After two visits to the hospital and a lengthy recovery at my mother’s home, I was finally able to return home. Unfortunately, my home had been closed up and basically abandoned for a couple of months, save for my son quickly rushing in to pick up necessities from time to time. Of course, the first place my mind went was to the fridge full of food that had been abandoned (ugh!) but, once that was all tossed out and a general cleaning was done, I noticed something absolutely horrific.
In my bedroom. On the ceiling. Mold.
It’s Just a Plant, Right?
My parents had the good fortune of rushing me to the hospital on several occasions, when I’d suddenly begin gasping and coughing so hard that I could barely breath. Living on a large horse farm in rural Michigan, it was almost humorous when the diagnosis came back that I was allergic to molds, mildews, pollens and pet dander. Living on a dirt road, in the country, surrounded by dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, goats, sheep, chicken… Well, I’m sure you get the picture.
Fortunately, as I grew older, the majority of my allergies faded into the background. Nevertheless, my experiences with gasping for breath stayed with me and, consequently, made me all the more wary when I learned that my daughter also suffered from a variety of allergies. Just the same, mold was something pretty boring and not much to be concerned with when I lived up north. Usually, the only kind of mold you really noticed was the kind that grew on the bread when you didn’t eat it fast enough. Nothing to be worried about.
But when we moved down to the hot and humid south, we were introduced to a new culprit – black mold. Black mold, left to grow, can result in black mold poisoning – This can cause everything from lethargy and a sniffy nose to asthma, bleeding in the lungs and even lead to infertility. Yikes! And here we thought it was just your average, ordinary fungus-type plant.
How To Treat the Mold in Your Mobile Home or House
Well needless to say, if you have it in your house, then you probably want it gone. Fortunately, despite what many cleaning companies are apt to claim, it’s remarkably easy to treat the mold growth in your house. In fact, chances are that you probably have at least one product under your sink that will take care of the culprits. We use it to get our whites whiter and to disinfect what needs disinfecting. It’s everyone’s super-cleaner, bleach!
Bleach is one of the fastest and easiest ways to kill mold growth in your house. If you have a moldy patch somewhere or, like me, you want to wipe it off your ceiling – it’s pretty easy to do. Just grab yourself a cleaning rag (this can be an old dishcloth that you don’t mind tossing, an old towel or, my personal favorite, one of those old tee-shirts that your son or hubby has either grown out of or worn thin) and put some bleach in a handy-dandy spray bottle.
Now, this part is very important, so pay extra attention to this: Do NOT simply wipe at the mold. The way that mold and other fungi reproduce is that they give off spores when they are disturbed. These spores explode from the mold and take flight, launched up into the air all around us. If you disturb the untreated mold and try to just dust or wipe it off, chances are you’re going to be drawing a whole bunch of those troublesome little spores right where you don’t want them – into your lungs.
Fortunately spores are dry things, so if they are wetted down first, they can’t begin their air-born journey. This means that you spray first, then wipe. This can either involve liberally spritzing the offending area or, if it’s situated above your bed (like mine) and you don’t want to risk getting bleach and black gunk on your new purple bedspread…then spray a liberal amount of bleach onto your rag and then wipe thoroughly.
Clean off all signs of mold and mildew, then pat yourself on the back and congratulate yourself. You’ve graduated on to phase two of Operation Mold Go Bye-Bye.
Keeping the Mold at Bay
When I was younger, I incorrectly believed that mold was just like dirt and dust – It was a sign that someone needed to clean their house more. Now, as an adult however, I’ve come to learn that having mold in your house is not a sign that you don’t clean enough. It’s actually a sign that you need to make some home improvements and fix things up a bit.
The discovery of mold in my mobile home alerted me to a more annoying problem than a mere housekeeping deficiency – It meant that I had a leaky roof on my mobile home. While it did alert me to a major problem (and a topic for an upcoming article, no doubt), it also alerted me to the important point that I will share with you now. No matter how many times you clean and no matter how often you use bleach, tea tree oils, or any kind of hoodoo-voodoo snake oil concoction that someone claims will cure your home of black mold, this toxic mold will continue to come back so long as your house is damp.
If you discover you have mold in your house, seek out the source – If it’s in the bathroom, chances are you have a leaky tap or you’re getting too much condensation off your toilet. If it’s in the kitchen, chances are you have a drip under the sink or a problem with the drip pan under your fridge. Where-ever it is that you’re finding the mold, chances are you have unwanted water. So dry it out!
One of the best ways of getting the moisture out of the air is to spend a little money and go buy yourself a dehumidifier, to suck the water out of the air. Replace leaking or dripping faucets, taps and pipes, and be sure to clean regularly around your toilet with a few healthy spritzes of household bleach. Keeping the moldy areas dry is one of the best ways that you can fight black mold and prevent its recurrence in your household.
If the black mold is appearing on your ceiling, wiping it down regularly with a liberal dose of bleach will help to keep the visible mold under control. Just remember that there’s still mold that you don’t see up there. Stay tuned for an upcoming article, entitled “How to Fix Your Roof (When You’re Afraid of Heights).”
Personal experience (much to my annoyance)
http://www.toxic-black-mold-info.com/moldsigns.htm – Information on black mold