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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

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Will A Dehumidifier Help With Mold?

Contaminated Potting Soil | Humidity on Window

In this article, we will look at dehumidifiers and how they can help fix and prevent a mold issue. We will talk about types of dehumidifiers, how they work, where they go, and why they are useful. We will also learn about how mold grows and spreads as well and what you can do to ensure your dehumidifier unit doesn’t make things worse. Most importantly we will ask: will a dehumidifier help with mold?

Mold issues and illnesses are on the rise in the modern age. It’s worth looking at how to prevent mold from growing in your home as mold can cause many health problems like a disease of the respiratory system, allergies, asthma, skin rashes, headaches, and can even be deadly for those with compromised immune systems. Mold grows when excess humidity (ex. water leak) is present along with enough food for mold to eat and space void of other microbial competitors.

Mold issues and illnesses are on the rise in the modern age. It’s worth looking at how to prevent mold from growing in your home as mold can cause many health problems like a disease of the respiratory system, allergies, asthma, skin… Click To Tweet

Although a dehumidifier can’t solve all mold problems, it certainly is a great prevention strategy and works well to control mold in combination with mold remediation or prevention techniques.

dehumidifier - homebiotic

Does A Humidifier Prevent Mold?

A humidifier is a device that adds more moisture to the room air inside household spaces. People use humidifiers for the specific purpose of adding more humidity and moisture inside a home.

Mold requires the following conditions in order to grow – moisture, food, and space void of other competitors. A humidifier helps reduce the dryness in the air but adds more humidity to a room. So, unfortunately, no humidifier does not prevent mold and in fact, may only increase the moisture level in household areas. There’s no point in adding another moisture source to your home if you’re trying to prevent or remove mold.

Do Humidifiers Get Rid Of Mold?

Unfortunately, humidifiers will not get rid of mold. Instead, they may add to a current mold problem or can even cause one. Also, since mold needs moisture to grow, you can even find mold growing inside humidifier units. If you’re trying to prevent or kill mold then you need to remove the moisture from the air rather than adding to it. Humidifiers are only necessary when the air inside a room is so dry that it’s causing significant health problems. However, health problems will only get worse if a humidifier activates more mold growth in the home. If you’re trying to get rid of mold or prevent mold growth, a humidifier may not be the best solution to the problem.

black mold on drywall - homebiotic - types of moldWill A Dehumidifier Kill Mold?

A dehumidifier is a device that removes excess humidity and moisture from the air. People use dehumidifiers for the express purpose of removing water, condensation, humidity, and moisture from the home environment.

Many people ask – does a dehumidifier kill mold? The answer is no, dehumidifiers don’t have the capacity to kill mold. Mold grows by reproducing spores into the air. Those spores land on surfaces and if there’s moisture, food, and space, the mold spores will grow. Dehumidifiers can remove moisture but they can’t actually kill mold spores or active mold growing on surfaces. These units also can’t do anything about mildew in kitchens and bathrooms. However, when included with other interventions, it can absolutely help prevent mold in the home.

How Do Refrigerant And Desiccant Dehumidifiers Work?

A refrigerant dehumidifier works like condensation on a window. It features a refrigeration system that creates a cold area that is colder than room air. As air is drawn into the unit, it draws moisture out of the air and condenses it into a separate compartment.

Desiccant dehumidifiers use a silica-like gel to draw and trap moisture out of the air. Air is drawn into the unit and passed over the silica where moisture is drawn into the material. These units are typically used when the air needs to be very dry.

Are Refrigerant Dehumidifiers Better, Or Should I Choose A Desiccant Dehumidifier?

Both units are effective for removing excess moisture and humidity from the air. Refrigerant units work well for buildings that have plaster and concrete that needs to be kept dry. Desiccant units are best suited for environments where moisture absolutely must be kept to a minimum such as pharmaceutical buildings. Desiccant units are also good for places where access is limited like storage tanks.

 

The best dehumidifier would have a mix of refrigerant and desiccant properties. They balance each other out and effectively remove large amounts of moisture and humidity from the air inside the home.

air purifier turned on - homebioticWhat Type Of Dehumidifier Is Best To Get Rid Of Mold?

In terms of getting rid of mold and mildew, no dehumidifier is going to help with that. Although dehumidifiers can effectively prevent mold, they can’t kill mold spores or an already established mold problem inside the home. It’s important to consult a professional when determining how to get rid of an established mold issue. You will likely need professional mold remediation. In the case of mildew, you can use hydrogen peroxide and wipe those surfaces.

How Do You Stop Mold From Growing?

As we discussed above, mold needs three conditions in order to grow – moisture, food, and space to grow without competitors. In order to stop mold from growing, we need to prevent all three conditions from happening. Limiting food is difficult as mold can eat many things readily available in our home. These are things like drywall, paper, furniture, cloth, dead skin cells, other microbes, etc. However, we can do a lot to prevent moisture build-up and ensure there are competitors to limit space for mold growth.

mold needs three conditions in order to grow - moisture, food, and space to grow without competitors. In order to stop mold from growing, we need to prevent all three conditions from happening. Limiting food is difficult as mold can eat… Click To Tweet

The following are ways to reduce moisture:

  • Ensure there is proper airflow through the home
  • Use fans and keep some windows open
  • Use dehumidifiers and air purifiers
  • Fix any water leaks or damage around water sources in the basement, kitchen and bathrooms
  • Reduce condensation around windows and doors
  • Use a hygrometer to test the humidity level in the air and ensure it’s at an optimal level

Lastly, to increase the number of competitors for mold we can do the following:

  • Nurture your home microbiome
  • Use home probiotics like Homebiotic Environmental Probiotic Spray
  • Don’t use harsh cleaners so that more competitive species can grow
  • Limit the frequency of cleaning
  • Don’t be afraid of a little outside dirt, it brings in soil-based microbial competitors

steamy showerWhich Type Of Humidity Grows Mold?

Actually, any humidity or moisture can be used by mold spores to propagate and grow. Humid air contains microscopic water particles and if there’s too much of it in your home, mold can use it to grow. Likewise, water sources such as condensation, water leaks, and water damage can all cause mold to grow. It can also cause mildew to build up at well. Humidity can be found in all areas of the house including the basements, kitchen, bathrooms, water tank, and attic.

Which Kinds Of Mold Grows From Excess Humidity?

All kinds of mold species can and will grow if conditions are right, including high humidity levels. There are thousands of mold species but the most common ones are aspergillus, cladosporium, fusarium, and stachybotrys. All mold species have the potential to add allergens to household spaces and cause health issues like allergy symptoms, asthma, skin rashes, and other allergy triggers. However, stachybotrys, or black mold as it’s commonly called, is a very toxic mold and should be removed by a professional mold removal company.

All kinds of mold species can and will grow if conditions are right, including high humidity levels. There are thousands of mold species but the most common ones are aspergillus, cladosporium, fusarium, and stachybotrys. All mold… Click To Tweet

Do Dehumidifiers Spread Mold?

Yes, dehumidifiers can be a source of mold and can spread mold in other parts of the house. In the case of refrigerant dehumidifiers that hold water in the unit, this moisture source can be a breeding ground for mold if it’s not removed or cared for properly. Even though these dehumidifiers can help decrease humidity in the house, they need to be cared for properly. Be sure to check all the operating and cleaning instructions upon purchasing a dehumidifier. Adhering to those instructions will ensure that the dehumidifier will not hold and propagate mold spores.

