The recent summer storms and high humidity in Big Bear Lake have created potential breeding grounds for mold and mildew. And there’s no denying that household mold and mildew can be dangerous to our health. In fact, it has been proven to promote asthma, allergies, and colds. Likewise, it’s thought to increase the occurrence of mood swings and depression.
Prevention is the best way to eradicate the problem; however, that seems to be the issue with mold — we often don’t know it’s forming until it rears its nasty head. Staying alert to the appearance of mold and treating it quickly is the only way to keep the problem at bay.
Unfortunately, many of commercially-prepared products in the stores, created to solve the problem, can cause a whole different set of problems. So the question becomes…how can we do this without the use of harsh chemicals?
Start with the basics. Here are a few things you must do to start treating the mold problem:
1. Dry out dampness. Moisture is the number one cause of mold. Drying out damp areas of the home will help to prevent the rate of incidence. The most common method of drying out moisture is by using a dehumidifier. One can also sprinkle arrowroot powder or cornstarch over the moldy area, as this will help to absorb the extra moisture. Caution: don’t turn the heat up expecting it to help dry things out. The warm air can actually promote more mold and mildew growth.
2. Remove wet carpet padding and start drying the carpet. Pull back the carpeting and remove any wet padding before the moisture starts creeping up the walls. Carpet drying fans are available at most rental yards. Place fans under the carpet and let the air flow “balloon” up the affected areas.
3. Fix the problem. Fixing the leaky pipes, roof, or poor exterior grading, will help to eliminate the water source and prevent the conditions for which mold loves to grow.
4. Establish good air circulation. The best way to do this is to use fans throughout the home.
5. Let the sun shine in. Let the natural light of the sun into your home as much as possible. However, in areas such as the basement, consider using a UV light if things get really bad. They’ve been known to kill nearly 100% of the mold present.
Natural Recipes that Kill Household Mold
When mold is present and you need to kill it, here are a few tried and true remedies (other than bleach) to get the job done:
Tea Tree Oil Spray
Tea tree oil is one of the best ways to kill mold naturally. To make this spray, simply mix 1 teaspoon of tea tree oil per 1 cup of water. Load mixture into a spray bottle, shake well to mix, and spray directly on to areas of mold. Let stand – do not rinse.
After cleaning the mold with a mixture of castile soap and hot water, spray a generous amount of straight white vinegar on to the problem areas. In the shower, keep a spray bottle full of vinegar to spray on the tub and tile after each use. Works like a charm in the prevention department.
Grapefruit Seed Extract Spray
In a spray bottle combine 20 drops of grapefruit seed extract and 1 cup of water. Shake well to combine. Spray the problem areas. Do NOT rinse and allow to dry.
Hydrogen Peroxide Spray
Mix 1 part 3% hydrogen peroxide and 2 parts water, spray directly on to mold and allow it to dry. Note: Be sure only to make as large a batch as you will need for one application at a time.
Small mold infestations can usually be handled yourself, but according to a FEMA report on mold and mildew, if the affected area is larger than 25 square feet you should call in a professional. For more information on mold and mildew check out the FEMA report at: http://www.fema.gov/pdf/rebuild/recover/fema_mold_brochure_english.pdf
We suggest your refer to an expert when encountering serious mold and mildew issues.
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