Mostly associated with damp and musty locations, molds are fungi that travel through the air as spores, and make their homes in a variety of places, including basements, bathrooms, and almost any surface indoors and out.
While most molds are treatable, it is best for the health of your family to prevent it entirely. Molds are a danger to everyone, but especially to those with asthma and allergies.
Killing mold is one thing, but preventing it entirely is even better. Any place in your environment that is prone to moisture is a potential home for mold, and if you can keep that area clean and dry, you can prevent the problem. As a preventative, the Environmental Protection Agency makes a variety of suggestions for moisture and mold prevention.
Perhaps the most important tip is to act quickly when a water leak or spill occurs in the home. In most cases, if you dry out a leak situation in 24 to 48 hours, molds can be prevented.
For an indoor environment, try to keep the humidity level below 60 percent (in a perfect world, keep it between 30 and 50 percent). Most hardware stores carry moisture or humidity meters for $10 to $50.
For outdoor humidity problems, it is crucial that you keep your roof healthy and intact (seeping moisture can get under the roof surface and get into the wood frame). Keeping your gutters clean and healthy can also help prevent mold.
Also, it is very important that the ground slopes away from your building foundation, so that all moisture drains, and doesn’t collect around the foundation, and in your basement. A great tip in preventing this problem is to have drains connected to your downspouts, and bury them on a slope away from the house.
Unfortunately, most of us don’t realize we have a problem with mold or moisture until the dark spots appear on walls or ceilings, often in basements, bathrooms or kitchens.
Once you have discovered mold, you have to begin with remediation before you can use a new, eco-friendly product like Clear Shell Mold and Mildew Inhibitor from Zep, Inc.
So, where to begin? There are a number of eco-friendly routes to try, including vinegar, tea tree oil solutions, citrus seed extracts, and hydrogen peroxide. All need to be diluted with water before being sprayed on the surface. It also helps to use a scrub brush to remove the residual spores
If you require the big guns, there is of course, bleach. Bleach can kill virtually every species of indoor mold, along with its spores. Bleach is a great mold killer for non-porous surfaces, but it cannot penetrate into porous materials. If you are going to use bleach, use one part bleach to 10 parts water in a spray bottle, or a bucket with a sponge or cloth. When using bleach, make sure you have ventilation, because the smell is caustic.
Once the mold is gone, and the surface is dry, a product like Zep Commercial Clear Shell works to protect your home against mold and mildew growth with an ingredient that is simple and renewable, called Chitosan. It is an antimicrobial by-product of shrimp, lobster and crab shells (and no, it doesn’t smell like seafood).
John Callahan, the marketing director for Zep, Inc, stresses the benefits and longevity of Chitosan as a preventative against mold and mildew spores.
“Chitosan occurs naturally in the shells of crustaceans,” says Callahan. “When sprayed onto clean surfaces, Zep Commercial Clear Shell creates an invisible, long-lasting antimicrobial shield that will prevent the growth of mold or mildew for 12 to 18 months, even in the most humid regions.”
Zep Commercial Clear Shell can be used on indoor and outdoor surfaces including wood, carpet, concrete, stone, brick, vinyl and more.
Have other tips for how to inhibit mold growth? Leave us a note in the comments below.
Editor’s note: Zep is a Mother Nature Network sponsor.