Is Mold Ruining the Air Quality in Your Home or Office?

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.

Join Us for a Shaklee Reset

shaklee1On a different note, want to do a little holiday prep to ensure the season is better enjoyed? Join us for a Shaklee Reset November 7–11. A reset will help you jump start weight loss, overcome cravings, and balance & regulate your hormones. It can also realign your true appetite, boost metabolism, enhance digestion, bring radiance to eyes and skin and increases focus, clarity, and energy. Need we say more?

A simple Reset can be done with only Shaklee’s Life Shake and a multi vitamin but if you want to make it a true cleanse, these products are recommended:

Click here to order products by October 30 at and email us at for more information and recipes as well as to be included in the Facebook support group.

Have a Happy Fall!

Are Your Home Cleaning Chemicals Causing Illness?

Are your home cleaning chemicals causing illness?

Do you think you are doing a good thing by cleaning your home and office with those cleaning products “guaranteed to kill germs”? Think again. And the scent, oh my… we will get to that later.

Trade in toxins for healthier cleaning and laundry productsDid you know most cleaning products can release toxins into the air even when they are simply being stored? Yikes. Imagine what they are doing to the quality of your environment when being used!

Cleaning and laundry products are not only some of the worst offenders to indoor air quality; they can cause irritation to the eyes and throat, headaches, asthma, respiratory illness, and more. And after years of exposure there is often a risk of heart disease and even cancer. What’s more, if you currently suffer from any health ailment, you can be sure exposure to toxic cleaning products is not helping you recover.

So when we are talking about “toxic cleaning products,” what does this include? Well, everything you might imagine plus some highly toxic ones you might not think about: detergent and dishwashing liquid, spot cleaners, furniture and floor polish, and oven cleaners.

And did you know dry cleaning chemicals are dangerous too? If you need to dry clean, remove the plastic wrap and let the item(s) off gas in a ventilated location.

Now for the cleaner everyone loves: Bleach. You don’t need a chemistry degree to know that bleach is highly toxic. The irritation in your eyes and nose is usually proof enough.

Need we say more? Yes actually, dryer sheets are one of the worst offenders. They contain numerous chemicals, even a couple on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste List. (Source:

Back to fragrance. Generally speaking, if you can smell it, it’s probably toxic. Sadly, there is little to no FDA regulation concerning the ingredients covered under the umbrella term “fragrance” on the label. And might we say, yes, this does include perfumes, body lotions, cosmetics and more.

So What Do We Do?

You can make your own cleaners from natural, healthy ingredients. If you want to do your own thing, believe it or not, old-fashioned soap cleans really well! Vinegar is another great cleaner. You can also use borax, tea tree oil, and a personal favorite (especially for mold) is hydrogen peroxide. Here are two home-made cleaner recipes to get you started:

DIY Laundry Cleaner

DIY Laundry Cleaner Recipe

DIY Cleaner / Disinfectant

DIY Cleaner/Disinfectant Recipe

Healthy Cleaning and Laundry Products Offer Alternatives to Toxin-Laden Options

If you don’t want to make your own, the Shaklee Healthy Home Products are what I would recommend. They are so concentrated that a bottle will cost you as little as 2 cents per bottle, and one quart of their Basic G® Germicide will make over 500 bottles of antibacterial cleaner similar to Lysol® and Clorox®. And their Basic H2® will make an all-purpose cleaner, a window cleaner, and a degreaser.