Protect Your New Space

Mold spores are super-travelers.

You’ve made it to your new, healthier space. What could go wrong?

Yes, you deserve to rest & recuperate, but don’t fall asleep at the wheel. You’ve gone to great lengths to improve your surroundings. Don’t forget that!

Remember, modern buildings are likely to become “sick buildings” under normal wear and tear, even without mishaps.

Therefore, precautions are necessary. The more steps you take to protect your new space, the better.


1

Keep Up The Effort

Your New Clean Space Needs To Be Protected

Awareness

We must stay aware in our new home. Mishaps, leaks, and exposures to mold are a part of life. Remember, fungus is everywhere in nature. It’s only when it grows rampantly indoors that it becomes a problem, so let’s aim to prevent that.

Cleaning

Cleaning is a part of life and necessary to maintain any structure. Without maintenance, any indoor space becomes quite unhealthy — quickly. Cleaning can also help you stay aware of your building’s health.

Minimize

Stay as minimal as your personality will permit. The more you let go, the easier your daily life will be.

These tactics make protecting your new space easier and easier.


2

‘Decontaminate’

Upon Returning Home
Try to remove contaminated clothing immediately upon entering your clean home.

After you’re in the clear,  it’s wise to “decontaminate” upon arrival anytime you return home from a place you suspect is contaminated.

This will look different for every person and home, but try to leave “dirty” clothes and items outside (or at the door) and rinse off/shower.  Then return and carefully “decontaminate” your belongings with microfiber/vinegar, etc. Clothes can be taken directly to a hamper or put in the laundry.

Some people get clear at home and then realize they are exposed to mold at work.  Decontaminating upon entering the house would be wise, but you might consider fully or partially decontaminating before getting in your car.  Use seat liners and clean your car a lot weekly with disinfectant and a shopvac.


3

Gifts & Pre-Owned Items

When you receive gifts or purchase used possessions, consider what you may be bringing into your home.  Decontaminate the items -or- don’t bring them home if they don’t pass muster.

When you’re still reacting to mold exposure (and even chemical exposure), it can be hard to tell how “safe” a belonging is.  Simply follow your intuition. If something makes you feel bad, consider getting rid of it. You can put off a decision, too, but the longer a Moldy object sits in your home, the higher the risk of it spreading spores.

“As children — in India — we never wore our outside shoes in the house.  Nobody did.  That would be considered highly unsanitary.  When we got home, we’d leave our shoes at the door, go to the bathroom and wash our feet in the bathtub.  Then we’d walk around the house in either clean bare feet or slippers. The floors were hard and cleaned every single day.  We often ate meals sitting on the floor, our plates right there on the clean floor.”

Pratibha Ghare

4

Chemicals And Mold

Chemicals Seem To Affect Mold… For The Worse

Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker, in an interview with Dr. Joseph Mercola, noted that “Since the 1970s, the molds in our environment have become much more aggressive due to the widespread use of a fungicide called Benomyl, through a process similar to the creation of superbugs by overuse of antibiotics.” Mercola goes on to mention that this fungicide killed most species, but what few fungi survived were highly toxic molds that are now thriving in our environments.

Image result for spraying fields

Beyond that, there is the more anecdotal observation that when mold comes into contact with toxic chemicals, it tends to release mycotoxins much more aggressively — perhaps sensing danger.

Whatever the reason, utilizing chemicals in your battle against mold may be unwise.  Use bleach on hard surfaces, be swift and decisive when you clean mold, and otherwise stick to more natural cleaning agents like vinegar, borax, ammonia, and tea tree oil.


5

MYTH:  Modern Life is Sterile

Modern indoor environments are NOT sterile.  

It’s simply impossible to keep a building that clean.  Microbes and viruses spread every minute, day and night.  Mold spores enter every time a window or door is opened, riding on the breeze, your clothes, and items.  Every cloth, fabric, and nook hides countless microbes, spores, and dust mites.

And remember, most of all, HVAC Systems harbor, nurture, and distribute mold and fungi year-round, at all times.  

In modernity, buildings aren’t sterile.  They’re often sick — and if they aren’t sick yet — they will likely become that way as they age.

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Even a well-organized kitchen cabinet will never be (remotely close to) sterile.

I thought we needed more outside germs in our sterile world?

Yes.  We need to be exposed to more bacteria in nature.  Evidence suggests this helps our gut microbiome become diverse and strong.

But we do NOT need to let our homes become toxic closed-off soups of dust, mold, fungal spores, mycotoxins, and toxic dust mite excrement.  

This is not healthy, and it’s not somehow “returning to nature.”

You see, nature is self-cleaning.  UV Light sterilizes the air and surfaces every single day.  Ozone is created when UV light strikes oxygen (and when lightning strikes) to sterilize nature even more.  Rain falls and cleans and rinses, keeping things from stagnating. Winds blow constantly.

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In nature, we instinctively avoid dark, moist places with a foul stench — places where UV light doesn’t reach and air and water can’t circulate.

And yet we all live and work in those places: Our buildings.

Buildings are — by definition — trapped spaces.  UV light does not reach inside our homes. As homes become more tightly built, ozone does not seep in anymore. Air exchange has slowed to a crawl.  

Our modern buildings clearly lack UV light, ozone, and air exchange. The only missing ingredient in a modern building to grow mold might be moisture.

And yet, moisture is rampant in our buildings.  

  • HVAC Systems are constantly creating condensation.
  • Leaks always happen — invisible inside walls and ignored under sinks or crawl spaces.  
  • Condensation develops inside walls due to temperature contrast. 
  • Human error — unattended spills, moisture, forgotten food and drink items, and more.

We don’t live in a sterile world,
we live in sick buildings.

Image result for hospital


6

Jessie’s Friend

“A close family friend of mine struggling with mental health issues was planning on committing suicide on Christmas Day, a couple of days ago.

He posted his plan on Facebook, so we all knew.

Concerned friends and family reached out to him relentlessly in an effort to sway him from his plan, and offer love and support. I happened to be one of those people.

I was familiar with the feelings, and thoughts… having been there myself.

The questions I asked him and things I said differed vastly from those others had asked or were asking or saying.

I asked him:

Where are you living?

How do you feel when you are at home?

How do you feel when you are out in the fresh air?

Does it smell musty or are there any odors?

How are you sleeping? Nightmares?

Are you having headaches or feeling your heart racing, shortness of breath? Trouble swallowing?

When did you move in there, and when did you notice the symptoms you are having with how you are feeling and thinking?

He had been closed off to everyone – refusing to speak or answer questions – believing what he was fighting was within his own mind and that there was no way out.

But, he opened up to me… telling me he felt like there was something in the walls in there. He was in a basement apartment with a moldy odor. He was experiencing the symptoms I mentioned. He did feel better outside.

I offered him a different perspective on mental illness. It opened, and took him out of his own mind to be aware of his environment. He could see the possibility of a logical explanation. And solution. A way out.

I cried when I noticed he had removed the posts after our conversation, and heard he was looking for another apartment for January.

There is a connection between mold/environment and mental health. I’ve felt it and lived it. Just providing that AWARENESS alone will save lives.”

~ Jessie Price

Jessie Price is a biology researcher with many years of experience in the field.

This completes the 5 Steps.
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