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Musty Smells While Quarantining? Might Be Mold

Musty Smells While Quarantining? Might Be Mold | Woman wearing a mask leaning out a window

Most of us are doing our best to decrease the spread of the coronavirus. This means we’re staying home, avoiding group gatherings, and only going out for necessary groceries and medications. If everyone is home all the time, this means there’ll be more moisture from showering, cleaning, cooking, and just living our lives in the small space of our house. And as we know, mold loves lots of moisture 1. So it’s not an uncommon instance of musty smells while quarantining, but why are you experiencing the odors? Might be mold.

You should know though that musty odor doesn’t always mean there’s dangerous mold growing 2. It’s likely just surface level mold, which can be fixed. But it could also be a deeper issue, depending on the moisture build-up or potential water leaks before the quarantine.

In any case, here’s some education and tips if you’re at home more and smell a potential mold problem in the making.

Understand How and Why Mold Grows

As mentioned above, mold thrives on moisture, whether it comes from a water leak or condensation. But it also needs food to grow. Often, mold can be found wherever there are moisture and fibrous material like paper, drywall, and cardboard. But it also eats other organic material like bread, skin cells, bacteria, and other small carbon-containing matter 1.

Mold also needs space to grow without too many other microbes to compete with. You’d be interested to know that mold can disable some other microbes to enable their own growth 3. In this way, they can take over an area and thrive. But, if mold already has open space without other competitors, as is the case in spaces that are too clean, they may grow unchecked 4,5.

Mold also needs space to grow without too many other microbes to compete with. You'd be interested to know that mold can disable some other microbes to enable their own growth Click To Tweet

Tips For Removing & Coping With Mold

Once you know how and why mold grows, you can be better prepared for how to prevent mold in the first place. However, this knowledge can also help in knowing how to fix a mold problem once it begins.

 

  1. BE SURE TO HAVE A WELL VENTILATED HOME

Since mold needs moisture to grow, then having a well-ventilated home can often help fix a minor mold problem. Be sure to make use of kitchen and bathroom fans. If you don’t have them, then investing in portable fans can really help 1.

Also, try keeping some windows open. This can be challenging when everyone is home, and the weather outside may be cold. However, having some windows open can really ventilate and bring in some helpful natural air 1,5,6.

2. BRING DOWN MOISTURE LEVELS

As stated above, proper ventilation can significantly reduce your moisture levels, which will help prevent and treat a mold problem. Another way to reduce moisture is to use a dehumidifier. You can place it in critical areas that tend to build moisture the most 1,5.

Also, try to avoid moisture from condensing on windows, especially if the air is cooler outside than it is inside. With more people in the home, this will be a more significant challenge than usual. Try to keep the temperature of your home a bit cooler than usual. Also, when possible, open windows to decrease the build-up of condensation 1,5.

3. REMOVE SURFACE-LEVEL MOLD

Surface-level mold can be removed in a fairly simple way. Many people opt for bleach, and while this is a popular remedy, it is only effective on non-porous (tile etc) surfaces, and is also toxic for the lungs and skin. Instead, try using undiluted 3% hydrogen peroxide OR white vinegar 7,8, but do not mix them. Tea tree oil can be just as effective as hydrogen peroxide or vinegar 8.

Surface-level mold can be removed in a fairly simple way. Many people opt for bleach, and while this is a popular remedy, it is only effective on non-porous (tile etc) surfaces, and is also toxic for the lungs and skin. Instead, try… Click To Tweet

Wipe the surface-level mold with a disposable cloth and one of the solutions as mentioned above, and repeat as necessary. Regardless of which solution you choose, use only a small amount and don’t mix with any other cleaning agents as this could potentially produce toxic gases.

Also, mold doesn’t grow as much when other microbes are competing for space and food. Homebiotic’s probiotic spray was created to help bring in natural soil-based microbes that will compete with mold and inhibit their growth. Homebiotic won’t kill mold on contact, instead it works over time to inhibit and prevent their growth.

4. PREVENT ILLNESSES ASSOCIATED WITH MOLD

If that musty odor persists and you’ve taken steps to clean all surface-level mold, then you likely have mold growth in inaccessible areas of the home. This may require a mold test and more stringent removal measures.

In the meantime, you can use air filtration systems to help reduce the number of mold allergens in the air. HEPA filters with UV or ionization have proven to be effective at lowering mycotoxin allergens in the air. Just be sure to clean your HEPA filter properly as it can also be vulnerable to mold growth. However, UV and ionization may prevent mold growth in HEPA filter units 9,10.

bad-odor

Conclusion

During quarantine for the coronavirus, we are spending a lot more time at home. This increases the moisture levels in our home, which might aid in the growth of mold. If you start smelling that tell-tale musty odor, chances are mold has begun to spring up in your home.

The good news is that it’s likely surface-level mold. The above tips will help you make decisions about how to prevent and fix this problem. Once mold growth has begun, there are a few non-toxic ways to get rid of it quickly.

Lastly, proper ventilation and decreasing moisture levels are essential to prevent and treat mold issues. You can also use Homebiotic spray to bring in natural microbe competitors that will stop mold from growing in the first place.

Although mold growth may become an issue during quarantine, it doesn’t have to become another stressor. Once you understand how mold grows, then you’ll know more about how to prevent and remove it.


REFERENCES

1. http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0017/43325/E92645.pdf
2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28299723
3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mold
4. 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
5. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0064133
6. https://letthemeatdirt.com
7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16400985
8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4483703/
9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4587002/
10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4206797/

 

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How To Avoid Over-Cleaning During The Pandemic

How To Avoid Over-Cleaning During The Pandemic | Hand Sanitizer and Masks sitting on a table

Did you know you can over-clean during the pandemic? We’re living at a time when antibacterial soaps, wipes, and cleaning products are rapidly being emptied off the shelves. With the coronavirus pandemic, people are frantically purchasing cleaning supplies to keep their homes safe.

Avoid Over-Cleaning During the Pandemic Quarantine

Indeed, if you have someone sick at home or you’re immunocompromised and can’t participate in self-quarantine, then keeping things extra clean will be a priority.

However, it’s not necessary to be over-cleaning your home if no one is sick, and everyone has healthy immune systems. This is especially true if everyone is observing proper social distance or quarantine measures. So let’s talk about how to clean properly during this pandemic quarantine. You might be surprised to learn that over-cleaning may do more harm than good.

Over-Cleaning Causes Increased Fungal Growth in Urban HomesWhat is Over-Cleaning?

