Your healthy home is your sanctuary, but how will you keep it free from all the stuff that can potentially hurt your family? The Center for Disease Control and Prevention lists mold as a common household problem. Indoor mold can cause upper respiratory tract irritation and asthma-like symptoms in otherwise healthy individuals. Stay healthy and battle mold like a champion with these five habits.
1. Keep Mattresses Clean
When it comes to the bed, good protection is always the best defense. A moldy mattress is a hazard, but there are things you can do to prevent mold from ever taking root. Start with a mattress cover. The extra layer keeps out mold, bacteria and dust mites. When you wash the sheets you can wash the cover as well. A cover is not a mattress pad, but a separate linen that goes directly over the mattress. You can add a mattress pad on top of it for comfort if you wish. If moisture is a problem on the bed, consider getting a waterproof cover for extra insurance.
2. Vacuum Often
Avoid laying down carpet in areas prone to leaks like the bathroom or basement. If your carpet gets water damage, remove the carpet and backing as soon as possible. In areas where rugs are appropriate, vacuum often. This will pick up any spores from the fibers. Regular vacuuming also helps control allergies. While you have the vacuum out, consider running the hose over your mattresses, too. This will pick up any dust or spores that get past the cover.
3. Kitchen Kitchen Kitchen
The kitchen is a mold-friendly spot, so it deserves a little extra attention. Bed, Bath and Beyond offers two suggestions for a mold-free kitchen.
Clean the pan under the refrigerator every month or so. Yes, there is a pan under there. It collects moisture that drips from the coils. Mold loves a warm, moist environment, so that pan is good real estate for mold looking to lay down roots.
Don’t load up the dishwasher and run it when heading out on vacation. It is easy to see why this might be a temptation, because after all, you want to come back to a healthy home and clean dishes. The problem is that the door of the dishwasher will stay closed for days, trapping in the moist heat. Those dishes won’t stay clean for long.
4. Keep a Clean Bed
There is more to the bed than just the mattress. Get in the habit of changing the sheets at least once a week. While the sheets are in the washer, you can turn your attention to the mattress. Take a minute and look it over. Do you see any black or green areas that might indicate mold? Now, how about those pillows? Give them a once over, as well, and make sure to use pillow covers for added protection. Once you give the “all clear,” you can make the bed back up with clean, fresh linen.
5. Speaking of Bed Linens
From the mattress cover to the duvet, keep everything breathable. This keeps moisture from getting trapped in a way that attracts mold growth. Huffington Post recommends cotton percale sheets or a cotton-polyester blend. We happen to love TENCEL Lyocell bedding for its amazing moisture wicking properties.
Pay attention to the thread count, too. High thread counts tend to be less breathable because of the tight weave. You want at least a 200 thread count or more just for quality and comfort, but stay below 800. That is when the thread count starts to get in the way of good oxygen flow.
Mold Prevention Is Worth It
You keep a healthy home, and mold is not part of that equation. Preventing it takes a little more than just basic house cleaning, though. Start in the bedroom with your mattress and work your way around the house. It doesn’t take much extra attention to prevent mold growth, but it is worth every minute to keep the family safe.