It’s mold season in the San Francisco bay area. In winter, we get the ideal conditions for mold: rain, high humidity, cold, and overcast skies. There are a lot of myths about mold. Here are the myths that I hear most often.
Black mold is toxic. I don’t know how many times I have heard this one, but it isn’t true. Admittedly, black mold looks scarier than lighter colored mold, but there is absolutely no way to tell if mold is a health hazard based on its color.
Mold needs to be tested. Testing mold is virtually useless. Mold testing gives you an idea of the amount and type of mold you have, but that really isn’t important. There are over 100,000 types of mold, and there are no safety standards for mold levels, so testing doesn’t give you much useful information. All mold should be removed regardless of type.
The best product for killing mold is bleach. That isn’t true. Bleach will kill mold, but it’s not very effective, and it’s hard on your lungs when used in a confined space like a bathroom. Bleach can also damage your walls, clothes, and bath linen. Tilex and Lysol mold remover are far more effective than bleach in removing mold, and they will keep mold from returning longer than bleach. If you want a bottle of mold remover, you can pick one up free in my chocolate room. My grandmother believed that medicine had to taste bad in order to work, but as any doctor can tell you, that isn’t true. The same thing applies to bleach. Just because bleach smells a lot more unpleasant than mold remover doesn’t mean that it is more effective.
Listerine. Have you ever tasted Listerine mouthwash? It tastes awful. Nobody likes the taste of it, and that’s intentional. It’s part of the company’s marketing strategy. A lot of people believe that because Listerine tastes terrible that it is more effective in killing germs than pleasant tasting mouthwash. Listerine makes a pleasant tasting mouthwash, Cool Mint Listerine, but it doesn’t sell anywhere nearly as well as the bad tasting stuff.
Ramsdell’s Sulphur Cream. When I was a boy, my father used to regularly and vigorously rub Ramsdell’s Sulphur Cream into my hair and scalp. I had dandruff. There were other products on the market for the treatment of dandruff, but Ramsdell’s Sulphur Cream smelled like rotten eggs, which is why my father bought it. He believed that something that smelled that awful had to more effective than products that were odorless or had a pleasant smell to them. Ramsdell’s Sulphur Cream was a waste of time and money. It had absolutely no effect on my dandruff. My dandruff went away by itself when I became a teenager. On school days, I would wait for my father to leave the house to go to work and then go to the bathroom and wash the sulfur cream out of my hair. I didn’t want to go to school with hair that smelled like rotten eggs. That was one of my many boyhood secrets that I never told anyone about. They still make sulfur cream for the treatment of dandruff, and people still buy it for the same reason my father did – it smells so awful that people assume it must be good stuff.
Sulphur vs. sulfur. When I was a kid, sulfur was usually spelled ‘sulphur’, but not anymore, at least in the U.S. They still spell it ‘sulphur’ in England. The spelling of a lot of words has changed in my lifetime. Halloween used to have an apostrophe in it. We used to spell it Hallowe’en when I was a kid. I still don’t know if barbecue or barbeque is the right spelling. A lot of restaurants put ‘BBQ’ on their outdoor signs, which should stand for barbeque, with a ‘q’, but on their menus they spell it ‘barbecue.’ My sister once said to me: “If you are worrying about things like this, you have too much time on your hands.”
But I digress. (I do that a lot)….About mold…The most important thing to remember about mold is that mold lives on humidity. Moisture is essential for mold. Almost all the reports that I get about mold are in bathrooms. Work on keeping the humidity in your bathroom down in winter. Leave your bathroom door open after a steamy shower. If its a cold day, close the door to the bathroom and open the window or turn on the exhaust fan if you have one. Don’t leave wet clothes or really wet towels in the bathroom. All of my units have free-operation clothes dryers, why not use it to dry out your wet towels?
Also read my previous article about: Mold.