If no one is sick or immunocompromised in your home, then there’s no need to clean more often than you usually do. You likely don’t need to be wiping and scrubbing surfaces several times a day. You also don’t need to douse your hands or bodies in antibacterial soap or be doing outrageous amounts of laundry either.

There may be an urge to use lots of bleach and water to clean the bathrooms and kitchens every day, but this is not necessary. Cleaning once a week with non-toxic cleaners and keeping a regular laundry schedule should be fine. This is especially true if everyone is staying in, observing social distancing, and not exposed to anyone else.

There may be an urge to use lots of bleach and water to clean the bathrooms and kitchens every day, but this is not necessary. Cleaning once a week with non-toxic cleaners and keeping a regular laundry schedule should be fine. This is… Click To Tweet

Of course, if someone is ill in your house or you’ve been exposed then your cleaning regimen likely needs to increase. You’ll also need to use sanitizing agents to kill and remove the virus. If these situations apply to you, then you can follow the CDC’s cleaning advice to prevent other family members from getting ill 1.

Why Might Over-Cleaning Be Harmful?

By now, most people know that a sterile gut causes many health issues 2. Well, the same can be said about our home environment. If you strip away all the healthy microbes in our homes, you’re setting up your environment for an onslaught of unhealthy microbes, like mold 3,4.

The more we clean away all the microbes, the more mold sees those empty spaces as free real-estate to grow and reproduce. This is because many microbial species compete with mold, which keeps their numbers low. But if there are no bacteria at all, then mold has a much better chance of taking up space 3,4,5.

This is especially problematic when there are more people at home using water to clean, shower, or cook. And in colder months, when we usually keep windows closed, moisture from breathing and living can really build-up.

Nowadays, everyone is home more due to quarantine and shelter-in-place laws in many countries. As a result we have more people inside, which means an increase in moisture in many areas of the house.

Why Are These Factors Important?

So between freeing up real estate to over-cleaning mixed with more moisture and less ventilation, this sets up the perfect storm for mold to grow. And since many people are now developing allergies and asthma from mold exposure, this can cause more health problems as we’re all quarantined at home 5,6.

So between freeing up real estate to over-cleaning mixed with more moisture and less ventilation, this sets up the perfect storm for mold to grow. And since many people are now developing allergies and asthma from mold exposure, this… Click To Tweet

The other problem with over-cleaning is that we may be contributing to the creation of bacteria that are resistant to these cleaners. Bacteria that survive after they’ve been bleached or doused in antibacterial solutions are on their way to becoming resistant, and therefore more dangerous to our health 7,8.

Lastly, over-using toxic cleaners can be dangerous to your health in general. They can cause respiratory or skin irritations when used in high quantities. This may not help when you’re already concerned about staying healthy under the threat of coronavirus 7,8.

So How Should I Clean Properly?

As mentioned above, if no one is sick or immunocompromised, then regular cleaning once a week with non-toxic solutions like vinegar or essential oils will suffice. You also don’t need to use a ton of water either, just enough to wipe away the dirt and soap suds.

It’s essential to make sure you have ventilation around the areas that you do clean. Also, wherever your family conducts regular hand washing should have ventilation too. So be sure to turn on bathroom and kitchen fans if you have them. You can even use portable fans to keep air circulating throughout the home as well. If you’re able to open windows, that would be helpful too 3.

You also don’t need to use toxic antibacterial soaps for hand washing and showering. Regular soap works by attaching to bacteria and viruses and pulling them off. Then when you rinse with water, everything gets washed down the drain 9.

How Do I Clean When We Need To Shop?

When someone needs to do grocery shopping or pick up medicine and bring items back in the house, this can present some anxiety and confusion around cleaning. In this case, the person coming back from outside definitely needs to wash their hands 1.

If their clothes have been exposed, then they can either be left in a bag for several days or washed 1. But if they haven’t been in direct contact or within six feet of anyone, then there’s no need to do extra laundry.

Experts are saying that people don’t need to be as worried about grocery items as they thought 10. Using regular safety measures for food handling will suffice. The same goes for food wrap and plastic bags, just practice proper hand washing and food safety as you would typically do 1,10.

It can be dangerous to use toxic wipes or cleaners near or around open food. These solutions are not meant to be consumed and therefore, shouldn’t be used to disinfect any food. The usual food handling, storage, and cooking practices will be good enough 7.

It can be dangerous to use toxic wipes or cleaners near or around open food. These solutions are not meant to be consumed and therefore, shouldn't be used to disinfect any food. The usual food handling, storage, and cooking practices… Click To Tweet

Conclusion

As it was stated above, if no one is sick or immunocompromised and everyone is observing social distancing and quarantine practices, then there’s no need to over-clean. You can follow your regular cleaning and laundry schedule. And when you do clean, you don’t need to use toxic cleaners or use too much water.

Make sure your home is well-ventilated around hand washing and cleaning areas. And when leaving home to pick up food or medicine, the tips above will help you make the right decisions about the cleaning and storage of those items.

This is a confusing and scary time and many of us are feeling unsure about how to clean our homes and protect our families. Hopefully, these facts and tips will help you make the best decisions.

Remember, hand washing and distance is the best measure for preventing the coronavirus, so going overboard in cleaning your home is really not necessary.


REFERENCES

1. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/disinfecting-your-home.html
2. https://letthemeatdirt.com
3. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0064133
4. https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rspb.2015.1139
5. http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0017/43325/E92645.pdf
6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28608416
7. https://journals.lww.com/pidj/fulltext/2000/10001/consumer_and_market_use_of_antibacterials_at_home.6.aspx
8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK73515/
9. https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html
10. https://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/news/coronavirus-no-evidence-food-source-or-transmission-route

 

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How Social Isolation Impacts Mold Growth at Home

How Social Isolation Impacts Mold Growth at Home | Woman wearing a mask looking out a window

Many of us are living in a new reality with COVID-19. School is canceled, many have been laid off, and many more are working from home. For the first time, people around the globe are spending most of their time at home.

We must look at a few side-effects of our new reality so we can prepare and take action now. We know that social distancing and home isolation will ultimately help everyone as we move through this health crisis.

However, we also know that spending more time at home will affect the well-being of our families as well. It will also impact the health of our home environment. We’re moving less, watching more TV, getting less social and outdoor time, and feeling a lot more stressed. But also, as we spend more time at home, we increase the chances of mold growth, which impacts our health as well.

How Social Distancing and Isolation Impacts Mold Growth at HomeSide-Effects of Social Distancing & Home Isolation

If you think about it, more time at home means there will be more people showering, cleaning, eating, and cooking. Before, many of us would be spending our days at work, school, or other activities outside of the home. Now, we’re all doing these things together under one roof.

