How to Prevent Black Mold Growth

How to Prevent Black Mold Growth

Black mold, or Stachybotrys chartarum, can cause a vast array of physical ailments including breathing difficulties, coughing, disorientation, eye damage, and brain fog, just to name a few. Due to its extremely toxic nature, it is essential that you learn how to prevent black mold growth in your home so that you can protect the health of you and your loved ones. 

In order for it to become a problem, black mold first needs something to grow on (carpets, showers, wood, or just about anything else in your home will do), and moisture. Mold typically takes 24 to 48 hours to grow, so limiting the amount of time a surface is exposed to moisture and humidity is the most efficient and easiest way to prevent black mold growth. Opening windows throughout the day and turning on your bathroom’s ventilation fan after showering are effortless ways to keep your home properly aerated and thus greatly reduce the chance for mold to grow. 

If you notice any recurring water damage or prevailing water leaks in your home, get them inspected and repaired immediately. Ignoring water that is pooling up or constantly dampening various surfaces in your home is asking for black mold to grow and quickly become a rampant problem. While it is understood that not everyone has access to emergency funds for water damage upfront, it is important to realize that allowing mold to become a problem will be more costly for your wallet and health down the line. Just take a deep breath, set aside some money from your next paycheck or take out what you currently have in savings, and get it taken care of now. 

If something spills on the carpet, you come in soaked from the rain, or a considerable layer of snow has built up on the wall around your window and is beginning to melt its way inside, take care of these things immediately. Remember that moisture is one of the main culprits of mold growth, so it is important to nip it in the bud as soon as possible, in all circumstances. It can be tempting to head straight for the shower first or convince yourself you’ll get to it in a few minutes, but even that is risky. When you take care of problem areas immediately, you are able to more effectively remove more of the moisture, and you also eliminate any possibility of you accidentally forgetting about them (we are all human, after all). 

Black mold can be scary and have damaging health consequences if left to its own devices. Luckily, preventing black mold growth is as simple as following the tips presented here. By limiting or preventing moisture altogether and promptly addressing water damage, you can help ensure you and anyone else in your home stay healthy and safe. 

 

Minimalism: Why Less Might Mean More

Minimalism: Why Less Might Mean More

Have you ever dreamed of having a clutter free household? Perhaps having a little extra time and money on your hands? Now ask yourself this: Have you ever thought that minimalism might be the step you need to take in your life to get all three? Many have discovered the wonderful benefits that a minimalist lifestyle can bring. And though the minimalist lifestyle may not be for everyone, you might want to check out if some of these advantages might be for you!

More Space!

Once you’ve tossed most of your unused and unnecessary clutter you’ll begin noticing areas of your house you haven’t seen in a while. With all those old shoes gone you might get a glimpse of your closet floor. All that shelving you installed in the garage last year? Now you really can appreciate the handiwork and effort you put in! While it may be difficult to part with some of your stuff, you’ll come to realize that less of it laying around will mean more space for you.

More Time!

Guess what you don’t have to do when you don’t have excess things sitting around? You don’t have to spend your time cleaning them! If you’re trying to keep a tidy household you’ll save yourself tons of valuable time if you’re not having to pick up every single thing sprawled across your counter tops or dusting objects lying around on shelves. Each odd and end you have to move or pick up during vacuuming is just adding to the numerous hours you’ve already lost over the years to these chores.

More Money!

If all your clutter was once cash and if time means money think of what you’ll be saving when you switch to minimalism? That’s right! The more you emphasize that “window” in “window shopping” the more change you’ll keep in your pocket! One of the great things about minimalism is how much you save when you’re not buying extra, unnecessary things. Do yourself and your wallet a favor by staying off the buying bandwagon.

A little extra space, some more time and money can all be yours when you consider adding a little minimalism into your life. And the best part of the minimalist lifestyle? You get to choose how much you decide to keep and what you decide to lose. So take a moment and look through some of those old boxes sitting around. Breeze through that spare bedroom piling up with unused junk. You might just surprise yourself with how much you are willing to throw away.

Ten Tips to Help Modern Families Keep a Clean and Tidy Home

Ten Tips to Help Modern Families Keep a Clean and Tidy Home

With most modern households consisting of two busy working partners, keeping a clean house can become something of a struggle. Putting small routines in place can really make a difference to the cleanliness and general appearance of your home and can help to take the fear factor out of tackling those daunting cleaning tasks.

