Spring cleaning is a time-tested tradition to welcome the warm weather by doing a thorough cleaning of your home or business. Many may not realize that this annual ritual is also critical in maintaining a healthy environment and prevent illness.
Mold is both an allergen and a pathogen, which means you can be allergic to molds and become seriously ill from a moldy indoor environment.
- 16% in U.S. experience chronic sinusitis – Approximately 50 million suffer from this debilitating illness that is one of several conditions that can be caused by mold in your home or work environment.
- 24% in U.S. have genetic predisposition to be sensitive to mold – For these approximately 80 million people, mold can trigger an immune response that causes inflammation and troublesome allergy symptoms. Mold exposure in these cases can be mistaken for many other chronic illnesses, where severe conditions can be undiagnosed or misdiagnosed for lengthy periods while people suffer.
There are also many toxigenic molds that are common in water-damaged homes. These molds produce secondary substances that are potent toxin and cause debilitating disease.
The following tips are highly recommended to make your home safe from mold during a thorough spring cleaning (use a professional, if you are not handy for some of these tasks):
- Identify Indoor Water Leaks – Search for water damage from plumbing, appliances, or roof. Have these water issues fixed immediately.
- Clean Every Room – Wipe or mop all surfaces from floor to ceilings (rather than just dusting), which can disrupt mold spores and disperse them into the air and HVAC system.
- Service HVAC System – An optimally running air conditioner with HEPA filters can have a tremendous impact on comfort and indoor air quality.
- Windows and Curtains – Wash your windows at least once a year and make sure to wipe down window ledges. Use a HEPA vacuum with an upholstery tool to vacuum your curtains, as mold can accumulate over time and are easily dispersed into the air.
- Carpets – Again, use a HEPA vacuum to remove mold and all other allergens and germs. Your carpet can harbor significant amounts of mold as the cellulose adhesive is food for mold and moisture is easily trapped.
- Clean Toys – If you have younger kids, thoroughly clean all of them and remove those that are unused. Stuffed animals can be cleaned in the washing machine when placed in a bag or pillowcase.
- Declutter and Make Sure Air Circulates – When it comes to decluttering, people tend to pile up collections of boxes in one place (usually in the basement) and leave them. It is important to note that unfinished basements do not have conditioned air and harbor moisture during a humid summer. Cardboard is an ideal mold food source.
- Kitchen – Mold and other ”critters” are attracted to the kitchen because they can often find crumbs of food there. Check behind your refrigerator and under your sink for dampness or leaks. Allow your mats and towels to air dry completely after every use. A thorough cleaning of any mold or mildew from showers, bathtubs and shower curtains is a must. Make sure fans are working and use them after showering to remove moisture.