Also, many of us are trying to prevent illness, so we’re cleaning more than usual, perhaps keeping windows and doors shut, and washing our hands more.

What does all of this add up to? Less air circulation, more moisture, and spaces void of helpful bacteria. All of these elements provide the perfect conditions for mold to grow.

Why Do These Elements Cause Mold To Grow?

Mold likes to eat cellulose-containing building materials such as paper, fiber, and drywall. All of these products are widely available in modern homes. However, mold needs moisture and free space to grow. So, once we begin adding more moisture to our homes and removing helpful bacteria, mold can grow unchecked. 1

Mold likes to eat cellulose-containing building materials such as paper, fiber, and drywall. All of these products are widely available in modern homes. However, mold needs moisture and free space to grow. So, once we begin adding more… Click To Tweet

To avoid getting COVID-19, we’re using more water to wash our hands and clean our homes and thus adding more moisture. We may also be using more chemicals to clean and wash our hands with. These chemicals kill the bacteria that provide a balance for your home, and prevent the causes of musty odors.

Also, in many parts of North America and Europe, cold winter temperatures prompt us to keep doors and windows closed, preventing proper airflow 1. And because most of us are staying put, there’s minimal movement in and out of our homes.

All of these conditions create a much higher risk of mold growth. And with increased mold, comes new health problems that we may not have thought about before.

How mold affects our health?

Most people know that mold is highly correlated with allergies and asthma. Household mold causes an increase in asthma and allergy symptoms, which also increases the risk of secondary infections, like COVID-19. So even though we’re trying to prevent illness, we may be inadvertently increasing our susceptibility to other contagious respiratory diseases 1,2,3.

Also, now that we’re more sedentary and perhaps exposed to mold growth, we may be more susceptible to feeling depressed and out of control. One study showed that mold growth was associated with increased depression 4.

Also, the study showed that when people feel a lack of control over their health and home environment, depression increases. No doubt, people are already feeling anxious about COVID-19, so having mold in the home will surely not help matters much 4.

How To Prevent Mold & Enhance Our Well-Being While Staying Home.

The good news is that there’s a lot we can do to keep ourselves and our homes healthy during this COVID-19 crisis. Here are some essential tips to keep in mind while we maintain social distance and isolation in our homes:

Maintain airflow through the house.

Unless you live incredibly close to your neighbors, it would be good to open some windows and let fresh air come in. This not only benefits your home, but it will bring in some oxygen and help keep everyone’s spirits up. Also, it maintains a connection with the outdoors, which will bring in good bacteria from outside.

Be sure to turn on fans in the kitchen and bathroom if you have them. Also, portable fans placed at strategic points in the house will really help keep airflow through the house 1,5.

Prevent humidity or water damage.

When you’re cleaning, be careful how much water you’re using. You likely don’t need to use large amounts to get the job done. And when you’re finished cleaning, make sure you dry all the surfaces with a cloth.

Be sure that the bathroom is thoroughly dried out after showers and hygiene practices. Leave the bathroom fan on or wipe the surfaces until they’re dry (and then properly dry the towel or squeegee!) 1,5.

Check all areas of the home for potential water damage and make any necessary repairs.

Be conscious of your cleaning practices.

If you have someone who is ill with COVID-19 in your home, by all means, use disinfectant to keep everyone safe. However, if no one is ill and everyone is observing social distance and isolation, there’s no need to go overboard with bleach or other harsh chemicals.

Bleach and harsh cleaning products can kill the good bacteria that help keep mold at bay 6,7. Instead, opt for natural cleaners like vinegar or essential oils. Also, you don’t need to clean multiple times per day if no one is ill.

Taking care of your health is also good for your home.

When possible, get outside if you can. Head into the backyard or if you don’t have one, go to an open area where you can still observe social distancing. Getting outside will not only help your health, but it will also give your home a chance to dry out. And when you return, you bring in beneficial outdoor microbes that help prevent mold growth.

Conclusion

Indeed, this is a new reality we’re living. Inevitably, it can take a toll on our health as well as the health of our home. Most notably, the side-effects of social distancing and home isolation may increase the possibility of mold growth in our homes.

Indeed, this is a new reality we're living. Inevitably, it can take a toll on our health as well as the health of our home. Most notably, the side-effects of social distancing and home isolation may increase the possibility of mold… Click To Tweet

But if we stay conscious and proactive, we can not only improve our living conditions and prevent mold growth but maintain our well-being at the same time.


REFERENCES

1. http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0017/43325/E92645.pdf
2. https://www.jacionline.org/article/s0091-6749(02)00092-1/fulltext
3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4444319/
4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1994167/
5. https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rspb.2015.1139
6. 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
7. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0064133

 

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Can Mold Exposure Increase Your Coronavirus Risk?

Can Mold Exposure Increase Your Coronavirus Risk? | Mold growing on a window sill

The coronavirus pandemic has many of us gripped with stress and worry over the health of our families. There’s a lot of uncertainty, and people are naturally concerned about how to protect themselves and their home environments. And now that many of us are confined to our homes, we’re wondering how to make them as safe and healthy as possible. So we have to ask: can mold exposure increase your coronavirus risk?

One thing to consider is mold growth and how it may affect us in our homes. With more people spending time at home, mold may become a problem as we are eating, cooking, showering, and cleaning more. And for those who are already prone to asthma and allergies, mold can be a more serious issue. Particularly when it comes to infections like coronavirus and its complications.

One thing to consider is mold growth and how it may affect us in our homes. With more people spending time at home, mold may become a problem as we are eating, cooking, showering, and cleaning more. And for those who are already prone… Click To Tweet

The Effects Of Mold On The Immune System

Most people know that anyone with a compromised immune system can become very ill when exposed to mold. This is because they don’t have the right amount of immune cells in their blood to fight off a systemic fungal infection 1,2,3.

However, people with otherwise healthy immune systems can also be affected by the toxins that mold secretes. To be clear, mold on its own does not cause illness. Instead, it’s the mycotoxins that mold emits that can impair the immune system and cause illness. In other words, people who are sensitive to mold may also be slightly immunocompromised 3.

Research has shown that these mycotoxins can confuse and impair the white blood cells in our immune system, making them less able to protect the individual. Furthermore, confused white blood cells have a tendency to overreact, which accounts for many allergic reactions 1,2.

Mold & Its Role In Asthma & Allergies

Unfortunately, asthma and allergies have increased exponentially over the past many decades 4. Also, mold growth has increased, particularly within modern homes 5.

