A Resolution for Your Health
Every new year deserves some resolutions — even mid year. This year, I would like to suggest you make a resolution in hygiene. Now before you say, “Jeff, aren’t you getting a little personal?” I’m not talking about personal hygiene, but home hygiene.
Home Hygiene is the care and maintenance to make your home healthy. Since we spend so much time at home, it is vital. Even if you have a pristine home, mold can grow in unexpected places. Here is my 9 part home hygiene plan.
1. Reduce Dust To Reduce Mold.
Mold travels around your house just like dust and often sticks to dust (i.e. – dust bunnies). It is especially likely to be those places you only clean once in a while: the top of light fixtures, fans blades, AC register, etc. And it is often lurking in the place we neglect – under the bed. Your bedroom is supposed to be your sanctuary and if there is dust lurking under and behind your bed, it is going to attract mold. Clean all the places that you generally neglect once a month.
Dust can collect on any surface, most often the hard to reach places like under the bed.
2. Filtration – Air Purifiers.
Air Purifiers are excellent ways to improve the indoor air in your home. However, you need to ensure you get the right purifier. Here are my thoughts on choosing the right model:
What to consider: I’m looking for a true HEPA, which removes 99.97% of particles that are 0.3 microns. I’m also looking for a charcoal filter. Charcoal filters out many chemicals in the air (i.e. – VOCs).
What to avoid: Ionization, UV light, or any purifiers that make a chemical change to the air. Ionization can create an ozone smell. Ozone kills mold, but may harm you. Literally. It breaks down the lining of the lungs. If you are having a mold issue, you don’t want to add another chemical that will possibly harm you further. Some air filtration systems that you add to an HVAC system will include ionization or UV, and I would suggest turning those features off.
Bells and Whistles: I generally like simple units, but some units have displays that show a measurement of total VOCs. While these are not always precise and don’t tell you the specific type of chemical in the air, these features are useful.
Where to place them: Air Purifiers will be rated to cover a certain square footage. I tend to find these overestimate the amount it actually filters effectively. If money is no object, get air purifiers that cover all the square footage in your home. For the rest of us, start with the areas you spend the most time in. Begin by getting an air purifier in the bedroom for those who have health issues. Typically a master bedroom is the place to start.
There are 3 air purifiers I really like that fit these criteria: Austin Air, IQ Air, and Air Doctor. Choose a size that fits your home and you’ll be happy.
3. HVAC Air Filters
Every month, change out your HVAC filters with a MERV rating of 11. They will capture 97% of three micron-sized particles including many mold spores. While there are higher MERV ratings, I don’t go higher (or lower than 11) because a rating like 16 can restrict airflow in the HVAC unit itself, which can prematurely wear out your HVAC components.
4. Once a year Fogging
Once a year, use BioBalance HavenFog to treat your home. This will do a great job of getting mold under control in areas you just can’t reach.
5. Misting for Regular Maintenance
Once a month, use BioBalance HavenMist to treat belongings for mold.
6. Pets and Pet Things
Pet fur is a sponge for all sorts of things. Our pets go outside and get into all manner of things, dirt, leaves, flowers, and then they bring those into your house. A lot of things our pets bring in contain mold. Pets also bring in dander, yeast, and bacteria that can be spread around your home. I recommend using a product like CitriSafe Pet Shampoo to bathe your pets once a month. Also, wash their bed, play toys, or their favorite place. You can use HavenMist to maintain their things.
Bathing your pets monthly will help mitigate spreading dander, bacteria, and yeast around.
Contrary to common thinking, drains get dirty. Hair, chemicals, and even standing water in P-traps can then become a breeding ground for mold. The most important ones to clean are your kitchen sink and master shower. The best option is to pour BioBalance 12% Hydrogen Peroxide Treatment in those drains. However, a good alternative is baking soda and vinegar. Begin by pouring a portion of a box of baking soda in the drain and then add white vinegar from a large bottle. The ratio of baking soda to vinegar is something you can’t mess up. Just poor in vinegar until it bubbles up. It is kinda fun to watch, so you might just do it again.
Pouring baking soda and white vinegar is a great way to maintain your drains.
Indoor plants with wet and contained soil are breeding ground for mold. If you can remove indoor plants, all the better. Find some high-quality fake plants as replacements, and then make sure you dust them ocassionally.
9. Good Air Exchange
With closed up homes consider installing an HRV (heat recovery ventilation for cold climates) or ERV (energy recovery ventilation for warmer climates). While HRV and ERVs can be expensive, alternately occasionally open your windows and doors to bring in and circulate fresh air. You can also turn on the vent fan in your bathroom or attic to promote air circulation.
Here’s to a healthy home.
While we can think our homes are pristine and clean, I hope this list has brought to mind some areas in your home where you might not have realized mold can be hiding. Just a little bit of effort can make a big difference in making your home healthy and keeping mold under control.