Battling Black Mold
my high school foods studies teacher taught us a little about mold and bacteria. she said that the three conditions that they thrive in are moisture, warmth, and darkness.
my old produce department manager ryan told me that some drunk guys won a bunch of subs (sandwiches) on their way to a party at his house once, and hid them in the bottom of his china cabinet when they got there. anyway, ryan didn't know they had brought the subs in, and the drunk guys ended up forgetting about most of the subs by the time they woke up from their smashed stupor. the subs sat there for weeks.
later ryan opened the cabinet while looking for something, and had the shock of his life. a bunch of subs. what on earth!
as he told the story i said to him indignantly, "but didn't you smell them rotting in there over all that time?!!?!!"
he said he hadn't smelled anything, and that they actually weren't sitting there in a rotten heap. he went on to say that when he picked them up, they were hard as a rock.
dried out. interesting. anyway, pretty much end of the story.
but no mold. and dried out. this simple thought set my whole life on a new trajectory.
during my research and experimentation in the years that followed, i discovered yet another gem in the olde journals of early french microphysicist geordi la forge:
[click below to read on]
Even in warm and dark environments, but without sufficient moisture, life cannot be sustained. [Moisture], then, is the key to their survival. Eliminate this, and all else ceases. -- La Théorie, la Découverte.
(yeah- haven't you ever wondered why those loaves of bread on display in rustic-looking restaurants never go moldy? [not the ones glazed in lacquer, but the plain ones.] it's because they're so completely dried out that mold cannot find a place to grow. just like what happened to the subs in ryan's china cabinet.)rad. now to your billa bathroom.
your billa's bathroom is pretty much one big shower. it is a 25 square foot shower with an exposed toilet in it, as well as a sink, and even a 220 volt!! outlet (so be careful!). your billa shower bathroom is often wet for days on end, and often gets black and pink stuff growing on the tiles and toilet... especially on/near the floor.
also your front door (the door, door frame, and behind the shoe shelf) tends to collect condensation a lot. so mold tends to grow in those places too. black mold.
part 1: preventing mold
i usually shower right before i leave for work, and that only increases humidity and leaves the bathroom floor wet. so after every shower, i make sure to open the balcony window for 20 minutes or so while i finish getting ready (i'll open the window even in winter for as long as i can stand it). this cleans the air, but more importantly, brings dryer air in.
you should open your window once a day (regardless) for at least a few minutes just to freshen the smelly, stale air produced by you sleeping and breathing for the past 12 hours inside your little enclosed (non-ventilated) billa.
dries my laundry in hours (not days!).
by the time i'm finished getting ready, the air in the house is now dryer (and fresher). so i close the window and set the fan's timer to run its maximum course (3 hours) keeping it pointed toward the bathroom, and i leave for work.
i never even have to think about it, but over the next 3 hours the wind from the fan almost completely dries out the bathroom (just see section on puddles and wind!), totally eliminating the birth and spread of mold.
part 2: cleaning out existing mold
anyway. spray, spray.
a few minutes later i went back to spray the black mold some more, but it had mysteriously DISAPPEARED. it was gone. that's all. totally dematerialized by the bleach. ciao.
missed a spot there in the crack, but you get my point.
let me say: i adjusted the spray dial from 'mist' to 'stream' and shot it like a laser. that splashed, so don't try it or at least don't wear pants or socks when you're doing it or else you'll get awful bleach marks and ruin your favourite pants forever. i'd even be worried about your shirt, as the bleach can always spray back a little. setting the dial somewhere between 'mist' and 'stream' worked best for me.
oh- and wear a face mask. bleach fumes usually burn out my nostrils for a day or so. and forgoshsake what ever you do, be careful with the spray bottle and don't get bleach in your eye.
the mold comes back in little spots every once in a while, especially over by my entrance around the door frame. if left, it will spread again, even take over. but a few blasts from my bleacho 3000 ray-gun is all it takes to prevent that from happening again.
* of course, take all this advice at your own risk. also, i'm really lazy so i just sprayed the bleach behind the desk and counter and on the wall and just let is dry there. it dries and hardens into little white crystals or droplets, so be sure to wipe it up if you have a pet or child. all pictures used click through to their sources.