Mold growth - Homebiotic - get rid of moldWill Mold Die If Moisture Is Removed?

The goal of dehumidifiers is to reduce the relative humidity in a home. This will help prevent or reduce a mold problem but it will not kill mold once it has taken hold inside the house. The problem is that mold spores have a survival tactic whereby they go dormant when they don’t have enough food or humidity to help them propagate. In this way, they’re able to survive for long periods of time; waiting it out unless the arrival of more food and humidity. However, if a home is void of any mold, a dehumidifier can reduce the humidity level in a home which is an effective strategy to keep mold growth at bay.

Other strategies to reduce humidity levels are to ensure there is enough ventilation in the home without causing too much condensation in the cooler weather. If the weather outside is cold, there will be more humidity around the windows and doors, especially if the home is very warm inside. It’s best to keep a warm room temperature in the home, but not too warm. In this case, a dehumidifier works well to decrease relative humidity inside the house.

Signs You Need A Dehumidifier

Ideally, a dehumidifier would be purchased before any signs of mold are present. In the case of mold control, it’s best to stop mold before it starts. However, if mold is present or a musty mildew smell is detected in the house, a dehumidifier can help reduce the problem in combination with other interventions. In areas of the house that tend to have a lot of water and higher humidity levels such as a basement, attic, AC units, kitchen, water tank, and bathrooms, or anywhere that has excess moisture, a dehumidifier can really help. Also if there has been a water leak anywhere inside the house, be sure to fix that problem first and then use a dehumidifier to prevent any problems from happening. Mildew often grows in kitchens and bathrooms due to a lot of water content, so you’ll want to pay attention to those areas as well. The good thing is that mildew doesn’t cause as much damage like mold. Once mold damage takes place, a dehumidifier won’t help much. At that point, a mold remediation company should be called in to help remove the mold and fix the damage.

How Does A Dehumidifier Prevent Mold?

A dehumidifier prevents mold by decreasing relative humidity and moisture levels in the home. You don’t necessarily need one in every room, however, you may need multiple units if there are many areas of the house that have high humidity levels. By placing a dehumidifier ahead of time, meaning before any mold growth or moisture damage takes place, it can significantly help prevent mold problems from taking hold. Consider a dehumidifier one of a few strategies to keep mold growth from becoming a problem in the home. You can check if your dehumidifier is working by placing a hygrometer in the room or area where you want to reduce the humidity level.

What Size Dehumidifier Do I Need And How Do I Choose One?

For large rooms (ex. basement) that may have water damage or leaks, you will want to choose the largest units with a few features like an air filter or purification system, energy star certified (to reduce energy consumption), a defrost feature, a fan (with a good amount of fan speed) auto shutoff, humidistat, and other benefits. These units will provide the best function and service for what you need in large damp rooms. It may be good also to get a unit that has a combined refrigerant and desiccant system.

happy family - homebioticIs A Dehumidifier Enough For Dealing With Mold?

No, a dehumidifier alone is not enough to deal with mold. It’s a fantastic preventative, but it won’t kill mold or stop a mold problem on its own. A dehumidifier can help prevent mold in rooms that have high humidity but don’t have mold growth yet. A dehumidifier, along with other interventions can help reduce a mold problem, but it can never be relied upon as the only intervention.

So, will a dehumidifier solve my mold problem?

A dehumidifier can help solve a mold issue in combination with other interventions such as mold remediation, air ventilation, fixing or preventing water leaks, enhancing the home microbiome, and decreasing clutter around moist areas. However, relying on a dehumidifier alone can be very faulty thinking and likely won’t work.

In conclusion, a dehumidifier is a fantastic way to help prevent and fix a mold issue. It’s one of the best courses of action for mold prevention and control, but it will not kill mold or its spores. This is important to know as many people often buy dehumidifiers hoping to kill mold in their home and it doesn’t quite work that way. But it can help reduce it and prevent it.

 

References

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16268830/

https://www.pnas.org/content/110/46/18360?etoc=

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

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

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

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19201053/

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

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/5105267/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6472009/

 

 

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Do Not Clean Mold With Bleach: Here’s Why

Do Not Clean With Bleach: Here's Why | Blog

A fairly common experience for homeowners is to find a small patch of mold and immediately reach for some sort of antibacterial cleaner, namely bleach, to deal with the issue. But did you know, you shouldn’t clean mold with bleach? We know, this raises a whole host of questions about modern cleaning practices:

  • But what if you’re cleaning your house all wrong?
  • What if you’re making it easier for the spots of mold to take over?
  • What if there is such a thing as too clean or too sterile?

Sadly, mold removal is never as simple as it looks on TV. But the good news is that it’s straightforward and safe to tackle small outbreaks of the mold without having to call in a professional – and without dealing with bleach fumes.

cleaning sponge - homebioticUsing Bleach To Clean Mold

We’ve all done it. Noticed a spot of mold in the shower, sprayed bleach then scrubbed away the discolored patch on the wall or grouting. That’s that.

Bleach works fantastically on tiling, and other hard surfaces, where moisture and humidity provide a friendly environment for mold. But bleach-based cleaners are not suitable for dealing with mold in the home, and, despite the convincing commercials, powerful antibacterial sprays that target black mold simply aren’t worth the money.

The truth: bleach is an excellent disinfectant, and fantastic at making everything look sparkling clean. A whitening appearance means that all the dirt and nasty stuff has gone, right? But appearances can be deceiving.

A common misconception is that mold behaves similarly to bacteria. While both live in colonies and are classified separately from plants or animals – mold is part of the fungal family, and bacteria are single-celled microorganisms1. Mold plays an important role in aiding the decomposition of dead matter in the wild and can be found in humid wet places2. Meanwhile, bacteria can be found all over our planet, in soil and water, inside plants and animals.

A common misconception is that mold behaves similarly to bacteria. While both live in colonies and are classified separately from plants or animals – mold is part of the fungal family, and bacteria are single-celled microorganisms Click To Tweet

Their behaviors are distinctive – mold reproduces by releasing spores into the air, while bacteria generally only release spores when there is no alternative: they usually reproduce asexually. In the same way that mold and its function is not inherently bad, different bacteria strains have different purposes in the soil, in water, and in your gut microbiome – and these are just a few examples. Both bacteria and mold are important to the ecosystem, and so cannot be dismissed out of hand as bad. But they are not the same thing, so it seems odd that we attempt to clean them up with the same cleaning products.

Mold growth - Homebiotic - get rid of moldWhy Is Bleach Bad For Cleaning Mold?

Bleach is an antibacterial product, often used for sterilization, normally with a chlorine base. Sodium hypochlorite is used in the production of liquid bleach. There are a handful of reasons that bleach is not the answer for cleaning mold:

Spores – Bleach is unable to kill off mold spores, which is their way of reproducing. Mold releases spores in order to create new colonies. Bleach can’t neutralize mold spores and mycotoxins, meaning they remain stuck to surfaces that are otherwise “sparkling clean”.