Experts have shown clear connections between household mold and increased allergic illness and asthma attacks 3,4,5. The mycotoxins in mold have been shown to both cause and exacerbate allergies and asthma.

The concerning part is that conditions like asthma and allergies reveal an already impaired immune system. This means that people with allergies and asthma are also more susceptible to secondary infections from bacteria and viruses 6.

germsDoes Mold Make Us More Susceptible To Viruses?

It’s possible that mold exposure can make us more susceptible to pathogens like the coronavirus. This is especially problematic for people who have asthma and allergies related to mold sensitivity.

Since many of us will be home more, household exposure to mold can become a problem. And if a family member has increased asthma or allergies related to mold, they are likely to have their immune system compromised 1,2,3,4. And of course, this makes them prone to develop other infections like the coronavirus.

Since many of us will be home more, household exposure to mold can become a problem. And if a family member has increased asthma or allergies related to mold, they are likely to have their immune system compromised Click To Tweet

Also, people with asthma and allergies tend to touch their faces more through sneezing and wiping their nose or eyes. They’re also likely to cough more, which means they can also be exposing other family members to illness as well 6.

This means that while we’re at home in isolation, we need to be more thoughtful about household mold and what it may be doing to the health of our family members.

Mold growth

What Can We Do To Control Mold Growth?

What can we do to prevent mold at home to keep us better protected against illnesses like coronavirus?

The following are some practical steps you can take now:

Decrease moisture build-up in your home.

Mold growth depends on moisture, so be sure to turn on fans, open windows, and fix any water leaks in your home. Decreasing moisture build-up through air ventilation and reducing water issues will go a long way to keeping your home mold-free 3,7.

Be careful with your cleaning practices.

Cleaning requires water, but be sure not to dump large amounts of water while you clean the kitchen, bathroom, and other household surfaces. When you’re finished cleaning, make sure all surfaces have been wiped dry 3,7,8.

Also, be careful not to use large amounts of bleach or other bactericidal cleaning agents. While we may need to disinfect certain areas during the current coronavirus pandemic, we need to be careful not to overdo it. This is especially important if no one in the home is currently sick. Too much of these harsh chemicals can clear out helpful bacteria while providing free real estate for mold to grow 3,7,8.

Take preventative measures.

Besides moisture, mold loves to eat cellulose-containing products such as paper, drywall, and wood fiber. Make sure you clean up any clutter that may contain these products around water faucets or potentially damp areas of your home 3.

When in doubt, do a mold test to find out if your home contains mold. If you know for sure if your home has a mold problem, then you can take appropriate actions to remove it.

Soil-based microbes are known to balance out the flora in a home environment and help keep fungi from growing unchecked. These microbes usually come in through dirt on our shoes and from being outside. So don’t be afraid to get outdoors and allow some dirt to come into your home 7.

Lastly, you can add good microbes to your home to balance out the biome of your home. Homebiotic’s home probiotic spray adds beneficial soil-based microbes to your home. These microbes naturally eliminate the cause of musty odors.

Conclusion

There are simple and clear actions we can take to prevent mold growth while isolated at home during this coronavirus pandemic. People should understand how mold can impact our immune system, especially those with asthma and allergies. And unfortunately, mold illness can increase susceptibility to other pathogens like the coronavirus.

Mold decreases and confuses the immune response of specific white blood cells, which causes illnesses like asthma and allergies. And for immunocompromised people, mold can be more hazardous.

As we spend more time at home and in the company of our immediate family, you may want to consider some practices to help decrease mold. This includes minimizing moisture build-up, monitoring cleaning practices, and implementing mold prevention strategies. In this way, we can protect our vulnerable family members and keep our immune systems healthy.


REFERENCES:

1. https://www.cell.com/cell-chemical-biology/fulltext/S2451-9456(19)30001-7?_returnURL=https%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS2451945619300017%3Fshowall%3Dtrue
2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4444319/
3. http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0017/43325/E92645.pdf
4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28608416
5. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0013935115000304
6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4122981/
7. https://err.ersjournals.com/content/27/148/170137
8. https://letthemeatdirt.com

 

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The “Farm Effect” & How It Can Create A Healthy Home

The “Farm Effect” & How It Can Create A Healthy Home | Woman feeding her chickens

Some people will read the title of this article and wonder, “what do farms have to do with the health of my home?” Don’t worry, no one is saying we need to live on farms. Unless, of course, we’re interested in being a farmer. However, a little education about the “farm effect” can have huge benefits to the health of our homes and the people who live in them.

WHAT IS “FARM EFFECT”?

The “farm effect” was founded by researcher Dr. Erika Von Mutius after doing several studies on children raised on farms. The results showed that these children have less incidence of asthma, allergies, and other illnesses. It appears that infants and children are protected from certain allergic and autoimmune diseases when they live close to animals, farm dust, and soil1,2,3.

The “farm effect” was founded by researcher Dr. Erika Von Mutius after doing several studies on children raised on farms. The results showed that these children have less incidence of asthma, allergies, and other illnesses. Click To Tweet

So the “farm effect” refers to the positive health outcomes of living on a farm. The results of these studies are undeniable, and many scholars and regular people are wondering how we can use this information to enhance our modern lives.

No doubt, most of us live in closed-off urban homes that barely resemble a farm environment. So how can we replicate these positive health outcomes so that modern humans can have these health benefits without living on a farm? First, let’s look at how the “farm effect” actually works.

HOW DOES THE “FARM EFFECT” WORK?

The most important thing to know is that it’s not the farm itself that creates the “farm effect,” it’s the microbes. It appears that living amongst many diverse bacteria, such as those found on a farm, has an enhancing effect on the immune systems of growing children. What that means is that microbes help train their budding immune systems to respond to allergens and bacteria in a healthy way2,3.

The repeated exposures to soil, animals, and other farm microbes help to develop specific white blood cells and other immune factors involved in inflammation and allergic reactions. In essence, the more the immune system is trained, the less it reacts to allergens.

It also means that the more developed the immune system is, the less inflammation will be present in the body. And as we are learning more and more, inflammation may be at the root of many common illnesses and conditions2,3,4.

The repeated exposures to soil, animals, and other farm microbes help to develop specific white blood cells and other immune factors involved in inflammation and allergic reactions. Click To Tweet

Knowing all of this, we can make different choices about how to take care of ourselves and our environment, including the place we spend the most time in – our homes. In short, we want to replicate the “farm effect” in our homes.

WHY DO I WANT TO REPLICATE THE “FARM EFFECT” IN MY HOME?

