Posted on

Kill Mold With Vinegar

Got mold? Kill mold with vinegar. We are always on the hunt for natural, effective solutions for cleaning mold. Our favorite the household staple: Vinegar. Vinegar is a powerful mold killer. According to ServiceMaster Restoration and Cleaning, the mild acid in vinegar kills about 82% of known molds and can help prevent future outbreaks. Common places you can find mold in your home are on drywall, the foundation, the gutters, HVAC systems, and the roof.

While you can remove small amounts of mold using vinegar, it is best to hire professionals when necessary or when dealing with toxic black mold known as cladosporium. Besides a crisis, such as a flooded home, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advises hiring professionals when the area mold covers is about 10 square feet or more.

mold in bathroom

HOW DOES VINEGAR KILL MOLD?

Vinegar possesses natural antifungal and antibacterial properties. The acetic acid that is present in vinegar has a decently strong pH of 2.5 enabling it to disrupt and stop the growth of mold, fungi, and other organisms. This artificial chemical free cleaning alternative means that during this process, no chemical resistant microbes are created which is often the case when using bleach.

IS VINEGAR MORE EFFECTIVE THAN BLEACH?

Vinegar is a better choice than bleach for killing mold, for a variety of reasons. The most important reason is that the application of bleach will most likely leave behind spores that have grown to a high level, allowing them to multiply without competition. The EPA doesn’t recommend bleaching mold to kill or remove it. The application of bleach will most likely leave behind spores that have grown to a high level.

ServiceMaster states:

“..bleach only kills the surface mold and not the membrane beneath. This means that the mold will come back. The mold membranes will actually grow deeper into porous surfaces such as wood or drywall if bleach is applied to them.”

kill mold with vinegar

WHAT TYPE OF VINEGAR SHOULD YOU USE TO CLEAN MOLD?

First, keep the apple cider vinegar aside for salad dressing. Regular white distilled vinegar is usually sold at five percent acidity to clean mold. You can also use “cleaning vinegar”, which typically has six percent acidity. Both can effectively kill mold and are regularly sold at a variety of grocery and big box stores. Additionally, generic or store brands can be as effective as the commonly reached for name brand vinegars

HOW LONG DOES VINEGAR TAKE TO KILL MOLD?

For maximum effectiveness, you can leave the vinegar on the mold for 60 minutes. This allows ample time for the vinegar to saturate any present mold. Then, wipe or scrub the mold with paper towel or a disposable sponge, specially designed to trap microbes. Using a regular rag or sponge risks the spread of mold spores throughout your home.

For follow-up treatments where mold is present use the same technique once a week. For preventative methods you can do a vinegar treatment on mold prone areas once every 2-4 weeks.

Like with any cleaning product, we recommend that you wear gloves as the acidity of vinegar can cause skin irritation. When cleaning up any mold you must use goggles, and a mask to protect your skin and airways from mold. Vinegar’s acidity can cause damage to some surfaces. We do not recommend vinegar being used on natural stone, waxed timber, cast iron, or aluminum.

This is where Homebiotic Environmental Probiotic spray comes in! It is the perfect end to your natural cleaning routine, replenishing the population of beneficial microbes keeping your home cleaner, longer. Keeping a healthy balance of microbes in your home ensures your home microbiome stays healthy and keeps all microbe populations in check.

Posted on

How To Start Living Sustainably

Getting started on a journey to living a more sustainable, eco-friendly life can feel incredibly complex. The idea of changing your entire way of life can seem like a huge task with an unclear way to start! It can seem impossible to live sustainably when you consider all the things that are a part of our everyday life that are NOT sustainable. Take a look around, count the number of plastic items that you find, single-use items, products made in environmentally unethical ways. Plastic is everywhere and has become more difficult to avoid.

Originally, the invention and mass dispersal of consumer plastic products were to make modern lives easier. In 2018 the EPA reported that single use and packaging plastic made up 14.5 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW). Overall, the amount of MSW has been increasing at a rapid pace, climbing 42 million tons between 1990 and 1995 alone. Plastic waste is not only harmful to the environment, it is also extremely damaging to our health. According to the Geneva Environment Network:

Humans are exposed to a large variety of toxic chemicals and microplastics through inhalation, ingestion, and direct skin contact, all along the plastic lifecycle. According to WWF on average people could be ingesting approximately 5 grams of plastic every week, which is the equivalent weight of a credit card.

So, where do we start?

WHAT DOES ‘LIVING SUSTAINABLY’ MEAN?

It’s important to understand what it means to “live sustainably”. Sustainable living is a lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual’s or society’s use of the Earth’s natural resources and personal resources. Practitioners of sustainable living often attempt to reduce their carbon footprint by altering methods of transportation, energy consumption, and diet.

HOW CAN YOU START LIVING SUSTAINABLY?

A great place to start is to do a sustainable audit of your home and the processes that keep your home functioning. Here are 4 easy ways to improve your environmental impact on a daily basis:

1. MAKE YOUR KITCHEN MORE SUSTAINABLE

The kitchen is a great place to begin, since most single use plastic is used in the kitchen. Plastic utensils are often used to protect Teflon-coated pans. Metal or wood are better choices for the environment. Many brands are also introducing bamboo dishware and storage options. Bamboo is extremely eco friendly, it is readily biodegradable and easy to grow without pesticides of chemicals.

Recycle your Tupperware and opt for glass or metal: These include reusable metal or glass water bottles, glass storage containers and reusable stainless-steel items like cups, plates and bowls. These alternatives are easy to clean and pack to go, making living sustainably easy even with a busy lifestyle! Get rid of Tupperware and all disposable packaging. Disposable plastics are often mixed with harmful chemicals which can potentially leech into their contents when heated or when worn down.

One of these chemicals is known as Bisphenol S has been found in 81% of blood tested, due to it’s inclusion in plastic consumer products, and that it can lead to ailments such as diabetes, obesity, asthma, birth defects, and cancer.

Try using reusable produce bags or go bag-less: If you often buy fresh produce, you have a significant change of ending up with a lot of single use produce bags which often end up in the garbage. There are fantastic reusable options available, many which can be sourced locally.

Keep your cleaning routine green: a large source of waterway and ecosystem contamination comes from the chemicals that are washed down drains. Things like liquid bleach, drain cleaner, and ammonia all contribute to toxic chemicals in local ecosystems and compromising waste water systems in local communities.

2. START USING REUSABLE BAGS

Did you know that between five billion to one trillion plastic bags are being used every year in the world? Plastic shopping bags are the most harmful to the environment. Shopping with your own bag can help reduce plastic waste. You can also avoid food packaging by shopping in bulk and bringing your own containers! Many cities are seeing the emergence of bulk stores. These stores offer a huge amount of products, from shampoos to spices, without any individual plastic packaging.

Remember, if you have to use plastic bags, you should reuse them as often as possible and then recycle them when you are done. Many grocery stores have bins that allow you to return plastic bags and film.

3. WHEN POSSIBLE, MAKE YOUR OWN FOOD

After a long day at the office, cooking is not something you would want to do. We get it. However, take-out often involves a lot more plastic and single use waste than eating at home. Remember that processed or premade foods and lots of disposable packaging go hand in hand. Natural, local ingredients are healthier for your health and the environment.

4. LOOK INTO PLASTIC FREE CLOTHING

Recent studies have shown that tiny fibers made from synthetic fabrics are being emitted into the water supply of aquatic animals. It is possible to reduce the amount of tiny fibers entering our water streams by choosing clothes made from natural fibers like cotton, hemp, linen and wool. Polyester, for example, is made from synthetic material.

5. GET A GREEN CLEANING ROUTINE

You will likely find a lot of cleaning products in your cabinets that you don’t use or chemical heavy products that you’re not wanting to continue using. There are only a few products that you really need to clean your entire home which makes living sustainably simple. Keeping a citric acid based multipurpose cleaner, cleaning vinegar, and hydrogen peroxide will cover all your cleaning needs across many different rooms and situations.

Find mold under your sink? Don’t reach for the bleach! Choose a non-toxic cleaning solution that contains citric acid or vinegar which is powerful enough to kill mold, but not harmful to water systems. A natural cleaning routine paired with the powerful probiotic protection of Homebiotic Environmental Probiotic spray, your home will stay happy and healthy, protected from the sources of grime and musty odors.

Annie Leonard, a notable American proponent for sustainable living, said:

There is no such thing as ‘away’. When we throw something away it must go somewhere.

The idea that everything we consumer MUST take up space before, during, and after we use it is a great foundation for making more sustainable decisions. Living sustainably is as easy as remembering that EVERYTHING has to end up SOMEWHERE.

