There’s a certain shade of green that needs to be eradicated from our homes….that dark, dark, almost-black, shade of green. The shade of mold and mildew. Yuck.
One of the four most common allergic triggers, mold is not just unpleasant…it’s dangerous, particularly for infants, small children and pregnant women, and can cause a variety of health problems including allergies, asthma, chronic respiratory symptoms, recurrent infections, persistent fatigue and headaches. Plus, high exposure to mold has been linked to pulmonary hemorrhage and hemosiderosis in infants.
According to Fungal Research Group Foundation, Inc., the rise in asthma and allergies is linked to microbial products – fungal spores and hyphae, moisture problems, dampness and exposure to mold. And the June 1999 issue of Environmental Health Perspective includes the statement: “exposure to molds may constitute a health threat to children resulting in respiratory symptoms in both the upper and lower airways, an increased risk of infections, and skin problems.”
Mold-related illnesses can evolve from irritation, causing burning eyes, congestion, cough and post-nasal drip; allergy, which manifests with itchy, watery eyes, congestion, cough, sneezing, wheezing and tightness in your chest; toxins, which can affect the skin as well as respiratory, immune and nervous systems; and infection, such as chronic sinus infection.
“But I don’t have a mold problem in my home,” you may be thinking, but guess again. Mold is insidious in its ability to remain hidden. For example, did you know your refrigerator drip pan should be cleaned every two or three months? Why? Because it’s the perfect breeding ground for mold and as the mold grows, the fan from the refrigerator blows the spores into your kitchen. Ewww.
Mold also loves to play tag with you via your heating and air conditioning ducts. Installing High Efficiency Low Pressure Air filters (HELPA) will help trap the mold spores as they prepare for an attack. Using a HEPA air purifier will also help to reduce these, as well as other indoor pollutants.
Cutting down on mold in your home can also be accomplished by installing and using exhaust fans in your kitchen and bathrooms. Keep the humidity level low in your home (less than 50%) by running dehumidifiers or air conditioning. On low humidity days, open your house up and let it breathe in some fresh outdoor air. If you find any water leaks in your home, take care of them immediately and don’t allow mold and mildew the opportunity to take root.
Before you grab a bottle of bleach and prepare to do battle, stop for a minute and think about the harmful effects breathing in bleach fumes can cause. There are better, greener ways to attack the problem.
One effective solution for combating mold and mildew can be found in a spray bottle filled with 2 cups of water and 2 teaspoons of tea tree oil. Shake up the bottle before each use and spray generously onto the mold and mildew. Do not rinse off. After a couple of hours, you can wipe the solution away, or just let it go if it’s inside your shower or tub. It couldn’t get much easier.
For those who prefer a more active approach, spread a thick layer of baking soda on the spots where the mold and mildew are growing. Follow with a spray of straight distilled white vinegar. Be prepared for the chemical reaction to follow – Scrubbing Bubbles' eco-friendly cousins bubbling and fizzing as they go to work. Grab a scrub brush, apply plenty of elbow grease and rinse. Voila! No more ugly dark, dark, almost-black, green.
If you’re not comfortable with these simple homemade solutions to this not so simple problem, order a bottle of MOLD-OFF, an environmentally-friendly mold and mildew cleaner that contains no chlorine or bleach. www.moldoff.org.
Mold – it’s not the color green we’re after. Take it seriously, and for the health of your family, get rid of it!
Keeping it green,