Mold is a normal and essential part of nature, an ever-present fungus that works to decompose organic dead matter. It lives both indoors and outdoors, with approximately 150,000 types. Mold varies in appearance, ranging from white, green, and black, to orange.
There’s a combination of three factors that lead to mold growth: a sufficient source of moisture, food (and other organic matter like wood, paper, dirt, leaves, etc.), and a conducive area for growth (particularly porous surfaces like carpeting, wood, and drywall). Because of these factors, mold commonly grows in damp-prone areas of the home, like bathrooms, laundry rooms, kitchens, and basements.
In smaller and more controllable amounts, mold is not harmful. But an overgrowth of mold can lead to structural damage and pose a health risk to those exposed to it.
That’s why keeping mold in your home under control is important for your health. Let’s talk a little more about why you should care about this in the first place.
How Mold Affects the Air You Breathe
Mold growth is not just a surface problem, but an airborne one too. When it grows, it releases mold spores into the air where they can be inhaled and cause damage to the body.
Those exposed to airborne mold spores normally experience allergy symptoms like sneezing, nasal congestion, watery and red eyes, itching, and skin rashes. Those with severe allergies may have difficulty breathing or experience coughing and wheezing. Mold spores can also trigger asthma attacks for those who suffer from asthma.
The most vulnerable to health concerns posed by mold are babies, kids, the elderly, and people with weakened or compromised immune systems, particularly those with asthma, seasonal and chronic allergies, and chronic lung disease.
It might look harmless, but mold in the home can pose quite the risk.
Protecting Your Home from Mold
While the threat of mold is undoubtedly concerning, there are things you can do to keep your home safe.
1. Address the Primary Source of the Mold
The first, and most critical, step to addressing a mold infestation is to target and fix it at its roots. You need to control the primary source of moisture because in doing that, the mold cannot regrow and spread.
Look for your mold’s source, be it a leak in your pipes, a large spill in the carpet that was left unattended, or excessive humidity in a room. Once identified, make the necessary repairs to stem the dampness. Make sure to limit your exposure to the mold as you clean up – wear a face mask (ideally an N-95) to avoid breathing it in, wear long gloves to prevent skin exposure, and use goggles that do not have ventilation holes to keep the spores from getting into your eyes.
If the mold is on a hard surface, scrub it off with detergent and water, then dry. If the source of the mold is sewage backup or flooding, clean the affected items with a diluted bleach solution.
For mold overgrowth that is contained to a specific area, like a corner of a room or just one room in a house, prevent mold spores from scattering in the air by isolating it with a heavy plastic sheet.
Stopping mold at its source will make the following steps much more manageable.
2. Minimize Opportunities for Mold Growth
The general rule of thumb is to ensure that any damp areas or wet items — especially porous materials like carpet, furniture, wood, and ceiling tiles — are dried within one to two days to prevent the growth of mold. As much as possible, try to keep the rooms in your house dry and ventilated, particularly areas that are prone to humidity and moisture buildup. Regularly check for leaks in your pipes or seepage.
In the kitchen, turn an exhaust fan on while you cook, clean, or wash the dishes to help pull the moist air out.
In the bathrooms, opt for area rugs instead of full-floor carpeting. Make sure that rugs and shower curtains are washed and dried regularly to avoid mold growth. Reduce the stagnation of moisture by leaving your bathroom fan on after your shower or, if possible, opening a window before you shower. Hang your damp towels to air dry after use instead of tossing them immediately in a laundry hamper or leaving them on the floor.
3. Improve the Air Quality to Reduce Spore Spread
As airborne mold spores can trigger allergic reactions and illnesses, it’s important to cleanse the air and make it safer for you and your family. Boost airflow by opening screen doors and windows to let natural light and fresh air in.
We also highly recommend using an air purifier with a HEPA filter to complement your other anti-mold practices to improve your home’s air quality. Sans’ air purifier is equipped with a HEPA 13 filter, a medical-grade filter that meets the standards of the U.S. Department of Energy, as it can remove 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 micron and 99.95% of particles as small as 0.1 micron. Mold spores typically range between 4 to 20 microns in size, so a true HEPA filter is more than capable of trapping them.
Sans packs a serious punch with a 3-stage filter system. Aside from the HEPA filter, it also comes with a pre-filter to capture physical pollutants like hair and dust, and an activated carbon filter to neutralize harmful gases and foul odors. To cap it off, the air purifier has an internal UV-C light that sterilizes and destroys pathogens and mold spores, thereby preventing them from growing on the three filters.
These work together for optimum air purification against mold spores, pollen, dander, dust, viruses, and bacteria.
Mold can be dangerous, but it can also be very simple to keep it under control. Keep your home free from mold with the help of Sans. Shop our collection today.