MOLD and MYCOTOXINS have become very scary words! What do you do if you live in a climate or place that favors mold growth? I live in San Francisco, along with thick fog that keeps everything so damp in the summer months. Mold is a big concern here. I don’t want to move, so I have been learning as much as I can about testing for mold and cleaning it up! In some cases, mold and mycotoxins may be so bad that you need to pack up and leave your house and belongings behind. Especially if certain species of mold are found in your home and you are susceptible. But often, you can clean up your home and keep it unfavorable to mold growth. I hope this blog is helpful to you!
What can you do to prevent mold overgrowth and keep mycotoxins at bay in your home?
- Make sure that you have a fan installed in your bathroom that you turn on while showering. Leave the fan on for at least 30 minutes after you shower. Avoid the bathroom mats that are thick and take a long time to dry.
- Mold likes washing machines. Be sure to check your washing machine and make sure that mold is not growing in the agitator, if you have a top loading machine.
- If you live in a humid climate, a dehumidifier can greatly help. Use throughout your living space.
- If you do have a water leak, make sure that everything is completely dried out after the leak occurs. You may have to have a professional come to your home to assess that the leak is contained and that you do not have mold growing in an area that you cannot see (like behind the dish washer).
- Basements are a hotbed for mold. If you have a basement and it smells musty, consider a dehumidifier. You may want to do the ERMI (Environmental Relative Moldiness Index) test to assess quantity and types of mold growing in the basement. If your reading comes back high, you will want to contact a qualified environmental mold specialist.
- Invest in a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Arrestance) vacuum cleaner. Especially if you have wall to wall carpeting! A HEPA vacuum will clean up mold spores from soft materials such as wall-to-wall carpet, area rugs and upholstered furniture. Typical vacuums are good at picking up filth, including mold, but the majority of vacuum cleaners spit the really small particles, like mold spores, right back into the air. Where they settle in your home, all over again!
- Clean hard surfaces with microfiber cleaning cloths. I learned from John Bantas, Environmental Mold Specialist, that these microfiber cleaning cloths pick up and hold tiny particles, such as mold spores and fungal fragments. Examples of microfiber cleaning cloths that John Bantas recommends include the Swiffer dry wipe and the Bona microfiber cleaning cloth. He also notes that if you are using the non-disposable microfiber cleaning cloths (like Bona), it is important they are washed thoroughly in a very hot water wash cycle in order to remove the mold contaminants. Best to air dry afterwards. Be aware that the non-disposable microfiber cloths will lose their effectiveness after about 50 washings.
FYI: Regular sweeping with a broom or mopping spreads the spores from one place to another, but doesn’t remove the spores from your home!!
To learn everything you need to know about cleaning up mold and mycotoxins in your home and to prevent mold overgrowth, please visit John Banta’s website: He is certainly a mold expert!