I live in a 17th Century building with very thick walls and lots of black mold. We Clorox-spray it off in the winter, but now have a newborn baby whose lungs are probably going to be black with mold before he picks up his first Gitane / or perhaps bleached with Clorox before his first sniff of blow. It’s too cold to leave the windows open. Any suggestions on getting rid of it other than Clorox?
Well leave it to my old school buddy to ask an extremely colorful and yet important question. (Hi, Daisy!)
Mold can grow anywhere in your house, and it can be easy to get rid of. But you have to know what you’re dealing with. There is black mold (bad for you) and then there is black mold (unsightly but safe). It can be hard to tell which is which, but the toxic stuff is rare and tends to crop up primarily on consistently moist material that contains cellulose (paper, wood, ceiling tile etc.). That doesn’t sound like what you’re contending with on those walls. But if it is, I’d call in an expert asap.
If you know that your black gunk is the run of the mill variety, here is an excerpt from Planet Home on how to deal with mold in your bathroom. This method involves hydrogen peroxide and can work elsewhere, too.
I’m more concerned about that Clorox spray than I am about Gitanes, especially for the moment. Chlorine bleach is the most common cleaner accidentally swallowed by children. If mixed with ammonia, the combo releases highly toxic chloramine gas. It’s considered a severe irritant and a carcinogen precursor. And there are all sorts of environmental concerns that come up regarding what happens when chlorine bleach is released via wastewater and comes into contact with natural materials (it can form dioxins, furans, trihalomethanes, and more). It’s best avoided, especially in a home with a newborn.
If you see any mold forming, particularly at the bottom of your shower curtain or on that hard-to-keep-dry crack between the tub and the wall, use a cleaner containing hydrogen peroxide or plain old 3 percent hydrogen peroxide. Keep in mind that peroxide is good at killing active mold, not mold spores. The gray color won’t go away immediately or sometimes ever (this usually comes from mildew that has gone deep into porous grout). It can’t hurt to spray this area daily if you have a perpetual mold issue.
And do keep those windows open from time to time, even if it is chilly. Ventilation is key when battling mold, so is reducing moisture.
How are YOU dealing with mold?