Shortly after we moved into our current house, we realized we were facing a mold problem of a magnitude we had never seen before. At the first signs of dampness, mold would spring up everywhere - on the ceiling and walls, in every nook and cranny behind furniture, on our bath mats, etc.
It didn't help that our first winter here was especially rainy, more so than most years I can remember. I had left a throw pillow in a corner for two days, and when I picked it up I discovered that an aggressive growth of mold kicked off in the corner behind that pillow during those 48 hours!
Mold isn't just unsightly and nasty-smelling. It can have potentially serious health consequences such as respiratory problems or symptoms akin to allergy and asthma. Treat it promptly and uncompromisingly as you would a dangerous enemy.
We don't know for sure, but we believe that the previous owner of this house didn't really fight mold. He merely painted over it now and then (and not with mold-resistant paint, either), which was a big mistake, because this doesn't kill the mold and it kept growing and emerging again and again.
The best strategy in dealing with mold is prevention. Mold thrives in damp, airless spaces, so open your windows as frequently as possible and thoroughly air rooms out, especially the bathroom after you use the shower.
Do your best not to push furniture against the walls, but leave a little space to allow for air circulation. Don't put damp clothes in the laundry basket and don't leave the washing to sit before you hang it or put it in the dryer.
We have tried natural solutions such as vinegar, baking soda and a combination of the two, and I'm sorry to say that we found out nothing really works against our particular strain of mold other than chlorine bleach. I hate the smell of bleach and its potential hazards, but I hate mold even more, so...
Bleach fumes are harmful, so open your windows wide whenever you work with it. For mold in the corners, dip a painting brush in bleach and spread it over the infected spots. If you have mold growing in the lining between floor tiles, dip a scrubbing brush in bleach and work your way between the tiles, then wash the floor with a bleach and water solution and dry it thoroughly. Be careful to avoid the bleach touching your hands or clothes.
I have read that bleach doesn't really kill mold, that is, it can reappear very quickly, which means that the roots are still there. I have observed that if an area is thoroughly and repeatedly treated, mold will eventually stop reappearing, though any place can become re-infected if it isn't kept dry and well-aired.
It's very difficult to get rid of persistent mold that had permeated the whole house, especially if there are mold colonies in the foundation, inside hollow walls, and in other places you can never treat. However, with the right maintenance, you can still have a pleasant, healthy home.
Image source: Creative Commons
Anna Twitto’s academic background in nutrition made her care deeply about real food and seek ways to obtain it. Anna, her husband, and their four children live on the outskirts of a small town in northern Israel. They aim to grow and raise a significant part of their food by maintaining a vegetable garden, keeping a flock of backyard chickens and foraging. Anna's books are on her Amazon.com Author Page. Connect with Anna on Facebook and read more about her current projects on her blog. Read all Anna's Mother Earth News posts here.
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