The days are long, the sun is out and the beaches are having their moment; summer is well and truly here. Hooray! Yet, as the saying goes, there’s no such thing as a free, er, BBQ. For with all the fun of the summer comes the added risk of mold.
Yup, that pesky fungal growth really knows how to get everywhere, doesn’t it? Especially at this time of year. This is down to several factors, which we shall now explore:
Humidity – summer’s best friend – with a sprinkling of an afternoon thunderstorm here and there, is the perfect recipe for mold, which tends to thrive under temperatures of 70-100 degrees Fahrenheit. And there’s absolutely nothing we can do about that!
Quite simply, the hotter it is, the more water we consume – and not just the drinking kind, either, although one of the most surprising sources of mold comes from children’s sippy cups as they are rarely properly disassembled when cleaned. Sweating through clothes and going through swimwear and towels like there’s no tomorrow multiplies the amount of washing tenfold, not to mention the additional showers required to keep us clean. And if all this moisture is not properly ventilated, the risk of mold increases considerably.
The perfect playground for mold spores due to their added exposure to moisture, be they water guns or pool inflatables.
Not the only risk to your home by any stretch of the imagination, but with summer comes vacations – thus leaving your property unattended for periods of time. If water build up is left anywhere – especially under sinks and around toilets and washing machines – mold – which can lay dormant until it gets the required level of humidity and moisture to multiply – will very much make itself at home while you are away.
So, what can you do to prevent this from happening?
There are many ways to increase ventilation. If your home does not already have them, install exhaust fans in both the kitchen and bathrooms – the worst offending rooms for harbouring moisture – and ensure your clothes dryer ventilates outside. Opening doors and windows on particularly hot days will improve air circulation whilst doing the same with blinds and curtains to let in daylight will also discourage mold growth. When it comes to air conditioning, people are surprized to hear that there is such a thing as too efficient: if the unit cools the room down too quickly, the system can shut off before the room is properly ventilated.
According to The American Medical Association, humidity levels should be kept between 30 and 50%, so installing a dehumidifier – especially in damp spaces, such as the basement – can help to reduce any excess build up. Make sure to clean any humidifiers regularly to prevent them from becoming a breeding ground for mold and keep on top of the areas in your home that water accumulates. This includes outdoor use, too, so watch out for sprinklers as these can cause pools of water to simmer in your garden if not monitored efficiently, as well as indoor water-based kitchen appliances that are utilized more in the summer, such as an ice maker.
Ensure that anything seasonal, be it winter clothes or shoes, is packed away in plastic storage bags to prevent the growth of mold on anything not in regular use. Kids’ summer toys, such as water guns and pool inflatables, should also be cleaned and drained properly before being put away for next year.
Clean and dry
All surfaces – including a shower curtain – should be thoroughly cleaned as any type of dirt or dust can be a feeding ground for mold when moisture is present. You should be using a commercial mildew cleaner and brush at least twice a month, paying special attention to the area surrounding the shower grout as this is particularly susceptible to mold. Make sure all surfaces are left dry afterwards – especially in the bathroom. Pool garments, be they swimwear or towels, should either be thrown in the washing machine immediately after use or hung out to dry, as opposed to being left slumped in a ball on the floor – no matter how tempting – whilst children’s sippy cups and water bottles should also be cleaned thoroughly, taking special care to disassemble every part of them before washing thoroughly.
Household plants not only keep your place looking pretty but have also been proven to keep mold at bay – win win!
And if you do find mold …?
Worry not! Here are our recommendations:
Call the Experts
Contrary to popular belief, using a bleach-based household cleaning product to target mold may actually cause it to spread, so on finding the uninvited visitor in your home your best bet is to call in licensed professionals who will inspect, test and give any necessary advice.
If you do decide to tackle mold yourself, make sure you stick to natural-based products, such as white distilled vinegar mixed with water.
Trust Your Senses
If areas of your home smell damp and musty, chances are there’s some mold lurking somewhere – even if you can’t see it.
Enjoy the summer!
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