We don’t recommend that you start over and discard everything. Instead, we suggest that you work with what is available and, as they run out, make a list of eco-friendly, plastic-free options. We launched with three cleaners that are focused on the main areas of our home: living, bathroom, and kitchen. The cleaners are able to handle almost any cleaning task, reducing the amount of products needed in your home. Even the biggest waves, start as small ripples.

 

Posted on

Can Mold Give You Depression?

depression

Many people are aware that mold has an adverse effect on our health and wellbeing. In the last few decades, statistics for allergies, asthma, and other respiratory conditions have increased at an alarming rate. But one of the reasons for that increase is that our modern living spaces promote a sterile and closed-off environment (1).

Also, we are cleaning with more harsh chemicals and increasing the amount of moisture and dampness in our homes. In the last two years in particular, since the start of the pandemic, more people are staying at home. This means we are showering, cleaning, and spending more time in our homes thus increasing the amount of moisture in our living space.

Most of us are aware of the danger that mycotoxins from mold can have on our health. Of course, not everyone gets sick from mold. Some people have a genetic sensitivity that predisposes them to mold illness (2). But as of yet, research hasn’t been able to clearly identify who those people are and exactly why they’re so sensitive. Nonetheless, research shows that mold illness has increased exponentially over the last several decades (3).

depression

DOES MOLD CAUSE DEPRESSION?

However, a relatively new phenomenon is that mold exposure may actually contribute to the rise of depression as well. In a study conducted by Edward Shenassa and colleagues, they noticed an increase in depressive symptoms for people living in moldy or damp environments (4). This increase is still relevant even after the researchers controlled for aspects like overcrowding, economic factors, and perceived lack of control over the study participant’s environment.

The study showed that the overall risk for depression for those living in moldy and damp environments was between 34-44% (4). This is a significant number and one that we ought to pay attention to given that depression has sky-rocketed in the last several decades. Although there are many factors that lead to the development of depression, few experts have discussed the connection between mold and depression.

the overall risk for depression for those living in moldy and damp environments was between 34-44% Click To Tweet

HOW DOES MOLD IMPACT DEPRESSION?

Although this may be surprising, it makes sense considering the effect that mold can have on the nervous system and immune system (5,6). Several studies have shown that the mycotoxins produced by mold can cause clinical features similar to several neurologic disorders including pain syndromes, movement disorders, delirium, and dementia. Mold also has an effect on the immune system which has neurological consequences as well (5,7).

Several studies have shown that the mycotoxins produced by mold can cause clinical features similar to several neurologic disorders including pain syndromes, movement disorders, delirium, and dementia Click To Tweet

Any substance or pollutant that affects that neurological system will also have an effect on the neuropsychiatry of the individual, thus creating symptoms as seen in depression and anxiety. This is a startling new finding that may help unravel the common and devastating effects of both depression and increasing mold issues in modern environments.

The problem is, there are many factors involved in why a person develops depression as well as why people react to mold exposure. Interestingly, those with more sensitive immune and neurological systems are more likely to get both conditions. But what exactly denotes that sensitivity is still up for debate. More research is needed to control for several factors and thus pinpoint more causative factors.

 

WHAT OTHER FACTORS EFFECT MOLD RELATED DEPRESSION?

For instance, those that have more income are more able to clean up mold in their homes. This means they are less likely to be exposed to mold, but also, have more locus of control in creating a better home environment (4). For those without these resources, they are more likely to be exposed to mold. But also, the feeling of lacking control could be a factor in developing depression as well (4).

However, in one study, even mild or moderate mold exposure was still statistically significant even after controlling for the perception of control, other health issues, and the ability to remove mold. The study shows that mold-exposed people are still 28-34% more likely to develop depression. Nonetheless, the researchers feel that income levels need more attention as a variable in the depression and mold exposure link (8).

mold-exposed people are still 28-34% more likely to develop depression Click To Tweet

Another study looked at a comparison between mold-exposed individuals and a control group of unexposed people for factors like central or peripheral nervous system symptoms, fatigue, brain fog, arrhythmias, and multiple chemical sensitivities. The results were highly statistically significant for the study group versus the control group (9).

 

HOW DOES MOLD IMPACT YOUR NERVOUS SYSTEM?

In terms of central and peripheral nervous system issues, the study group showed that 80% of mold-exposed individuals had symptoms compared to only 11% of the control group. For fatigue and brain fog, the results were 77% and 62% for the study group versus 24% and 11% respectively (9). Since many of these symptoms are present in depression, it makes sense that depression is observed as well.

As of now, researchers can’t say that there is a definite causative link between mold exposure and depression, but the results of these studies show a strong possibility that should be explored with deeper more rigorous research.

References

https://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0017/43325/E92645.pdf

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1994167/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4840461/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15143854/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19854819/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2072855/

https://www.ncbi.nl

m.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7303478/

Posted on

10 Health Benefits of Gardening

health benefits of gardening

Gardening is getting more attention in recent years. Unfortunately, we’ve become more disconnected from nature in the last century. We used to farm and garden all the time, but modern life made us more detached from this human practice. However, new research shows that gardening has many health benefits that improve everything from the aging brain to physical conditioning. Also, gardening puts us back in touch with the external microbiome we need to stay healthy. Let’s look at 10 different health benefits of gardening.

sunflower field1. Getting More Sunshine

Gardening definitely gets us out in the sunshine more. Getting more sun exposure has been proven to raise Vitamin D levels and boost energy and health. Sunshine makes us feel better and gives us a boost that we may not realize we were missing.

Proper vitamin D levels are necessary for our health and wellbeing. Vitamin D supports the immune system, the brain, bone health, and mental health. It reduces inflammation which prevents diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. Conversely, deficiencies in vitamin D have proven to be disastrous for human health. Although health officials caution people about skin cancer due to sun exposure, sunshine is the best way to get a daily dose of vitamin D. Often, just 10 minutes of sun exposure on the eyelids can boost vitamin D levels quite a bit. This means you can wear sunscreen and get your vitamin D too. And there’s no better way to get vitamin D than during a good session of gardening.

Although health officials caution people about skin cancer due to sun exposure, sunshine is the best way to get a daily dose of vitamin D. Click To Tweet

2. Growing Your Own Nutritious Foods

By growing our own fruits and vegetables, we can increase the number of food nutrients we’re receiving. In the last few decades, many modern farms have lost soil nutrients due to over-planting the same crops from year to year. When we grow our own vegetables, we naturally retain those nutrients because we don’t often plant the same things yearly. Small gardens are some of the best ways to grow nutritious food. Planting our own vegetable gardens naturally rotates crops which helps make the crops nutrient-rich.

3. Exposure To Beneficial Soil Bacteria

Research shows that kids who grow up on farms with lots of soil exposure have much better immune systems. As a result, they have less risk for autoimmune diseases, allergies, and asthma. This is because soil-based bacteria are genuinely beneficial for our health. Exposure to soil-based bacteria boosts and trains our immune system and enhances our skin and the gut microbiome.

There’s no better way to connect with soil-based bacteria than gardening. We usually get soil all over our hands and skin, and this is a good thing. Our culture has advocated that dirt is harmful, but this is simply not true. In fact, the more soil we can connect with physically, the better our health will be. And we shouldn’t be afraid to get a little dirt from the garden into our homes. It turns out that our homes also have a microbiome, and adding soil-based bacteria to it is a great way to improve the home microbiome and keep it naturally clean. The more diverse a microbiome is, the healthier it is. Soil-based bacteria naturally compete for food and space and therefore keep the numbers of harmful microbes to a minimum.

Our culture has advocated that dirt is harmful, but this is simply not true. In fact, the more soil we can connect with physically, the better our health will be. Click To Tweet

4. It’s A Work Out!

Gardening is a surprisingly good form of exercise. Apparently, one session of gardening is equivalent to half an hour of jogging. You’d never think that tinkering in the soil would be such great exercise, but it’s one of the best ways to keep in shape. It’s a low-intensity activity that is good for fat burning and muscle conditioning. It’s also a full-body workout and strengthens ligaments and bones, along with working out the muscles. Lastly, it promotes good flexibility, which is especially good to prevent age-related issues. The exercise you get from gardening can prevent health issues like injuries, bone loss, heart disease, and diabetes.

5. Beneficial To Overall Mental Health

There is growing research attesting to the benefits of horticultural therapy. Not only is it a great source of exercise, but it also boosts our mood and sense of wellbeing. According to the horticultural therapist Mitchell Hewson, gardening can help people experiencing mental health and addiction issues. Gardening stimulates thought, exercises the body and mind, and encourages awareness of the present moment and external environment. The combination of these factors can help improve mental health and addiction issues. In addition, gardening has been shown to renew the desire to live, improve self-esteem, and decrease anxiety.

