04 Apr How to Clean Mold & Mildew(Last Updated On: April 4, 2019)
It’s spring cleaning season, which means, we may find some mold and mildew in our homes. From eye, throat and skin irritation to more severe symptoms like congestion, headaches and difficulty breathing, we should all have some concerns about mold exposure. So, do you how to clean mold and mildew?
Fortunately, simple solutions help clean mold and mildew. For example, the CDC shares how bleach and water help remove mold spores, but always use caution when working with mold.
“Never mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners. Mixing bleach with ammonia or other cleaning products produces dangerous, toxic fumes. Plus, open windows and doors to provide fresh air. Finally, wear non-porous gloves and protective eyewear.”
How to Clean Mold and Mildew with Common Household Products
Typically, we spot mold in bathrooms and kitchens because the spores depend on some moisture for growth. The longer the mold grows, then the worse the potential dangers becomes, so if there is already mold growing in your home, clean up the mold! To help, here are some common household products that clean mold and mildew.
Not only does baking soda help clean mold, but it offers offers a safe alternative to some products. Plus, baking soda absorbs moisture, which helps fight the root cause.
“To kill mold: Add one quarter of a tablespoon of baking soda to a spray bottle of water and shake until it has dissolved. Spray the moldy area with the baking soda and water solution, then use a scrub brush to remove all the mold from the surface. Next, rinse the surface with water to remove any residual mold on the surface. Finally, spray the area again and let the surface dry. (This will kill any left-over mold and prevent the mold from returning).”
Interestingly, borax offers homeowners with another natural cleaning product that fights mold growth.
“Borax is commonly used as a deodorizer as well as for cleaning toilets and drains. Plus, borax is also used as an insecticide, herbicide and fungicide and it can be mixed with water in a solution to kill and remove mold as it is a natural mold inhibitor. However, please not that borax is toxic if you swallow it, but does not emit chemicals or dangerous fumes like some other mold killers. You can buy borax in supermarkets for a few dollars from the laundry section.”
Vinegar helps clean mold and mildew when it exists on porous materials and surfaces. Conversely, bleach typically only works on non-porous or hard surfaces.
“Both distilled white vinegar and hydrogen peroxide do an effective job of killing mold spores in porous materials. Bleach can only kill mold on non-porous surfaces, as it does not penetrate porous surfaces; so mold roots are left to grow again. To kill mold spores and their roots, pour straight 3 percent peroxide, undiluted, into a spray bottle and saturate the blocks with it.
Let the peroxide do its work for 10 to 15 minutes, and scrub the walls to remove all dead mold.
You can add vinegar to the peroxide in the spray bottle to make the solution stronger.”
How to Address Underlying Mold and Mildew Issues
Although common household products show us how to clean mold and mildew, they fail to address the root cause of mold exposure in our homes. For example, the CDC explains how mold enters in our homes.
“Mold enters home through open doorways, windows, vents, and heating and air conditioning systems. Also, mold in the air outside also attaches itself to clothing, shoes, bags, and pets can and be carried indoors. Additionally, mold grows in places with a lot of moisture, such as around leaks in roofs, windows, or pipes, or where there has been flooding. Mold grows well on paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles, and wood products. Finally, mold alsos grow in dust, paints, wallpaper, insulation, drywall, carpet, fabric, and upholstery.”
As a result, homeowners must address underlying issues to prevent mold from constantly creating havoc on your home and family. Unfortunately, because mold grows wherever moisture exists, complete mold eradication remains a dream. However, by addressing the root causes, homeowners can limit the dangers and rely on cleaning mold when it appears.
The Family Handyman, an expert and valuable resource in the industry provides some rationale for addressing the root cause. In addition, the team shares a few examples of how mold possibly enters our homes (and businesses).
“Step one in how to get rid of mildew and mold is to fix the moisture problem that’s setting the stage for its growth. This is key. You can scrub, dispose of and replace moldy materials, but until you fix the problem, mold will keep returning. The fix can be as simple as sealing up leaky air-conditioning ducts or as daunting as reshingling a leaky roof or regrading your yard so water runs away from, rather than toward, your foundation. Sewer backups and floods also set up ideal environments for mold and mildew growth.”
Ask yourself a few questions to see if you home addresses the root causes of mold and mildew exposures.
Does your home contain proper ventilation?
Does your home contain proper ventilation? If not, common everyday activities such as cooking and bathing could be the underlying culprits causing mold.
“It may be that your routine domestic activities are encouraging the growth of mold in your home. Make sure an activity as simple as cooking dinner, taking a shower, or doing a load of laundry doesn’t invite mold by providing proper ventilation in your bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, and any other high-moisture area. Vent appliances that produce moisture — clothes dryers, stoves — to the outside (not the attic). Use AC units and dehumidifiers (especially in humid climates), but make sure they don’t produce moisture themselves by checking them periodically and cleaning them as directed by the manufacturer. Your energy-efficient home may be holding moisture inside, so open a window when cooking or washing dishes or showering, or run an exhaust fan.”
Do you use dehumidifiers?
Mold and mildew thrive in wet conditions because they feed off moisture. So, keeping the air in your home dry naturally helps prevent mold growth. Therefore, utilize dehumidifiers (along with proper ventilation), which reduces the conditions ripe for mold growth in your home.
“For damp areas of the home like bathrooms and kitchens, you may want to invest in a dehumidifier. Also, be sure to fix any leaky plumbing as soon as possible to prevent mold and mildew from growing in hard-to-reach areas like behind walls and under cabinets. Make it a habit to air out your home regularly by opening windows and doors. Also, if you have ventilation fans, use them to further cycle the air in any rooms prone to excessive moisture. Keep shower curtains closed when not in use so they can dry. Furthermore, avoid leaving items like damp rugs, moist towels, or wet clothes laying around as these are the perfect medium for mold and mildew to grow in.”
SolvIt Can Help!
At SolvIt, we spend our time helping our communities improve the quality of their homes. Mold impacts indoor air quality and they share very similar symptoms. For example, poor air quality affects some of the everyday aches, pains and irritations. Some symptoms of poor indoor air quality, include:
- eye irritation.
- nose irritation.
- throat irritation.
- lung irritation.
Plus, we do not want our families to breath in air with mold spores! To help increase air quality awareness, contact SolvIt today.