DIY mold prevention fails for three general reasons. First, the do-it-yourself person failed to use appropriate cleansers to kill already existing mold. Second, the general conditions are just too favorable to mold for most protection to be helpful. Lastly, appliances that are used DIY for mold prevention were not properly maintained after installation. When one or more of these reasons is present, you can expect that more serious mold eradication efforts will become necessary down the line.
1. Inadequate cleansers were used in the DIY mold prevention attempt
Not every household cleanser is up to taking care of mold prevention. Chlorine bleach is the most common, all-purpose household cleanser. A solution of chlorine bleach and water can scrub your shower and tile spic and span, but won’t do anything to prevent mold from growing or eradicate a mold infestation.
Mold is a fungus. While not precisely the same as a plant, mold still has roots. These roots burrow deep into porous surfaces. Chlorine bleach will kill mold, but only on the surface of a porous material such as wood, drywall, or fabric. Chlorine doesn’t “soak in” to materials the way that water or some other household cleaners will. You can kill the mold and spores on the surface of the material, but if any mold has already sent down roots it will just regrow. Bleach and water also evaporate at different rates; if you use a bleach and water solution, the bleach will evaporate and the water will stay behind. Mold loves moisture. If any roots are present, your cleaning technique winds up giving them a feast.
2. General conditions are favorable to mold
Mold spores are microscopic, and it’s unrealistic to think that you can keep them out of your home. Spores can get a ride in on your shoes, on your pets, or may even blow in on the breeze if you open a window. In small quantities, mold spores pose no health risks, or no more than any other pollen—some people may have allergies to specific kinds, similar to hay fever. These spores only become a problem when they find conditions that allow them to grow. If every spore that enters your home finds favorable growing conditions, it will be much more difficult to clean enough to keep them out.
Keep the humidity in your home low. Basements and other areas of the home may require the installation of dehumidifiers and fans to keep humidity low. Warmth is good for mold, but be aware that keeping your home very cool may promote condensation. Fortunately, human comfort and mold discomfort are similar environments. Aim for a low humidity home with a thermostat set around 78 degrees.
3. Appliances that manage moisture are not maintained
Installing a sump pump, dehumidifier, or major air moving system will cut your mold risk dramatically, but it’s important to keep these appliances maintained. Consult your owner’s manual and warranty to learn about scheduled maintenance requirements. Make notes to do things like empty the collection tray on your dehumidifier so it keeps operating at peak efficiency. A clogged air filter or leaking sump pump isn’t going to keep mold out of your home.
In summary, DIY mold prevention fails mainly through lack of continued attention. Scheduling regular maintenance will make sure that your appliances are kept in good working order. These machines will help you make sure that the general conditions in your home are unfavorable to mold. Using non-bleach cleaners and soaps that cleanse porous surfaces will bring your DIY mold prevention to its top level.
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