6. Helps Prevent Dementia & Alzheimers

Gardening appears to have a beneficial influence on the health of the brain and the prevention of dementia. One study shows that those who participate in gardening have a 36% lower risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. A different study shows the lowered risk to be around 47%. This is good news for an aging population. Not only does gardening improve the physical body and mental health, but it also enhances brain health and prevents brain-related issues. This is likely due to many factors we’ve already discussed, such as more sunshine, more activity, vitamin D exposure, and better nutrients from home-grown food.

One study shows that those who participate in gardening have a 36% lower risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Click To Tweet

7. Helps You Sleep Better

One study looking at the elderly shows that gardening helps improve many aspects of their lives, including improved sleep. Older adults naturally have more sleep issues due to changes in the brain and circadian rhythms. However, exposure to natural settings like gardens can help with sleep due to more exposure to sunlight, vitamin D, and activity. However, the actual physical task of gardening improves sleep hygiene because it’s an excellent form of low-impact exercise. Also, as we’ve discussed, gardening can help improve mental health, which also improves sleep habits. Studies show that problems with mental health have a direct impact on sleep hygiene. Therefore, since gardening improves mental health, it also helps reduce sleep problems.

8. Improves Mood

For all the reasons we’ve discussed above, gardening can help nurture the spirit. It lifts mood, enhances vitamin D, and gives a sense of purpose. It also connects people to the external environment by improving the connection to nature. All of these factors can give the spirit a lift. This inevitably improves mental and physical health as well. When the spirit feels well, chances are the person feels well in all areas too.

An experiment conducted by NASA in 2016 showed that gardening keeps astronauts happy and healthy while they’re in the challenging environment of space. Even if they’re in small pots, planting and nurturing seeds can help boost the mood and spirit considerably.

9. Benefits The Environment

We all know that an increase in carbon in the environment is dangerous for our climate. We also know that plants and trees have an excellent effect on reducing carbon in the atmosphere. This is because plants and trees literally “eat” carbon. They absorb carbon and send out healthy oxygen for us all to breathe. The more individual gardens we have in the world, the better. Not only do gardens help participate in reducing carbon, but they also teach us about the natural environment, which helps us stay connected to the climate we live in. Without this knowledge, we wouldn’t be able to understand our role in reducing climate change.

We live in a giant microbiome called earth, and the more we know about how to take care of it, the better we’ll all be. Having a garden can teach us about the microbiome we live in and help us understand our place in things. By communing with nature through our gardens, we expose ourselves to the outside microbiome, which has excellent health benefits for us as living beings. If we never connect to the larger microbiome we live in, we’ll never be able to understand how climate change affects us and is mediated by us. Those who live in high-rise buildings and who never get out in nature are more likely to misunderstand the nature of climate change. Gardening in any form, even if it’s just potted plants on a balcony, can be a massive help to us and the climate.

10. Gardening Benefits Overall Quality of Life

This should go without saying, but it’s worth mentioning how much fun gardening is. After all, if it weren’t fun, we wouldn’t want to do it. But the truth is, the more fun we have, the more health benefits we will achieve through an activity. The “fun” aspect of gardening gives us the mood and self-esteem boost, as mentioned above. It helps us feel grounded in nature and connected to ourselves and the outside world. We also improve our physical health as well without doing things that seem like “work.” Many gardeners will confess that gardening never feels like work.

In summary

So these are 10 health benefits of gardening. Not only is gardening good for the spirit, self-esteem, and mental health, it also nurtures our physical health in many ways. It connects us to nature, gets us out in the sun, boosts physical activity, and gives us access to helpful soil-based bacteria. All of these things combined make gardening a genuinely healthy and stimulating activity.

 

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3372556/

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/benefits-of-sunlight#health-benefits

https://www.thehealthy.com/mental-health/self-care/health-benefits-of-gardening/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16411871/

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/05/11/health-benefits-gardening/7971047/

https://www.fix.com/blog/health-benefits-of-gardening/

https://www.wholebodymicrobiome.com

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on

How To Maintain Gut Health

How to maintain gut health Blog

In the past decade or so, gut health has become a topic of interest for researchers and regular people looking to improve their health. Gut health is linked to several areas that promote health and wellbeing in the body. As such, people want to learn more about how to maintain gut health so they can feel better and avoid health issues. Research findings are showing that the gut microbiome is an essential aspect of our overall health. So, let’s look deeper into how and why we should maintain our gut health.

gut health - homebiotic - prebiotics

What is Gut Health?

Gut health refers to a proper balance of bacteria in the gut which promotes proper digestion and absorption of nutrients. It also refers to adequate nutrition as a way to support the bacteria in our gut. Also, by getting adequate nutrition and supporting bacteria growth, we can lessen our chances of getting other illnesses like diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, etc.

Gut health refers to a proper balance of bacteria in the gut which promotes proper digestion and absorption of nutrients. It also refers to adequate nutrition as a way to support the bacteria in our gut. Click To Tweet

What is a Microbiome?

The microbiome is comprised of all the microbes that live in a particular environment. We have a gut microbiome, but we also have one on the skin, in our homes, and in nature. In fact, we all live in one giant microbiome, called earth. The environment and how we interact with it has a big part to play in the health of our bodies. We also affect the microbiome for other living things as well. Every time we dump carbon and other pollutants in the air and water, we affect the overall microbiome we will live in. In turn, this also causes problems with our microbiome in and on our bodies.

gut microbeHow Much Bacteria Should I Have in my Gut?

The most important thing about our gut microbiome is ensuring a healthy and diverse amount of good microbes. It’s not so much the numbers of each bacteria; instead, it’s about the diversity. The more varied they are, the better our health will be. When we have an overgrowth of one type of bacteria, we often feel sick. Also, too much of one bacteria can prohibit the growth of others, which leads to dysbiosis. Dysbiosis refers to a gut that doesn’t have a balanced and abundant microbiome.

What are Good Microbes?

Good gut microbes are things like lactobacillus and bifidobacteria. These bacteria are essential in helping us break down food and absorb nutrients. They also help protect and repair damaged tissue inside the intestines. This is a vital part of reducing and preventing inflammation. Without diverse numbers of good bacteria, our body can become inflamed, leading to a variety of diseases and health problems. Our goal should be to protect and maintain the good bacteria in our gut. By doing so, these bacteria will help protect us as well.

What are Bad Microbes?

Harmful microbes refer to bacteria that not only make us sick but they prevent good bacteria from growing and doing their job correctly. Examples of harmful bacteria are c. difficile, e.coli, and salmonella. Also, various forms of fungi such as candida can cause health issues as well. An overgrowth of candida has been known to cause fatigue, diarrhea, indigestion, and inflammation. When our gut has a good amount of beneficial bacteria, these harmful microbes don’t have as much of a chance to grow.

What are Probiotics?

Probiotics are concentrated amounts of good bacteria that you can take in pill form. These products are for people who are lacking in good microbial diversity in their gut. The majority of probiotics contain lactobacillus and bifidobacterium. They also contain healthy yeasts as well; another beneficial microbe. Often probiotics are kept in the fridge to ensure the health of the bacteria in each pill.

There are many types of probiotic products. Be sure to talk with a nutritionist or naturopath to choose the right product for you. The research about probiotics is up and down. Many research studies lack the scientific rigor needed for the products to be approved by the FDA. Nonetheless, there’s enough research and anecdotal evidence that shows that probiotics are very helpful.

What are Prebiotics?

Prebiotics are basically food for our beneficial bacteria. They contain a type of fiber that is not digestible in the human intestinal tract. It is broken down and fermented in the gut. Prebiotics won’t help if you don’t already have enough good bacteria in your gut. However, many probiotic products come with prebiotics in them to help support the growth of beneficial bacteria.

Prebiotic products (pills that you buy from the store) are generally made with a substance called inulin. However, there are many foods that are considered prebiotic as well. Certain undigestible fibrous carbohydrates are considered prebiotics. These undigestible compounds ferment in the gut and the products of fermentation feed the good bacteria in our gut. So, in a sense, prebiotics are just as important if not more important than probiotic products.

How do Prebiotics and Probiotics Help Maintain Gut Health?

Having both probiotics and prebiotics are essential to maintaining gut health. They work together to ensure the health, diversity, and strength of the microbes in our gut. In this way, the beneficial microbes can do their job of breaking down food, creating by-products that aid our digestion, prevent inflammation, and increase the nutrients we absorb. Without this process, we can’t maintain our health very well. Some research shows that gut bacteria influence the health of our brains and the bacteria can even communicate with our nervous system.

gut health supplementsAre There Other Products that Help With Gut Health?

