Household mold has been linked to a host of health conditions, including depression and respiratory problems – as found in a study published by researchers at the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. If you have a baby or young child living at home you should be particularly vigilant, since University of California-Berkeley researchers have found that newborns exposed to high levels of pollen and mold have an increased risk of developing early symptoms of asthma.
If you wish to ensure your home remains mold-free but you don’t want to compromise your home’s air quality, the following green cleaning tips may be useful.
Maintain Good Humidity Levels
Mold and mildew thrive in humid environments so prevent their growth by controlling your internal temperature. Mold generally proliferates at a relative humidity of 70 to 80. Temperature is also important; black or toxic mold, for instance, thrives as much at 6º as it does at 45º. Use a thermostat to keep the temperature in your home at between 18º and 22º and keep humidity at between 40% and 60%.
Have a Professional Inspection if You Suspect Toxic Mold
Black or toxic mold is sometimes difficult to identify because many common molds have a black or dark green color. Officially called Stachybotrys chartarum, it is linked to specific health conditions – including irritations of the eye, nose, and throat; sinus congestion: asthma episodes, and more. When mold is present in large amounts, it can cause memory loss, headaches, nosebleeds, aches and pains, and memory problems.
If you have any of these symptoms and you live in a damp area, even if you cannot see visible signs of mold, then inspection and deep cleaning of mold can help. Mold experts can find and eliminate mold from areas you may not have imagined. That is, they will carry out a thorough inspection to find the cause of water leaks and humidity in some areas of your home.
DIY Cleaning Solution
For non-toxic or ordinary mold, you can make a simple DIY cleansing solution involving natural products. Take a small spray bottle and fill it with water. Add half a tablespoon of baking soda and shake vigorously until the soda is dissolved. Spray any areas of mold that you see. Leave the solution on the mold for a couple of minutes then use a soft brush to remove the mold. Rinse the entire area and dry it.
Another ingredient you might like to try is undiluted white vinegar. Because it only contains around 20% acetic acid, it is relatively weak and should be used as is. If you don’t have vinegar, lemons will work as well, owing to their high acidity. Just squeeze a couple of lemons over moldy areas in your bathroom or basement, leave for a few seconds or minutes and once again use a gentle brush or cloth to remove the mold. Make sure to give the area a good rinse and to dry it so as to reduce humidity levels.
What about Essential Oils?
If you are an essential oil fan, then you are probably aware of how popular oils like tea tree and thieves (a clove oil blend) are for cleaning the home. Other oils that do a great job against mold include cinnamon, thyme, and oregano.
There are many ways to use essential oils to kill mold. Either put your blend into a spray bottle with a little water, or diffuse these oils in areas which are prone to mold. This will stop spores from proliferating or significantly transferring from one part of the room to another.
For your first blend, try blending two cups of water with around one tablespoon of tea tree oil. Spray the mold spores but do not rinse the oil away. Tea tree will leave a strong but fresh smell that will last for a few days while it does it work on mold.
Another easy way to tackle mold is through the use of hydrogen peroxide (3%). Just place it into a spray bottle and zap the mold away after allowing the solution to do its work for around 10 minutes. Use a soft brush or toothbrush to remove the mold. Then rinse and dry the treated area.
Mold (and black mold in particular) is linked to a host of respiratory and other issues. If you or your family have various symptoms of mold intoxication, seeing a specialist to have an inspection and professional clean will put your mind at rest. If the problem is just everyday mold, then there are so many ways to make it go away – from a simple vinegar solution to fragrant essential oils.