Porous Materials – Bleach is adequate for removing mold on non-porous materials such as work surfaces, sinks, hard plastic floors, tiles, and glass. However, on porous materials, bleach struggles to make an impact: killing the visible mold on surfaces such as wood, fabric, and drywall, but unable to reach the mold which remains underneath the surface ready to grow again3.

Available Mold Resources – Cellulose, the organic matter that feeds mold, can stop the bleach from fully sterilizing the area. Organic matter turns bleach inactive4.

Lack of Beneficial Bacteria – Bleach is an excellent antibacterial agent, but it works too well as a biocide, rendering places where it’s used completely sterile5. Not all bacteria are bad: some types of bacteria can do a lot of good, including the microbiome in your gut. Some bacteria in your home and in the wider world have the purpose of feasting on mold colonies. But if you kill off these friendly bacteria, you leave a vacuum where mold can flourish.

Not all bacteria are bad: some types of bacteria can do a lot of good, including the microbiome in your gut. Some bacteria in your home and in the wider world have the purpose of feasting on mold colonies. But if you kill off these… Click To Tweet

You may find it difficult to wrap your head around this information, after years of mopping, scrubbing, and spraying mold with bleach. Bleach may still have a purpose – though here at Homebiotic, we’d argue that a sterile home should be very low on your list of priorities. There are many more health benefits to encouraging friendly bacteria in your home.

soapy sponge - homebioticWhat Kills Mold Spores?

Since using bleach is highly not recommended, what is a suitable alternative to not only kill mold spores but ensure your family remains protected from harmful chemicals? The good news is that mold only releases spores when it’s thriving, so your plan of action is simple:

  • Cut the mold off from its creature comforts: Reduce the moisture and condensation in your home, and get your leaky roof and rickety plumbing sorted out once and for all6.
  • Control the humidity in your home: Dehumidifier machines are great for this, but depending on the climate of where you live, simply cracking open the window can help.
  • Use a HEPA filter vacuum cleaner: Frequently suck up any dust and mold spores that may be hiding in the carpets and upholstery. Mold spores can lie dormant for years7.
  • For killing mold on porous surfaces, use borax (sodium borate): Wipe clean the surfaces using borax. Borax is not an antibacterial substance: instead, it changes the pH of the area you’re cleaning, making it inhospitable for mold.
  • Additionally, you can use hydrogen peroxide or vinegar: Both options are effective, natural options for killing mold spores. When using hydrogen peroxide on fabrics be sure to use it on light fabrics ONLY at the risk of discoloration. Always allow the area to dry completely.
  • Replenish your beneficial bacteria population: Stop using antibacterial products, and spray Homebiotic Environmental Spray once a week to reinstate friendly bacteria – to consume mold, and to protect the natural microbiome of your home.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK8120/
https://www.cdc.gov/mold/faqs.htm
https://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/articles/6969z1338?locale=en
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK214356/
https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-10/documents/moldguide12.pdf
https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-10/documents/moldguide12.pdf
https://pubs.ext.vt.edu/content/dam/pubs_ext_vt_edu/2901/2901-7019/2901-7019_pdf.pdf

 

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Do Air Purifiers Help With Mold Growth?

Do Air Purifiers Help with Mold Growth? | Blog

Household mold is a costly and sometimes serious health hazard. Besides the uncomfortable musty smell, mold can cause a variety of health problems if left untreated. The best way to get rid of mold is to hire a professional mold remediation company as the process can be challenging and also a bit dangerous. Some species of mold can’t simply be wiped away and require more expertise to remove. This is especially important in the case of black mold, which is a very toxic and dangerous type of mold. But, what about mold and air purifiers?

The best way to get rid of mold is to hire a professional mold remediation company as the process can be challenging and also a bit dangerous. Some species of mold can’t simply be wiped away and require more expertise to remove. This is… Click To Tweet

Fortunately, an air purifier can help with a mold problem as well. Although they can’t fix mold that is settled and growing on household spaces, they can remove spores and with the right unit, they can actually kill the spores. This makes air purifiers for mold a great help. But even more so, they are fantastic for preventing any future mold problems. In this article, we’ll answer some popular questions regarding air purifiers and how they can help with mold growth.

illustration of woman sitting under air purifier - homebioticDo Air Purifiers Work?

Air purifiers help freshen the air in the room by removing toxic particles, allergens, and pollutants. Sometimes they are combined with dehumidifiers to keep the moisture levels lower in the home. An air purifier can remove mold spores, dust, and other pollutants to enhance the cleanliness of the air and reduce allergies and other health problems. There are many types of air purifiers and some work better than others for microbes such as mold.

Are air filters the same as air purifiers?

Air filters only clean the larger particles in the air such as dust and dander. However, air purifiers will sanitize the air using ozone, heat, negative ions, or UV and UV-c light. Most air purifiers also have a filter to remove those large particles. However, some air filters don’t have a purifying mechanism and thus just filter the air of large particles like dust.

Are there any mold-removing air purifiers?

No air filter or purifier can remove mold that has settled into household items like walls, kitchens, bathrooms or furniture. This means that an air purifier doesn’t work on its own to fix a mold issue. However, once mold has been cleaned and removed from the house, an air purifier can prevent mold from returning. Air purifiers can help remove spores and some models can actually burn up the spores completely.

black mold on drywall - Do Air Purifiers Help With Mold Growth?How Can An Air Purifier Help With Mold?

An air purifier equipped with a proper HEPA filter or carbon filters can keep mold spores from circulating in the air. This is one step to help reduce mold problems. Also, some air purifiers can help reduce the moisture in a home which is also helpful. However, it’s important that an air purifier has a good filtration system, which we will talk more about below. People with health effects from mold exposure can benefit from the use of air purifiers for mold.

Can an air purifier kill black mold?

Air purifiers don’t actually kill mold of any kind, but they do trap small invisible mold spores that are buoyant in the air. This means it can prevent those spores from settling in other spots and growing more colonies. Air purifiers with a HEPA filter or activated carbon filter can remove spores from room air.

Air purifiers don’t actually kill mold of any kind, but they do trap small invisible mold spores that are buoyant in the air. This means it can prevent those spores from settling in other spots and growing more colonies. Click To Tweet

The only way to kill black mold is to consult with a professional that provides mold remediation. A black mold problem can be very serious and cause many symptoms such as asthma, skin irritation, and other serious health effects. It’s best to have help in removing black mold from your home. But an air purifier can definitely help reduce black mold spores to prevent any further contamination of the home.

What Kills Mold Spores In The Air?

There are no instruments or products that can kill mold spores while they’re circulating in the air. However, air purifiers that have UV light or UV-c light can suck up mold spores from the air and into the purifier unit where they are killed by the UV light.

Do Air Purifiers Remove Mold Spores?

Yes, most air purifiers can remove mold spores and trap them in the filter. It’s best to use a true HEPA filter with a UV-c light as it is the best air purifier on the market. Filters with UV light can make a big difference in reducing mold spores.

changing air filter - Do Air Purifiers Help With Mold Growth?Do Mold Spores Grow Inside Air Purifiers?