The good news is that we don’t have to rely only on probiotic and prebiotic pills sold in natural health stores. We can get both probiotics and prebiotics in different food items. Mainly these food items consist of fermented products. For example, sauerkraut is full of both prebiotic and probiotic substances. The fiber in the cabbage ferments creating food for the beneficial bacteria that grow on the cabbage. Another example is kombucha; a fermented drink made from a blob of yeast and bacterial culture. It may sound unappetizing, but it actually tastes quite good and it’s excellent for your health and wellbeing.

Perhaps the best news is that we can make these products ourselves in our own homes. There are many websites that can teach you how to ferment things to create your own prebiotics and probiotics. Research shows that eating fermented foods is a better way to get proper amounts of probiotics and prebiotics.

How Else Can I Maintain Gut Health?

There are a few other key factors that help maintain gut health. For one, antibiotics can wipe out our gut microbiome quite easily. Although antibiotic treatment may be medically necessary for certain conditions, it may not always be required for everything. For example, a viral illness that has no evidence of bacterial infection likely doesn’t require antibiotics. You should avoid taking antibiotics if they are not necessary. They should only be taken for a serious infection.

Secondly, diet plays a big part in maintaining gut health. A diet rich in fiber and nutrients is very important. Much of our modern diets contain too much sugar and processed fats, which can kill off our healthy microbiome. There are also chemicals in processed food that can decimate our gut bacteria as well. It’s best to limit these foods and increase healthy vegetables, fruits, and fibrous carbohydrates.

What Happens if I Lose Beneficial Bacteria?

Many people report having diarrhea and bloating after they lose beneficial bacteria through things like antibiotic treatment or a gastrointestinal illness. The loss of beneficial bacteria is usually temporary, but it can take some time to build back the gut microbiome. In these moments, it’s good to have a healthy diet along with probiotic and prebiotic treatment to help restore the diverse bacteria in our guts.

abdominal pain

What Health Problems Happen from Bad Gut Health?

When our gut lacks healthy and diverse amounts of good bacteria, we fall into a state called dysbiosis. This can cause mild health problems if the dysbiosis is temporary. Mild symptoms are usually things like diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and indigestion. However, long-term dysbiosis has been linked to several more serious health conditions such as autoimmune disease, allergies, chronic inflammation, diabetes, obesity, migraines, and nervous system damage.

Without a healthy gut microbiome, our intestines are unprotected which can lead to a condition called leaky gut syndrome. Leaky gut is basically a term to describe an intestinal barrier that has become too porous. This means that harmful substances can pass through the gut barrier and into the bloodstream causing a widespread inflammatory process. This inflammation is what can set off various health problems as described above.

Without a healthy gut microbiome, our intestines are unprotected which can lead to a condition called leaky gut syndrome. Leaky gut is basically a term to describe an intestinal barrier that has become too porous. Click To Tweet

Without a healthy gut microbiome nutrients don’t get broken down and absorbed properly. This leads to vitamin deficiencies and malnutrition. Without nutrients, our bodies can’t perform the necessary functions to maintain proper health. This seriously affects our quality of life over the longer term.

What Else Contributes to Poor Gut Health?

On top of a bad diet and lack of pre and probiotics, certain illnesses can contribute to a loss of beneficial bacteria in our gut. Interestingly, these health issues can be caused by dysbiosis so it’s hard to know what comes first, the illness or the dysbiosis. Nonetheless, illnesses like diabetes and autoimmune issues are known for degrading the gut biome.

What Can I Do Today to Help My Gut Microbiome?

You can take action right now to help promote and maintain your gut health. Number one is to ensure a healthy diet with lots of fiber and nutrients. Eat lots of diverse fruits and vegetables. Also, try to eat complex fibrous carbohydrates like whole grains and root vegetables.

Next, try to find a source of probiotics and prebiotics that work for you. If you don’t have time to ferment things like sauerkraut or kombucha, you can try buying these products from a natural health store. They tend to be expensive but they’re worth it. If you don’t like fermented foods then you can find probiotics and prebiotics in a pill format.

In summary

Maintaining gut health is essential for our overall health and wellbeing. Gut health is about having a healthy a diverse gut microbiome. We want to have healthy amounts of beneficial bacteria and low amounts of harmful bacteria. Good bacteria are essential for digestion and nutrient absorption as well as promoting health and preventing inflammation.

We can maintain our gut microbiome by eating a healthy diet and taking prebiotics and probiotics. The best sources of these two substances are fermented foods, but taking them in a pill form can also be helpful.

A gut lacking in diverse and beneficial microbes is in a state of dysbiosis. This can cause several health problems such as leaky gut, inflammation, and other health conditions. Some health conditions like diabetes, obesity and autoimmune disease can be caused by dysbiosis and can make dysbiosis worse.

A gut lacking in diverse and beneficial microbes is in a state of dysbiosis. Click To Tweet

So it’s obvious that the more we put emphasis on maintaining our gut health, the better our overall health will be.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6463098/

https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/probiotics-what-you-need-to-know#:~:text=Probiotics%20may%20contain%20a%20variety,probiotics%20may%20have%20different%20effects.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4315779/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6733864/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30535609/

https://www.wholebodymicrobiome.com/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6567126/

Posted on

Dangers Of Modern Cleaning Products

Dangers Of Modern Cleaning Products

Over the past century our cleaning strategies have become more modern and increasingly more sterile. This means we have adopted the idea that in order for our homes to be clean, they must be void of all microbes. Not only is this idea false, it’s also very harmful to our home environment, the external environment, and our health.

In the past decade, we’re learning that the health of our overall microbiome is an important piece to our personal and environmental health. A microbiome refers to all the microbial life that we live with every day. In order for a microbiome to be healthy, there has to be a diverse and abundant microbial life. In other words, we don’t want to harm all the bacteria and other microbes that we live with. The biggest reason why microbes die out is due to our cleaning practices. Let’s explore this in more depth so that we can learn how to foster our microbiome better.

happy family - homebiotic

Which Modern Cleaning Products Are Harmful?

Modern cleaning products that contain ammonia, bleach, antibacterial, and other harsh compounds can be harmful to our skin, gut, environmental, and home microbiome. Yes, these products will definitely kill harmful bacteria and viruses, but they also kill all the healthy and helpful microbes as well. There are times when we need to kill harmful microbes for sure, but we likely don’t need to do this all the time. Unfortunately, we’ve become so averse to any microbes at all that we often slather our homes in these products.

Modern cleaning products that contain ammonia, bleach, antibacterial, and other harsh compounds can be harmful to our skin, gut, environmental, and home microbiome. Yes, these products will definitely kill harmful bacteria and viruses,… Click To Tweet

heron fishing in swamp - HomebioticWhy Are Some Cleaning Products Harmful To The Environment?

We may intend to just clean our homes, but every time we use harsh cleaning products, they get washed down the drain and end up in our oceans, drinking water, and freshwater lakes. These products will also cause destruction in the healthy microbes in our natural environments. These environments rely on a balance of microbes to survive and function well. Many bacteria that can be found in soil, water, and plants are needed in order to continue the life cycle properly. What we may not realize is that this healthy microbiome is essential for the health of our entire world. Without them, nature would die and so would we. Although the use of harsh cleaners is just beginning to be understood, people are still manufacturing and using them daily in their homes, offices, and public buildings.

How Modern Cleaning Products Affect The Home Microbiome?

In our homes, modern cleaning products can decimate an entire population of microbes in one sweep. We are beginning to understand that this is not a good thing but we don’t exactly know why. Our home has a microbiome made up of human microbes, home microbes, and possibly pet microbes. All of these eventually settle into a balance if they are allowed to flourish.

The key thing that people need to understand is that this microbiome helps us considerably. A diverse set of microbes actually helps decrease harmful microbes like mold, fungus, salmonella, e.coli, and others. However, this can only happen if the microbiome is healthy and balanced. Without a balance, other microbes take over and grow out of control. Mold is a perfect example of this. Often, mold can be found in places where the microbiome is unstable and unbalanced. The same can be said for mildew and bacteria like e.coli. If we kill off the microbiome, then these harmful microbes can take over and then we will have to clean excessively in order to stave them off. Anyone who’s ever had a mold problem can tell you how difficult it is to get rid of the problem once it starts. But few people realize that they can do this by ensuring that good microbes have a place in their homes.