As much as possible, we want to improve the diversity of microbes in our homes so they resemble the microbes you would find on farms. These are called soil-based microbes, or bacteria, and they benefit us on many levels. Not only do they help improve our health and immune systems, but they balance out mold and bacteria that may grow unchecked in our homes2,4,5,6.

It may be confusing to read that you need more bacteria when trying to reduce unwanted bacteria, but this is an actual fact. Soil-based bacteria naturally compete with other pathogens creating a healthy balance7.

Replicating the “farm effect” in our homes means bringing in more soil-based microbes. It may sound complicated, but it’s easier than you would think. It involves a few changes and making decisions about which products we buy to clean and protect our homes.

Soil-based microbes in our home can help us achieve a kind of “farm effect.” And this will help improve our immune systems while providing a balance against pathogens like mold and harmful bacteria.

HOW CAN I BRING THE BENEFITS OF THE “FARM EFFECT” INTO MY HOME?

First, we need to have an environment that’s welcoming to soil-based microbes.

If our homes have an unwelcoming environment, then the healthy bacteria will be killed off before they have a chance to do their work. This means that we need to make decisions about cleaning products.

Research has shown that over-cleaning and using toxic chemicals can decimate both good and bad microbes8,9. So maybe we can relax a bit on how clean we need our homes to be. That’s not to say that we let dirt and grime build-up, instead, we just go a little lighter on our cleaning efforts. This has a positive side-effect of decreasing stress too.

Also, go easy on the harsh and toxic cleaners that contain antimicrobial agents.

Instead, opt for more enviro-friendly cleaners or go with good old vinegar and water mixed with essential oils. Harsh cleaning products have been shown to cause respiratory, skin, and eye problems as well as increasing bacterial resistance to these chemicals.

Next, we need to bring in more soil-based microbes, and there are a few ways that are not only fun but easy.

We can simply start by going outside more and having a hands-on experience with nature. We can let ourselves, our children and our pets play in the mud; roll in leaves, sit down on the grass, or whatever helps us get more intimate with nature2,4.

We may not live on farms, but we can access a similar environment by just spending more time outside and being less afraid of the outside coming in. Having said that, we can open our windows more and maybe adopt some plants that can add more green to our environment. Plants can bring in soil-based microbes, but they also have other properties that help develop our immune systems and decrease dangerous pathogens as well2,4.

Lastly, products like Homebiotic are made specifically to help replicate the “farm effect” in our homes.

The spray contains diverse soil-based microbes that act as a probiotic for your home. Once you clean with a natural, non-toxic cleaner, you can spray Homebiotic in all corners of your home.

Homebiotic spray can help create a balanced ecosystem in your home that resembles the “farm effect.” It may be easier than we think to replicate the “farm effect” in our homes; all we have to do is get educated, then take action.

 


REFERENCES

1.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21060319
2.https://letthemeatdirt.com
3.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31401285
4.https://www.harpercollins.ca/9780062433640/eat-dirt/
5.https://err.ersjournals.com/content/27/148/170137
6.https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1471490615000022
7.https://escholarship.org/content/qt68c2j665/qt68c2j665.pdf
8.https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0064133
9.https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamadermatology/article-abstract/478930

 

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4 Tips To Prevent Mold At Home

4 Tips To Prevent Mold At Home | Mold Growing on wall

Mold is often an issue for many home-owners and home-buyers. No one likes that musty smell, which is a tell-tale sign of mold growth in your home. And once mold has taken up residence, it’s hard to get rid of it. In this article, we’ll look at what causes mold, which homes are more affected, and what types of mold are dangerous to our health. Then, we’ll look at some simple tips to prevent mold in your house.

The trickiness of mold makes prevention a critical issue when considering the health and safety of your home. Prevention is much easier than having to clean and eradicate mold that has already spread to several areas of the house.

The trickiness of mold makes prevention a critical issue when considering the health and safety of your home. Prevention is much easier than having to clean and eradicate mold that has already spread to several areas of the house Click To Tweet

CAUSE OF MOLD GROWTH IN HOMES

Mold needs three important things to grow: consistent moisture, limited airflow, and food. Any areas that remain moist without airflow have the potential for mold growth. Mold likes to feast on materials such as drywall, carpet padding, dust, mites, and some plant and bacterial cellulose1,2.

WHICH HOMES ARE MORE LIKELY TO HAVE MOLD ISSUES?

A common myth is that older homes are more likely to be full of mold, but this may not be true. In fact, older homes tend to have more airflow, and the positioning of water faucets and bathrooms help prevent widespread water issues. Also, older homes tend to have a more diverse and rich microbiome that helps naturally balance out mold2,3.

Newer homes, on the other hand, are more tightly built, which reduces air circulation. They also contain more building materials that mold likes to eat2,3. Lastly, newer homes have a less diverse microbiome because they are cut off from outside soil-based microbes that would otherwise balance out mold3,4.

Mold is also likely to be an issue in homes situated in humid climates or where there has been a catastrophic flood. Also, over-crowded homes tend to have more problems with dampness and poor ventilation. Lastly, low-income rental units have higher mold issues due to less money spent on renovating and cleaning moldy areas in-between renters3.

However, the reality is that any home can be prone to mold if the conditions are right for their growth.

WHICH SPECIES OF MOLD IS DANGEROUS TO OUR HEALTH?

Common household mold includes species such as Cladosporium, Penicillium, Aspergillus, and Alternaria. The commonly feared toxic mold, otherwise known as black mold, is called Stachybotrys Chartarum5.

Common mold can cause allergic and asthmatic illness. In some cases, the illness can be severe if the person has immune issues or severe asthma and allergies. However, toxic black mold can be life-threatening, especially in people who have weakened immune systems. Thankfully, toxic mold is less abundant than common molds5.

Common mold can cause allergic and asthmatic illness. In some cases, the illness can be severe if the person has immune issues or severe asthma and allergies. However, toxic black mold can be life-threatening, especially in people who… Click To Tweet

No matter which mold you have in your home, they can all cause health issues depending on your medical history and immune system. Mold spores themselves can cause immune system issues, but more likely, illness occurs from the exposure to the mycotoxins produced by certain mold species2,6,7.

There’s no doubt that mold can be a real nuisance, and the best way to deal with it is to prevent it from growing in the first place.

4 TIPS TO PREVENT MOLD IN YOUR HOME

There are several ways to prevent mold from growing in your home. Some suggestions are more straightforward than others, but it’s worth looking into all of them to ensure that your family is safe and healthy.