Unfortunately, yes, mold spores can begin to erode the filter. This can happen even with the best true HEPA filters. This is why it’s recommended to find one with a UV light or UV-c light. HEPA filters don’t actually kill mold spores so they can build up and start growing right in the filter. This can be a serious issue because many people don’t realize that mold can grow inside air filters and purifiers as well. Once mold takes hold in the filter of any one of these units, the unit will begin to circulate mold spores in the room which defeats the purpose of the purifier. Always check and clean air purifiers well and consider getting one with UV light if you have or have had a mold issue.

Are Air Purifiers For Mold Covered By Insurance?

If an air purifier has been deemed medically necessary by a medical professional then many insurance companies will cover it. However, you should check with your individual plan to be sure that an air purifier has the capacity to be covered with that plan. Doctors will often deem an air purifier necessary if there have been serious health effects from mold or other household toxins and pollutants. People with health problems like allergies, asthma symptoms, pulmonary fibrosis, or mold sensitivities may require a medically necessary air purifier.

Doctors will often deem an air purifier necessary if there have been serious health effects from mold or other household toxins and pollutants. People with health problems like allergies, asthma symptoms, pulmonary fibrosis, or mold… Click To Tweet

My home doesn’t have mold, do I need an air purifier?

Mold is a very common household issue causing many health effects. Mold can grow in any home at any time if the conditions are right. If you don’t have mold growing in your home then that is good news. Air purifiers do more than reduce mold, they freshen up a home, remove toxins and other pollutants.

How do I know if I need an air purifier?

Air purifiers are often a matter of personal preference. However, if you or your family suffers from health problems related to air quality in the home then an air purifier would be highly recommended. Health problems that often prompt the need for an air purifier are allergies, asthma, breathing issues, headaches, or autoimmune diseases that are triggered by allergens. Also, if your home has a musty smell or has had issues with mold in the past, it’s highly recommended that an air purifier be kept in areas where problems have been noted.

if you or your family suffers from health problems related to air quality in the home then an air purifier would be highly recommended. Health problems that often prompt the need for an air purifier are allergies, asthma, breathing… Click To Tweet

Do you need an air purifier in every room?

It’s not necessary to place an air filter or purifier in every room. Instead, choose the best place where you feel the air quality needs more help. It’s also possible to move air purifiers from room to room if you wish to freshen the air in all rooms. Of course, if you own a large home, you may need two air purifiers to capture the problem areas in a large space.

Deciding which room to place an air purifier comes down to choosing the most problematic area. Be sure not to place too close to walls, furniture, or other electrical units. Sometimes people are tempted to place an air purifier right next to a problem area, but the unit will need space to pull in air and do its job.

air purifier turned on - homebioticDo I Need A HEPA Filter For Mold?

A HEPA filter is an efficient filtration system that can help reduce mold spores circulating in the air. HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate arresting or high-efficiency particulate air. A true HEPA filter is considered the best air purifier on the market. It is also a good air purifier for mold. However, it won’t kill mold so you may need an air purifier that also contains a strong UV light or UV-c light. A UV light takes things one step further and can literally fry mold spores.

What is a true HEPA filter?

There are HEPA-type filters and then true HEPA filters. The main difference is in the efficiency of the filtration system. A true HEPA filter works almost 100% and can grab extremely small particles that a HEPA-type filter can’t grab.

What is the best air purifier for mold and mildew?

The best air purifier for mold in your house is a true HEPA filter with a UV-c light. Not only can this filter trap spores and remove them from the air, but it can also kill off spores so they don’t lodge in air purifier filters. Unfortunately, mold can damage filters if too many spores build up inside the HEPA filter system. Having a HEPA filter with UV-c light is the best solution as it will reduce mold spores and kill them.

Mildew is generally less harmful than mold even though it is a type of fungi as well. It usually grows on wet surfaces like kitchen and bathroom tiles and in moist corners where water builds up and remains. In this case, an air purifier can help with circulating spores but can’t actually remove mildew. Removing mildew is easy and requires a simple wipe using hydrogen peroxide or just vinegar and water.

Mildew is generally less harmful than mold even though it is a type of fungi as well. It usually grows on wet surfaces like kitchen and bathroom tiles and in moist corners where water builds up and remains Click To Tweet

dehumidifier - homebioticWhat’s Better For Mold, An Air Purifier, Or A Dehumidifier?

Air purifiers and dehumidifiers are two very different pieces of equipment. Often you can find units that have both an air purifier and a dehumidifier built-in. But they are also sold separately. An air purifier cleans the air whereas a dehumidifier removes excess moisture from the air. Both mechanisms are important in treating and preventing mold.

Mold needs the following circumstances in order to grow: food, moisture, and free space without competition. Mold grows by emitting spores into the air that settle on surfaces and multiply. Air purifiers can help grab mold spores out of the air before they settle anywhere. As we said above, it’s not the only way to prevent mold, but it certainly helps when the problem is simple or in a preventative manner. Dehumidifiers help reduce mold by taking excess water out of the air and surrounding items. This robs mold spores of the moisture that they need in order to grow. So as you can see, a combination of both an air purifier and dehumidifier can really help reduce and prevent mold.

How Important are air purifiers in reducing or preventing mold growth?

Air purifiers, especially those with a UV light or UV-c light, can be invaluable in reducing or preventing mold. However, one should never rely solely on air purifier units. Instead, adopt a more broad approach by preventing all the conditions necessary for mold to grow. Remember that mold needs space, food, and moisture so anything that can be done to prevent those conditions will help reduce and prevent mold and mold spores. Some ways to do this are: use fans, open windows, keep air circulating in the home, fix water leaks, prevent water build up, and remove food sources around moist areas. All of these measures plus the addition of an air purifier will help reduce and prevent mold spores and mold growth.

happy family - Do Air Purifiers Help With Mold Growth?Conclusion

Air purifiers can be a very beneficial investment when you want to reduce or prevent mold issues in your home. Although they can’t fix an established mold problem, they can certainly help with removing and reducing mold spores and improving air quality. Be sure to find air purifier products that have a UV or UV-c light as this is the best way to actually kill mold spores not just trap them in the filter. Remember that filters can get overrun with mold too which is why UV light is more effective.

In short, air purifiers can be a really helpful part in preventing mold growth and mold spores. If you’ve ever had a mold issue or you have family members with mold-related allergies or illnesses, it would be very beneficial to do some market research and get the right air purifier for your home.

References

https://www.epa.gov/mold/what-difference-between-mold-and-mildew#:~:text=Mildew%20refers%20to%20certain%20kinds,of%20multicellular%20filaments%2C%20called%20hyphae.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25007943/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4206797/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3165134/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3631655/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7277583/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4587002/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16268830/

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3 Ways To Keep Your Home & Gut Healthy

3 Ways To Keep Your Home & Gut Healthy | Blog

Keeping your home & gut healthy can involve some of the same steps! In the book “Never Home Alone,” biologist Rob Dunn says that we’ve done a fantastic job controlling the pathogens in our home environment (1). However, we’ve inadvertently gone too far and killed off all the beneficial species. Next, we built our homes in ways that favor problem species like fungi, new pathogens living in our faucets, or cockroaches living in our kitchens. He says there was always another way – that is to nurture the beneficial species in our homes (1).