Several studies show that homes void of diverse microbes has an overgrowth of human and fungal microbes which are not helpful to the home environment. Even pests like spiders, beetles, and camel crickets are essential to a healthy home microbiome. However, these tiny creatures are also negatively affected by over-cleaning using harsh modern cleaning products.

Several studies show that homes void of diverse microbes has an overgrowth of human and fungal microbes which are not helpful to the home environment. Click To Tweet

wetlands - homebioticHow Modern Cleaning Products Affect The Environment?

Modern cleaning products actually kill bacteria and other microbes as they have toxic compounds that don’t support life. They don’t simply remove and wash away bacteria, instead they actually kill them along with all the good microbes too. This is a big difference compared to more natural cleaning products that simply wash microbes away without killing them.

Furthermore, these toxic compounds leave our homes through the drain pipes and end up in our external environment. This is why our lakes and oceans are struggling. Marine and terrestrial life can not be supported properly with so many toxic chemicals in their living space.

How Do Some Cleaning Products Affect Our Bodily Microbiome?

Our gut and skin microbiome are highly important for our health and wellbeing. Harsh cleaning products also affect these environments as well. Studies show that many human diseases and allergies began rising right after the invention of modern cleaning products. This is because, without a healthy skin and gut biome, our immune system doesn’t work the way it was intended. This leads to the development of allergies, autoimmune disease, and other immune-related conditions.

When we clean our homes with harsh cleaners, we are decimating the biome on our hands which affects other areas of our skin and gut microbiome. The more we erode our skin and gut microbiome, the less our immune system can work properly. This means we may get sick easier or develop conditions that never used to be around many years ago (i.e. autoimmune diseases). The serious rise in allergies is proof that our immune systems are becoming more eroded as our cleaning and living practices are infused with harsh and toxic chemicals.

The more we erode our skin and gut microbiome, the less our immune system can work properly. Click To Tweet

castile soap - homebiotic

Which Cleaning Products Would Work Better?

Ideally, natural cleaning products or those that use just plain soap compounds are much better. Essential oils can take care of most bad bacteria without killing off the good ones. However, we have to be careful with essential oils as well as too much of them can also harm the microbiome. Essential oils are things like concentrated lemon, eucalyptus, or tea tree oil. These oils are quite good at cleaning and refreshing the home.

Vinegar and water can also act much like essential oils do. Vinegar also neutralized odors so it makes for a good cleaning product. Again, don’t use too much as it can destroy the good microbes over time.

Soap-based cleaners are good as well. Soap molecules attach to dirt and microbes pulling them off the surface; these particles wash down the drain once the soap is rinsed off with water. This is why the rinsing process is also very important when cleaning with soap.

Woman reading book near plant - Homebiotic - ways to nourish your home biomeWhy Is It Important To Not Over-Clean Our Homes?

No matter what we choose to clean our homes with, it’s important not to over-clean. This means that we should clean lightly once a week using natural products that don’t instantly kill all microbes.

When we over-clean our homes using harsh cleaners, we are killing the beneficial microbiome in the home. As biological beings, we live in harmony with our environments so if we decimate the microbiome in our home, chances are we are also affecting the microbiome in our gut and on our skin. As we’ve discussed, this has a negative effect on our entire health and well-being. So it’s important for us to re-consider our cleaning practices in this respect.

Genty wiping surfaces once a week with natural soap or essential oils will be enough to keep our home environment clean. The only time we should use bleach or other harsh cleaners is if there is an infectious disease in the house or an area is soiled with a large number of harmful microbes like e.coli or salmonella. For example, using a small amount of bleach after cutting up raw chicken on the kitchen counter will be fine. Or if we have someone with a virus in the home, we may need to use antimicrobial cleaner around their living areas. But if all is well and there are no harmful bacteria or viruses present, then we really don’t need to use harsh cleaners to get the job done.

In Summary

The rise of modern cleaning practices is in direct correlation to many diseases and environmental problems. Harsh cleaners are not good for the overall microbiome and as biological beings, we rely on the natural environment to stay healthy. We can do our part by not using harsh cleaners like bleach, ammonia, antibacterial cleansers, etc. The only time these products are necessary is if someone is sick or there is an exposure of harmful microbes like raw chicken on a countertop. Otherwise, natural products like essential oils, vinegar, and natural soap are better choices to make for cleaning products. The more we learn about the danger of modern cleaning products, the more we can make better decisions for our home and wellbeing.

References

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1471490615000022

https://science.sciencemag.org/content/336/6080/489

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0013935115000304

https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rspb.2015.1139

https://erj.ersjournals.com/content/44/Suppl_58/P1187

https://www.jacionline.org/article/S0091-6749(13)01564-9/fulltext

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0064133

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamadermatology/article-abstract/478930

https://journals.lww.com/pidj/fulltext/2000/10001/consumer_and_market_use_of_antibacterials_at_home.6.aspx

https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/mdr.2009.0120

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2631814/

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41564-019-0593-4.epdf?referrer_access_token=dbirv_c_z112blDos3pXLNRgN0jAjWel9jnR3ZoTv0NvGy2dylkGSz3KfaHrHWvz91WrdbO-hC1L5cRkm8uaNT_206dn91YHLRkkEthiaLvebtJej4odp6x8_o6PN9C4sBMg3aSzRXRoO2YCabzZXpWFXr0v027tEfwr0cTKZlPatZKGOACqFfaEnoF1P92hlljaBbcfjElLCR0Tzp6xVovmC84tkYdJawRACVDgwlT2BCyitwETaNo8a3b7DX_pnzgOL61ZX3_w1lLh07CGR3vnLkR14D6RSH0WRjo9A3WMhTeh8H34VG37MCopLsbAuS5lM85zEgO8dIVUIeQlbA%3D%3D&tracking_referrer=www.npr.org

https://www.wholebodymicrobiome.com/

Posted on

Musty Tent? Fix It Fast

Musty Tent? Fix It Fast | Picture of Tent in open space

With social distancing protocols and travel bans in place during the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are opting for a more traditional getaway: camping. Immersed in nature, sunlight and aromatic campfires, spending time in the great outdoors is a great way to boost your immune system, brain health, and nervous system. With that said, camping is primarily a summer activity, and anytime you combine moisture with a warm, enclosed environment, you are more susceptible to musty odors and mold. It might not be immediately visible, but they can sure put a dent in your relaxing vacation. In this article, we’ll look at some of the reasons why your tent might have a funky smell, how to get rid of it, and how to properly store your tent to help prevent this problem in the future.

cup of coffee by a campfire

Why Does Your Tent Smell Musty?

Regardless of how you describe the smell — musty, dank, damp, or just plain BAD — there are many reasons why a tent might smell unpleasant. The most likely reason is because tents provide campers with protection from the [outdoor] elements. As a result of direct exposure, the tents are more likely to get wet from rain or condensation from the damp ground. If you’ve got the whole family snuggled in a tent, breathing the same air and/or sipping hot cocoa, the tent is likely to become damp from excess moisture.

Just like at home, if you’ve got moisture, you can get mold. This is the most common reason a tent can have a musty odor, but it takes a bit to get to that point. Tents are designed to repel water (they wouldn’t be very useful as shelters otherwise!) but the problem arises when the tent remains wet for too long. This can cause mold to grow, either on the tent surface itself, or on any dust or debris that may be trapped on the surface.

Just like at home, if you’ve got moisture, you can get mold. This is the most common reason a tent can have a musty odor, but it takes a bit to get to that point. Click To Tweet

With that said, it might not be mold! Tents can also develop an unpleasant odor from build up of dirt and grime, sweat/body odor from the occupants, or even from a chemical breakdown of the tent’s material itself, but we won’t get into that issue here today.

open front door of tentHow to Easily Clean a Musty Tent

If your tent’s odor seems stale rather than musty, it may just need to be aired out prior to use. This is a good first step in any case. You can set the tent up, or just hang it from a clothesline. The important part is getting every surface exposed to airflow. Fans can help if there’s no natural breeze. The offending smell may waft away on its own after a day or so.

If the odor persists, or if there is any visible soiling on any surface, the next step is to wash the tent. Tent fabric is usually treated with various coatings, so take caution when cleaning. Gentle dish soap or castile soap is recommended, but the use of stronger spray cleansers is not recommended as they could strip away any protective coatings. Spray the affected areas and gently scrub with a cloth or soft-bristled brush to remove any visible grime.

After all visible grime and/or spots have been removed, mist the tent surfaces with Homebiotic Environmental Probiotic spray to help eliminate musty odors at the source. Then let the tent dry fully, preferably on a sunny day.

If your tent has pockets, pouches or flaps, prop them up to encourage better airflow. If necessary, you can also use an ordinary box fan to speed up the drying process.

