5 Tips for Non-toxic Cleaning of Household Mold

5 Tips for Non-toxic Cleaning of Household Mold

Mold is a microscopic fungus that can cause big problems when it takes hold in your home. It often grows unnoticed in damp areas under sinks or behind appliances and can lead to a  variety of health problems including allergic reactions, respiratory symptoms, and asthma. Fortunately, once you spot household mold it’s usually easy to get rid of. To help, here are our five tips for safely removing mold from your home.

1. Take it outside

The first step in cleaning any moldy item is to take it outside. Mold spreads through microscopic particles called spores, and if you attempt to clean mold indoors you’re likely to spread these spores onto other surfaces in your home. Instead, when possible, moldy items like furniture, fabrics, or papers should be taken outside and brushed to remove as much mold as possible. If you have mold on indoor household surfaces like walls or tile, be sure to cover the surrounding areas before you clean to help prevent the spread of spores through the rest of your house.

2. Cover up

Airborne spores are the source of most mold allergies, and agitating mold while you clean releases millions of these spores into the air around you. You can help keep yourself safe while cleaning mold by covering your mouth and nose with a mask or cloth. Also be sure to wear gloves and to keep your hands away from your eyes, nose, and mouth while you work.

3. Avoid chlorine bleach

It may be tempting to reach for regular bleach when you’re trying to get rid of mold, but there are plenty of green cleaners out there that can do the job just as well. A simple, homemade mixture of vinegar and water will get rid of most household molds and is especially good for soaking moldy fabrics. You can also use non-toxic cleansers like an enzyme-based mold cleaner or a biodegradable mold and mildew remover. No matter which cleaner you chose, you’ll want to scrub the affected area thoroughly and always make sure its dries completely. For carpets and upholstered furniture, a steam cleaning vacuum used with carpet shampoo is the best way to ensure you’ve gotten rid of all the mold and spores. Again, be sure to dry the cleaned area thoroughly to prevent the mold from regrowing.

4. Make sure it doesn’t come back

Once the mold is gone you’ll want to make sure it never comes back. All mold needs moisture to thrive, so stay vigilant in areas of your home that are frequently damp such as bathroom walls and around appliances. You can apply a mold and mildew shield in those areas to help keep the mold away or use a dehumidifier to keep your home dry. Also be sure to seal leaky pipes and cracks around doors and windows to keep moisture out.

5. When it doubt, get help

Mold can be a serious home contaminant, so you should always be careful when cleaning. If you aren’t sure whether you have a mold problem, use an indoor air quality kit or mold test kit to determine whether extra precautions are necessary. And if you find areas of mold in your home that are too large to clean on your own or if you have a persistent mold problem, contact a mold removal professional who can help you assess the damage and clean safely.

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