Mold: Everything You Need To Know
There always is an obnoxious feeling one gets when the thought of a fungus comes to mind. You can see them growing outdoors when it is damp in the rainy or winter season. Microorganisms usually grow in the presence of moisture and oxygen, which is everywhere, and feed off of organic compounds in the environment. The main difference we need to understand is that not all fungi are bad for you. There are some fungi that are edible and part of most of our diets.
Fungi take very little to grow and then because of their heterotrophic nature, survive on other living organisms for nutrients. They all release spores for reproduction and are the main cause of many allergies. As fungi use air as a medium to distribute their spores, they are present everywhere. It may be present everywhere but causes allergic reactions to the few that are extra sensitive to the spores. The types of reactions that one might have because of spores could be:
- Some skin irritations
- Coughing and sneezing
- Sore throat
- Feeling shortness of breath
Although these reactions aren’t deadly, they can cause serious damage to the environment if not controlled as they just need a spec of spore to start multiplying and can cover endless lands as they grow.
There are various types of fungi out there that have scientific names that are difficult to remember. So we will understand their difference in layman’s terms, that’ll be good fungi and bad fungi.
Good Fungi: For ages, we have been consuming fungi/bacteria with or without our knowledge. As we all know, any type of bread is the end result of fungi named Yeast that goes bread the soft and bubbly shape we have it in. Other than that, Mushrooms are also consumed and enjoyed by many. If you happen to notice, any wild mushroom would have spores underneath its triangular-shaped head. Mushrooms are delicious and healthy but not all are consumable. A very common problem faced by hikers or travelers is that mushrooms found in the wild are consumed without the knowledge of the type of mushroom and it can cause bad reactions and even death in some cases. Ironically, some fungi are also used to make medicines.
Fungi are also used in fermenting processes. Two of the most famous techniques are for the production of dairy products such as cheese and the production of alcohol. In such cases, the longer the fungus is allowed to grow in these products, the better it is in taste.
Bad fungi: As mentioned before, mushrooms are harmful so one needs to be well informed of the type of mushroom they are dealing with. Any mold that you see in a household growing on consumable products is harmful to humans. The ones used for the production of cheese are allowed to grow in a controlled environment using all safety precautions to let only edible fungi grow on them. They grow in environments that are damp and there is no free-flowing air around them. Molds can even spread to grow on non-consumable places such as walls, floors, concrete, or even plastic. In these cases, the fungi are self-dependent and can sustain on moisture and oxygen in the stagnant air. Thus, potted plants that get over-watered and left in the outdoors are prone to spore attacks which can lead to molds on them, hindering the healthy growth of your plants.
Irrespective of the type of fungi, it is easy to get rid of them. Scrubbing out the mold is the simplest technique but not very efficient as there always is a possibility that there might be a little spec or spore left behind which is enough for the fungi to spread again. There have been some products mentioned below that are added to the fungi-infested areas to irradicate their existence in that area.
- Use a little Vinegar to rub off the part that has been infected.
- A mixture of sliced orange and vinegar also does the same job with an attractive fragrance.
- Baking soda absorbs water from its surroundings so once sprinkled over fungi can help kill them.
- A mixture of bleach and water can also be used as a home remedy.
- If available, Hydrogen Peroxide is can is also helpful for scrubbing hard surfaces.
- Direct sunlight can dehydrate the product and kill the fungal infestation.
- Toothpaste can be used anywhere inside the bathroom.
Any fungal infestation can be treated so never panic when you see some. Instead of having to deal with fungi, we can take precautions to prevent any growth of any fungal or bacterial activity.
- Regularly clean all surfaces. Use disinfectants alternately.
- Have humidifiers if you live in an area with high atmospheric humidity levels.
- Get rid of any old food that might have become moldy so that it doesn’t spread or consumed by anyone by mistake.
- Look into your plumbing and fix any leakages.
- Make sure there is free flowing air in your house.
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