No one looks forward to Spring cleaning, but during a pandemic, it’s a necessary part of staying safe. Most people don’t realize that indoor air quality is actually worse than it is outdoors!
Now that people work from home in record numbers, indoor allergens have become more noticeable.
Two of the most dangerous allergens you’ll find in your home are mold and mildew. The good news is that if you catch it early, you can stop it from spreading.
You can actually use Lysol for mold and mildew if you follow the proper techniques. In this article, we’ll discuss what mold and mildew is, why you don’t want it in your home, and how to clean it.
What is Mold?
Mold has a poor reputation, but it’s actually an important part of our daily lives. Mold plays a vital role in biotechnology, medicine, producing enzymes, and creating certain foods. The problem with mold is that it also plays a role in food spoilage and some variants can cause health issues.
Mold is a fungus that grows in hyphae, or multicellular filaments, and causes the biodegradation of natural materials. It requires moisture to grow and gets its energy from the organic material that it consumes.
One of the biggest problems with mold is that it spreads easily and quickly. By the time you notice mold, you could already have a serious issue. Therefore, it’s important to clean around your sinks, baths, and any other area that keeps moisture regularly. You should also call a professional if you have a leak in your roof or your home floods, as this can lead to mold getting into your walls.
What is Mildew?
Mildew is also a fungus, similar to mold. You can tell mold and mildew apart by their colors. Mold appears black, red, green, and blue, while mildew is a white substance. Both substances give off a musty smell, and both appear around organic materials, such as plants, fruits, wood, leather, etc.
The Potential Health Effects of Mold and Mildew
It’s common for mold and mildew to cause allergic reactions in people. Most of the time, these reactions are mild and don’t last for long. In some cases though, long-term exposure to mold can cause serious health effects. Mildew can also cause these reactions.
Mild symptoms include coughing, itchy eyes, sneezing, runny eyes, and itchy skin. You could also have headaches and sleeping issues (mostly because of the allergies). However, there are serious issues that you could develop if the conditions are right.
One study shows that up to 40% of asthma attacks result from mold exposure, rats, or dust mites, with mold leading the pack. If you have a member of your family that has asthma, mold can cause some serious problems.
Another study showed that children exposed to mold when they’re younger are at a greater risk to develop asthma.
Mold and mildew can both cause the release of mycotoxins, which can cause serious health issues. Mycotoxins cause allergies, asthma, hypersensitivity, and wheezing. These can be serious on their own, but there is some belief that mold exposure leads to long-lasting effects that alter someone’s life.
Some of these long-term issues include depression, memory problems, reproductive problems, and anxiety. We should note, however, that there isn’t enough recent research to back up many of these claims when it comes to the mental health effects of exposure to mycotoxins.
The severity of these issues depends on several factors, including whether the person has a genetic predisposition to allergies, the length of exposure, and the amount of mycotoxins in the air.
Now that we’ve established that you don’t want mold and mildew in your home, let’s look at ways to prevent it.
How To Prevent Mold and Mildew
As we mentioned earlier, mold and mildew rely on moisture to grow and survive. Once moisture enters your home, you’re at risk. Given this, it’s no surprise that you should control the amount of humidity in your home.
Ideally, you want the humidity in your home to stay under 60 percent. There are ways to do this, such as opening a window when you shower. You should also avoid hanging your clothes to dry in your home. Doing these things makes your home humid, allowing mildew and mold to take root.
There are some other things you should do, such as:
Keep Your Shower Clean
Showers, even with the window open, causes moisture. The water after a shower stays on your walls, providing mold and mildew with a perfect opportunity to take root and spread. If you have several people in your home, the risk becomes greater.
Have a sponge and cleaner in your bathroom to wipe down the walls of your shower. Get your entire family in on the cleaning to protect yourself. If you still notice mold or mildew in your shower even though you’re cleaning every time, check your grout. Old grout can hold water in cracks, making it a perfect breeding ground for these substances.
Stop Water and Liquids From Pooling
When people think of mold caused by water, they often picture dramatic floods that fill their basements with water. In reality, any amount of water coming into your home can lead to mold or mildew.
This includes everything from rain to spilled water that seeps into your floor.
A small water spill doesn’t seem that bad until it gets under your floor board. While you think everything is fine, you have a mini petri dish under your carpet. That water sits on the wood, keeping it damp and allowing mold and mildew to grow and spread. Every time you step on that spot of your floor, you kick up spores that travel around your home. If they find their way into your air vents, they’ll spread quicker and cause allergy issues.
