Springtime in South China means welcoming warmer weather, but the accompanying rain may also bring a very unwelcome houseguest: mold.
The Pearl River Delta’s humidity during certain seasons make conditions ripe for growth, meaning residents can have very sudden and alarming fungal home invasions. That terrible whiff of mildew you smell when you open the door to your apartment every night? Yeah, that’s not normal.
There are thousands of different types of mold and it is indiscriminate in where it begins to thrive. All it needs is oxygen, moisture and almost any material, from drywall to leather.
If you think mold is an innocuous annoyance that merely smells bad, think again. Mold comes in many colors and textures, but one kind in particular – ‘toxic black mold’ or stachybotrys chartarum – can cause severe health problems.
This type of mold appears as clusters of black dots in corners, behind furniture and on tiles. It can spread quickly. Black mold releases ‘mycotoxins,’ which can cause a host of health complains that worsen if the mold is not removed.
The World Health Organization has found the risk of respiratory disease in children increased by 50 percent in homes with black mold.
Not sure whether your home has black mold? Here’s how to identify it based on symptoms and contributing causes:
Eye, nose and throat irritation
Wheezing, shortness of breath
Musty, earthy smells around the home
Cooking in an unvented area
Condensation between windows
It is natural to want to grab a paper towel and just start scrubbing. However, this will only exacerbate the problem by releasing spores and further spreading the mold. The goal of clean-up is to destroy existing mold, stop further growth and protect yourself.
That means dressing up like Walter White and putting on gloves, goggles and plastic bags over your shoes.
If a room is particularly moldy, experts recommend wearing a respirator – no joke. Once you’re suited up, follow the steps below:
Lay plastic down over the area you will be cleaning
Dispose of toys, linens, books etc. that cannot be cleaned properly
Use a mixture of vinegar and hot soapy water to scrub mold patches off and wash surrounding areas
Vacuum carpeting and rugs
Launder all linens in hot water with some vinegar added to detergent
Dispose of plastic sheeting and protective clothing
Allow everything to dry
Keep moisture out as much as possible
Run a dehumidifier
Buy bags of dehumidifying balls (RMB10 at AEON supermarkets) to place in closets
Leave a gap between furniture and walls
If it’s really serious, call in the mold-busting professionals. Many companies offer this service.
Guangzhou: Yuexiang Decoration Company, Yuancun Erheng Lu, Tianhe District, Guangzhou 广州市天河区员村二横路 (136 7247 9141)
Shenzhen: 4C, Block 6, Cit of Design, Tianmian Xin Cun, Shennan Lu, Futian District, Shenzhen 深圳市福田区深南路田面新村设计之都6栋4C (0755-8829 1790)
Have another useful tip for fighting mold? Let us know! Contact us at email@example.com.
This article was originally published on March 9, 2017. It was updated and republished on March 6, 2019.
[Cover image via The Independent]
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