Mold is a form of fungi that is found daily in the environment such as within the soil, decaying leaves, wood and other plant matter. Mold can be black, green, brown, white or orange in color with a fuzzy or slimy texture.
As it grows and develops, mold has a musty odor to it.
Mold creates small spores in order to produce, needing moisture to feed off of. The spores are virtually invisible and can be airborne to cause health issues when inhaled into the lungs.
The most common ill effects from mold exposure includes a runny nose, itchy eyes, scratchy throat and sometimes a case of coughing and wheezing with difficulty to breathe. Wheezing can be a symptom of asthma and such signs should be assessed by a doctor.
If you feel you or your family has been exposed to mold, be sure to see your physician while also evaluating the mold within your home, which can be more prevalent in warm summer weather. This is because of the ideal atmosphere for its growth; warmth and moisture.
For your health and that of your family, there are seven steps you can take to combat and prevent summertime mold in and around your home. Mold and mildew seem to go hand-in-hand and both are important in protecting your environment.
Some things you can do are:
1. Set the thermostat on your air conditioner to a certain setting without altering it. Doing so can create a buildup of moisture and condensation. Also leave the fan set to “auto” rather than the “on” position that allows for moisture without efficiently evaporating prior to circulating into the air. In fact, ceiling fans should continue to run along with the air conditioner to keep a constant circulation of air throughout the home.
2. Invest in a cool-mist humidifier. It may seem unlikely since mold lives on moisture but a cooler atmosphere from the humidifier actually produces less moisture throughout the atmosphere rather warm air. Cool-mist humidifiers are effective mold and milder killers.
3. Monitor pipes for leaks and be sure to fix as quickly as you can. Leaks that leave behind standing water leads to the unwanted moisture. If pipes leak on surfaces that remain damp, it promotes mold spore growth. As soon as you notice a damp surface like carpeting or wood floor, use a fan to dry up the area as soon as possible.
4. Waterproof your basement since is the optimum environment for mold and mildew to grow. Have the area professionally insulated and protected with a barrier from all moisture. Waterproofing barriers are sold at your local hardware supply stores and found effective against moisture along with a couple coats of waterproof paints.
5. In the bath area, extra care should be taken to wipe down shower stalls and faucets after bathing. Frequently clean out bathroom and kitchen sinks often to avoid a buildup of moisture that may lead to mold. Make a solution of distilled white vinegar in a spray bottle to clean the shower curtain and other moldy areas in the home. You can rid the harsh scent by placing essential scented oil into the solution before use.
6. Be sure all laundry, towels and those beach clothes are thoroughly dried before putting away. In fact, if you place wet, damp clothes into the clothes hamper, you will have mold buildup and that musty smell coming from the dirty laundry pile.
7. More effective than bleach water is a mixture of hydrogen peroxide to effectively kill mold on floors, in clothes, on walls, kitchen and bath fixtures, appliances and more. This solution is safe and effective without any toxic side effects.
Whenever there is a water or moisture problem, it should be addressed immediately before the summertime mold and mildew begins to fester within your home and affect your health and that of your family. Once you start feeling symptoms of a mold presence, professional intervention may be needed both medically and in the home.
Tessie Aquino is currently blogging for Puro Clean, a mold remediation company located in New Jersey. When she is not helping, she enjoys having her own mommy blog on the side where she offers tips and advice to other mothers.