Green Ways to Prevent Mold, Mildew, and Bugs

June 2010

The hot weather has finally arrived, which means summer is almost here.  Summer brings lots of good times and family fun, but it also brings heat, humidity, mold, mildew and bugs!

Throughout the month of June, Maid Brigade will be discussing non-toxic ways to prevent and remove mold and mildew in and outside the home, plus offer green cleaning tips on keeping your home "mildew-free."   For those interested in a "bug-free" summer, we will also be discussing different kinds of natural insect pest control.  Log on to blog.maidbrigade.com for more information.

Make this summer a happy, healthy, and "green" summer for you and your family!

 

What is Mold?

Mold is a type of fungus that grows on plants and fibers and is most often associated with damp, musty locations such as bathrooms, basements and attics. Mold travels through the air as tiny spores, which like to make their home in wet areas, where they will breed. If mold is spotted, it is best to eliminate it immediately so it doesn’t spread to other areas. Mold is also a good indication of a moisture problem, which should be dealt with as soon as possible.
 

Health Risks Associated With Mold:

In addition to its unsightly appearance, mold can present a hazard to one's health. Mold is an allergen and an irritant. Someone who suffers from household allergies or asthma will most likely have trouble breathing in homes with mold infestations. Eyes, ears, noses and throats can become irritated as well. Under certain conditions, exposure to mold can cause serious health problems. Certain people with chronic illnesses, such as obstructive lung disease, for example, may develop mold infections in their lungs. People exposed to large amounts of mold at work, such as farmers working with moldy hay, may develop reactions including fever and shortness of breath.

Other health problems that have been linked to mold exposure involve the odors produced by mold “volatiles,” which have been discovered to irritate mucous membranes and cause headache and fatigue in some individuals.   

 

Elimination:

1.       Get Rid of Excess Moisture.   Mold thrives in wet, warm environments. If you have a mold problem, you should begin to treat it naturally by trying to keep as much moisture out of the air as possible. Air movement is a very important step in removing moisture. Try to control the dampness inside the home. Cooking, laundering and bathing, without adequate ventilation, adds three gallons of water to the air everyday. Dampness is caused by condensation of moisture from humid air onto cooler surfaces.

2.       Dry the Air.   Cool air holds less moisture than warm air. If possible, install an air conditioner in your home. Use dehumidifiers in areas that are not air conditioned, especially the basement. 

3.       Keep Things Clean.   Keep closets, dresser drawers, basements, and any place where mildew or mold is likely to grow, as clean as possible. Greasy films that form on kitchen walls also contain many nutrients for mildew-causing molds. 

Commercial products for treating mold are very dangerous to handle and inhale. Evidence of this fact is present on the warning labels that are listed on the product labels themselves. Commercial mold cleaners also contribute to poor indoor air quality long after the cleaning is over. To clean mold naturally, try using products like vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, tea tree oil, pine oil, and borax. These products are healthier than ammonia or bleach and will do the job well. For green cleaning recipes on cleaning mold and mildew, please log on to http://blog.maidbrigade.com.

If the mold starts to get inside walls or in other hard to reach places, you may want to call a professional mold remediation company for help.

Prevention is the best mold policy. If things are kept clean, well-ventilated and dry, your chances of having mold are greatly lessened. 
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