Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Attack of the Killer Mold!!

No, not really. Unless you're incredibly allergic, this mold won't kill you. Its just incredibly disgusting, not to mention overwhelmingly embarrassing. Since I've moved out to the country, Hubby has calmed me numerous times saying that everything is "just part of life in the country". And he means everything--from cuts to bruises to mice, racoons, roaches, ants, and now--mold. Well, today I'm calling an all-out war.

Yes, this is mold
So if you find yourself thinking "is that mold?" and retorting with "no, not in my house; I'm a clean person". Lies, I tell you. All lies. I told myself the same lie about this time last year and have neglected to accept the horrible truth until now. And that is the hardest part--just accept the fact that you have mold in your house. It is very gross and humiliating no matter where you find it, but just accept the facts and move on.

So, awesome Hubby Crockett did some research for me and found that vinegar and hydrogen peroxide combined will help to kill mold on a semi-permanent basis as long as we keep up with monitoring and cleaning as necessary. Since we found mold in our kitchen (*screams in horror*) and the basement/garage walkway area, we gathered our supplies on a routine grocery run.

Step 1

Spray attachment fits!
Here we have some regular bleach, distilled white vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. Note to everyone making a list, get more of the peroxide than you think you'll need. Just in our small areas we went through about a gallon because you really need to ensure all of the surfaces are wet with the stuff. Also, get lots and lots of rags to wipe up with and some old play clothes to wear.
Make sure you aren't attached to these things because they MUST be thrown away ASAP after you're done if they come into contact with any solution.

 Unfortunately, as I was cleaning out the cabinets (step one), I found a little mouse had gotten into my food storage. As if it wasn't bad enough right? But everything was going to get thrown out or bleached anyways. I set up a solution of bleach in water as hot as the tub would get and tossed my cooking utensils and bakewear in the bucket bit by bit. Allow to soak 15-20 minutes. With each batch, I'd pull it all out, rinse it off and lay it out to dry on an old towel.

Bleach solution soak
Die mold, die!!!!
In the mean time, I pulled out all the drawers and sprayed them down with the peroxide. It was disgustingly magical to watch the stuff foam up just like on a cut. Each time I sprayed I felt better and better so I really went to town on the cabinets. The whole unit had to be swept out first of course, but then it got a very thorough drenching. Look at it all dying! From a few feet away, it could even hear the fizzling and sizzling. Glorious!!! Let everything sit for 15 minutes as you move to a different area.

When the time is up, wipe it all down very very well with your rags. I'm not at all ashamed to say I was on my hands and knees scrubbing like a madwoman with a toothbrush. Next, fill one of your spray bottles with vinegar and soak everything equally well. After another 15 minutes, wipe well and allow to dry. Being 4 months pregnant and with the nose of a blood hound, the vinegar was almost unbearable. It brought me back to the days of stripping wallpaper in my mom's old house in 90+ degree weather (I would not recommend it). "Just accept it and move on" was my mantra and it got me through five very stinky hours.

While I waited, I made some paper/duct tape patches for the holes my ever-so-friendly mouse was using to help itself to our food. Because I had some thick brown paper on hand, it will do just fine. Making a cross hatch with duct tape, you can be sure that mouse will know it is not welcome back. Mouse traps will be set inside just in case because let's face it, this is war!

If I had to summarize this ordeal into one concept, it would be the advice to scrub everything in your new home down to the last door nail. I found so many things under and behind the cabinets I moved I could have had a garage sale and opened a new pharmacy to pay off my mortgage. The mold and mice problems combined could have been prevented and resolved with much fewer tears and frustration if I had known what I know now. So that's my advice to any of my lovely readers--clean it all!!!! Before you put a single box in your new home, invest the extra day or two and scrub, scrub, scrub from ceiling to tub. Unless of course you're smarter than we were and you bought a house that's in great condition--but that's another post. I'll quit my whining for now.

I can't put anything back in the cabinets until I catch a mouse or two, but I know I will sure sleep better knowing that the mold and mice problems are being taken care of little by little.

**Update: Since this cleaning took place yesterday, everything is dry and ready to be put back. Also, I caught one mouse overnight!

Have you had to deal with mold? How did you remedy the situation? What other "country life problems" do you deal with?

Thanks for reading,
Betty Crockett