We usually like to err on the side of gentle, nontoxic cleaners, but, when dealing with mold or mildew, sometimes you have to play hardball…

It is estimated that about half of all US homes are contaminated with mold. Mold (and its cousin, mildew) are fungi, and their spores are everywhere, both indoors and out. Mold needs moisture to grow, which is why it thrives wherever there is moisture in your home—in large areas, such as damp basements, or even in small piles of damp clothing.

If you’re exposed long enough—mainly through inhaling mold spores—you may become allergic, experiencing a chronic runny nose, red eyes, itchy skin rashes, sneezing and asthma. Some types of mold produce secondary compounds called mycotoxins that can even cause pneumonia or trigger autoimmune illness such as arthritis. Yikes! It’s time to get medieval with those spots of mold!

To remove small areas of mold (it can be black, brown, green, yellow or white and may have an acrid smell), scrub them with a mixture of one-eighth cup of laundry detergent, one cup of bleach and one gallon of water.

Note: Mold on a wall often is a sign that mold is also within the wall, so you’ll need to consult a professional about removal, especially if the area is larger than 10 square feet.

Thanks for this tip goes to Mitchell Gaynor, MD, assistant clinical professor of medicine at Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York City. He is the founder and president of Gaynor Integrative Oncology and is board-certified in oncology, hematology and internal medicine. He has written several books, including one about environmental dangers.

More help with mold and mildew…

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