If you suffer from an allergy to mold, life can be miserable even in the comfort of your home. While symptoms like sneezing or coughing aren’t life-threatening, they can lead to serious complications including allergic fungal sinusitis, bronchopulmonary aspergillosis and mold-induced asthma.
You don’t have to accept this. You don’t have to let mold assault your allergies under your own roof. Based on our experience as the leading mold removal service in Chicago, we’ve outlined a four-point plan of attack that can help you get the upper hand.
1. Go on the Defensive Indoors
Even though you keep a clean house, you can actually encourage mold without realizing it. In an earlier post, we covered 13 surprising ways that fungal growth can sneak up on your home. Today, we want to help you build up your arsenal of mold allergy defenses.
• Get rid of paper clutter. Old newspapers, magazines and even grocery bags can harbor mold spores.
• Wash bedding once a week in hot water, and thoroughly dry everything before putting it away.
• Use HEPA bags when you vacuum. Change them out before they become too full for easy disposal.
• Sanitize bathrooms and kitchens with a solution of 1 quart of water and 1 ounce of chlorine bleach.
• Always clean up spills right away. It only takes 24 hours for mold to start growing on a damp surface.
2. Keep Up Your Guard Outside
You have to think outside of the house too when you’re combating mold allergies. If it’s growing on the foundation and siding, mold is making its way into your home. Airborne spores come in through windows opened to fresh air and follow busy family traffic through doorways.
• Keep gutters and downspouts clean so that they run freely. Accumulated debris in their damp environment sets up a perfect breeding ground for mold.
• Don’t stack firewood against exterior walls. Mold takes hold and rapidly grows on wood especially when it gets damp.
• Make sure that your home’s foundation and porches have good drainage directed away from the house.
• Think about where you’re going. Locations like flower shops, antique stores and farmers’ markets are likely places to pick up microscopic mold spores.
• Track the outdoor mold activity in your area. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology site offers clickable maps (see below) with local information about mold levels.
3. Develop Mold-Busting Routines
Turn a few action plans into routines around the house, and you’ll make real progress in the battle against mold. Once it becomes established under sinks or behind walls, you and your allergies face a big job cleaning it up, so don’t give mold a fighting chance.
• Stay in touch with your plumbing. Make it a monthly habit to check pipes under sinks and around toilets. Always fix leaks right away.
• Use dehumidifiers to reduce moisture in bathrooms and laundry areas. These mold-discouraging appliances work well in basements too.
• While you’re down there, start storing basement stuff in plastic bins that close with air-tight lids. They’re easy to stack, and they’re virtually mold-proof.
• When you’re running the AC, inspect its drip pans and condensate drain lines once a month. Treat both with a mild bleach solution to ward off mold growth.
• Invest in an air purifier that uses HEPA filters to catch airborne mold spores. The filters’ sterile, dry environment effectively kills off microscopic fungi.
4. Know When You Need Backup
While you can handle most mold cleanup and prevention around the house on your own, sometimes you need to bring in mold remediation specialists. Dealing with mold allergies is bad enough, so don’t risk compromising your health. Know when to call the pros.
• Allergies that don’t go away can be symptoms of mold that you can’t see. If it’s inside your walls or ductwork, you need professional help.
• If you discover an area of mold that’s larger than 3 square feet or you find it growing into permeable surfaces, protect your health by letting a restoration service handle the cleanup.
• Any kind of flooding in the house leaves floors and walls vulnerable to outbreaks of mold. Stop it from happening by calling in a water damage contractor.
• If you’ve determined that you’re dealing with toxic black mold, call a certified mold removal specialist right away.
You Can Depend on Us
Normally, mold allergies don’t develop overnight. Most people become sensitive after long-term exposure, so it’s important to always practice good mold defense at home and protect everyone’s health. If you have mold-busting ideas that you’d like to share, let us know through our Comments Section.
We hope that our strategies help you get the upper hand on mold and get those allergies under control. If you need certified mold inspection and/or testing here in Chicago or the suburbs, just contact ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba. You can depend on our teams 24/7, so give us a call at 773-647-1985.