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Gert’s Dirt: Managing mold

Last winter’s severe cold caused broken water lines for many local folks. That along with last spring’s flooding caused water damage and mold growth in many homes.

People may worry about how the mold affects their health. Let’s review what we know about mold in your home.

Mold spores are everywhere in the air and on surfaces. They grow anywhere there is moisture and get into your home through ventilation, and on pets, clothing, shoes and bags. Almost any material that you have in your home — wood, ceiling tiles, wall paper, drywall, fabric, you name it — can encourage mold growth.

There are several species of mold, all very common. Most people are unharmed by exposure to mold, but those with compromised immunity, allergies or lung problems such as asthma and COPD, may be more susceptible to problems stemming from mold exposure.

If you have a severe case of mold in your home, you should seek professional remediation specialists. They will aid in the removal of the building materials and clean the area with special products and procedures.

Most mold problems can be fixed by scrubbing the area with soap and water, and fixing the moisture problem. The use of a bleach and water solution is often recommended for tackling mold but bleach can damage many fibers and it’s toxic to you. You must never mix it with any other solution, as it may cause severe health issues. Also, bleach can make the blackish mold stain look better, but it does not guarantee that the mold will not return. Please refer to the label on the bleach bottle. You will notice it does not say that it is recommended for treating mold; it is a laundry additive.

So how can you be assured the mold will not return? Here are several suggestions for fighting the fungi.

• Watch for evidence of water damage in your home. Dampness can be due to water leaks, condensation or flooding. Fixing these problems may include pipe repairs. Improving ventilation may be in order for some moisture problems. Try to keep the humidity at less than 50 percent by installing dehumidifiers, air ex-changers and air conditioners. Exhaust fans are effective in bathrooms and kitchens. Sometimes just running a fan will help air to circulate better. Here at Bellino’s pad we have a condensation problem on some of our windows. I always try to open the shade each morning to help keep the window ledge dry.

• Some paints come with mold inhibitors or you can add them to the paint. Consider using this kind of product on trouble areas.

• Remove and replace carpet that has been in a flooded room and don’t use carpet in the bathroom.

• Clean trouble spots regularly. If you continue to have problems with returning mold, you may want to try a product called Conrobium Mold Control. In research for this article, I found this to be highly recommended by those in the know. It kills the mold and prevents it from returning. It will not whiten the stain; the stain may be permanent, but it does make it considerably better. It is safer than any other product on the market, other than plain soap and water or vinegar and water. Please follow the label directions carefully. Not every hardware store carries it, but it can be found at our local hardware store.

In summary, mold is very common and is found everywhere. It is not dangerous to most people, but it is unsightly and can cause odor. To fix mold problems, find and remedy the cause of the moisture. Clean the area carefully as described. Consider using mold inhibitors.

And it’s always a good idea to open the windows and let the fresh summer breeze in!

Donna Bellino is a Registered Nurse and owner of Gertie’s Cleaning and Home Service. I care for you, your health, and your home. Gertie’s: Naturally.