Mold is a tiny fungus that can have an enormous impact on your life. If you think people are being melodramatic about the dangers of mold, think again. Every year, thousands of people suffer from health issues, lose keepsakes and furniture, and some even lose their entire homes to mold infestations. Mold can be worse than termites because unlike insects, it can grow anywhere. It can even grow on tile, glass, and stone that are usually thought of as clean and impervious to home pests. But mold is the most persistent pest of all and it almost never comes alone. Most homes with one type of mold actually have a wide variety of molds, each one with a different combination of health risks, not to mention the ability to break down and consume your softer possessions.
Mold can infest your bathroom, your mattress, even your pets as it spreads throughout your house. It doesn't have a brain or a plan, just a simple plant-like agenda to grow wherever the spores land and find water. That is why it is so important to make your home unfriendly to mold even if you have already scrubbed it out once.
Mold is a type of fungus that grows in thread-like structures called hyphae. Like all fungi, it is a plant which means it's search for moisture and growth is both ruthless and mindless. Mold travels through tiny spores that float through the air or are carried in on clothes and pets that come in from outside. Any time a spore lands on a surface that can support it, mold begins to grow. The two things mold loves most is moisture and plant fiber to feed on. Drywall, fabric, and wicker are the most susceptible, especially in climates and homes with constantly high humidity.
Humidity in the home is caused either by the weather or how airflow works inside your house. If you live in a damp climate, your home is at a much higher risk of mold infestation, but you can also accidentally put your home at risk by not managing to air out humidity generated indoors. Mold needs moisture to grow which is why it is most often found in bathrooms, kitchens, and places that have experienced flooding.
The natural role of mold in the wild is to eat dead plants. Unfortunately, most of what our homes and possessions are made of is dead plants. Cotton fabric, for instance, is dead plants, as is the wood in our walls and wicker furniture or baskets. Mold likes porous materials and will try to eat any damp plant fiber it can find.
For many homeowners, once the mold has begun to be a problem, it often returns again and again. This is because the factors that allowed and welcomed mold in the first place have not been fixed even if you scrubbed away every infestation you find. The mold in your home likely came initially from the ecosystem outside which means that as long as your home is a good host, new mold can always find its way in.
The only way to protect yourself, your home, and your family from mold once and for all is to purposefully make the entire building inhospitable. This means lowering the humidity and taking some special measures to decrease the desirability of your walls, furniture, and possessions from the spores that will inevitably still get inside.
Whether you have recently scrubbed away a mold infestation or are simply taking precautions, there are four effective steps you can take to discourage mold growth inside your home. Even one step can make a big difference and enacting all four should help keep the mold away for good. These steps are:
The first step is to reduce the amount of humidity in your home and you have several options for this approach. The first is to run your heat or AC depending on the temperature. Any kind of air conditioning will tend to dry out the air and thus the items and surfaces in your home. However, if normal HVAC function isn't doing the trick, you may want to buy a dehumidifier.
Dehumidifiers do exactly what the name sounds like, they literally pull moisture out of the air which can be a vital part of your fight against mold. This is especially true in traditionally damp climates and in rooms like the bathroom and laundry rooms that may have a higher tendency toward dampness.
Speaking of bathroom moisture, this is usually the first place you will find mold unless your home has experienced flooding and water damage in the past. Bathrooms are constantly filling with steam which coats the surfaces along with all the little nooks and crannies with moisture as that steam cools and condenses back into the water.
Keeping your bathroom dry is the job of your exhaust fan, but not every bathroom has an exhaust fan or one that works. If your exhaust fan simply isn't doing the job, make sure the duct is clear of obstruction and opened on both ends, then clean the fan and, if necessary, replace it with a newer more powerful fan. If you don't have a fan or even a new fan is inadequate, consider using a dehumidifier as a stop-gap measure.
Getting rid of mold involves a lot of scrubbing and wiping and so does keeping it at bay. Mold in its early stage can be dislodged easily which means it tends to grow in areas that you don't pay attention to like footboards, carpet pads, and the lower corners of tubs and showers. By cleaning regularly with cleaners that fight fungus, you can ensure that any spores that do land in your home don't have time to build a mold colony.
Finally, the most pleasant and surprisingly effective mold fighting technique is essential oils. By spraying or diffusing oils like cinnamon, tea tree oil, clove, thyme, rosemary, and lemongrass into the air and lightly coating your belongings in good-smelling vapor, you are also creating a powerful antifungal effect that will cause all of your surfaces and even the porous fabric of furniture and carpets to become a less hospitable environment for mold to grow. Not only does essential oil make your home smell nice, these specific oils are caustic to mold and can even kill mold if sprayed on directly.
Whether you are worried about mold or are hoping to prevent the return of a previous mold problem, humidity, cleanliness, and essential oils are your best natural way to chase away mold for good without using dangerous chemicals near your children and pets. For more information about organic ways to fight and prevent mold, contact us today. We're always ready to defend a family's health and home with organic anti-mold solutions.
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