Keep airing out the tent for at least a day after it has fully dried to ensure there is no odor left. Then you can safely pack it up for storage or to go on your next camping adventure.

How to Properly Pack Up a Tent

Once your adventures are over and you’re ready to pack up, be sure to air out your tent as best as you can. If you’re packing up quickly due to bad weather (which many campers often face at one point or another), do your best to keep it as dry as possible. If this isn’t an option, you’ll need to dry it out as soon as you get to your destination by following the previous cleaning steps.

If you’re just packing it away for storage, there are a few steps you can take to ensure it stays fresh and free of musty odors:

  1. If your tent already has a musty odor, clean it and air it out prior to packing it away to prevent this issue from becoming worse.
  2. Lightly spray the tent with Homebiotic Environmental Probiotic spray if you have not already done so . This probiotic spray helps eliminate the causes of musty-smelling odors and keeps your tent fresher, longer.
  3. Always make sure that your tent is completely dry before packing it away.

orange tent on mountainHow to Properly Store Your Tent to Avoid Musty Odors

When it comes to storing your tent, there are two primary methods that work best: seal it up or keep it in a climate-controlled environment.

1. SEAL IT UP – This method involves packing your tent into a sealed container, like a snap lid storage tote, to keep moisture or pests out. This is a good idea if you’re storing your tent in an area that might not be well climate-controlled, like a garage or basement. If you are storing your tent this way, be sure to pack a moisture and odor absorbing object in with the tent. Good examples include a bamboo charcoal bag, some rice in a cloth bag, or a box of baking soda that is opened or has side vents.

2. AIRY BUT PROTECTED – In this alternative method, you’d leave the tent in its original bag and store it in a space that is climate-controlled. This could be a storage closet, or anywhere else it will maintain relatively stable temperature and humidity conditions. You may still want to add a charcoal bag or other moisture control device just for peace of mind.

In either case, proactively check on your tent every few months to ensure that it hasn’t accidentally gotten wet or developed an odor. It’s also a good idea to check it out at least a week before you intend to use it, as that will give you enough time to clean and dry it before camping if necessary.

Conclusion

When a tent is properly taken care of, it should provide years of use. Whether you’re escaping busy city life for a weekend, or you’re traveling cross country, these simple tent care tips can help you enjoy your next camping trip without worrying about musty odors.

Happy camping!

Posted on

What Kills Mold?

What Kills Mold | Moldy windows

Mold growth is a definite problem inside homes. Mold exposure can cause illness in certain people, and for that reason, it’s good to know what can kill mold and how to remove it. Many people get confused about what actually kills mold. We can simply wipe visible old away, but that doesn’t kill it. In this article, we will answer some popular questions about how to kill mold.

If I Wipe Away the Visible Mold, Does that Mean It’s Dead?

Wiping away mold is likely the first thing most people want to do. And although this can help remove mold, it doesn’t actually mean that it’s dead. Also, most mold species are pretty delicate and can become airborne when disturbed. This means that as we wipe away the fluffy, delicate mold, we release mold spores and pieces of mold into the air. They can quickly settle elsewhere and begin growing there. Also, mold that has been disturbed is more likely to make it into the respiratory tract, which can cause symptoms of mold illness or mold sensitivity. The best thing to do is hire a mold remediation and cleaning company as they know how to remove mold safely.

Wiping away mold is likely the first thing most people want to do. And although this can help remove mold, it doesn’t actually mean that it’s dead. Click To Tweet

soapy sponge - homebioticCan I Use Soap and Water on Mold?

Many people choose to clean mold with soap and water. While this may remove visible mold on the surface, it doesn’t kill the mold spores. And we discussed above, mold removal can be a bit dangerous for homeowners. However, if the spots are tiny, soap and water can remove the mold. You’ll just need to be careful not to break off spores or small particles of mold that may then circulate in the air. Whatever cloth you use should be discarded after. You’ll also want to wear protective gear like eye cover, gloves, and something to cover your body. This protection stops the particles from getting on your clothes or going into your eyes and mouth. Again, it might be better to consult with a professional mold remediation company.

Will My Air Purifier Kill Mold Spores?

Investing in a good air purifier is always a good idea. Not only do they keep your home fresh, but they can also help eliminate toxic substances like mold spores. Unfortunately, most air purifiers can’t kill mold unless they also have a UV or UV-c light. These are considered the highest quality air purifiers for the simple reason that they can burn up mold spores. UV or UV-c light creates a heat source that can burn up tiny mold spores and thus preventing them from settling on other surfaces in the home.

Will a HEPA Filter Kill Mold?

A HEPA filter is just a type of filter that can be found in various air purifiers. HEPA filters are much more efficient at removing toxic particles in room air. However, a HEPA filter alone can’t kill mold or mold spores. Again, you would need a filter that has a UV or UV-c light included in the product. To kill mold spores, they need to be burned up, and an air filter that has a UV or UV-c light is the only filter that can do that job.

A HEPA filter is just a type of filter that can be found in various air purifiers. HEPA filters are much more efficient at removing toxic particles in room air. However, a HEPA filter alone can’t kill mold or mold spores. Again, you… Click To Tweet

woman blowing nose - homebioticWhat Symptoms of Mold Illness do I Need to Watch Out For?

Not everyone who is exposed to mold will get sick. Mold illness varies widely based on genetics, current health issues, and sensitivity to the mycotoxins in mold. For those prone to mold illness, symptoms are typically respiratory oriented, although some people get skin rashes, eye problems, severe headaches, and systemic issues. For those who are immunocompromised, mold illness can cause serious problems with various organs, blood disorders, neurological issues, and systemic fungal infections.

Does Bleach Kill Mold?

Bleach has some mold-killing properties for sure. However, bleach can only kill mold on non-porous surfaces. Mold creates a kind of membrane underneath where it attaches to surfaces. Any mold growing on porous surfaces such as wood, particleboard, or drywall will create a membrane and lodge into the material. Unfortunately, bleach can’t do anything about this membrane; the chemical structure is such that bleach can’t penetrate it. Also, by adding more water (as you would when applying bleach), you may end up making the problem worse. Mold on porous material will inevitably grow back, and with added bleach, it has more moisture (from the diluted bleach) with which to thrive.

Bleach has some mold-killing properties for sure. However, bleach can only kill mold on non-porous surfaces. Mold creates a kind of membrane underneath where it attaches to surfaces. Click To Tweet

Does Vinegar Kill Mold?

What most people may not know is that vinegar is actually better at killing surface mold than bleach. Vinegar can get inside of porous materials and kill mold in there. This makes it superior to bleach, and it’s also not as toxic as bleach for the home environment. However, just as we discussed above, it’s important not to add so much water with vinegar as that can add moisture to the area, and spores left behind can grow back again. Even though vinegar is good for killing surface mold, it still isn’t as effective as professional mold remediation.

Are There Any Cleaning Products That Can Kill Mold?

Other cleaning products are somewhat similar to bleach and vinegar. They may help kill surface mold, but they are not likely to eradicate the problem for good. This is because mold is good at going dormant on surfaces. Also, it can go dormant inside porous materials while waiting for the opportunity to come back and grow again.

Do You Have to Kill Mold Spores Only?

Mold spores are tiny particles let off by mold. Mold spores float in the air as they find new spaces to drop and grow. It’s imperative to kill all the mold spores when doing mold removal and remediation. It’s also essential to remove all visible mold as well. That’s likely the most accessible part because you can see it with the naked eye. Unfortunately, mold spores are not very visible, so it’s hard to know where they are. A good air purifier with a HEPA filter and UV or UV-c light would be beneficial in this case. These air purifiers can capture mold spores and other small particles that we can’t see, and the UV or UV-c light can kill them.

How Do I Kill Mold Growing All Over My Basement?

Many people may wish for a quick solution to a widespread mold problem. Unfortunately, there’s no simple solution for mold growing all over a basement or anywhere else, for that matter. When a mold problem is extensive, it requires professional help to remove it safely. If mold is not handled safely, it can make you very sick, and also, it can quickly spread to other parts of the house. After professional mold remediation, you can buy a good air filter with UV or UV-c light to capture the leftover mold spores. It may also be wise to purchase a dehumidifier to reduce moisture in affected areas.

How Do I Kill the Mildew in my Bathroom?

The good news is that mildew is not as severe as mold. Although mildew is a type of fungus, it doesn’t have the same dangers as the dryer, fluffier kind of mold. Mildew is considered a wet mold, whereas the fluffy type is a dry mold. Dry mold is very fragile and prone to flying around in a room and landing elsewhere. Mildew can be easily removed using a wet cloth, vinegar, or hydrogen peroxide.

