Relocating yourself and all that you own can elevate your awareness of mold to a whole new level. We all know that moving from one home to another is one of the most exciting (and anxiety-inducing) times. Not to add any more stress, but if you pack your things incorrectly it can lead to mold growth and the eventual ruin of your treasured items.
Consider this…you’re moving from an environment that you have previously safeguarded against mold into a new space with the potential for hidden mold. On your way there, your possessions pass through mold-conducive environments – moving trucks, packing materials, storage units, the list can go on and on. Knowing the detrimental health effects of mold exposure, the last thing you want to do is invite mold into your new home
Here are some dos and don’ts to packing, storing, and securing items in a way that will avoid bringing mold along with you.
Do—Make sure all clothing and textiles are completely dry before packing or storing.
This step is imperative in preventing mold and mildew from forming, especially in sealed containers. We also advise washing your clothes with the EC3 Laundry Additive, or a homemade mold solution as provided here:
Add half a cup of Borax to hot water.
Fully dissolve the Borax.
Pour the solution into your washing machine and run a wash cycle to ensure mold is removed.
Dry clothes thoroughly prior to packing.
If you have mold in your current residence and are moving away from it, wash your clothes in a machine outside your home with the mold solution recommended above.
Do—Use plastic tubs and containers to pack and store your things.
Corrugated cardboard boxes can absorb and retain moisture and will deteriorate over time. If there is any type of moisture intrusion where the boxes are stored, they can get wet. Because the boxes absorb the water, everything inside the boxes will potentially be ruined. Worse yet, wet boxes that don’t completely dry out will eventually become moldy boxes.
Whenever possible, use bubble wrap to protect your breakables instead of newsprint or paper. Both newsprint and paper have been shown to harbor mold. If you have to use cardboard boxes for the short-term just to get things from one place to another, wrap your valuables in bubble wrap. Try to unpack them as quickly as possible, then dispose of the boxes outside of your new home. Avoid storing them in a basement or an attic. Empty boxes lying around can create a serious mold issue.
Do—Place a dehumidifier and an electric fan in your basement, attic, or storage unit to help keep moisture out and the air circulating.
Also helpful are moisture-absorbing desiccants, like cat litter and charcoal grill bricks. These items can be placed in an open plastic bucket in your basement or storage space and will absorb excess moisture. You will need to empty the bucket and restore it with new litter or bricks every 30 days.
Don’t—Stockpile newspapers, paper bags, or magazines.
Use discretion with what you keep. Remember…any kind of organic material sitting around is potential food for moisture and mold. Try to save only what is necessary and/or has sentimental value. Store these items in labeled plastic containers. Consider scanning important papers and storing electronically.
Don’t – Place storage boxes directly on the floor.
When placing your things in a storage unit or in your basement, stack the boxes on raised pallets. You can also arrange boxes on a moisture barrier placed over the flooring. This will prevent all of your items from being ruined if there is a water leak or flooding. If your storage boxes are up off of the floor, they are safer from water intrusion.
Don’t—Crowd closet walls with storage or packed boxes.
Ventilation is critical, even in closets! After those boxes are packed, try to leave them spaced out in open rooms, rather than all stacked on top of one another in a confined space. If the air cannot move, moisture might take hold and produce mold and mildew.