that I can think of on my blog, additional perspectives are always helpful. At the end of the day, the most important thing is your health. In my opinion, holding onto a personal possession doesn’t seem as important when you think about it that way.
Because I have family members who have been so negatively affected by mold and poisonous mycotoxins (Mycotoxins are microscopic drops of oils produced in 10% of all molds), I’m no longer afraid to just throw things out that I feel are too contaminated to be a part of our home. I do realize, though, that many of my readers are not at that point yet. I also realize that there are things that contain sentimental, if not monetary value, that are very hard to part with. If that is the case, this article is definitely for you….and so is this blog!
I hope you will continue reading and help me to build a dialogue that helps you and others who are also struggling with mold sensitivities.
My daughter has rest time at school every day, and she insists upon taking her small stuffed penguin to nap with her. I’m happy that she wants her little comfort object with her, but I get concerned about “Mr. Ice Cube,” bringing home mold and bacteria from the Kindergarten classroom.
I decided to tackle the problem head-on and to develop a de-odorizing, de-molding, and antibacterial cleaning procedure that would make Ice Cube a welcome member of our family once more.
I have it easy with Ice Cube, because he is washable. Cleaning bacteria and mold from stuffed toys that are not washable is a bit more difficult, but can be done.