Mold Affects Indoor Air Quality
As building biologists, we take mold very seriously. The air quality of a home or office cannot be ideal if there is mold present. Just the other day in an office with PTAC units (the type of AC unit you see in hotel rooms), we asked the maintenance person to remove the cover, and…YIKES! The units had not been cleaned in quite some time and there was quite a bit of mold. Of course no one would see the mold since it was covered, but it was most definitely affecting the office air quality.
No one should have to breathe that kind of mold accumulation. If you have allergies, sinus problems, respiratory illnesses, or headaches, exposure to the mold could make you miserable. Or worse, if you are sensitive to mold, it could be causing major illness.
Why Is It Harmful to Air Quality?
Mold is highly toxic to humans. It releases mycotoxins (chemicals the mold releases to defend its territory) and mold volatile organic compounds/MVOCs (gases released by actively growing mold) so it packs a double whammy. Mold looks awful. But it’s not just sitting there looking bad — it is a living organism that is actively spreading toxins. And you are breathing them.
Where Do We Find Mold Growing?
Mold grows anywhere there is moisture: showers, front-loading washing machines, inside walls, inside HVAC systems, closets, etc. And, as a side note, if you have a pet who has ever urinated on your carpet, there is a high possibility mold is growing underneath the spot where the accident occurred.
OK, I Have Mold. Now What?
Don’t worry — it’s pretty common, but you can (and should!) do a few things to minimize your exposure and your risk.
- Be sure to keep the moisture low in your home or office. Fix a leak immediately (mold starts growing in 24–48 hours), and clean up excess water.
- Monitor indoor humidity. It should be between 40% and 60%, anything higher is contributing to mold growth. A properly functioning air conditioning system should be removing humidity so these levels are attained.
- Clean it up. Safely. As for cleaning up the mold, please do not use bleach. It is highly toxic and spreads mold spores. Use these natural cleaners:
- Tea tree oil mixed with water in a spray bottle.
- Food grade hydrogen peroxide mixed with water in a spray bottle (this is our preference but take note — if it gets on your hands it may cause white spots but its harmless and goes away quickly)
- Borax and water paste. Spread it on and leave overnight; then rinse in the morning.
Vital Spaces wants you to have healthy air quality in both your home and office.
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