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Handling Molds

Disclaimer: This is not intended to be an educational instruction set for cleaning mold from your own home. I am simply repeating what we were told and sharing this information. If you have a mold problem in your home and choose to remediate it yourself, you do so at your own risk.

Some states have particular laws, Indiana has no current mold remediation requirements. In other words, if you have mold in your home, some states require you have a certified mold remediation company remove the mold, "Got Mold, call the Mold guy". In Indiana, this is not the case, however it is important to handle the molds properly and know a little bit about what you are dealing with.

We found mold in our house, and had the mold specialist for the county come in and verify the problem and tell us what to do. The first thing he did was peel the carpet back and say the carpet has to go. There was definitely mold in the carpet and on the hardwood floors underneath, (I prefer the hardwood floors anyway). Then he said, clean the floor with bleach water, about 10 parts water to 1 part bleach, and clean it good. Bleach will not kill mold, but it will sterilize the surface thus eliminating molds ability to grow, and it will remove what is there. The bleach water should be in a spray bottle, and spray the mold first, (taking precautions to ventilate against breathing too much bleach as this too can be dangerous). Damping or wetting the mold will weigh down and trap the mold spores with surface tension. Also, a an N45 industry standard mask should be worn during this process to reduce the breathing of spores.

Going into the crawl space, he said to locate the mold, if it is growing in what looks like grape clusters, "GET OUT", let a professional handle it, this is Stachybotrys, and you don't even want to go there with this mold. Again, the crawl space is handled as above. Clean and dry all wood, if the wood is permeated with mold and damaged, it may need replaced.

OK, with that little bit of handling advice, now lets apply this to gourds. As all gourd Growers and crafter's probably know, your gourd has mold on it and possibly in it. Before you grab that gourd, put your N45 mask on, (be sure to replace the filters regularly), and grab your spray bottle. You may not want to use a bleach solution on your gourd, though it shouldn't hurt it. UPDATE: I've been told that white vinegar is better than bleach as it will kill the spores, instead of spraying it, soak a towel or rag, and wrap it around your moldy gourd. If at all possible, clean your gourd outside!!! By toting that gourd into your house, you are releasing spores into your home, and doing so repeatedly you are increasing the concentration of spores which can be trapped in your carpet, (carpet is a wonderful filter for gathering and holding all kinds of allergens and spores for your enjoyment years down the road, especially when you vacuum), clothing, ventilation systems, and your furnace ducts. Once your gourd is well damped, then carry it to your cleaning spot, and clean it well. When you open your gourd and clean it out, be sure to have ventilation, (preferably an exhaust fan or fume hood of some type), and wear your mask.

Gourd dust can also be dangerous, about 1.5-2 years ago I thought I was going to die because I got to where I could not catch my breath no matter how hard I tried. It made living difficult at best, and I was terrified that I had possible gotten emphysema. We could not afford a doctor, so I started my own cardiovascular exercise routine and fortunately it began clearing out my lungs, enough so that I could feel a difference immediately. I still have some difficulty, but it is getting better. Do yourself a favor, a mask is cheap, your health is priceless.

This is a very brief and simple guideline to handling Molds, use common sense, you can't have too much ventilation, wear a mask, keep the mold damp and sterilize the surface, the dry it thoroughly.

UPDATE: Our efforts failed. We relandscaped and sealed the walls, this dried out the mold and caused massive sporulation. As summer turned into fall, the house had to be closed to keep it warm. We sealed off the space between the floors and the walls, taped off all vents including bathroom fans in an attempt to keep the mold from spreading through the house from the three contaminated outer walls, but all efforts failed. In fact, I was not as sensitized to the mold as the family was, I wore a respirator recommended for mold remediation and goggles, but I was still being affected. I am now nearly as sensitized to mold as the rest of my family. If you get mold, get out. Let the men in the space suits handle it.


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