Seasonal Cleaning that Keeps you Healthy

Unlike many of the newer pollutants, mold and mildew have been with us since time immemorial, ever since water was allowed to stand over a long period of time. In many sensitive or immune suppressed individuals, mold and mildew alone are a leading cause of environmental illness. Bronchial and sinus disorders as well as depression and chronic fatigue have been linked to mold sensitivity.

Wherever there is dampness or darkness, there is mold. Damp basements are a primary source of mold-producing spores that can spread throughout the house. Newspapers, magazines, and books can easily accumulate mold as can old clothes, shoes, mattresses, carpeting and closets. The other predominant mold-producing areas of the house are the kitchen and bathroom. In the kitchen, mold can grow around leaky sinks and windows, in the surplus water tray on self-defrosting refrigerators and on the gasket of the refrigerator door. Mold can be found around the cold-water pipe and in the area between the sink and the wall. Wooden cooking utensils such as mixing spoons and cutting boards can accumulate mold as well as other bacteria. In the bathroom, molds can be found in the tile grouting around the sink, tub, and walls. According to University of Oklahoma researchers, toothbrushes that are kept in humid bathrooms may be carriers of bacteria and viruses. Lines shower curtains can harbor mold.

Over-watered houseplants anywhere in the house can also be mold producers. Many times people mistakenly think they are allergic to some kind of foliage in the house when in fact they are reacting to the excess water on the soil surface of a houseplant. Mold spores can also enter the house from the plants outside. Grass, weeds and leaves right near the doors and windows can be additional mold sources.

So what can you do to keep your home free from mold and mildew? Try these remedies:

  • Throw out old reading material and clothing stored in damp places
  • Air out or clean mattresses, carpeting and closets
  • Install a dehumidifier in any room which is excessively damp, primarily the basement
  • Keep all wet surfaces and towels dry, particularly in the basement, kitchen and bathroom.
  • Sprinkle Borax, which has natural anti-mold properties, over any area which has mold.
  • Change your toothbrush frequently, especially after you’ve recovered from a cold or the flu.
  • Eliminate mold growing on the surface soil of household plants by placing crushed stones on the soil surface.
  • Keep grass, weeds and leaves away from windows and the entrance to the house.

Remember, molds can grow in or on any damp area. Those sniffles may be caused by unseen molds and mildew. Keep items clean and dry to avoid exposure.

Source: Ann Louise Gittleman, M.S., C.N.S. How to Stay Young and Healthy in a Toxic World 1999


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