Are you sniffling and sneezing during the winter and you don't know why? It could be that you have an allergy to certain molds. Once in a while a mold problem in the home, which can be controlled, is the cause of allergies—kind of like dust. Perhaps you're not suffering from mold allergies, but you're looking at your bathroom wondering how it turned into a science project so quickly?
During the winter months people have one of two problems: either the air in their home is too dry and it's causing problems, or the air in their home is too moist, and is causing mold to grow. During the summer months we have problems with excessive mold growth because of a higher relative humidity. In this article I'll talk about cleaning up the mold and how to keep your home free of mold.
How to Clean and Control Mold
Start with your bathroom, where mold grows like a teenager on steroids. We use vinegar. It's good stuff. You'll want to spray vinegar in all the places where mold grows most easily. This includes places like the sealing underneath your faucets, on your shower curtains, in the grout of your tile floor, or near the edges of the linoleum, if that's what you have for flooring. People sometimes call this mildew. It's pretty much the same thing. I mop our bathroom floor with vinegar often.
Mold that hides in other places around your home can be gotten rid of just as easily as the mold in your bathroom. Your kitchen, for example, is the perfect place for mold to grow because remnants of food and the dark space in cupboards and the moisture are what mold thrives on. If you have a dish drainer drying thing like we do, spray that down with vinegar every night, as well as your cutting boards and anything else that comes into contact with food on a regular basis.
If it's hot and humid out, use an air conditioner to help get rid of mold. Mold nubby the humidity; in fact, it's practically necessary in order for mold to grow. Dust mites, too, actually. Some people say around 65%-70% relative humidity is necessary for mold to grow. You're going to put that air conditioner to good use because it'll control the humidity in your home during the summer months. You'll want to buy a hygrometer (or any other way to measure relative humidity), and keep your home between 30%-50% relative humidity, or RH.
If it's cold outside, you'll want to use a dehumidifier to control mold growth in the home instead of an air conditioner. Duh. Well, not everyone has a dehumidifier. Honestly, we don't need one. It's quite dry in our apartment, thanks to the hardwood floors and our Minnesota winter. But if you need a dehumidifier, you may want to splurge and get one that measures relative humidity, to keep your home at an RH that is both comfortable and prohibitive to mold growth. 30%-50%, remember?
Because of carpet's natural tendency to soak up dirty and moisture, carpeting is poses the greatest challenge when getting rid of mold. You have a couple of choices here; you can either take your carpeting out and replace it with hardwood flooring (which can kill several birds with one stone: carpet beetles, dust mites, fleas, etc.), or you can dust your carpet with baking soda on a regular basis, letting it sit for several hours and then vacuuming it up.
Mold Soaps and Mold Killing Cleaners
As I'm certain you're aware of, there are a lot of mold and mildew products on the market today. The latest trend in mold and mildew control is the shower and bathroom sprays that use once you're done taking a shower. These products work just fine, but they act on the same principle as the vinegar spray I mentioned earlier. Vinegar can substitute just about any bathroom cleaning product sold today, with the exception of heavy duty abrasive cleaners like Comet. If you don't believe me, throw your shower curtains in the washing machine with bottle of distilled white vinegar and you'll see what I'm talking about. Don't get me wrong, these antifungal shower sprays work great, but you have to be wondering what those chemicals are doing to our environment. Recently I've been working on an article about cleaning tile with pure, crystallized citric acid.