The Fungus Among Us

As a teenager I used to go to this old abandoned home in the woods, we called it “Old Lady Loftus' House.” At the time, I had no knowledge of the things that could develop in a home that was left sitting for so long. Yet still, we would enter the musty, dusty home to explore all of her old belongings that had been sitting for what looked like centuries. It was like finding some sort of hidden treasure to walk through a home that looked completely lived in, yet decaying and abandoned. We were certain we would encounter spirits, and there were times where I thought we had… but the truth is once a home is unoccupied for so long, other things begin to take hold. Spirits are one thing, but there are other organisms that thrive in our spaces when left unattended.


With Halloween approaching, I thought I would share a little more about the fungus among us, because it doesn’t take much for these organisms to take hold and turn our beautiful homes into something from a horror film.


Here’s 4 places to keep an eye on to make sure your home doesn’t end up like Old Lady Loftus,’ so you can continue to thrive in your space.



Laundry Machines

Front-loader washing machines can be especially moldy. The mold likes to live within the rubber ring around the washing machine.


TIPS FOR KEEPING IT CLEAN

  • After each wash, wipe the ring down with a towel to dry as much water from the ring as possible.

  • Leave the door open to allow it to breathe between washes.

  • Run the wash on hot with 2 cups of white vinegar once a month to keep the wash clean.

  • For dirtier machines, try running the machine after the white vinegar wash using EC3 solution.


HVAC Systems

Dusty HVAC ducts are moisture caused by condensation that can lead to mold growth. Dirty ducts are problematic, as they distribute toxins throughout the home via the supply vents.


TIPS FOR KEEPING IT CLEAN

  • Have your HVAC system professionally cleaned once every two years to prevent a lot of dust build up (I see you pet owners!). Find a provider who uses true HEPA filters or steam cleaner without chemicals.

  • Set a reminder on your phone to make sure you change your air filter every 3 months (or more depending on your sensitivity level) with a MERV 8 or greater!


Under the Sink

Sinks are weak points within the home. They leak, and oftentimes we don’t notice it happening until we open the cabinet doors and realize that all of the particle board is damp, making a lovely home for mold.


TIPS FOR KEEPING IT CLEAN

  • Keep a plastic bin under the sink pipes, so if there is an unknown leak, it doesn't penetrate the cabinet interior.

  • Don’t keep anything packaged in cardboard under the sink.

  • Invest in a whole house water leak detector, this automatically detects leaks and turns the whole house water off if there’s a sign of a leak.


Your Closet

Dark closets located on an exterior, perimeter wall of the home are susceptible to temperature changes and condensation, which can cause mold to grow. Especially if the home is already humid and the relative humidity is greater than 45% RH.


TIPS FOR KEEPING IT CLEAN

  • Vacuum your closet regularly, make sure to hit the dark corners so that dust doesn’t accumulate. Remember, all mold needs to grow is water, food (dust), and a warm place to hang out (same temperature as we like).

  • If you find mold in a closet, make sure you wash all of your clothes in borax and EC3.


The thing is, these are only a couple of areas where fungus, like mold, is more susceptible to taking over. Water damage is all too common in our homes and is usually not properly treated. Keep an eye on the locations above and any other wet locations in the home, like kitchens, laundry rooms, and bathrooms and make sure you’re keeping the relative humidity lower than 45% in your home. For more tips to avoid mold, head on over to awakeningspaces.com or come say hello on Instagram @awakeningspaces. Happy Halloween!


This piece was written and contributed by:

Ashley Spanovich

Awakening Spaces


Ashley, the founder of Awakening Spaces, supports environmentally susceptible and health-conscious individuals in creating safe, healthy, and beautiful environments. As a licensed Interior Designer, she combines her expertise of the construction industry with her knowledge of health and wellbeing to support and empower you along your own journey in creating a healing environment. Ashley is currently pursuing a triple certification in Building Biology and will soon be certified to assess your home for mold, electro-magnetic radiation, and other harmful environmental toxins. Awakening Spaces offers both Full Service Interior Design as well as Environmental Health Coaching services for those looking to improve the health of their home. Ashley finds inspiration in her work through nature and is most grounded when spending time outdoors and exploring new places.


@awakeningspaces | www.awakeningspaces.com

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