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If you’ve been around for awhile, then you have read our story about leaving our home due to mold. I think it’s understandable that I’m a little sensitive to any water spills or anything like that now.
In fact, right after we moved into our new place, a pipe got knocked loose in the utility room, leading to a very wet carpet in our living room (which is right next to that room). We called emergency maintenance and they came and brought giant fans and pulled up the carpet and dried it all out and it was fine.
Several months later, a kid flushed the toilet in the bathroom, then shut the door — not realizing it had clogged and overflowed, and that the handle was stuck down and the toilet was running…. We noticed maybe 10 minutes later when we saw the water pooling in the carpet outside the bathroom! Another call to emergency maintenance, a professional in to suck the water out of the carpet and treat it with an anti-microbial, and it, too, was okay.
But then. Then.
The New “Mold Room”
In the very last week or two of my pregnancy, I noticed a weird smell in one of my kids’ rooms. It smelled, honestly, like permanent marker. I really had no idea why, and I was too tired and pregnant to find out. Then it went away.
About three weeks after the baby was born, their room still sort of smelled weird, but not the same as before, so I asked them to clean it (again). Only this time, I was finally ready and able to help them do so. When we began cleaning, I found that they had spilled water at the foot of the bed. The boxspring was wet and discolored. And, they had a big toy kitchen in there, under which I discovered a couple of very wet shirts balled up, and a small piece of (moldy) bread and a (moldy) apple core. Then, after removing the sheets from their bed, I found visible mold growth in three different spots.
I freaked out. Of course. Mold in my house!
I immediately removed the toy kitchen and tossed it in the backyard. We cleaned up all the toys and papers they had left on the floor. When my husband got home (in the middle of me hauling the toy kitchen down the stairs), he checked the room and bed and we made the hard decision to throw it out…we couldn’t have kids sleeping on it with mold spores actively growing in it.
We closed up the room. Mulled over what to do. Called the maintenance staff to let them know. Called a mold remediation company to see if they’d come. Nothing happened.
See, that week, we’d had very heavy rains in our area, so the remediation companies had more work than they could handle cleaning up flooded basements and other emergency situations. They couldn’t come out to see us. So, I had to deal with it myself.
How to Clean Mold Naturally
Now. I would not recommend doing this for a serious problem. I would not do it if it were in several rooms. If we had found visible mold growth under the carpet, in the wall, etc. we would not have done it. But, after examining the room, we found that mold appeared to be superficial growth on the top of the carpet. It was not down into the pad underneath. We would not have hesitated to wait for professionals if any of these things had been true.
But for superficial areas, like we had, this works well. It worked well for us.
First, we had a company come in to clean the carpet with a machine. We could have done this ourselves if we had borrowed my dad’s carpet machine, but we didn’t want to wait until he could come. This was not the most important thing we did, but it helped. If we had done it ourselves, I would have used a natural soap and essential oils in the machine.
The parts we did ourselves. This is the important part. You’ll need a few things:
- Spray bottle (that can mist)
- Diffuser (I like this one, and this one)
- Germ Fighter Essential Oil (I buy here)
- Witch hazel
- An air purifier (I have this one)
- A box fan
Okay! Let’s get started.
Step 1: In the spray bottle, mix 25 drops of Germ Fighter essential oil with 8 oz. witch hazel. Shake to combine. I use witch hazel because the EO distributes evenly in it, while it does not do so in water without a bit of soap to break the surface tension. This is my all-purpose cleaning spray now. The oils in Germ Fighter have been shown in some tests to kill mold, and a lot of people have used it successfully for this reason too.
Spray the affected area with a fine mist and let it dry. I did this at least three times, a few days apart, concentrating on the area of the room where the wet items had been sitting.
Step 2: Put water and the Germ Fighter essential oil blend in a diffuser and run it until empty (6 – 8 hours). I did this, too, at least a few times.
Step 3: Put an air purifier with a clean, new filter in the room and let it run for at least 24 hours. I went back and forth between the diffuser and the air purifier.
Step 4: Open a window and put a box fan in it, facing out the window. It’ll draw the air out of the room and out the window, and fresher air will come in.
After this treatment, the room smelled fresh and normal again.
The oils in the Germ Fighter blend are really awesome for killing junk in the air. That was my biggest concern — getting rid of the spores and mycotoxins in the air, and not just cleaning out the carpet. I’m very sensitive to it in the air, I can always smell it and it gives me a headache. After treating it with this, I feel it’s safe enough for my little ones again.
Bonus? This is not a difficult or expensive fix. Again, I wouldn’t hesitate to go through the process of a professional remediation for a more extensive or serious issue, but for a very small, surface problem, this worked very well. This is where I buy it.
Psst! My brand-new book, “Natural Remedies for Kids,” is available for purchase!
Have you ever tried to clean mold naturally? What worked for you?
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