Just like our gut biome, our home has a biome as well. Although the home biome is somewhat different than our guts, the same principles apply. Nurture the good species while removing whatever nurtures the bad. Experts say that we ought to focus efforts on the good microbes instead of killing off the harmful microbes. This is because whenever we kill off bad microbes, we usually kill the good guys too.

bright home filled with plants woman standing in window - Homebiotic - keep your home & gut healthy

To care for our gut biome, there are three main principles we need to follow: eat healthy, take probiotics, and take pathogen-killing medicine when absolutely required. It turns out that caring for the home biome follows very similar principles. Let’s look at each of these principles and how nurturing our home biome is similar to nurturing our gut biome.

coffee and healthy breakfast - homebiotic1. Eat a Healthy Diet

Keeping your home & gut healthy means keeping them nourished. Eating healthy for our gut biome means that we are feeding the good microbes with foods they like. Harmful microbes tend to like sugars, starches, and processed foods. In contrast, good bacteria and microbes like to eat fermented fibrous items like fruits and veggies. The idea is to enhance the growth of good bacteria and microbes, which will naturally balance out the gut microbiome (2).

The same can be said for our home biome. Good microbes consist of more soil-based bacteria and microbes, which we don’t often find in modern homes (3,4). Over the last half a century, we’ve become so averse to dirt that we have created a home environment favoring human microbes and pathogens. Research shows that when we began actively removing microbes and building airtight living spaces cut off from nature that we inadvertently favored a biome that lacks healthy microbes (1,3,4,5). At the same time, many illnesses developed, such as asthma, allergies, and autoimmune diseases. We’ve also made our immune systems more susceptible to other illnesses as well (1,6).

Over the last half a century, we’ve become so averse to dirt that we have created a home environment favoring human microbes and pathogens. Research shows that when we began actively removing microbes and building airtight living spaces… Click To Tweet

So the first step in nurturing our home biome is to feed the good guys in our homes. We do this by allowing our environment to find its own natural balance without using harsh cleansers, cleaning too frequently, and avoiding any and all dirt. The truth is, good microbes will eat and compete with harmful microbes if we let them be. Good microbes also have a symbiotic relationship with our human and pet microbes, and we must nurture that relationship as well (1,3,4,5).

alternative medicine - homebiotic2. Take Probiotics

Keeping your home & gut healthy sometimes requires calling in reinforcements. The other way we can nourish and promote good microbes in our homes is to actually add them to our environment the same way we do in our guts. It looks a little different between the gut and the home biome, but the principle is much the same.

Probiotics for our guts involve taking probiotic pills or ingesting foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, and kefir (2). As science and human technology advances, we are discovering ways to add probiotics to our home environments (7).

A research study done in a healthcare setting shows that probiotic microorganisms may help decrease the growth of harmful pathogens. Probiotics and their biosurfactant products may keep hospital-based infections under control. Since this works in a hospital setting, it may indeed work well at home (7). This is excellent news amidst a pandemic where we need to clean our homes with harsh chemicals more often.

This is where Homebiotic Environmental spray comes in to create a population of beneficial microbes within your home. Include Homebiotic as a treatment at the end of your regular natural cleaning routine to create a barrier of probiotic protection on surfaces in your home, keeping them clean long after chores are done.

spilled bottle of pills - homebiotic3. Take Pathogen-Killing Medicine Only When Absolutely Required

Keeping your home & gut healthy can mean minimizing the intake of antibiotics. In the last few decades, we’ve discovered that antibiotics and other chemical irritants can kill off the beneficial microbes in our gut. Even things like stress, massive change, and unhealthy food choices can negatively affect our gut biome. Now that we know this, many health officials are advocating for the discretionary use of antibiotics. There’s also been an increase in education around foods, chemicals, and stress and how they negatively impact the gut biome (1).

It turns out that the same is true for the home biome. Research shows that over-cleaning, using harsh antibacterial cleansers has a devastating effect on beneficial microbe species in the home. As we discussed above, creating a sterile environment in the house has led to the development of many new illnesses (1,3-6). This is because we need beneficial bacteria in both our guts and our homes to stay healthy.

Research shows that over-cleaning, using harsh antibacterial cleansers has a devastating effect on beneficial microbe species in the home Click To Tweet

So in order to nurture our home biome, we need to decrease our use of harsh cleansers and reduce our cleaning frequency. This is not to say to leave our homes dirty and full of grime. Rather, we allow some microscopic dirt to remain and clean in ways that don’t destroy beneficial species. Instead of using antibacterial cleansers, we can choose essential oils, small amounts of vinegar and opt for surface wiping and removing excessive dust (1,4,5,6).

Conclusion

In conclusion, it seems that nurturing our home biome is quite similar to promoting health for our gut biomes. As we are biological beings that live symbiotically in a connected biosphere, it makes sense that our home and gut biomes would behave in similar ways.

There are three main points to keep your home & gut healthy:

  1. We need to feed the good microbes while starving out the bad ones.
  2. We add in good microbes when necessary to help repopulate and bring balance to the biome.
  3. Be careful with how we treat overgrowths of harmful microbes.

When we don’t need to kill any harmful pathogens, then it makes sense not to use harsh pathogen-killing chemicals if it’s unnecessary.

As we become more familiar with our gut biome, it makes sense to look at the entire biome we live in, including our home. The principles for nurturing any biome are relatively similar. The more we understand, the better we can be at fostering our overall health and wellbeing.

 

References

http://robdunnlab.com/science-portfolio/never-home-alone/

https://www.wholebodymicrobiome.com

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

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

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

https://err.ersjournals.com/content/27/148/170137

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19201053/

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What Causes Mold: Winter Edition

What Causes Mold: Winter Edition | Woman holding a mug inside of foggy window

Mold can appear in any season, but in seasons where the moisture levels rise there is a higher chance of mold thriving within your home. Whenever mold is a possibility you can always ask yourself one question: What causes mold? It doesn’t take much to grow a large colony of mold microbes, often undetectable until it’s a much bigger issue. There are a few things mold requires to thrive: space to spread, food to eat, and warm moisture.

Whenever mold is a possibility you can always ask yourself one question: What causes mold? It doesn't take much to grow a large colony of mold microbes, often undetectable until it's a much bigger issue. Click To Tweet

In the winter moisture levels are high inside homes. A combination of people spending more time inside, tracking in moisture on boots, and other factors such as excessive condensation on windows all contribute to the perfect mold environment! Here are some great things to look out for in the wintertime that may be contributing to mold growth in your home:

condensation on a window - homebioticCONDENSATION CAUSES MOLD
Mold On Windowsills & In Bathrooms

For many people, their daily routine involved wiping the excess moisture off their windows in the morning. Why do windows collect so much moisture? This excess moisture occurs when the warm air inside the house meets against the window with the cold air outside of the house creating condensation that then drips down onto your window sill. Left unchecked this water sits in the sills, fostering serious mold growth and that black grime many of us dread cleaning.

