You've seen it before growing on bread or week-old fruit. Or perhaps you've seen it lurking in the corners of a bathroom. Though mold plays a critical role in breaking down organic dead matter in the natural environment, when mold makes its way into your home, it can pose significant problems.
The impacts of mold on your home and personal health can range from mild to harmful, so it’s important that if you discover mold in your home you address the issue immediately. An untreated mold issue can cause breathing issues, destroy valuable home goods, and potentially cause expensive issues to your home.
However, cleaning mold naturally isn’t as hard as you would think. Keep reading for seven important tips about how to clean mold, prevent mold growth, and create a home or workspace with better air quality
Why Does Mold Grow?
Mold is a type of fungi, just like the mushrooms that we eat. However, when mold grows in our homes or businesses, it can cause significant damage and health issues. In general, mold simply requires moisture to grow.
However, mold is especially prevalent in areas with high humidity or significant moisture, like bathrooms, locker rooms, and areas that may have experienced flooding. Not only that, but since fungi like to grow in areas with moisture but don't necessarily require water, gym bags, damp closets, and other areas with humidity can create the perfect environment for fungal growth
Mold and Health Problems
Though mold plays an important role in the ecosystem in breaking down dead matter, when it comes into the home it can produce allergens that can irritate your skin and cause potentially harmful reactions. In particular, mold can either cause or exacerbate respiratory ailments.
In general, you do not want to inhale any sort of spores or allergens that are coming from mold. The allergens released by mold can result in allergic reactions that include skin rash, runny nose, red eyes, and more. Cleaning mold is not only a way to address an unsightly problem in your home that can cause expensive damage, but is also a commitment to a higher quality of air in your space.
7 Tips for Cleaning Mold
Nobody wants mold in their home, but sometimes mold can be persistent and difficult to clean. The thing about mold is that if you don't catch it in time it can spread rapidly and, once airborne, is very difficult to get out of there. Mold found in your basement will often mean that there are mold spores in your air throughout your house.
If the mold problem in your basement is significant, it may be your best option to contact professionals and have the mold cleaned.
However, if the problem is smaller just beginning you may be able to tackle it on your own. Here are seven tips for cleaning mold in your basement, and how to prevent mold growth in the future.
#1: Identify Types of Mold in Your Basement
Though there are tens of thousands of types of fungi species that create mold, some are more common than others when it comes to household mold. You may want to consult a professional when identifying the mold in your basement, because some mold spores can be more dangerous to human health than others.
Regardless of what mold type may be growing in your home, it is likely that you will find mold growing in a damp area that retains moisture. Unfortunately, whatever mold you find is unlikely to stop growing until you address the situation with adequate cleaning.
#2: Target Areas Susceptible to Mold Growth
The entire basement is unlikely to have mold growth, unless your home has recently experienced a flood or your basement is generally high in humidity. More likely than not, mold is going to grow in areas with the highest concentrations of humidity and moisture.
If you have a bathroom in your basement, if you live close to a body of water, or if your basement is carpeted, then those areas might be more susceptible to mold growth. Investing in a dehumidifier for the basement and prioritizing dry air in the basement is key. Further, if your basement has a bathroom, be sure that there is adequate air flow, and no water running onto the basement carpet from the bathroom.
#3: Determine How To Clean Mold
Not all products for cleaning mold were created equal. The most important thing to recognize before attempting to clean mold is that if it is widespread or potentially toxic, contact professionals who are well-versed in mold cleaning and removal. If you are opting for a more natural route, do your research on what will eliminate mold, and what won’t be effective.
#4: Make Natural Cleaning a Priority
If you're looking for a more natural approach to cleaning mold, essential oils, particularly tea tree oil can be effective in eliminating and cleaning mold. Because of mold's pervasive and fast-growing quality, it can be tempting to want to use as many chemicals as possible to eliminate the issue. However, chemical heavy cleaners can be just as toxic as the issue that you're trying to eliminate.
Try to prioritize natural ingredients with cleaners that reflect your commitments to cleanliness without chemicals. This antimicrobial odor eliminator by Azuna comes in an all-natural spray that can be used as a room freshener and surface cleaner. Offered in a natural tea tree scent, this spray works hard without harmful chemicals to clean surfaces against the spread of bacteria, mold, and mildew. In addition, Azuna offers both small and large room treatments that last 60-90 days and can be placed throughout your basement to eliminate odors and purify your basement air while combating airborne mold 24/7.
If you're choosing to clean mold without chemicals be sure to prioritize looking at ingredients evaluating how effective they are and ensuring that they will prevent, and not promote the spread of mold out your basement.
#5: Prioritize Safety and Ventilation
Safety is always a priority, but especially when you may be in close proximity to bacteria or other potentially harmful fungi, prioritizing your wellness is paramount. When you're ready to start cleaning mold, be sure to prioritize your safety. You'll want to make sure to wear gloves, goggles, and a face mask in addition to protective clothing to ensure that no mold or spores gets on your clothing.
If you have allergies stay clear of the mold and be sure to ask a friend, family member, or hire a company to support you're cleaning up first. When you're finished cleaning the area make sure to wash your clothing sufficiently so as not to retain irritants on your clothing that could potentially harm your skin the next time you wear them.
#6: Increase Ventilation and Cleaning Rituals
Basements are generally underground, which is why they tend to have higher humidity and moisture quantities. If your basement is generally damp, it can be hard to remove mold completely.
Increasing ventilation in the room, whether that be running a fan, opening a window, or keeping on central air can help to prevent moisture from sitting stagnant for long periods of time. In addition, a more frequent cleaning ritual can help prevent mold growth, as you'll be catching and cleaning mold spores at the beginning of a life cycle as opposed to when they have already multiplied.
#7: Preventing Mold Growth in the Future
Preventing mold growth can be difficult, especially if you live in a humid climate or have significant carpeting in your basement. What are the most important things to prevent mold growth in your basement is to address and fix any plumbing leaks or water problems that may be impacting your basement.
Seal all gaps and cracks, and make sure that windows and entrances to the basement aren’t allowing moisture in. Remove all affected areas including carpet furniture or Home Goods that may have mold growth on it.
One of the most important things is to prioritize keeping air quality high after you've removed mold from your basement. One of the best ways to do that is with an antimicrobial odor eliminator, like this room treatment from Azuna.
The Bottom Line
If you have a problem with mold in your basement, it’s an issue that should be paid attention to promptly. Though mold can go unnoticed in humid or moisture-rich environments, if left untreated can cause significant health risks and structural issues to your home.
Discovering mold in the basement can be addressed through various at-home treatments, but if the problem is severe, you should contact a professional who can adequately address the situation. It’s important to remember that if you find mold in your basement, there is a good chance that there is mold in your air — not only in your basement, but throughout your house.
Using natural ingredients, and anti-microbial eliminators, instead of chemical-filled cleaners is a smarter choice when it comes to your health. You can address the potential mold issue in any area of your home while prioritizing your health and wellness.