You finally did it–you took a break from the office and went on vacation. It was a great trip; much needed and totally relaxing – and just long enough. But you’re actually ready to get back to work. You step into the building bright and early: you feel equal to the challenge. And it hits you. That smell. You didn’t notice it before you left for vacation. A musty smell. This is not an issue of air freshener deficiency. No, it’s the unmistakable signifier of mold. Somewhere in the building. This is not how you had visualized the day going. Let’s work our way through this unfortunate new set of tasks together, shall we?
How It Affects Us
So we’re all looking for ways to improve our quality of life and our health for not just ourselves but for our employees and team members. Unfortunately, exposure to mold, especially in the workplace where we all spend such a large percentage of our time, is not conducive to either of those endeavors. And while society used to cling to the notion of “better living through chemistry,” these days we’re all looking to harness science to work smarter not harder! And that often means looking to nature to see what works in the natural world (without harsh chemicals or poisoning the environment) and hacking those processes to improve modern life. So while mold is pretty natural, mold spores are entirely unwanted in our schools, hotels, and buildings. So, how can we get rid of them naturally?
The first item on your mold “to do” list will undoubtedly be to find the source of the mold and remediate it. This might take some detective work to identify the source. You can hire out the process if your mold is elusive, and there are even mold sniffing dogs that can pinpoint the problem! Talk about harnessing the natural world to solve our problems! Once found, your best bet is to hire a remediation company to handle that end of it, though it is possible to remediate on your own if the budget requires it.
While all air everywhere has mold spores floating about, when you get a higher concentration in the air like that found in a building with an active mold problem, it can really cause health issues. If there are complaints of allergy symptoms along with a musty smell, you know the people working in the building are being exposed to mold spores.
How to Clean It Naturally
When it comes to cleaning these nasty spores out of the air naturally and avoiding harsh chemicals (that aren’t effective on particles in the air, and could end up actually having a detrimental effect on air quality), there’s a little more to it than spritzing vinegar or hydrogen peroxide into the air. While these natural products can be effective on non-porous surfaces, airborne spores dance blithely away from the spray without harm. So again, we look to nature and harness the science of ionization to clean the air. Many things in nature create ions like chlorophyll plants as well as waterfalls. Think about how amazingly fresh the air is when you’re standing near a waterfall!
Sounds easy enough – you just need ions. Well, not so fast. There are a lot of air purifiers on the market that harness the power of ions to clean the air, but they’re not all created equally. Some use negative ions only, others use bipolar ionization (creating both negative and positive ions), and if you’ve heard anything about ionizers: it’s that a lot of them also create ozone. And that’s a problem, because ozone itself is an indoor air pollutant, especially in schools and office settings, according to this study. We recommend IAQuality’s T-1000 because this unit uses needlepoint bipolar ionization that creates ions through plasma generation. These ions are released into the air and cause the mold spores (and everything else floating around that you want cleaned out) to clump together and either fall to the floor or get sucked into the filter. For buildings with established HVAC systems that are not designed for HEPA or higher MERV rated filters, this allows your regular filters to easily catch particles that otherwise would have passed right through unhindered and circulated back throughout the building.
The T-1000 has been tested by third party independent labs to inactivate as much as 99% of many pathogens and mold spores. It does NOT create ozone, or any other harmful byproduct. It’s quiet, portable, self-cleaning, and requires zero maintenance to the ionizer. You can choose a filter option anywhere from MERV 13 to HEPA. Another consideration is how many air changes a purifier can complete hourly, and the T-1000 will execute more than 6 air changes per hour in a 30 foot by 30 foot room with 10 foot high ceilings. That means all the air in the room is getting filtered every 9 minutes! Some of the other ionizers on the market only complete 1 air change per hour. Truly a safe, natural, and environmentally friendly way to keep the air we work in clean and healthy.