Summer Mold and Mildew

By Heather Legg

Every spring I am happy to clear the winter coats out of out laundry room (otherwise known as our dumping ground) but then as summer hits, I remember I am just replacing the coats with wet towels and bathing suits. In an effort to save water and time, I usually try to hang the towels and bathing suits to dry. But every now and then something gets a little crumpled under something else, and I find it with the smell of…mold and mildew.

With the summer heat and humidity, things are staying damp and causing the mold and mildew to grow. It can grow anywhere from bath and swim towels, to showers and baths, to trash cans. It can sprout under carpeting or anywhere there is moisture without an opportunity to dry out. It can be in a damp room, like a basement.

Even people without a “mold allergy” can be affected by mold. It can cause headaches and a general uncomfortable feeling. For those with allergies, it can cause sneezing, sniffling, itchy eyes and throat, just like pollen allergies. It’s important year round, but especially in the damp summer to keep a check on mold, as it is more likely to grow and maintain in the heat and moisture.

So what can you do to make sure that your home is mold free?
Here are some suggestions with the help of the AAFA:
• Don’t let wet clothes stay wet. Hang towels and bathing suits to dry and make sure clothes don’t sit in the washing machine. They tend to get moldy/mildewy faster in the summer.
• Clean your shower and baths and bathrooms on a regular basis. There are some strong products out there specifically for mold and mildew but you may want to check the ingredients if chemicals are a concern. Try more organic ones if you’d rather, but they’ll take a little more elbow grease.
• Fix any plumbing leaks or other areas where water is accumulating.
• Throw away or recycle old books and phone books as they are prone to get moldy if sitting around.
• Use a dehumidifier.

Just like any allergy, avoidance is best, but when a reaction happens, treat it like you would with a pollen allergy – antihistamines and decongestants are helpful, so is a good shower.

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