As many of you know, my family deals with allergies, chemical sensitivities, and other types of scent- and product-related reactions in my house. All of those things increased exponentially after we lived in a mold-infested house for as long as we did. Now that we are all healthy again, and not living day to day with mold-related ailments, my son and I especially still have problems with cleaning products. The chemicals and smells in most household cleaners send my sinuses into overdrive, and give me headaches, while they make my son’s throat and skin start itching. Since I cannot just decide to give up on cleaning our home, my solution, other than mostly switching to natural, unscented products, like baking soda, white vinegar, and the EC3 products, that do not emit VOC’s, has been to use steam for many cleaning endeavors. I have both a handheld steamer and a steam mop (I use the Smart Living Steam Mop and the Smart Living Steam Jr.), so I am able to conquer most tasks with one of the two.
I’ve got another podcast treat for you today! Dr. Donald Dennis, world-renowned Ear, Nose and Throat, and head and neck surgeon and creator of all of the MicroBalance Health Products that I use and write about on this blog, was recently featured (again, as a matter of fact) on a “Know the Cause” podcast. If you don’t know about “Know the Cause,” I encourage you to check it out. Chances are, if you are reading this blog, you either have or have had issues with mold and fungal-related illness. Well, “Know the Cause” was created with you in mind.
“Know the Cause,”both the nationally-syndicated television program and podcast version, is the brainchild of Doug Kaufmann. (I actually just featured an article from Oncology News that was co-written by Kaufmann in my post, Mold and Oncology: An Article Explores the Claim that Mold Mycotoxins Can Trigger Cancer.) Kaufmann was a U.S. Navy Medical Corpsman and was deployed to Vietnam in 1970. Upon his return to the States in 1971, he battled intestinal issues with an array of strange symptoms that he thought were all food-allergy related. While reading all he could to help his own health, he was exposed to a medical paper that would later change his life. The paper was written in 1980 and entitled, “Antigenically Intact Food Macromolecules Exiting the Gut Lumen.” That paper led him to question the reasons behind gut leakage, which, in turn, led him to identify fungus as the root cause of creating the holes in the intestinal lining that allow food to “leak” through. He went on to hone his focus on fungus as the prevailing cause of systemic inflammation, illness or disease. From there, Kaufmann threw himself into studying and dissecting all the many ways in which fungal elements in our diets and lives contributed to or caused most illness and disease.
It’s no secret that it is officially flu season. Every year since my family’s mold exposure, when winter hits, I get a case of the upper respiratory, sinus-centered junk that goes around like wildfire. It has gradually abated over the years and now when I get sick, it’s rather mild, but since my immune system took that major hit with the mold, I still seem to always succumb. But, rather than hibernate all winter, and avoid places like my children’s school, or the gym to minimize my viral exposure, I have continued to use a basic “sinus protocol” that I learned about when I was battling my mold-related acute sinusitis.
(Note: While everyone who is exposed to toxic mold can react differently, and display a unique array of symptoms, my body reacted with chronic nasal congestion, sinus inflammation and infections, headaches, and the general malaise that comes with it all. My poor lips were so dry and cracked from always having to breathe out of my mouth, that it hurt to smile. I went from one dose of antibiotics and steroid treatments to the next. It wasn’t until I eliminated the mold from my home and addressed the fungal aspect of my sinus issues that I finally got better. Moreover, HERE is a link to an article on the Sinusitis Wellness website about the undeniable link between sinusitis and mold.)
Now, I realize that my blog is called, “How to Clean for Mold,” and that this post doesn’t seem like I am keeping with that topic. I am, though. Stick with me here, and I’ll show you what I mean. This step (rinsing your nasal passages) is cleaning for mold. It is just targeted at the specific spores that enter through your nose and trigger an inflammatory response and thus an immune system response.
Let me start this blog post with a confession: I LOVE candles! I love how candlelight looks and makes me feel—calm and introspective. I love the way scented candles smell when burning, although, sadly for me, with my family’s chemical sensitivities, I have really had to curb my use of anything scented in our home. I even love the act of lighting a candle—just doing it sometimes calms me down. So, when MicroBalance Health Products released their EC3 Air Purification Candles, I had to try them out. Could I actually light a candle to help clean for mold? Was this too good and easy to be true?
Well, to answer those questions and since this blog is about cleaning for mold, here is the rundown on how the candles work:
When you light the wick of an EC3 candle, the heat from the flame aerosolizes the mold-killing botanicals in the soy wax around it. As the aerosol disperses from the candle, and moves around the room, it cleanses the floating mold spores from the air. The candles have been independently lab tested and have been proven to reduce the mold spore count in a room from too numerous to count to nearly zero in less than 3 hours. Pretty impressive, I think.
I know that I always like when one cleaner has additional uses. I’m writing this post today, because I have great news! The shower spray that I brought to you the other day, click this link to read about how to make it, has an additional use: It works wonderfully to clean stone or tile floors. (Note: Do NOT use this spray on wood floors. It will strip the finish.)
Here is how I do it:
I get out my sponge mop, and my EC3 Shower Spray.
Have you watched television lately? I know in a world where most of us are watching Netflix or Apple TV, instead of live television, we miss many of the commercials and breaks in the action. But, if you have watched live TV lately, you have probably encountered a commercial featuring the Mold Test Kit by My Mold Detective.
