The Attack of the Mold Monster – How I Survived a Mold Infestation

Most of the time when a home shows signs of a mold infestation, especially when it’s black mold, the homeowner is going to incur massive expenses to clean up the mess. There are web sites now dedicated to attorneys who will handle lawsuits – against companies who sell homes knowing about mold infestations and who don’t disclose it, or insurance companies who will not cover their customers who are plagued by mold after water damage.

Naturally, all of the companies that offer clean-up services want their share of the profit pie. There are ads for chemicals on the Internet ranging in price from Nok-Out and Zymoco at $20+ to Anti-growth Concentrate for $50+. There are also Ozone generators to reduce mold, mildew and bacteria for $400+. There is even a new clean up service using dry ice to freeze/burn mold growth off of surfaces. All very effective, I’m sure… with a price tag to match.

My house has had water leaks on a fairly regular basis over the last 16 years because of its polybutylene plumbing. If you haven’t heard of this plumbing, consider yourself lucky. It was a gray plastic water supply pipe developed in the 1970’s and seen as a perfect replacement for the expensive and hard to install copper pipe. But in the late 1980’s and 1990’s, buildings with this pipe started reporting leaks. The pipes and fittings were breaking down and flaking apart. In my home, the joints between pipes went first, followed by the kitchen pipes, then the toilet fittings and then the bathtubs. The last to go were the main supply lines. Annoying, to say the least. And the growth of mold has been frequent and potent over the years.

One of the worst outbreaks of mold growth was when the master bath/shower leaked and we were unaware of the leak for a few weeks. There was a bookcase full of books against the common wall between the bathroom and bedroom, and the floor of the bedroom was carpeted. It was only when the slow leak soaked the carpet far enough out into the bedroom to be walked on that we realized that we had a problem. We took all the books off the bookshelf and realized that we lost the entire bottom shelf of books to mold. The bottom shelf of the bookcase itself was destroyed by the mold, as well. When the bookcase was taken down, we could see the carpet, and it was coated with an inch of black mold. Now I knew why my asthma had been acting up so badly! I am deathly allergic to both mold and mildew.

We vacuumed up as much as we could to remove the spores and not spread them around the rest of the house. We have one of those vacuums with a plastic storage container you can dump and fiber filters. As you can well imagine, we cleaned those thoroughly afterward. When the carpet was as clean as we could get it, we sprayed the wet carpet with a 50-50 mixture of Downey fabric softener. As the carpet dried, we expected to see more mold, but have been delighted to find that there has been none. My lungs cleared up the same day we sprayed the Downey.

Why did we try Downey? For some years now, I had noticed that when I would forget to add Downey fabric softener to laundry and then leave it in the washing machine over night it would quickly start to smell sour. However, if I HAD added Downey and then left it in the washing machine over night (or even for several days) it would smell fine. It would just smell like Downey. I figured that this made Downey some sort of anti-mold and mildew agent — and one that was environmentally friendly, cheap, and easy to find – at least in the United States.

We have since used it on mold growing in the ceiling of another room of my house where we had leaky roof. When we checked on the mold again a few days later, it was all gone.

So if you are looking for an inexpensive answer to mold and mildew problems, try Downey before you try some of these more expensive answers.

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