The minute you spill something, clean it immediately. Don’t let liquid get under your floorboards or behind your walls. You should also clean any drip trays in your home regularly. You’ll find these trays in refrigerators, air conditioners, and dehumidifiers.
If you keep these empty, it will stop mold from growing in them and keep them from overflowing onto the floor.
Buy A Dehumidifier and Sump Pump
Dehumidifiers get rid of moisture from the air, lowering the opportunity for mildew and mold to grow. You should have a dehumidifier in your home anywhere there’s been flooding or water damage.
Some areas of your home are almost always damp, like crawl spaces and basements. You’ll want to leave a humidifier on in those areas, as the darkness there also allows these substances to rapidly grow.
Speaking of basements, if you live in an area with a lot of rain, invest in a sump pump. This will help prevent floods, saving you money and stopping mold and mildew from getting into your home. Once your home floods, there’s a high chance they will form because the water will stay in your walls and floors even after the water isn’t visible anymore.
A dehumidifier and sump pump will help keep the moisture and mold out.
Maintain Your Roof and Gutters
Much like the previous piece of advice, the key thing you need to do is keep water out of your home. One of the easiest ways for water to get into your home, and one of the hardest to detect, is a small leak in your roof. Your roof may have a small leak that allows water and moisture to go into your walls undetected.
This can happen due to tile damage, or it could be an issue with blocked gutters. Every fall and Spring you should clean out your gutters. Get rid of any dirt, debris, leaves, or other blockages. You should also periodically check them out, especially after storms.
For your roof, you’ll want to get an inspection done once a year or after major storms. Storms can dislodge tiles, creating small spaces for water to get in and cause further damage. Your tiles can also crack due to sun exposure. Getting an inspection will help prevent damage, saving you money and protecting you from moisture, mildew, and mold.
What Do I Do if I Find Mold or Mildew?
One problem with mold and mildew is that if you find it in your home, there’s a good chance it’s somewhere else as well. It spreads quickly and can attach to almost any surface. If you find either substance, you’ll want to look for it throughout your home.
There are certain spots more likely to have mold and mildew, such as underneath your sinks, tile and grout, your basement, and attic if you have one. Dark places with moisture are almost always the first places will grow.
If you find mold and mildew in multiple locations, you may have to call in a professional, especially if the mold is black. However, if you only find it in one self-contained location after a thorough search, you shouldn’t have any problems cleaning it yourself.
Make Sure You Have The Right Cleaning Equipment
Before you clean your home, you’ll need a few things. First, you’ll need a mask to stop from breathing in any mycotoxins. Anytime you disturb mold or mildew, spores release into the air and can get into your airways, causing some symptoms listed above.
You also want to seal off the room you’re cleaning if possible to stop the spores from spreading to other areas of your home. Wear gloves while you clean, as mold and mildew can cause skin irritation, as can the cleaning solution. Keep a trash can close by so you can throw your mask and gloves away without having to leave the area.
Of course, you’ll also need the Lysol for mold and mildew. You’ll also need a wool brush, sponge with a brillo surface, or some other material to help scrub the surface without damaging it. While you want something that can provide your surfaces with a deep clean, you don’t want to scratch up your walls.
What is Lysol
Most people know what Lysol is, so the real question is ‘what makes it effective against mold and mildew?’. If you’re wondering “does Lysol kill mold”, the answer is yes. The key ingredient in Lysol is hydrogen peroxide, which is known for being effective against mold and mildew.
Lysol also contains potassium hydroxide, ethanol, and isopropyl alcohol. These ingredients, when combined, kill 99.9% of germs in your home.
People think this is a good thing, but we should mention that you don’t want to overdo it. There are actually good bacteria that keep away bad germs. The overuse of sanitary products like hand sanitizer and Lysol spray can lead to the growth of superbugs, like the MRSA strains seen in hospitals.
The good thing about Lysol spray is that you can use it on a variety of surfaces. With other types of cleaners, like bleach, certain types of surfaces will get damaged. Lysol is one of the few cleaners that works anywhere.
Cleaning With Lysol for Mold and Mildew
Once you locate mold, mildew, or both, you’ll want to get rid of it quickly. You should wear your mask for every part of the process to protect yourself from breathing in spores and mycotoxins. If possible, wear old clothes that you’re okay with throwing away afterwards as well.
If you can, seal off the room where you’re going to clean. Close any doors going into the room and use plastic and tape to seal the bottom, top, and any cracks between the door and the frame. You’ll also want to seal off vents and any other areas where mold can escape.