The good news is that mildew is not as severe as mold. Although mildew is a type of fungus, it doesn’t have the same dangers as the dryer, fluffier kind of mold. Click To Tweet

Does Bacteria Eat Mold?

The interesting thing about bacteria and mold is that they can either help each other or harm each other, depending on the circumstances. However, bacteria and mold will rarely eat each other. Instead, they compete for space, food, and resources. In some cases, like in cheese-making, bacteria and mold work together to grow and find new spots to settle in. In other cases, mold can secrete things like penicillin that can harm the outside of a bacterial cell wall. This can inhibit the bacteria, but it doesn’t mean that mold is eating bacteria either. Having diverse bacteria and fungus living together actually creates a balanced microbiome and stops any prolific growth by either organism.

macro bug on stick - homebioticDo Bugs Eat Mold?

Many types of microbes live in our homes, and they also share space with insects and other critters. Bugs and critters will eat bacteria and other microscopic substances found in the house. However, bugs and other critters rarely find nutrients through consuming mold. However, bugs and critters also compete with mold for space and food, so they can help maintain a healthy microbiome in the home.

What’s the Best Way to Kill Mold?

As mentioned before, the best way to kill mold or remove mold from the home is to hire a professional mold remediation company. Many of these companies also provide testing to see which microbes are in your home. They can then target their interventions accordingly. Other ways to kill mold are to use vinegar and a small amount of water to clean surface mold and mildew. Purchasing a good air filter with UV or UV-c light is also really helpful. For some small household materials that may have been damaged by mold, sometimes putting these items in the sun for a while can help. The sun naturally contains UV light. However, some mold spores can go dormant and grow back on these items, so special care needs to be taken. Unfortunately, once a mold problem sets in, it’s hard to fix it. For this reason, it’s best to practice preventative strategies to avoid mold growth in the first place.

How to Prevent Mold

The best ways to prevent mold growth in the home are to remove all the things mold needs to grow. Be sure to keep moisture levels to a minimum. This means cleaning and fixing any water damage in the house as soon as it happens. Using dehumidifiers, fans, and open windows will create a constant airflow that helps keep everything dry. Be careful with open windows during cooler months; condensation can form around windows when warm inside but cool outside. Condensation is another thing that can fuel mold growth.

The best ways to prevent mold growth in the home are to remove all the things mold needs to grow. Be sure to keep moisture levels to a minimum. Click To Tweet

Look into purchasing an excellent air purifier with a HEPA filter and UV or UV-c light. These purifiers can help prevent mold growth but should be used before mold ever has a chance to grow. However, once a mold remediation company has professionally removed mold, an air purifier can be an excellent preventative and maintenance item.

homebiotic spray on bathroom counter - Homebiotic - how to use homebiotic sprayThe other way to prevent mold growth is to take care of your home microbiome. As stated above – bacteria, microbes, and critters all compete for space and food, so the more microbes you have the less mold may be a problem. You can foster a home microbiome by not overcleaning or using harmful cleaners as this will kill the existing microbiome. Stick to vinegar or essential oils when cleaning your home. You can also look into products like Homebiotic Environmental Probiotic spray to add more diverse soil-based microbes to the house.

In summary

Mold can be difficult to kill once it sets up residence in your home. Unfortunately, mold is a widespread problem in many homes. It’s best to get your home tested and treated by a professional mold remediation company. Products like air purifiers and dehumidifiers can help prevent mold before it becomes a problem. However, you can still use these products after your home has been professionally cleaned. These products will prevent future mold from growing. Be sure to fix and maintain any areas where water comes in or out of the house. This includes faucets, hoses, sinks, showers, and laundry areas. Water leaks and water damage is a prime source of mold growth. Bleach can help clean mold, but vinegar is more likely to permeate porous materials like wood and drywall. Another substance that can help clean mold is hydrogen peroxide. Again, if a mold problem is extensive, it’s better to consult a professional because handling mold can make you sick, and it can also help spread mold further in the home.

References

https://escholarship.org/content/qt68c2j665/qt68c2j665.pdf

https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2018/01/29/579747917/the-cheese-does-not-stand-alone-how-fungi-and-bacteria-team-up-for-a-tastier-rin

https://restorationmasterfinder.com/restoration/what-kills-mold-bleach-vs-vinegar/

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41564-019-0593-4.epdf?referrer_access_token=dbirv_c_z112blDos3pXLNRgN0jAjWel9jnR3ZoTv0NvGy2dylkGSz3KfaHrHWvz91WrdbO-hC1L5cRkm8uaNT_206dn91YHLRkkEthiaLvebtJej4odp6x8_o6PN9C4sBMg3aSzRXRoO2YCabzZXpWFXr0v027tEfwr0cTKZlPatZKGOACqFfaEnoF1P92hlljaBbcfjElLCR0Tzp6xVovmC84tkYdJawRACVDgwlT2BCyitwETaNo8a3b7DX_pnzgOL61ZX3_w1lLh07CGR3vnLkR14D6RSH0WRjo9A3WMhTeh8H34VG37MCopLsbAuS5lM85zEgO8dIVUIeQlbA%3D%3D&tracking_referrer=www.npr.org

https://www.wholebodymicrobiome.com/

https://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0017/43325/E92645.pdf

https://www.jacionline.org/article/s0091-6749(02)00092-1/fulltext

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15143854/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0013935115000304

Posted on

Why Is Black Mold Bad?

Why is Black Mold Bad? | Moldy windows

This article will look at what black mold is, why it’s bad, and how to fix or prevent it. We will also look at some basic facts around mold growth, health and wellbeing, and whether black mold is dangerous for everyone.

black mold under wall paper - Homebiotic - how to get rid of moldWhat is Black Mold?

Black mold is also known as Stachybotrys Chartarum, and it is a type of mold that can be dangerous to human health. The nickname “black mold” comes from its dark black or greenish color. Black mold has a more slimy appearance than other mold species that can grow more fluffy and tree-like. Although black mold is similar in appearance to other mold species like Aspergillus and Cladosporium, it grows somewhat differently and can have a more severe effect on health.

Where Does Black Mold Live?

Black mold likes to live in damp areas (as most molds do), and you can often find it behind kitchen appliances, embedded in walls, behind bathroom tiles, and in basements and attics. Black mold can grow pretty much anywhere that has moisture and cellulose-containing items like plywood, paper, cardboard, etc. You can also find black mold growing in hay, grains, and discarded outdoor gardening materials. Piles of damp old paper, books, and furniture that haven’t been cleaned or moved are vulnerable to black mold growth.

Black mold likes to live in damp areas (as most molds do), and you can often find it behind kitchen appliances, embedded in walls, behind bathroom tiles, and in basements and attics. Black mold can grow pretty much anywhere that has… Click To Tweet

How Does Black Mold Grow?

Black mold, or Stachybotrys, grows similarly to all other mold species. It creates spores that land on surfaces, and if there’s enough food, moisture, and space, it will begin to multiply and grow. Black mold starts as tiny white fluffy spores, and as it grows, it starts to turn more greenish and then becomes black in the middle. When black mold matures, it takes on the dark black color. It also likes to grow in a circular pattern. By the time it develops, spores could be deposited in many areas in the home. Black mold spores, just like other species, can go dormant when no food or moisture exists. Black mold doesn’t grow very fast, which is a good thing if you are trying to prevent or remove this dangerous mold type. Often, you have to do a microscopic analysis of black mold to determine the difference between Stachybotrys and other mold species.

woman blowing nose - homebioticWhy Does Black Mold Make Us Sick?

Black mold produces mycotoxins that can cause illness in humans. Many mold species produce mycotoxins, but black mold can cause severe disease in certain people. Not everyone is prone to get sick from mold. Things like genetics, immune system strength, and other immune-compromising conditions are usually present in people who develop mold illness. However, even healthy people can get temporary symptoms from mold exposure like respiratory symptoms, headaches, and skin rash.

Black mold produces mycotoxins that can cause illness in humans. Many mold species produce mycotoxins, but black mold can cause severe disease in certain people. Click To Tweet

The problem with black mold is that it has been associated with more severe illness than other mold species. However, the research conducted on black mold illness has led to controversy as study design and methodology haven’t always been sound in these studies. Nonetheless, evidence suggests that some people can get severe pulmonary fibrosis, bleeding, cancer, immune system, and neurological dysfunction.

Symptoms of Black Mold Illness

The symptoms of black mold illness are often similar to the signs that develop when exposed to other mold species. These symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Rash
  • Sneezing, congestion
  • Brain fog
  • Changes in mood and memory
  • Asthma
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue
  • Chronic cough
  • Bleeding in the respiratory tract
  • Red, runny, and itchy eyes

These symptoms are general and don’t include more severe reactions. People with genetic issues or compromised immune systems can get very ill from Stachybotrys.