1. Keep moisture as low as possible

Moisture collects in several ways: leaky faucets, condensation, accidental spills, flooding, a build-up of humidity in kitchens and bathrooms, and leaks around the shower and bathtub, to name a few.

Here are some tips to help keep moisture levels low2,8,9:

  • Make sure that all leaks or water accidents cleaned and thoroughly dried. Be extra vigilant to look for places that water may have escaped, such as under carpets or floor tiles.
  • Kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms are prone to mold because of their high-incidence of water leaks and condensation. Be sure to check hidden areas for moisture build-up. Check faucets and water tubes for leaks or condensation. Make sure the exhaust pipe from dryers is intact.
  • It might be worth it to buy indoor humidity monitors to put in a few locations around your home. They are relatively inexpensive and can help you understand moisture changes throughout the seasons.
  • For high-moisture areas, consider dehumidifiers or renovations that keep moisture in check.

Next, we’ll talk about ventilation because you can’t keep moisture low without proper airflow.

2. Proper Ventilation

Good ventilation is vital in helping to keep moisture levels down, and it requires both air flow and circulation. Proper overall ventilation will help prevent moisture build-up in areas that are hidden from view such as tight corners, under carpets, or behind furnaces.

Here are some tips to improve ventilation in your home2,8,9:

  • If the outside air is dry and warm (not humid), open the windows to let air come through.
  • In cold weather, when there’s more condensation, keep the windows shut but use fans to circulate the air. Check for condensation around windows and doors in the colder months.
  • Be sure that your air ducts and filters are obstruction-free and operating correctly. Also, be sure to check for mold in these ducts, furnaces, and air-conditioning units as they can continue to spread mold throughout the house.
  • In areas like the bathroom or kitchen, make sure the ceiling and stove fan is working well.
  • In areas prone to moisture that are also low-traffic (such as basements, laundry room, and crawl spaces), consider a dehumidifier that also has a fan to circulate air.

3. Make Small Structural or Cosmetic Changes

Making a few changes around your home will help prevent conditions with which mold will take up residence and grow.

Here are some ideas for structural or cosmetic changes that can help prevent mold in your home2,8,9:

  • If possible, remove carpets in favor of hardwood, tile, or laminate flooring. Be sure that the floor underneath is dry and mold-free before putting down new hardwood, tile, or laminate.
  • Don’t store items on the floor or in paper boxes. Mold loves to eat paper and dust that accumulates in these items. Mold growth in stored items is especially problematic if they’re kept in damp areas like basements. Consider purchasing shelves or storage bins to keep things off the floor and protected from moisture.
  • Consider upgrading or repairing your heating, air-conditioning, or ventilation system in your home if required. Many issues of mold, due to problems with these systems, can be prevented by ensuring they’re operating well and up to code.
  • Ensure that outside water drainage moves water away from the foundation, rather than towards it.
  • Make sure that materials used in renovation and construction (i.e., drywall and wood) are adequately sealed if they’re near a water source. Mold loves to feast on these materials, so don’t give them any moisture to help them grow.

Avoid Over-Cleaning During the Pandemic Quarantine4. Choose Your Cleaning Products Wisely

Many of us think that applying bleach and corrosive cleaning products will eradicate mold, but this is not the case. These products can often disturb the environmental microbiome as well as adding vapors that contribute to chemical sensitivity in humans. We are learning that a healthy microbiome in the home provides a balance against these microbes naturally10,11.

Here are some tips around choosing cleaning products to help prevent mold growth:

  • Consider using water and vinegar as a cleaning solution. Mix one part vinegar to three parts water in a spray bottle and use on all surfaces, including floors. This solution is extremely effective at cleaning without disrupting the microbiome.
  • Consider using baking soda for stuck-on stains and grease. However, avoid using on surfaces that may get scratched by the baking soda.
  • Consider getting a probiotic solution, such as Homebiotic spray, to prevent the causes of musty odors in your home naturally

CONCLUSION

Hopefully, you know more about how mold grows, which homes are more affected, and how mold can be dangerous for our health. The prevention tips discussed above may help you in making decisions about reducing moisture, ensuring proper ventilation, making structural or cosmetic changes, and choosing cleaning products.

Mold will likely always be a part of our lives, but we can learn to live with it in better harmony while improving our mold prevention strategies.


REFERENCES

1.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indoor_mold
2.http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0017/43325/E92645.pdf
3.https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0013935115000304
4.https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1471490615000022
5.https://www.cdc.gov/mold/stachy.htm#Q3
6.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3492391/
7.https://www.who.int/bulletin/archives/77(9)754.pdf
8.https://www.nedcc.org/free-resources/preservation-leaflets/3.-emergency-management/3.8-emergency-salvage-of-moldy-books-and-paper
9.https://iseai.org/your-definitive-mold-clean-up-guide/
10.https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0064133
11.https://err.ersjournals.com/content/27/148/170137

 

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Got Dirty Kids? Great!

Got Dirty Kids? Great! | Kids making mud pies

Modern society tends to favor clean, perfectly kept children, but do dirty kids make healthier kids? There’s been some talk recently about the benefits of kids playing in dirt and that it may actually benefit their health. The discussion was sparked by research that showed how kids brought up on farms had healthier immune systems than those that had no exposure. It seems that exposure to farm animals, and the dust and dirt that comes with them, actually helps protect and build kids immune systems1.

It seems that exposure to farm animals, and the dust and dirt that comes with them, actually helps protect and build kids immune systems Click To Tweet

It makes sense that parents might then ask, “So, does this mean I should let my kids get covered in dirt or even eat dirt?” The question is valid and perhaps meant with some playful sarcasm; the answer, though, may surprise you. While it may be absurd to have your kids make a lunch out of dirt, having some healthy exposure to it may be a good thing.

WHAT IS HEALTHY DIRT?

When we speak of dirt, we’re really talking about outside soil. Many parents may get concerned about their kid’s health when playing in dirt. What they don’t know is that it contains some specific ingredients that can be healthy for us – microbes.

Outside soil contains microbes that are necessary for the health and wellbeing of all living things that depend on the soil for survival. The main essential microbes to consider are bacteria and fungi, and healthy soil requires balanced and diverse species of these microbes. Human beings, and the environments we live in depend on healthy soil to live well2,3.

WHY DOES A SOIL-BASED MICROBIOME MATTER?

The interaction of all the microbes in the outside soil is called a microbiome. It consists of microbes that co-exist as well as microbes that help or harm each other. Bacteria and fungi compete, help, and eat each other in a quest to find balance4,5.

Balance is essential because a microbiome that lacks balance will have microbes that have either decreased in numbers or and have over-grown. An unbalanced microbiome is called dysbiosis and can cause a range of health or environmental issues5,6.

