Allergy Treatment Begins At Home (cont.)
What are great techniques for mold patrol?
Mold spores can pop up anywhere. There are lots of ways
to deal with this persistent problem that are cost
effective and really work. Dealing with mold requires
elbow grease, patience, and mold know-how. Do not give up;
the effort is well worth it.
Greenhouses, antique shops, saunas, sleeping bags,
summer cottages and hotel rooms are sources of increased
mold exposure. Automobile air conditioners may harbor
Numerous cleaning products specializing in mold control
are available. The active ingredients in these products
that are effective against molds are bleach and ammonia.
So why should you pay a premium for anti-mold preparations
when you can readily prepare the mixture at home for a
fraction of the cost? As long as you are aware of the
fabric fading effects and the potentially caustic nature of
these cleaning materials, there should be no problems.
Limited areas of mold collection (as occurs in the
bathroom) can be cleaned with a bleach solution. An old
toothbrush and bleach work wonders on the dark mildew that
often collects between the tiles. If there is carpet in the
bathroom (ideally there shouldn't be since this is
a "moisture trap" for mold), be careful not to drip the
bleach on the carpet! Regularly using a "squeegee" along
with a bottle of dilute bleach will help keep the mold
spores under control.
Shower curtains present a special problem for mold
control. Once the curtain is stained with mold spots, it
might be worth a wash and rinse cycle with bleach. Usually,
however, by the time you can see dime-size deposits of
mold on the plastic shower curtain, it's probably not worth
the effort. At this point, it would be better to purchase a
vinyl curtain with a mold inhibitor. (These are available
for use in motel rooms.)
Larger areas, especially under the house, should be
treated with either Orthocine, Captan's powder (8 oz in a
gallon of water), or bleach (mix 1 cup of bleach to 1
gallon of water). These products are available in hardware
stores. Using rubber gloves, scrub the affected areas and
repeat the process in 2 hours.
For even more extensive molds under the house, buy a 5
lb. bag of Bordeaux mixture (mostly copper sulfate) from
any regular nursery and mix it with 15 to 20 gallons of
water in a large tank sprayer. Spray the areas under the
house, the ground, and all wood thoroughly at least 3 to 4
times a year for the first several years.
If the Bordeaux mixture is unavailable or does not
control the problem, Ziram can be used in a 1-2% spray
solution. Mix 3 ounces of the concentrate to 1 gallon of
water. Ziram can also be used in the home for walls and
floors. When applied to some fabrics, it may produce a
slightly yellow color. Protective clothing should always be
used when spraying this fungicide. One application of Ziram
is usually sufficient for mold control.
Caution: DO NOT STORE FUNGICIDES NEAR FIRE OR OPEN
FLAMES. ALWAYS BE SURE THERE IS GOOD VENTILATION DURING
USE SINCE MANY OF THESE SUBSTANCES ARE TOXIC!
Indoor Mold Control - Other Measures
- Lower the humidity level in the house.
- Use fans for proper ventilation.
- Clean visible mold from walls and ceilings.
- Keep firewood outside since the bark is covered with
- Add mold inhibitor to paint before applying if it will
be used in a damp environment, especially on brick and
cinderblock walls in a basement or shady areas.
- Mold tends to grow in closets, as they tend to be dark
and damp. Dry shoes and boots before storing. Consider a
chemical moisture remover (desiccant) such as calcium
carbonate flakes or crystals. One brand is Dri-Out Dome,
which is readily available through allergy catalogs and
home improvement stores.
- Do not carpet the bathroom.
- Mold grows in refrigerators. Keep them clean and
defrosted. Remove spoiled food, preferably before it gets
- Correct seepage or flooding problems and remove water-
- Carpet and pad should not be laid on a concrete floor
since this is a great place for moisture to accumulate,
resulting in a flourishing population of dust mites and
- Remove moldy stored items from the basement and keep it
Farmers, gardeners, bakers, brewers, florists,
carpenters, mill workers, upholsterers, and paper hangers
have an increased exposure to mold due to their
occupations. Your allergist can offer specific
recommendations for handling these work
Viewers share their comments
Allergy Treatment at Home - Prevention
Question: Does anyone in your household have allergies? Please share tips for preventing allergies in your home.