Aluminum windows are commonly found in homes and tend to be more prone to condensation than their more modern vinyl counterparts. If upgrading the windows in your home is not a realistic solution keeping any mold growth in check is very easy! Just remember to:

  • Wipe up excess moisture regularly
  • Clean sills with hydrogen peroxide or vinegar often, especially in high moisture months
  • If not too cold allow some airflow through the window to help dry out the area & rebalance the area’s microbiome

Don’t forget about your bathroom! If your bathroom doesn’t have an extractor fan chances are those lovely, hot showers are creating serious condensation on bathroom windows, mirrors, and even in your cabinets. Be sure to always have at least one window open during your shower or bath, wipe up any excess moisture on surfaces afterward, and leave windows/doors open to encourage airflow through the room. Drying out as much moisture as possible, combined with regular cleaning measures, will keep your bathroom mold-free!

frozen pipes - homebioticFLOODING CAUSES MOLD
Snow Melting Or Burst Pipes

It is not uncommon for the effects of a serious snowstorm to be felt weeks after the initial fall. The surplus of water combined with cold temperatures can create chaos for homeowners. Many people with below-ground basement suites experience flooding as the snow melts and abnormally large volumes of water look for places to go.

Going toe-to-toe with mother nature rarely ends up as a win; however, there are some things you can do to help divert water away from your home:

  1. Remove any snow around it directly against the foundation of your home.
  2. Remove excess snow from your roof and gutters (also ensure your gutters are free of debris).
  3. Evaluate the drainage around your home in the drier months to ensure it is functional and moving excess water away from your home, ready for the winter.
  4. Closely inspect the foundation of your home for fractures or flaws that might make it susceptible to flooding.

Depending on where you live your plumbing may or may not be rated to withstand freezing temperatures. The snowstorm experienced only a few weeks ago throughout Texas was an unprecedented cold front that had catastrophic effects on citizens’ plumbing. When your plumbing is being serviced by an above-ground pipe, exposed to harsh cold this can cause parts of your plumbing lines to contract and potentially fracture, resulting in a burst pipe and flooding.

To prevent plumbing-related issues associated with extreme cold snaps it is recommended to leave the faucet dripping. This constant flow of water can prevent freezing in the line. If you notice a leak or any suspicious water coming from any area of your plumbing, use the water shut-off valve to terminate the water supply to your home and contact a professional to assess any potential issues. Smaller leaks on a frozen line are often a precursor for larger issues.

If you notice a leak or any suspicious water coming from any area of your plumbing, use the water shut-off valve to terminate the water supply to your home and contact a professional to assess any potential issues. Smaller leaks on a… Click To Tweet

These are two very serious sources of water damage, which is how a large number of mold issues begin. It takes as little as 24-48 of unattended water damage to allow mold spores to germinate and spread. Combine this with the fact that one of their main food sources is wood, water damage in your gold can escalate into a serious mold exposure situation almost instantly!

standing in flood waters in jeans - homebioticWET CLOTHING CAUSES MOLD
Water Seeping Into Carpets

Whether it’s snow or mud, kids or dogs, the wintertime is the season of wet outerwear. Once you come in from the cold it’s extremely easy to kick off those wet boots and leave them to drip into the floor. Whether you have hardwood, laminate, or carpet, water can easily work its way into all the nooks of your flooring without being noticed. This unnoticed moisture can result in undetected mold growth in your subfloor and undersides of carpets, all while exposing your entire household to toxic mold spores.

We are happy to report that this is an easy fix! For wet boots and shoes, we recommend utilizing a washable, absorbent rubber-bottom mat in doorways. This mat will easily catch the outdoor moisture, wick it away keeping your floors safe. Once it has become saturated or soiled, throw it into the washing machine to soak and wash with some vinegar, killing any present nasty microbes.

By monitoring these factors you can potentially stop a serious mold issue from happening! As always, we recommend working natural preventative measures into your cleaning routine. After remediating any visible mold with hydrogen peroxide and vinegar, use Homebiotic spray to create a probiotic barrier over surfaces to keep your home balanced and protected

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Types of Mold: Cladosporium

Types of Mold: Cladosporium | Close up view of mold growing in a tray

Did you know there are over 100,000 different types of mold? When thinking in the context of household mold we often categorize the mold we see into colors in order to identify or explain the issues we are having. It goes much deeper than color! When we talk about types of mold that fall in the category of toxic, there are 5 to be concerned about: Cladosporium, Penicilium, Fusarium, Aspergillus, and Stachybotrys. In this article, we are going to talk specifically about Cladosporium.

cladosporium - homebiotic

WHAT IS CLADOSPORIUM?

Cladosporium is one of the most common species of mold found in houses and in the outdoors. They grow on almost any organic surface such as food, soil, plants, paint, textiles, and wood. They are rapidly growing and take on a cotton-like or fluffy brown appearance. There are over 700 varieties of Cladosporium species. Some species prey on plants, whereas other species act as parasites on other fungal microbes. Some species may cause physical health symptoms in people who are sensitive to mold and fungus.

black mold on drywall - homebiotic - types of moldWHAT DOES CLADOSPORIUM MOLD LOOK LIKE?

Cladosporium has dark-colored conidia, which looks a lot like plant or tree branches under the microscope. Conidia are one-celled spores that are produced asexually. To the naked eye, Cladosporium looks like a brown-colored fluff or discoloration on wet surfaces. However, depending on where they grow, they may not always be visible. Certain species that grow on plants cause black spots on leaves and stems.

IS CLADOSPORIUM DANGEROUS OR TOXIC?

As with any types of mold species, Cladosporium can cause health problems in people of any age. However, it depends on the immune system and the sensitivity of the individual. Some may not react to Cladosporium at all, while others will develop some allergies. However, some Cladosporium species can cause health emergencies if the spore count is unusually high in the air. People with compromised immune systems may have severe skin, eye, and lung complications when exposed to Cladosporium.

Cladosporium species can cause health emergencies if the spore count is unusually high in the air. People with compromised immune systems may have severe skin, eye, and lung complications when exposed to Cladosporium. Click To Tweet

WHAT ARE CLADOSPORIUM MOLD EXPOSURE SYMPTOMS?

Allergic symptoms can occur with prolonged exposure to Cladosporium species. Often these symptoms occur when exposed to more copious amounts. Again, it depends on the sensitivity and immune system of the individual.

General allergic symptoms can include:

  • Asthma
  • Stuffy nose
  • Cough and wheezing
  • Postnasal drip
  • Itchy eyes, nose, and throat
  • Fungal infections of the sinus, skin, and ears
  • Itchy dry skin

mold on tile - homebiotic - types of moldWHERE IS CLADOSPORIUM FOUND?

Cladosporium species are the most common molds typically found in homes. They can grow on almost any surface where this is a lack of sunlight and ventilation. You can find them in basements, kitchens, bathrooms, and any dark or damp areas of the home. The fuzzy mold found on old family heirlooms, in wine cellars, or old books stacked in the corner are often from the Cladosporium genus.

Cladosporium also has pathogenic plant species for both indoor and outdoor plants. They are also the most abundant mold species found outside. They may destroy new plant sprouts and can cause blackened areas on the leaves of indoor plants.

Cladosporium also has pathogenic plant species for both indoor and outdoor plants. They are also the most abundant mold species found outside. They may destroy new plant sprouts and can cause blackened areas on the leaves of indoor… Click To Tweet

CLADOSPORIUM GROWTH CONDITIONS

Different species of Cladosporium can grow in a wide range of conditions. They thrive on both wet or dry surfaces, which has implications for identification and removal. Although most species are dry, there are a few that can grow on wet surfaces like meat and food. However, the optimal temperature range is between 18-28 degrees celsius.