We also have a similar internal microbiome in our digestive tract, skin, and reproductive organs. We know that the more diverse the microbiome is, the more balanced it is, and the healthier we are as a result5.

All living things are connected and need to live in balance. Although that may sound like a new age cliche, it happens to be a scientific fact. Studies show that external soil also affects the microbiome in our homes and within our bodies6,7. In a sense, microbes are always searching for a way to balance things out and survive.

Microbes within the home reflect the individuals living there as well as plants and food choices. Also, soil-based microbes outside of the house can be found inside depending on the movement of inhabitants and cleaning practices7,8,9.

What experts now understand is that the presence of diverse soil-based microbes inside the home can have a balancing effect against the causes of musty odors 7,8,9. Again, this is the essence of a healthy balance, which also parallels what we know about our internal microbiome. The more diverse our microbes are in our guts, the better our immune system and overall health will be.

HOW CAN MY FAMILY HAVE A HEALTHY EXPOSURE TO A SOIL-BASED MICROBIOME?

None of us want a pile of dirt in our homes nor do we want our kids to eat dirt, but we can begin to shift our ideas and take actions to help include soil-based microbes in our home. By making some changes, we can actually improve the overall health and balance in our home microbiome.

Here are some tips on how to promote a healthy exposure to soil microbes in your home:

Dogs are a big help with bringing in soil-based microbes.

This doesn’t mean you should get a dog if you don’t want one or can’t care for it properly. But if you have one, then you’ve already taken a step in the right direction. Research has shown that homes with dogs have more diverse microbes, and many of them are soil-based7,9.

Encourage your kids to play outside more often.

A good exposure to the outdoors is helpful in so many ways. It promotes exercise, knowledge of nature, vitamin D exposure, and relaxation to name a few. Also, having your kids play outside can help introduce soil-based microbes into the home. Of course, you wouldn’t want to encourage them to bring in piles of it, but natural outdoor play may bring in small amounts that can be a help.

Adults can play outside too.

While we’re talking about kids, let’s not forget that adults need time in the outdoors for their health and stress relief as well. The more we can enjoy nature, the more we want to protect it and learn about it. And of course, we can also improve the soil-based microbiome in our homes by spending time outside.

Be careful with overuse of harsh cleaning products.

Research has shown that household areas cleaned with harsh detergents can obliterate the soil-based microbes. This may cause mold and bacteria to grow in more significant numbers than what you would want7,10. In fact, even environmentally friendly products can also cause trouble if used in excess.

Research has shown that household areas cleaned with harsh detergents can obliterate the soil-based microbes. This may cause mold and bacteria to grow in more significant numbers than what you would want Click To Tweet

Use Homebiotic spray to put natural soil-based microbes into your home.

This product is natural, easy to apply, and is the most effective solution since you get all the benefits of soil microbes without bringing the outside in.

 

CONCLUSION

So, should your kids eat dirt? Well, not exactly, but there’s a definite benefit for encouraging exposure to dirt for sure. By allowing a relationship to happen between soil-based microbes and your home, you can help improve the microbiome in the place you live, eat, sleep, and interact with your family.

There are several ways you can promote and encourage exposure to soil-based microbes. Having a dog and playing outside with your kids is a fun and easy way to bring in the soil without a lot of dirt. Also, being mindful of cleaning products and the frequency of cleaning can help ensure a balance. Lastly, using homebiotic spray can quickly bring the benefits of soil-based microbes into your home, without the dirt.


REFERENCES

1.https://err.ersjournals.com/content/27/148/170137
2.https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360132316303419#bib5
3.https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rspb.2015.1139
4.https://escholarship.org/content/qt68c2j665/qt68c2j665.pdf
5.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
7.https://draxe.com/health/gut-health/microbiome/
8.https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0064133
9.https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0966842X1630021X
10.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25707017
11.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2631814/

 

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3 Healthy Home Hacks

3 Healthy Home Hacks | Grandparents jumping on a bed enjoying retirement in their mold free home

We’re lucky enough to be living in a time of great technological and biological advancement. We get to sleep in soft beds, enjoy indoor plumbing, and our houses are cool in the summer and warm them in the winter. In fact, as you’re reading this article you’re probably inside your home or office. We spend an average of 90% of our time indoors. This means that healthy home hacks are a very efficient way to improve your own health and well being. So, how do you keep your house clean?

What does “clean” mean?

If it looks clean and smells clean, is it clean? The answer to that is a resounding… “maybe”.

You’ll see lots of tips that share ways to keep your house dust-free or your carpets smelling fresh. Just because you can’t see it or smell it doesn’t mean it’s not there. For example, dust mites are there whether you can see them or not, and dust mite allergies are becoming common. It’s hard to know exactly what is in “dust”. For example, skin flakes make up about 80% of the material you see in a sunbeam. You’ll never look at sunshine streaming through your windows the same way again. So, let’s agree that there will always be microbes, bacteria, dirt and more in our homes, no matter how much you vacuum or how enthusiastically you scrub.

skin flakes make up about 80% of the material you see in a sunbeam. You’ll never look at sunshine streaming through your windows the same way again Click To Tweet

The next reaction may be to simply bleach everything so at least it’s all dead!

But, there are a few problems with this idea:

  • Not everything can be bleached, such as that beautiful wool rug in the living room.
  • Bleach doesn’t discriminate against what it kills, so it’s killing the good bacteria and fungi along with the bad, leaving you with an invisible wasteland. As the bleach evaporates, it contaminates the air and it leaves behind water.
  • The water left behind by the bleach is the perfect environment for mold, mildew and bad bacteria to grow in the post-bleach wasteland. Now you have opened the door to toxic mildew and mold that not only smells bad, but also lowers the quality of your air and triggers allergies in sensitive people.
  • Finally, if you kill off “most” of the good and the bad microorganisms, you’re killing off the weak and allowing the strong, pathogenic (bad!) ones to survive.

Think about it like landscaping your yard. If you just let whatever is already there grow without seeding it with “good” seeds, it will always have opportunistic weeds that get bigger and stronger, but no grass. You can mow the weeds down over and over, but that won’t create grass.

Using traditional chemical cleaners in your home are doing just that. At a microscopic level, you’re just mowing the weeds when you clean, but not making progress on the health of your home or the air you’re breathing. With a lawn, you need to put grass seed down and feed it properly. With your home, you need to provide the right microorganisms and nurture them so they keep the unhealthy ones in check for you.