There was a case linking Stachybotrys, or black mold, to idiopathic pulmonary hemorrhage in infants. However, the evidence linking black mold with this condition wasn’t conclusive. Nonetheless, there were no other factors found to explain several cases of this condition, and so many people still wonder if Stachybotrys was the culprit.

Does Black Mold Make Everyone Sick?

Most people have some sort of reaction to large amounts of black mold. Often these reactions are temporary and relatively benign. However, a subset of people who have a genetic predisposition or a compromised immune system can get very ill. Some people can get severe lung, blood, neurological, and sinus illnesses. The problem is that it’s hard to tell which people will get very sick, so it’s best to prevent and remove black mold if it’s found in your home. Removal requires skilled and professional help as moving the black mold can be pretty toxic.

black mold on wall - Homebiotic - lyme disease resourcesDoes Black Mold Always Grow in Every House?

No, black mold isn’t found in every house, but it is a common mold and can be mistaken for other less dangerous molds depending on their age and appearance. Like many mold species, black mold grows in damp places where there is a lot of cellulose-containing material to eat. They especially love industrial areas where there’s a lot of space, undisturbed dampness, and lots to eat.

However, they are also frequently found behind paint and tile in kitchens and bathrooms as they like to feed on the insulation and subflooring behind the paint layer. Basements and attics are also places they grow but only if there’s cellulose-containing material. Nonetheless, even when all conditions are met, it doesn’t mean that every mold you find is black mold.

How Do I Know if I Have Black Mold in My House?

The only way to know for sure if you have black mold growing in your home is to get it properly tested. Black mold, or Stachybotrys, is usually included in a test by almost any mold testing company. However, when in doubt, always ask that their tests do include Stachybotrys Chartarum.

Also, black mold is routinely found by homeowners when they’re doing major renovations to kitchens and bathrooms or even bedrooms where there may have been a water leak at one point. Any area that has had water leaks is vulnerable to black mold. It’s imperative to have these areas tested and cleaned by a professional mold remediation company.

What Can I Do to Prevent Black Mold?

Any type of mold is difficult to remove once it begins to increase in any home area. And unfortunately, once mold starts to grow, it can spread to other areas as well. The best way to stop mold is to prevent it in the first place. As discussed above, be sure to fix and clean any areas damaged by water. Water leaks are the number one source of mold growth in any home or industrial site.

To prevent mold growth from any species, not just black mold, you have to avoid all conditions that help mold to grow. This means having good air ventilation throughout your home as it will keep all areas dry. Use fans and open windows at crucial times to get proper airflow through the house. Most kitchens and bathrooms have built-in fan systems, so be sure to use those. If the fans are not working in those locations, get them repaired. You can also use portable fans in key areas of the home to ensure airflow through the house or apartment. Also, you can use dehumidifiers or air filters with a built-in fan.

To prevent mold growth from any species, not just black mold, you have to avoid all conditions that help mold to grow. This means having good air ventilation throughout your home as it will keep all areas dry. Click To Tweet

Be sure to remove clutter, especially in areas typical for mold growth like basements, attics, kitchens, bathrooms, and other damp areas. Many people like to store old memories, books, or unused furniture in basements and attics. Be sure that these places are kept dry, and that clutter is not kept in areas that are known to be damp. Adopting a minimalist lifestyle (or as minimal as possible) can help.

Another excellent mold prevention strategy is to use air filters and purifiers. They can grab spores out of the air, and some units can use UV heat to fry the spores.

Lastly, most mold species need free space void of other microbial competitors to grow and increase. There are products available now, like Homebiotic spray, that can add soil-based microbes to your home, which can compete with mold. Also, be careful with cleaning practices. You will want to declutter your home, but you don’t want to douse it in harsh chemicals as it will kill all the beneficial microbes that keep mold at bay.

How Can I Protect Myself From Getting Sick From Black Mold and Other Mold Types?

As discussed above, some people have genetic predispositions or compromising immune conditions that make them prone to getting sick from mold. However, even a healthy, strong person can get some mold illness symptoms. Preventing illness from mold may not be possible for certain people, which is why mold removal and prevention are so necessary.

even a healthy, strong person can get some mold illness symptoms. Preventing illness from mold may not be possible for certain people, which is why mold removal and prevention are so necessary. Click To Tweet

However, there are a few things to consider when promoting health and preventing mold illness. For one, making sure that your immune system is healthy is good in preventing any illness. Eating well, sleeping properly, maintaining good mental health, and getting some kind of exercise are always suitable health-promoting activities. We can also improve our microbiome by healing leaky gut or taking probiotics to maintain gut health. Research shows that proper gut health has a significant impact on how well our immune system performs.

Lastly, for children, research shows that exposing them to different microbes and allergens at a young age can help build their immune system and prevent sensitivities to things like mold. So we shouldn’t be afraid to let our kids play on the floor, get out in nature, and interact with pets. These things help build their immunity and make them stronger.

Can Black Mold Affect Pets?

Unfortunately, pets are very similar to people, and they can also get sick from black mold. Pets usually have robust immune systems, so they are not likely to get seriously ill unless, just like humans, they have a compromised immune system. In this case, pets can get respiratory symptoms, skin rashes, nosebleeds, and other mold illness symptoms.

How Do I Get Rid of Black Mold?

It’s imperative to get rid of mold safely and professionally. This is because mold is rather delicate, and when you disturb or move any part of it, spores and small pieces of mold can fly into the environment. This is when mold exposure is the most dangerous. Also, moving spores and bits of mold can encourage it to take up residence in another area of the house. For this reason, you will want to consult a professional mold remediation company. Their services may be expensive, but it’s worth it so that you or your family don’t become exposed to toxic mold or spread it around.

What Products Can Help Me Prevent Black Mold?

It’s possible to clean some mold species using hydrogen peroxide and wiping it away, but when it comes to black mold, it’s recommended not to touch it at all. Instead, inquire about proper removal. However, you can do a lot to prevent black mold from growing in the first place. As stated above, be sure you have adequate ventilation. You can look into purchasing some fans to help with this.

Since mold prevention often requires decreasing moisture and stopping the spread of spores, products like dehumidifiers and air purifiers with proper filters can be beneficial. A dehumidifier can considerably reduce moisture and dampness in a home. You may only need one unit for a small house. If you have a damp basement, you may need to put one dehumidifier unit down there and another one upstairs. Dehumidifiers don’t kill mold; they just reduce moisture, thus preventing mold from growing in the first place.

Dehumidifiers don’t kill mold; they just reduce moisture, thus preventing mold from growing in the first place. Click To Tweet

You can also invest in a good air purifier with a HEPA filter. These units can do an excellent job in cleaning the air and will grab mold spores as well. Unfortunately, air purifiers, even with HEPA filters, can’t kill mold. However, you can get an air purifier unit that also contains a UV or UV-c light. These units can not only grab mold spores but fry them up with the heat. This is a good option for those wanting to prevent or kill mold. Unfortunately, none of these products will kill active mold infestations; you will need to hire a professional remediation company for that.

soapy sponge - homebioticWhat Kills Black Mold?

It can be pretty challenging to kill black mold or any mold for that matter. But professional mold remediation companies can remove mold very effectively. Once black mold begins to grow inside the home, the only option is mold removal and remediation. After that, you can help prevent further growth by following the prevention advice given in this article. While UV and UV-c light can kill mold spores, they can’t kill black mold growing on walls or other areas of the home.

Summary

In summary, yes, black mold is bad, and you don’t want it growing in your home. However, black mold doesn’t always grow in every house. If you happen to see mold somewhere, don’t panic, as there are many mold species. Also, black mold is not dangerous all the time and for everyone. However, the risk is high enough that you’ll want to learn about black mold and how to prevent or fix it.

This article gives plenty of facts and information about preventing and fixing black mold should it become a problem in your home. There are lots of ways to stop this problem from becoming a problem. After all, education is key to preventing any problem. When in doubt, consult a professional mold testing and remediation company if you suspect you have black mold in your house. And be sure to look into all the prevention strategies mentioned n this article.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC145304/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11770686/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2828207/

https://www.cdc.gov/mold/faqs.htm

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1471490615000022

https://www.jacionline.org/article/s0091-6749(02)00092-1/fulltext

https://www.wholebodymicrobiome.com/

https://erj.ersjournals.com/content/44/Suppl_58/P1187

https://www.jacionline.org/article/S0091-6749(13)01564-9/fulltext

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0064133