INTERESTING FACT – Although Cladosporium is not known to produce dangerous mycotoxins, it produces Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) associated with odors. The classic musty smell is a good indicator that Cladosporium species are present.

cleaning sponge - homebiotic

HOW TO REMOVE CLADOSPORIUM MOLD?

Removing embedded Cladosporium clusters may require professional help. Because this species can be found on both wet and dry surfaces, it requires expert knowledge and problem-solving.

Since most Cladosporium species produce a delicate fluff, they can be easily inhaled when disturbed. Although Cladosporium is not considered lethal in the general population, for some people, it can cause severe symptoms. For this reason, removal requires some protective clothing and gear to prevent inhalation and skin exposure.

It’s important to safely remove any types of mold species in your home, even if it’s not considered toxic. Professional mold testing can be invaluable for understanding which mold species are present and where.

It’s critical to understand how to prevent mold from growing back. Keep an eye on the damp areas of your home—particularly areas like windows, plants, basements, and attics. Kitchens and bathrooms are often popular places for mold growth as well. Keep humidity below 50% and make sure there is enough air ventilation. Opening windows or using fans can significantly improve air circulation.


REFERENCES

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cladosporium

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3390897/

https://www.plantmanagementnetwork.org/pub/php/research/2008/marsh/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0166061618300095#bib30

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/08940630.1987.10466201

 

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Biome Basics: Home Biome

Biome Basics: Home Biome | Bright Living Room

We talk a lot about home biomes, but what exactly is a home biome? A biome, more specifically a microbiome, is the community of living organisms concentrated in the same habitat. Almost everything has its own microbiome: your skin, your gut, your garden, and even your home. Biomes function optimally when the microbes within them are balanced – enough good bacteria to keep the bad bacteria in check. When home biomes become unbalanced they can manifest physically noticeable symptoms such as mold. Considering how much time we spend indoors, especially during the pandemic, something that should be considered is the health of our home biome. To make you a home biome expert we need to discuss what makes your home biome unhealthy, how to tell if your home biome is unbalanced and how to fix it.

bright kitchen - homebiotic - home biomeWHAT MAKES YOUR HOME BIOME UNHEALTHY?

Modern cleaning standards and antibacterial cleaners make quick work of disrupting the home biome. Current socially dictated standards of cleanliness glorify the complete sanitization of the home, eliminating any and all present bacteria with chemical cleaners or bleach…or at least 99.99% of it. But what about that remaining .01%? 

Unfortunately, the bacteria that survived were able to withstand all of the chemicals and are now resistant bacteria. Surrounded by the other dead bacterium, with no good bacteria to keep it in check, this particularly strong bacteria has the two things it needs to thrive: space and food (yes, it’s going to consume its fallen, brothers). This then becomes a regular part of the cleaning cycle, continually creating chemical-resistant strains of bacteria within your home biome.

This cycle can be seen when treating mold. Instinctively people will reach for the strongest chemicals they have on hand – bleach, ammonia, etc. Sadly, this typically exacerbates mold problems by creating chemical-resistant mold strains.

black mold under wall paper - Homebiotic - how to get rid of moldWHAT DO IMBALANCES LOOK LIKE IN THE HOME ENVIRONMENT?

Keeping your eyes peeled for the symptoms of an unbalanced home biome can be the key to keeping your home biome healthy & your family safe. Visually obvious mold is an indication that your home biome has a serious imbalance. It shows that your home biome is lacking the good bacteria it needs to prevent bad bacteria overgrowths.

Prior to being able to see the physical manifestation of mold you might smell musty odors. These odors are stale, often wet smelling, commonly experienced in enclosed spaces such as cabinets or closets. These smells are often noticeable even if we are not able to actually see mold, but they are an excellent indicator that mold is forming. Bathrooms and kitchens are extremely susceptible to musty odors.

Prior to being able to see the physical manifestation of mold you might smell musty odors. These odors are stale, often wet smelling, commonly experienced in enclosed spaces such as cabinets or closets. These smells are often noticeable… Click To Tweet

Grime and black staining, commonly experienced in areas of excess moisture like window sills and showers, are also a symptom of an unbalanced home biome. While it can be next to impossible to prevent excess water in these areas, allowing water to accumulate and sit can create serious bacterial imbalances. So what can you do?

woman mopping floor in bright kitchen - homebiotic - home biome

HOW CAN YOU FIX AN UNBALANCED HOME BIOME?

BE PROACTIVE – create a biome-friendly cleaning routine to keep the population of healthy bacteria in your home biome thriving. Creating air flow through your home whenever possible is a great way to bring the microbial benefits of the outdoors inside, giving your home biome the beneficial boost it needs!

ELIMINATE EXCESS MOISTURE – especially in the winter months, homes are extremely susceptible to moisture and standing water. This is a breeding ground for bad bacteria. Immediately wipe up any standing water that might accumulate on windowsills, shower stall frames, around potted plants, etc. Removing the moisture promptly reduces the risk of it causing a bacterial imbalance.

CHOOSE NATURAL CLEANERS – kiss the bleach and ammonia goodbye (not literally…please)! It’s time to break out the hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, or your favorite toxin-free cleaner – if you need a hand picking a cleaner, check our article on ‘Carcinogens Found in Cleaning Products’ to know what to watch out for on ingredient lists. Using 3% hydrogen peroxide on mold is just as effective as bleach; however, it does not produce chemical-resistant bacteria due to its oxidation properties and does not harm you or the environment.

REBALANCE – once any sort of cleaning is completed it’s important to re-establish the population of good bacteria. Replenishing this population takes away one of the things bad bacteria need to survive: real estate. With all the space taken up by the probiotics, bad bacteria will fail to thrive – defending your home with the science of microbial competition. Of course, we recommend using our Homebiotic spray. Each spray contains millions of probiotic bacteria making it easy to protect and rebalance your home biome.

homebiotic spray - homebiotic

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5 Misconceptions About Mold Illness

5 Misconceptions About Mold Illness | sick dog with ice pack on head

With something as complex as mold illness, we are bound to run into some confusion. Have you ever considered what the misconceptions about mold illness might be?  What we call mold illness is actually a complex syndrome called Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS). People exposed to mold are actually responding to the mycotoxins that mold secrete. These mycotoxins are a biotoxin that causes several changes in the immune system, affecting several organs in the body.

Mold growth - Homebiotic - get rid of mold

The symptoms of mold illness are the same as CIRS (1,2). These symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Weakness and Fatigue
  • Memory problems and difficulties with concentration
  • Dizziness and nausea
  • Muscle aches and joint pains
  • Feeling sick after exertion
  • Hypersensitivity to bright lights, blurred vision, red eyes, and tearing
  • Cough, shortness of breath, chronic sinus congestion, and asthma
  • More static shocks than usual

People need to know the facts about mold illness to understand the causes and symptoms and eliminate confusion. In this way, people can get the proper diagnosis and treatment they need for CIRS. What’s important to understand is that mold illness, or CIRS, is poorly understood by many people, including some health practitioners. In this article, we’ll look deeper into this issue and talk about the 5 misconceptions of mold illness.

doctor checking boy with stethoscope - Homebiotic - mold illness1) MOLD ILLNESS, OR CIRS, IS NOT JUST CAUSED BY MOLD

Even though we call it mold illness, there’s more to this condition than just mold exposure. Mold illness is actually a systemic response to the biotoxins in mold. However, these biotoxins are not limited to mold alone. They can be found in several other substances, infections, and chemicals (2,3,4).

