You know there’s mold down there. You can smell it when the shower runs, the crevices of your washing machine door, and if you look carefully, you can see those dark shapes lurking between your dishwasher and cabinet. Or in the tiny gap between your stairs and the wall. Or the spot of mold hiding behind your washer and dryer where it’s always a little damp and impossible to reach. Mold starts as microscopic moisture-seeking spores and it can hide absolutely anywhere in your home. You know it’s there, you know it’s dangerous to you and your family. You just can’t reach it with your disinfectant spray and rubber gloves. So what is a responsible, mold-worried homeowner to do?
Fighting Your Hidden Mold
You may keep your house immaculately clean by normal standards. The counters may sparkle and you can polish the floor until it’s safe for your children to eat off of, but mold will still be lurking in places your sponge, mop, and washcloth cannot go. No matter how well-vacuumed the furniture is and how careful you are to clean up damp messes around the house, if mold grows in your region, it can and will find some tiny damp corner where humans cannot reach to grow. The problem is that for all your cleaning prowess in human spaces, there are some areas that just weren’t made to be cleanable. A flaw in modern architecture? Yes, but we one does what one must.
When you’re fighting mold you can barely see and can’t reach; things can start to seem desperate. You may have even considered a little forceful DIY, pulling appliances and even bolted cabinets away from the wall to get every last speck of mold. And honestly, this isn’t a bad idea. However, if you’re not ready for heavy lifting, we have a few tricks up our mold-expert sleeves that can help you disinfect and clear out even the narrowest mold-filled cranny.
When fighting mold, remember that mold spores can be harmful to breathe and sometimes to touch. Protect yourself by wearing a medical mask or bandana over your nose and mouth. Wear gloves if you will be touching mold or rags used to scrub mold.
Trick #1: Saturate It
Getting rid of mold is a 2-stage process. First, you kill it with a strong cleaner. Once the spores are dead and the cleaner has started saturating the surface below, the mold is very likely to stop growing in that spot. At least for a while. The second stage is to remove the dead or mostly-dead mold with cleaning utensils.
Soak the Area, Kill the Spores
If you’re worried about spreading spores while you figure out how to scrub an unreachable area, start by pouring cleaner onto it from a distance. Simply soaking the mold in the right cleaner will kill the spores and prevent them from continuing to pose a risk to your family even if the appearance is still unsightly.
While conventional knowledge and fear of mold may suggest bleach for the job, stay away. Bleach is actually one of the least effective ways to combat mold and it has its own negative side effects like fumes and the potential to ruin anything with color. Instead, look for an organic mold cleaner or, if you’re in a pinch, grab the white vinegar bottle in your pantry.
Plain White Vinegar
Saturating an area in vinegar or organic cleaner is also a great way to prime spaces like shower tracks and the narrow part of a window frame for easier cleaning with 10 to 30 minutes of soaking.
For an area you can reach, consider soaked rags or paper towels set into the grooves of a narrow moldy space that you don’t look forward to cleaning.
Trick #2: Toothbrushes
Mold can grow anywhere and has no problem with very tight spaces like the area around your faucets or, as we just mentioned the grooves of a sliding shower door or window frame. If your go-to cleaning tools are cloths or paper towels, it can be very frustrating to constantly miss those tiny mold spores hiding in the corners and tiny grooved areas.
For this task, your best friend is a cleaner-soaked toothbrush. Snag a new toothbrush that will be your dedicated cleaning brush or an old family toothbrush that is ready to be replaced and soak the head in a small cup of cleaner for 5 minutes to prime it, then start scrubbing at those tiny crevices that your cloth just can’t reach. Every couple of minutes, rinse your implement and dip it back into the cleaner before continuing.
Trick #3: A Cloth-Wrapped Handle
Our absolute favorite solution to small spaces, especially ones that take a bit of reaching, requires nothing more than a washcloth and a hair elastic plus the correct handle for the job. Whether you want a toothbrush handle, paint stirrer, screwdriver, or broom handle is up to you and will depend on the space. If you’re looking at the floor in a narrow space beside waist-high cabinets, then the broom handle is probably your best bet while the paint-stirrer is best for really narrow spaces that are only half an arm’s length away.
Pick your implement and st the end in the center of your washcloth, then pull the sides in around and secure with the hair elastic or a rubber band. When it’s secure, dip your cloth in a cleaner and go to town. You may also find some success dropping a saturated rag into the space and manipulating it like a mop with the end of your broom handle to get into the tight corners of your tiny mold-filled space.
Trick #4: DIY Swiffer
So we’ve got the space by the tub, the grooves in your window frame, and the space beside the stairs. But what about underneath cabinets, appliances, and furniture you don’t want to move? Here, your best friend is the all-purpose swiffer. These are one of the best home cleaning inventions in decades because they are very direction-versatile and incredibly low profile, allowing you to sweep under almost anything, no matter how small the space is.
However, for this endeavor, we won’t be using a swiffer sheet. Instead, soak a dishcloth (thinner than a washcloth) in a cleaning solution and fold it over the swiffer just like a normal sheet, using the little securing points. If the points don’t’ work with your cloth, sacrifice a pair of hair elastics for this important task. From here, just swiffer as if you were going to dust under the item you suspect to be harboring mold, using the swiffer’s maneuverability to wipe down corners and wall edges behind objects and scrubbing action to dislodge it all. You can then likely sweep out most of the debris and marvel at what comes out.
—Fighting back mold in your home is a very big task, especially if you know that it’s lurking in unseen and hard to reach places. With these tricks, you can keep mold at bay in your bathroom, laundry room, and kitchen that are rife with damp narrow spaces without wrenching your shoulder, calling on smaller family members, or having to haul heavy things away from the wall. And if, in your journey to a cleaner mold-free home, you find something you can’t handle or are worried the mold is more extensive than cleaning products can face, know who to call for mold remediation. For more tips on taking care of your home and appliances, contact us today!