You’ll want to wear rubber gloves while you clean to protect your hands from mold, mildew, and the Lysol. While small amounts of Lysol spray won’t hurt your hands in most cases, people with sensitive skin may have problems if the liquid sits on your hands.
You May Have To Remove Some Objects
If you find mold or mildew somewhere close to clothing, books, or other objects, you may have to throw those things away. You’ll want to have plenty of trash bags nearby in case. Sometimes it’s easier to throw away objects infested with mold and mildew than it is to clean them.
This can sometimes include carpet, tiles, and in extreme cases floor boards and parts of a ceiling. If you find these things infested with mold or mildew, especially black mold, you may want to contact a professional, as there’s a good chance that you’ll need a complete mold and mildew remediation for your home.
Bag these items as soon as you remove them and seal the bag quickly to limit the spread of mold spores and mildew. Seal the bags tightly and put them into a secure container. Don’t overstuff the bags, as you don’t want anything to cut into the bag while you’re taking them out of your home.
Cleaning the Mold and Mildew off of Surfaces
Once you’ve secured the area and thrown damaged items away, it’s time to clean the surface with the mold or mildew on it. If you’re cleaning a wall, you’ll need to lay some plastic down on the ground below the affected area.
First, you’ll want to stand back when spraying the Lysol onto the affected surface. This protects your eyes from any spray back and from mold spores.
Let the Lysol sit on the area for 15 minutes so it has time to kill the mold and mildew. Once it has sat there, use your scrub brush to scrub the substance off. Once it’s off, wipe the area with a towel and spray the area again. Let that sit for another ten minutes before wiping it off.
You want to let the Lysol sit because you have to kill the spores and not just wipe what you can see off the surface. Once you do this, it shouldn’t come back. If it does, it’s because the area has too much humidity or because the spores remained on the surface.
Many people worry about black mold, as it has been associated with a majority of the negative health effects. People often ask “does Lysol kill black mold as effectively as other types?” As long as you follow the safety steps outlined above, you can use Lysol on any type of mold.
After The Cleaning
After thoroughly cleaning the area, put all the napkins, scrubbers, and anything else that touched the contaminated area into a trash bag. Then, take your gloves off and put them in the trash bag and tie it so that no air can get out. Take it outside to your trash can, throw your mask into your trash can, and the hard part is over with!
Once you get back inside, change your clothes and either wash the clothes you used while cleaning or throw them away. Make sure if you wash them though, you put them in their own load and you do it immediately. Leaving them in your clothes hamper or on the floor will allow the mold spores or mildew to spread.
After this, the mold and mildew should be gone! If it comes back, you’ll have to clean it again because the spores survived the first cleaning.
Does Lysol Kill Coronavirus?
You can use Lysol to kill the Coronavirus. COVID-19 has a shell around the actual virus, and once you break that shell, the virus becomes ineffective. In studies, the EPA found that Lysol breaks the outer shell of the virus.
Note that Lysol being on the list of EPA approved cleaning products does not imply that you shouldn’t still wash your hands and wear a mask in public. Those two things continue to be the most effective means of stopping the spread of COVID-19.
Signs You’ll Need Professional Help To Remove Mold and Mildew
There are some times when you won’t be able to use Lysol for mold and mildew. Once it gets to a certain point, you’ll need to call in a professional.
This mostly becomes a problem when the spores end up in your air conditioning vents. The spores end up spreading all over your home through your air conditioning or heat, and before you know it you have a serious problem.
Another common cause is flooding, which we discussed earlier. If your home floods, you may need more than some Lysol to get rid of the mold and mildew. You may need a professional to check under your floor and behind your walls.
If neither of these events occurred, you may still have an issue. If you have several areas with mold and mildew, you can try to clean them, but you should contact a professional to make sure that it isn’t all over your house.
They’ll find out where the mold is and recommend a course of action that can permanently take care of it. They have equipment most people don’t, like HEPA vacuums and filtration systems.
The key thing to remember is that if you use Lysol for mold and mildew the minute you notice a problem, you may be able to take care of the problem yourself instead of paying a company to come out to your home.
Spring Cleaning Keeps Your Family Safe
Most years, Spring cleaning feels like an option, but during a pandemic it becomes a necessity. Keeping your home clean helps you protect your family from a whole host of things, from the coronavirus to mold.
Here at OTT Safety Gear, we have everything you need to keep your home clean and family safe. From Lysol for mold and mildew to household wipes, we work hard to ensure you have everything you need at a great price.
We also offer masks, gloves, and other safety supplies for families, first responders, medical workers, and more. Whether you need supplies to clean your home or you’re looking for masks to protect yourself from COVID, we can help.
Place your order today!