Mold! It sure feels like it’s everywhere right now, try how you can get rid of it.
We had a chat with microbiologist/mycologist Dr Cameron Jones to find out why this is such a persistent problem. Here’s how he answered our questions.
Why is mold so obsessed with our homes?
One of the biggest reasons people have mold problems right now is because it’s winter and we’re heating our homes.
When we turn on our heaters, all cold surfaces in the house – especially walls with rising damp problems – form condensation because there is warm air inside and air cold outside.
This available moisture content will be used by the typical molds, bacteria and fungi found inside to grow and cause all sorts of unwanted problems.
[Mould also forms indoors] if your home has an unusual amount of water entering it, whether from rain, flooding or plumbing faults.
It is mainly found in damp areas where plumbing fixtures and fittings are located. Thus, laundry rooms and bathrooms are the key locations, followed by kitchens.
If they get damp and wet, they will start to develop mold.
Why does it come back even after cleaning it?
Mold regularly produces spores to maintain its own life cycle, and these spores easily become airborne.
When water becomes available, these spores germinate within 15 to 24 hours.
So even when water-damaged buildings and home contents dry out, the likelihood that these spores have already been dispersed throughout the home is very high.
Your home may not have any mold issues or just a normal background level, but if it suddenly takes on high levels of humidity, anything that gets damp will promote mold growth.
Leather goods, handbags, backpacks, sports bags and camera bags are some of the typical items on which you will see mold growing prolifically and that is because ‘they get wet when they rest.
And clothes – especially clothes made with plant-based materials, [like hemp or bamboo] – have so much material on which microbes can grow.
Mildew is also often found on wallpaper and wood – and this can include the backs of wooden furniture like bookcases, nightstands and large pieces of furniture, as they are really porous compared to hardwood, which means they absorb moisture more easily.
Even if you are cleaning the surface of something like wooden furniture, in many cases that wood is a composite wood that has been compressed using glues and small wood fragments.
The mold could have used the glue as a food source and penetrated the more porous wood fibers, which can render simple surface cleaning ineffective.
So, you can assume that after cleaning a household item, mold spores will be minimized.
The rougher the surface, the more difficult it is to fully eliminate spores which may lie dormant to regrow later and cross-contaminate in other areas of the home or on other surfaces.
What can I do to fix the larger problem?
Once you can see the mold, you know there is a moisture problem inside.
This can be solved by improving ventilation naturally by opening windows and doors, but you may need to resort to mechanical dehumidification as some properties tend to accumulate moisture from the materials that were used to build the house. are such that the air cannot really circulate well. .
If you have wall inverters, some have a dehumidification setting.
[You could also] Consider purchasing desiccant jars that extract moisture from closets where shoes and handbags might be stored.
For more tips on removing mold from your home and household items in particular – as well as how to know when to get rid of moldy items – follow the link to this article.
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