We might immediately recognize the power of dust, pet dander and pollen to give us runny nose, watery eyes and sneezing -- but mold? Yes. Not only does mold have a serious "ick" factor, but it can also set off an allergic reaction in those sensitive to it. So some of the most critical areas for allergen cleaning are your bathrooms, kitchen and basement.
However, one of the most important methods of mold prevention isn't cleaning -- it's climate control. If you can keep the humidity in a room below 50 percent, you can help keep mold from growing. Setting your HVAC unit at around 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius) helps keep humidity in check. Another method is to use exhaust fans and dehumidifiers in mold-prone areas.
In addition, make sure the following steps are covered when you're doing your regular housecleaning:
Use bleach-based cleaning solutions. Bathroom and kitchen tiles, counters, fixtures and trashcans should be cleaned down at least once a week.
Spray a 100-percent vinegar solution on shower walls to help keep mold at bay between cleanings. Just don't apply it to marble or crystalline.
Clean bathroom floor mats and fabric shower curtains. These should be either dry-cleaned or machine-washed in hot water (check labels for specific instructions).
Ongoing or As-needed
Replace cardboard storage boxes with plastic ones. This is especially important for under-the-sink storage and in basements where humidity can be high.
Regularly check houseplant saucers and windowsills for signs of mold growth. Give away houseplants if they pose a problem.
Tackle an existing problem immediately. If you already have a mold infestation, experts suggest using a cleaner that creates antimicrobial residue. These disinfectants will keep decontaminating the area for up to six months. Whenever you're cleaning mold be sure to protect your hands with rubber gloves and your face with goggles and a N95 respirator mask. If you have a large area of mold (more than 10 square feet, or roughly one square meter), call a professional to get rid of it.
Want to learn more about allergens and housecleaning? Keep reading for lots more information.