So “clean”, from an overall human health perspective, should be redefined as a “healthy clean” that is good for both the naked eye and at a biological level. This results in a natural home (or office or car) that has the right balance of beneficial bacteria, and that is free of nasty mold and mildew.

To do this, you need the ability to know what the right balance is AND how to create it. So here are 3 healthy home hacks that are easy but impactful:

1. Use a good HEPA air filter. And keep it on while you clean!

This will help you with dust, tobacco smoke, and pollen, but isn’t going to have a measurable impact on Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), mold and other types of gaseous pollutants. There are bunch of options out there, so do your research. If a new filter isn’t in the cards, try turning your thermostat to “fan on”, which will turn the blower on and filter the air. It won’t heat or cool, it will just filter the air while you clean. It also means you’ll need to change your filter more often.

2. Stop using harsh chemicals, bleach and antibacterial cleaners.

They ruin the air and biodiversity of your home. You physically share a bunch of bacteria with your home, roommate, spouse, kids, and dog. We’re all connected with our environment. If you need another reason, stop using them for the good of the world. Triclosan, an antiseptic chemical still found in many antibacterial products, kills the easily killed bacteria and leaves behind the resilient ones — encouraging antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Plus, they often don’t work any better than traditional cleaning ingredients. Try something safer and more cost effective, such as vinegar (but not on natural stone) or baking soda.

Triclosan, an antiseptic chemical still found in many antibacterial products, kills the easily killed bacteria and leaves behind the resilient ones -- encouraging antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Plus, they often don’t work any better… Click To Tweet

3. Cultivate and support your home’s microbes.

This is where Homebiotic makes an impact on the quality of the air you breathe and your own personal microbe footprint. Your environment works with your body. There are billions of bacteria in your gut that you care for by ingesting probiotics through a pill, yogurt, or fermented foods. You also have tons of bacteria, fungi, viruses, and mites on your skin. Your environmental bacteria end up on you, impacting the biodiversity on your own skin. With so many microbes in, on and around you, be sure they are the good ones! In your home, you can balance out the bad microbes with good microbes (and spend a lot less time scrubbing).

homebiotic spray

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Cleaning Mold: Bleach vs Hydrogen Peroxide

Cleaning Mold: Bleach vs Hydrogen Peroxide | cleaning mold with hydrogen peroxide or cleaning mold with bleach

Although minor mold spots are easy enough to wipe away while cleaning, the mold often returns quickly. While you might think to reach for the disinfectant spray or prepare a bucket of bleach to douse the area to kill it once and for all, these are not the best solutions for fixing a mold issue. These disinfectants are named for their ability to dis-infect, or kill, microbes and while that may sound good, in many cases this can actually make a mold problem worse!

BLEACH 101

If you look underneath the sink of an average home, you’re most likely going to find a variety of disinfectants, including bleach. Bleach is often a go-to remedy for stubborn stains and is used for making areas of the kitchen and bathroom sanitized and clean, but have you ever wondered why?

The most common kind of bleach is chlorine bleach, a water-based solution containing sodium hypochlorite as the active ingredient. Bleach removes stains from fabrics and non-porous surfaces by oxidizing and breaking down networks of double bonds between the carbon atoms making up the discoloration, removing the stain’s ability to absorb light. So the bleach doesn’t really neutralize and break down the matter creating the stain completely, just the bonds that make it visible to the human eye!

DOWNSIDES OF USING BLEACH

When you apply bleach to mold or mildew on tile grout, for example, it’s killing what’s on the surface and lightening the stain that the mold growth has caused, which makes it look as though it’s gone. But, that’s not the whole picture.

Bleach only works well on non-porous surfaces, and isn’t effective on porous surfaces such as wood, drywall or tile grout. While it may be effective at killing mold on the surface, the chlorine is unable to penetrate into the surface, so is either left on the surface or evaporates into the air of your home. Meanwhile, some of the water does seep into the surface and provides moisture to help the surviving mold grow back. And it does, more quickly each time it seems! If that wasn’t bad enough, you’ve now added harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in your home as well.

Bleach only works well on non-porous surfaces, and isn't effective on porous surfaces such as wood, drywall or tile grout. While it may be effective at killing mold on the surface, the chlorine is unable to penetrate into the surface,… Click To Tweet

Another reason to not use bleach to clean mold is even if the actively growing mold is killed, many of the health effects of mold are actually due to their byproducts, called mycotoxins, which bleach doesn’t affect. Bleach is also highly irritating to use, and should only be used with personal protective gear such as eye protection, a mask, and gloves, as well as good ventilation. For these reasons, we definitely recommend against using bleach to clean mold.

IS HYDROGEN PEROXIDE BETTER?

You may be more used to seeing a familiar brown bottle of hydrogen peroxide in your first aid kit than in your cleaning supplies, but it’s actually a very handy product to use for home cleaning! Hydrogen peroxide is often referred to as an oxygen bleach, because it acts as an oxidizer, chemically attacking the cell wall of bacteria, often rupturing it entirely. The oxidizing function when cleaning with hydrogen oxide means that it works similarly to chlorine bleach in killing microbes and eliminating stains, but without leaving toxic residues behind which pollute the air in your home – hydrogen peroxide leaves only water and oxygen as its byproducts.

Regular 3% hydrogen peroxide is effective at killing surface mold, and only needs to be sprayed on and left for 10 minutes or until it stops fizzing. Repeat as necessary until the visible mold is gone, taking care to not over-wet the surface.

Regular 3% hydrogen peroxide is effective at killing surface mold, and only needs to be sprayed on and left for 10 minutes or until it stops fizzing Click To Tweet

Don’t mix hydrogen peroxide with other cleaning products, including natural ones. There have been many “DIY Cleaner” articles posted online which recommend mixing hydrogen peroxide and vinegar, but this reduces the effectiveness of either the hydrogen peroxide or vinegar compared to when used alone, and it also creates peracetic acid which potentially toxic and irritates skin, eyes, and lungs.

I’VE CLEANED THE MOLD, NOW WHAT?

Regardless of what product is used to clean a surface, if the surface is left bare it will quickly be repopulated. If nothing is done, either sub-surface mold will grow back, or perhaps a harmful bacteria lurking in your kitchen or bathroom will move in.

The solution is to reintroduce friendly bacteria from healthy soil

These friendly bacteria naturally balance out these unwanted guests. When cleaning your home, and especially when cleaning mold growth, applying Homebiotic immediately afterwards will help keep these surfaces stay clean at a microscopic level. Homebiotic is colorless and scent-free, so you won’t even notice it’s there. It just forms a probiotic barrier for your home… naturally.

bathroom