We call it mold illness because when CIRS is set off by mold, it requires a specific response in order to treat it. This response includes dealing directly with mold removal or getting the patient away from the mold source.

However, CIRS can also be caused by other biotoxins such as (2,3):

  • Exposure to bacteria and the parts of certain bacteria (actinomycetes, endotoxins, and hemolysins)
  • Different species of fungi
  • Inflammagens (external irritants that cause inflammation)
  • Beta-glucans (sugars found in the cell walls of yeast, bacteria, fungi, and some plants)
  • Microbial volatile organic compounds

Lastly, biotoxins can be found in some infections induced by ticks, fish, and insect bites (2). This is why many people diagnosed with mold illness tend to have other issues like Lyme disease (1,2,3). Babesia and Borrelia, bacteria transmitted through tick bites, can also secrete biotoxins that can have adverse health effects.

female friends gathering - Homebiotic - mold illness is common2) CIRS IS ACTUALLY A COMMON HEALTH ISSUE

Although there’s been confusion about this condition, CIRS is common and affects up to 25% of the population. Three conditions must be met to develop CIRS: a genetic predisposition, an inflammatory event, and exposure to biotoxins (2,4,5).

Those with a genetic predisposition may develop CIRS after prolonged exposure to biotoxins. However, research shows that an inflammatory event, like a chronic viral illness or tick-borne illness, is also required to trigger the immune system towards the development of CIRS (2-5).

Not everyone will be genetically inclined towards CIRS. Still, most of us have been exposed to inflammatory events (like viral illness) and biotoxins. This makes the development of CIRS rather common.

When it comes to mold exposure, most of us have been in contact with mold either in our homes or at work. Unfortunately, mold is increasingly common in urban buildings due to their airtight construction, excessive dampness, and cellulose-containing materials that mold like to feed on. All three of these conditions are what mold needs to grow (1,6).

A report on mold and dampness put out by the WHO shows that up to 20% of buildings in Europe, Canada, and the United States had excessive dampness. However, other studies show that mold and dampness may affect approximately 50% of homes. These numbers may be higher in poor neighborhoods where households are crowded, and the heating and ventilation system is inadequate (1).

A report on mold and dampness put out by the WHO shows that up to 20% of buildings in Europe, Canada, and the United States had excessive dampness. However, other studies show that mold and dampness may affect approximately 50% of… Click To Tweet

With this level of mold and dampness, it’s no wonder that CIRS is more prevalent than we realize.

medical record paper - Homebiotic - mold illness is often misdiagnosed3) CIRS IS OFTEN MISDIAGNOSED

As we’ve discussed above, up to 25% of the population is genetically susceptible to CIRS. Also, mold is a risk for 20-50% of all homes. Lastly, most people have been exposed to some kind of inflammatory event. This means that CIRS may be quite common in the general population.

However, CIRS is challenging to diagnose and is often missed. In fact, many health practitioners may not even be looking for it. The symptoms often overlap with other illnesses, and they’re also non-specific. This means that the symptoms don’t conclusively point to CIRS. Also, testing is poorly understood and not widely available (2-5).

The exact biotoxin that people have been exposed to must be understood and isolated to secure a diagnosis. In the case of mold, the environment needs to be tested to ensure there was an actual exposure to mold (1,6).

Until now, most mold tests look at only 5-30 species of mold, but since there are thousands of mold species, these mold tests may be falsely negative (7). Thankfully, Homebiotics has created a new product that tests for over 30,000 species of mold. With more specificity, mold exposure can be adequately diagnosed and treated.

The other requirements for diagnosing CIRS are: identifying a genetic haplotype, having biomarkers consistent with neuroimmune, vascular and endocrine abnormalities, and a positive visual contrast sensitivity (VCS) test. The VCS test shows problems with the retina that are highly specific to biotoxin damage and CIRS (2-5).

Many of these diagnostic criteria can be challenging, and not every practitioner has the capacity to do the testing and follow up required. This means many people with CIRS are misdiagnosed with other overlapping illnesses with similar symptoms.

black mold under wall paper - Homebiotic - how to get rid of mold4) FIRST STEP IN TREATING MOLD ILLNESS (CIRS) IS MOLD REMEDIATION

As discussed above, part of diagnosing CIRS is to understand the biotoxins involved. If mold exposure is suspected, then it’s essential to test for mold in the patient’s environment. Once a proper test is completed, then mold removal is the next step.

Unfortunately, removing mold can be difficult if you don’t know where to look for it. Most mold is visible, but sometimes it isn’t. For example, a lot of mold growth happens behind drywall or bathroom tiles, which can often be inaccessible without significant renovation.

Unfortunately, removing mold can be difficult if you don't know where to look for it. Most mold is visible, but sometimes it isn't. For example, a lot of mold growth happens behind drywall or bathroom tiles, which can often be… Click To Tweet

Many times, removing mold can be costly, and if you don’t know how to prevent mold growth, it can quickly grow back. Sometimes this means that many people have to leave their home environments due to the cost and confusion of mold removal. All of these factors can make the removal of mold exposure very challenging (1,6).

People need to know how to prevent mold so they can stop mold exposure in the future. This involves prohibiting dampness, increasing airflow, and cleaning up clutter around areas known to have contact with water. Also, when possible, any water leaks need to be repaired properly (1,6).

smoothie bowl inside papaya with berries - Homebiotic - ways to detox mold illness5) TREATING MOLD ILLNESS (CIRS) IS MORE THAN JUST REMOVING MOLD

Since there are many biotoxins other than mold, it’s essential to look for other overlapping biotoxin exposures. As mentioned before, some people with CIRS may also have Lyme disease or chemical biotoxin exposures. It’s crucial to uncover this if a person shows potential for CIRS.

If mold is the biotoxin in question, removing the mold or removing the person from the moldy environment is the next step. However, the problem is that people with CIRS have a genetic predisposition that makes them unable to clear and remove biotoxins from their bodies. This means it can take a while before they can detox from their mold exposure (2,3).

The process is complicated and requires specific chemical binders to pull the mold out of their bodies. It also requires dietary and lifestyle changes to improve their ability to detoxify. In a perfect world, all physicians would know how to help patients remove the biotoxin build-up in patients with CIRS. Unfortunately, there are only a few that offer that service (2-5).

CONCLUSION

Hopefully, these 5 misconceptions about mold illness can help increase awareness of this health issue. We know now that mold illness is a condition called CIRS caused by a genetic predisposition triggered by an inflammatory event, followed by a mold biotoxin exposure.

Due to a genetic issue, people with CIRS can’t clear biotoxins from their bodies very easily. This makes their recovery more complicated. We also know that mold testing and removal can also be challenging for many.

In the meantime, education is vital in informing the public about what mold illness really is and what’s required to diagnose and treat it. The more this education gets out there, the more that patients and physicians can advocate. When it comes to CIRS, knowledge is power.


REFERENCES

https://www.survivingmold.com

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/179769.Desperation_Medicine

https://internalmedicinereview.org/index.php/imr/article/view/718

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

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2791814/