Because the commercial doesn’t say much about how the testing works or what it bases its science on, I became suspect. So, I decided to investigate it myself to see if it was a legitimate product and way of actually finding out if your home or workplace had a mold issue. When I see something like this product going mainstream to the point where it is advertised on national television, it excites me, because it means that enough people are questioning the safety of their environments to warrant its being advertised to such a large audience.
Today I’m linking to the Sinusitis Wellness Blog to bring you an article authored by sinus expert, Dr. Donald P. Dennis. The article details 4 very simple, but important steps you can take to lessen sinus symptoms, especially, if your issues are caused by mold sensitivity.
Dr. Dennis says that if your sinus symptoms are accompanied by muscle and joint pain, fibromyalgia, dizziness, brain fog, fatigue, swelling, food allergies, Candida infections, bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, and hormonal imbalance, you are very likely one of the 16% of the population with a mold sensitivity.
Many doctors try to treat and kill only the active sinus infection. Unfortunately, antibiotics and antibacterials do not treat the fungal component that actually causes the infection in the first place. This article helps to detail and explain solutions to the fungal or mold piece. As a matter of fact, numbers 1, 2, and 3 on his list include using products that I use almost everyday and detail in my blog. (Hint: CitriDrops for sinus washes, EC3 home cleaning products, and Mold Test plates.) Reading it may truly change your perspective, and possibly offer you the relief you have been looking for. Because, chances are, if you are reading this blog post, you know that you or someone in your life has issues with mold.
Take care, be well, and continue to educate yourself about mold!
While in New Zealand for graduate school, I was introduced to an essential oil that 3 years later would cure Candida patches on my husband’s skin. Manuka oil is used in New Zealand for just about everything. We call it tea tree oil here in the States.
Manuka oil is antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and suitable for sensitive skin. The honey from the Manuka tree is even used to treat mouth sores, sore throats, and thrush. The key difference is the absence of Manuka oil in all-natural household cleaning and disinfecting products. It is much gentler, less reactive oil, and is usually used more for skincare and topical applications.
Manuka oil, unlike typical tea tree oil has been proven effective in fighting gram-positive bacteria, think staph, strep, anthrax and MRSA. Let’s just say, the stuff is not fooling around. Also, your body never develops a resistance to it, so it will work and continue to work for a prolonged period of time.
Fragrance is a huge thing for me. It has actually been one of the hardest things to let go of when going non-toxic and natural in our home. I miss the lovely floral, fresh linen and ocean breeze scents of some of the old cleaning products I used to use. Most of those smells in store-bought cleaning products are from chemical and synthetic sources, though, so they are no longer an option for my family.
Now that I am making a huge effort to combat mold, in addition to removing toxins from our cleaning products, I am in an even harder position. Those “clean” smells that most people are used to in their laundry, are not a choice for me. In fact, most of those fragrances actually permeate your clothes and can be hard to remove. The perfumes can also seal in bacteria, making biological odors, like body and food odors difficult to remove. So, even though your laundry is fragranced with “fresh linen,” it is, in fact, full of biological odors. That’s pretty gross, right?!!
It is also notable that, because many fragrance compounds are considered “trade secrets” in the fragrance industry, companies are not required to display the list of what comprises the scent on the packaging. For example, on the back of a Crystal Rain-scented Windex bottle, the list of ingredients reads as follows: Water, cleaning agents, carriers, wetting agent, pH adjuster, fragrance, dyes, SCJ formula #35 17344. What? Does that tell you anything about what is in the product? Not me. I have less understanding than before I read it!
After concerns started to arise about these chemicals and how much was unknown about them, in 2008, the International Fragrance Association (IFRA) issued a master list of over 3,100 known chemicals that are used by the fragrance industry. Among those on the list are carcinogens, hormone disruptors like galaxolide and tonalide (both synthetic musks), the phthalates diethyl phthalate (DEP) and di-isononyl phthalate (DINP), which have been shown to cause reproductive and developmental harm in laboratory animals, and are linked to similar impacts in humans, and disinfectants, like triclosan and ammonium quaternary compounds, which might contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant germs, interfere with hormone regulation, or be harmful to the immune system. Not surprisingly, numerous allergens are also included in the list. That list alone is enough to terrify me. Unfortunately, there is no data provided on how commonly these chemicals are used, by what amount, or even by type of fragranced product. That’s even scarier to me.
We need flooring. We are finishing a part of the basement, and it’s time to decide what to do about the floors. My fears about flooring, carpet especially, all stem from the mold and chemical sensitivities of my husband and son. Of course, I worry about dust and other allergens, toxic glues, dyes, fabrics, and mold, but add to that the idea of putting it in the basement, and I become totally overwhelmed. Mostly, I worry about mold down there, because it is darker, danker and usually quite a bit colder than the rest of our home. I don’t have to contend with it much now, because it is unfinished space, and we just store things down there, but once it is finished, the kids will want to be down there, and I want it to be safe, usable space.
Because we haven’t decided exactly how to condition the space, I started to really look into flooring materials and options that can withstand humidity, and will not be cesspools for mold. That is when I discovered cork flooring.