  1. Make your bed every morning. Starting the day by leaving a messy bed sets the wrong tone for a tidy home. Straightening the bed signifies a commitment to keeping your household in check, remembering to do this every day is a good reminder to yourself that you want your environment to be better.
  2. Clean your bathroom after you use it. You go in the bathroom every morning right? Always keep a cloth and spray bottle of cleaner in there and wipe surfaces once you are finished. Always keep your toilet brush in a container filled with a mix of water and cleaner and give the bowl a quick scrub before you leave the room.
  3. Unload your dishwasher in the morning. Ensuring the dishwasher is empty and ready for the next influx of dirty dishes is important to stop plates and pans piling up on the side. Nobody wants to have to empty the dishwasher before they can fill it at night, so doing it in the morning will remove any possible excuses once dinner is done.
  4. Put a load of washing on every day. Before you leave the house, make sure there is a load in the washer. This will prevent laundry from piling up and becoming an insurmountable task.
  5. Do the drying as soon as you arrive home. Before you get stuck into whatever is planned for the evening transfer the day’s laundry to the dryer. Folding and ironing can wait for the weekend.
  6. Clean as you cook. When preparing an evening meal ensure you keep an eye on the contents of cupboards and fridges or freezers. Throw anything out of date and wipe up any stains or spills you spot.
  7. Load your dishwasher every evening and put it on. This way the dishes are ready to unload in the morning allowing you to stick to the first rule of this list.
  8. Pick up once the kids are in bed. As tempting as it is to sink into that sofa, take ten minutes once little ones are settled to put away toys and other child related clutter. This prevents the mess from multiply day after day.
  9. Vacuum before you ‘veg out’. Ok, so you are almost there. But before you climb into that easy chair, grab the vacuum and buzz around the exposed areas of floor. You will be able to enjoy the results as you relax rather than stressing that it needs to be done.
  10. Use weekends wisely. If you currently find yourself rushing around at the weekends to get everything done, following the tips here will put an end to that. Weekends should be used for jobs not included in the other instructions. Iron or fold laundry, vacuum the areas you didn’t reach in the evenings, empty waste baskets and change bedding.
8 Smart Ways to Banish Dust from Your Home

8 Smart Ways to Banish Dust from Your Home

Excess dust in your home is a major nuisance, but it can also be a health hazard. Individuals with breathing conditions like asthma and COPD, those with compromised immune systems and people with preexisting medical conditions are at particular risk, but high levels of dust can trigger allergies and breathing difficulties in even healthy individuals.

Regular vacuuming (we recommend Miele!) is important, but it is only one way to keep excess dust and dirt out of your home. Here are some other smart ways to keep dust at bay and help your family live a healthier indoor lifestyle.

.   Install an indoor air purifier. Indoor air purifiers are quite effective at pulling dust and allergens from the air. Just be sure to check the filters often and change them as needed.

.   Deep clean your carpets at least once or twice a year. Dust and allergens can hide deep in the fibers of your carpet, beyond the reach of normal vacuum cleaners. Steam cleaning and other deep cleaning methods can pull that hidden dirt out of the rug and reduce the amount of dust in your home.

.   Change your bedding even if it looks clean and fresh. Dust mites love to hide in blankets, sheets and other bedding.  Be sure to use mattress protectors.

.   Keep your home free of clutter. Those knick-knacks are called dust-catchers for a reason, and having too many of them in your home will vastly increase the amount of dust that settles on the surfaces in your home.

.   Replace your carpets with hardwood floors. Carpeting is notorious for trapping dirt and allergens. If your rugs are looking old and tired, consider replacing them with hardwood floors, which are attractive and much easier to keep clean.

.   Use a dusting rag instead of a feather duster. Feather dusters may look cool, but they simply spread dust from one surface to another. Spray a dusting cloth lightly with your favorite furniture cleaner and use it to wipe your surfaces free of dust.

.   Beat your throw rugs in the great outdoors. It only takes a couple of minutes to take your bathroom rug and other throw rugs outdoors for cleaning.

.   Use the top to bottom cleaning method. When cleaning your walls and other surfaces, start at the top and work your way down. That way you can capture any dust you missed on the first pass.

Keeping your home clean and free of dust is not an easy task, but there are things you can do to make the task less daunting. Simply changing the way you clean can have a huge impact, as can increasing the frequency of cleaning for bedding, rugs and other surfaces.

DIY Green Cleaning

When we began researching green and natural cleaners, we were completely aghast to learn what a murky and misleading industry has been created around these so called “green” products.

It turns out that the folks at the Environmental Worker’s Group have been on the forefront of this issue for some time.  EWG is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment. If you haven’t done so, we highly recommend that you research your cleaning products through their database.

To save you a bit of time, here are direct links to some of the most popular and widely-used products on the market.

Method
Mrs. Meyer’s
Seventh Generation
Simple Green
The Honest Co.
Green Works

Shocking, right?  So what are environmentally conscience cleaners to do?  For our part, we’ve decided to take it all the way back to the basics: soap and water, vinegar, baking soda and essential oils.  We especially love Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps Sal Suds All Purpose Liquid Cleaner, a cruelty-free, fair-trade, biodegradable and EWG A-rated product.  Check out all the ways you can use Sal Suds on Lisa Bronner’s Sal Suds Dilution Cheat Sheet.

It was important to us that our cleaning formulas be nontoxic, DIY (do it yourself), affordable, effective and that we share them with you.  So here goes…

General All Purpose Cleaner

Pro Tip: Add the soap AFTER you fill the bottle or you’ll be inundated with suds.

General Purpose Disinfectant

Pro Tip: Add the soap AFTER you fill the bottle or you’ll be inundated with suds.  Also, due to the acidity of the vinegar, this formula is not suitable for wood and soft stones such as granite.

General Purpose Soft Scrub

Blend together.  Pro-tip: my Ninja Juicer is perfect for this task!

Let us know what you think!  Weigh in on Facebook.