Purify The Air You Breathe: How To Identify Mold And Remove It From Your Home
Whether you’re a homeowner, apartment dweller, or someone in the middle, at some point you’ve probably encountered mold in your living space. Mold is disgusting, but also nothing to be embarrassed about.
It can grow virtually anywhere where there’s moisture and, if you stop to think about it, there are plenty of places in the home where moisture gathers (think: your shower/tub, sinks, windows with poor insulation, and so on).
Some of us with sensitive noses can smell mold in the air right away, while others live with mold and mildew virtually undetected aside from inexplicable sneezing, itchy eyes, and runny nose. Whether it’s apparent or conspicuous, luckily, you don’t have to live with its harmful effects forever.
If you are combating mold in your home or simply want to take preventative measures so you aren’t facing a mold or mildew outbreak any time soon, read on to learn what mold is, why it’s harmful, and how an air purifier can help get rid of mold in your home.
What even is mold?
Aside from a gross and smelly intrusion, mold is a fungus that emits tiny spores. These spores move through the air and land on your walls, carpets, and other surfaces. Then, once the spores have found a place to settle, they allow for more mold to multiply and grow.
So, when you’re sneezing your head off or smelling that distinctly musty odor, it’s actually the spores tipping you off to the mold’s presence.
You can learn more about black mold, a common mold found in homes, here.
How does mold grow?
Mold and mildew love moisture as most fungi do. In fact, it can’t live without it. Places in your home like the laundry room, bathroom, basement, or kitchen where moisture can collect are prime areas for mold to grow. Taking that into account, those are also some of the first places you can check if you can visibly see mold growth.
Why is mold in my home a bad thing?
You know that mold is gross and invasive, but a little doesn’t hurt, right?
Wrong. If you have a little, chances are it’s already on its way to being a lot. Here’s a short list of reasons why mold is a huge cause for concern, ranging from minor inconveniences to major, long-lasting issues adversely affecting your health.
- Once the spores find a good home to begin growing mold, it can be difficult to get rid of.
- Mold often damages the surfaces and materials where it lands and sometimes the damage is irreversible.
- Breathing in mold can bring on coughing, sneezing, wheezing, irritated eyes, and an itchy throat.
- Mold can also trigger severe allergy or asthma attacks especially for those with sensitivities.
- Prolonged exposure to mold can lead to severe and irreversible respiratory issues.
How long are mold spores airborne?
If you suspect there’s mold in your home, then it’s likely that you have a breeding ground of mold spores somewhere. It’s even more likely that those pesky spores are flying through the air unbeknownst to you.
That’s why this is such a tricky question to answer. Mold spores will stay airborne as long as mold is alive and lurking.
As we mentioned earlier, mold hangs out in damp or humid areas so the longer one of these areas is left unattended, the more likely spores will gather there and breed. If nothing is done to remove the mold, while the original spores may no longer be floating about, new spores will have taken flight to wreak havoc on the air you breathe.
How can I remove mold?
We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to remove mold completely. Luckily, there’s a lot you can do to reduce mold and mildew and prevent it from growing and spreading in the home, office, or other space where you’re looking to improve the air quality.
6 Ways To Reduce Mold In Your Home
1. Clean, Clean, Clean
A clean home is a happy home, primarily because a clean home doesn’t allow for mold to grow. Getting rid of clutter, addressing areas that may create great growing conditions for mold, and regularly disinfecting and cleaning the surfaces in your home is an easy and important step in removing conditions where spores can roam free.
2. Open Windows
Opening windows can make a huge difference! By letting fresh air in, you’ll help break up moisture and circulate mold spores out. This reduces the opportunity for moisture to stay stagnant and build up in your walls or give the spores a wet spot to land.
It’s especially helpful to open windows in your kitchen and bathrooms since those rooms tend to have more moisture than others. We recommend running a fan in your bathroom and kitchen, too. Introducing a fan during shower times, cooking, and other moisture traps help circulate the air and prevent moisture from settling and waiting for its old friend, mold.
3. Use an Air Purifier
An air purifier is especially helpful as you embark on tip #1 (clean, clean, clean!) and stir up all the mold spores and nasty pollutants into the air. A HEPA filter (standing for high-efficiency particulate air filter) is best for trapping airborne mold spores and refreshing the air.
To be considered a HEPA filter, it must go through a series of strict guidelines to ensure that it will catch 99.97% air pollutants at a very small size (0.3 microns, to be exact) This fits the bill for dust, pollen, dander, and (you guessed it) mold. To be clear though, an air purifier can trap active mold spores in the atmosphere, but it doesn’t eliminate mold from the source so clean and rid your home of moldy sources as a preliminary steps.
Learn more about the importance of keeping your HEPA air filter clean, here.
4. Get a Dehumidifier
Removing humidity from the air is a great way to reduce mold because without moisture, the spores have nowhere to land and multiply. If you live in a place that’s particularly humid or you’re looking to reduce airborne moisture in your home, invest in a dehumidifier. The fewer places mold can grow, the better!
5. Avoid Air-Drying
It may seem like a great way to save on your electricity bill, but unless you have a way to air-dry your laundry outside, you may want to consider running the dryer instead. Air drying clothes inside invites stagnant moisture and, with it, unwanted mold spores ready to take over.
Consider the washing machine too—since it’s a place where moisture gathers, make sure to move clothes out quickly. There’s nothing worse than moldy clothes! When moving your load from the washer to the dryer, leave the washer open to air it out so mold won’t have a chance to grow in there either.
6. Pick Up Some Plants
Some plants can actually aid in keeping moisture in the air at bay. Cacti, fern, spider plants, and English ivy are all known to wick moisture and, therefore, are great choices. Additionally, any plants that promote moisture should not be held inside or else you’ll be giving mold an invitation to move in.
What air purifier is best for removing mold from the air?
We recommend the VEVA 8000 Air Purifier or the VEVA 9000 ProHEPA Air Purifier.
Air Purifier Recommendations for removing mold from the air:
- Veva 8000 AP HEPA Filter Air Purifier: Effective for rooms up to 325 square feet, it includes a HEPA filter and 4 activated carbon pre-filters to ensure those little spores are trapped and kept out of the air you breathe.
- Veva ProHEPA 9000 Medical Grade Air Purifier is ideal for larger rooms and captures pollutants down to .03 microns in size.
Now that you know all there is to know about mold, you can create your own plan to address it in your home and make sure the air you breathe is clean and as spore-free as you can get it.