Hi Orchid forum,
My basement workshop flooded recently. I am looking for advice on
how best to kill mold growing on the cotton baffles in my polisher.
It is an industrial size machine with about 25 hanging baffles, each
made of metal mesh and covered in heavy cotton. I have taken them
out of the machine and vacuumed them. I wonder if laying them in the
sun might be enough to kill the mold. I am trying to prepare for a
show in a week, and the weather here in Maine continues to go from
rainy to sunny but humid. I would like to bleach the baffles to be
sure and kill the mold, but I wonder if the polishing compound
residue will get gummy and clog the cotton. Thanks in advance for
anyone’s thoughts on this. I love Orchid!
Karen, as a Floridian, I know mold. After a hurricane, a little
water damage turns into a nightmare because the power is off for a
few days or even weeks, and the mold always wins. I would say bleach
is the only way to really get rid of it.
I’m concerned more about the air you’re breathing, however. Be
really careful. Inhaling mold spores can ruin your health, so I
advise taking care of the problem as soon as possible, and wearing a
good protective mask at all times when you’re in that room, until
it’s all clean.
Good luck and good health!
depending on how much you used the filters it may be best to send
them to the refiner to reclaim the metal you’ve captured and buy
replacements. You don’t want to do anything to the filters that will
remove the metal.
Hello Karen Lipiatos,
Bummer about the flooding!! Our community has dealt with flooding
and I understand how difficult the clean-up is. The state of Texas
has an online book
that may help with other questions that will come to you.
Mold is the worst and once it gets started, it is almost impossible
to eliminate because the spores will be with you thereafter… just
waiting for favorable conditions to grow. The little buggers are
discharged and carried everywhere by air currents, so the spores are
likely on walls, floors, and other surfaces. All they need is enough
moisture, the right temperature, and some nutrient to grow again.
Control can be achieved by reducing humidity (air conditioning),
reducing or raising ambient temperature (Brrrrr or burning - not
usually an option), removing nutrients (organic matter) or
eliminating the spores.
I like a belt and suspenders approach and would use as many controls
as I could. Most people have the best success with controlling
humidity and scrupulous sanitation. That means removing everything
from the space, and cleaning the room and everything that was in it
by washing down all impervious surfaces with detergent followed by
complete drying. Porous materials (wood, sheet rock, fabric, ceiling
tile, etc.) are best handled by replacement unless moisture is
controlled… for sure! However, at the first sign of moisture, mold
will likely reoccur. No one wants to replace sheet rock, but it
harbors mold forever I think.
Bleach is a good cheap mold killer, but you have to use a strong
solution, which may damage the baffle’s cotton fibers. Are they
replaceable? It may be simpler to do that. Bleach is also unfriendly
(it’s the chlorine) to most metals, so you want to thoroughly rinse
off the bleach solution and immediately dry the surfaces before
applying a protective barrier. Hot dry air is good. Could you bake
your cleaned baffles at the lowest heat in your oven? Might be a good
way to be sure moisture is eliminated. WD-40 is a water displacement
product and may be what you need on metal items. Follow up with rust
Well, that is probably more than you wanted to know. My sympathies
and best wishes in the clean-up!
Judy in Kansas
Yuck!! Chlorine is about the best (household) way to kill mold and
algae, but then, as you say the issues of wet polishing bags arise.
You probably know - do NOT use them in their current state, as you
will be in a room full of mold spores, if you do. The safest and
easist thing is just to buy replacement bags and wash down the
interior of the machine with bleach. Not cheap, I know, but certain
to be clean.
Karen- Not sure if this will be helpful but I had a mold problem on
some wood benches - wood like cotton is a natural material - My
research revealed that in some cases - bleach can actually encourage
the growth of mold - See my e-mails below - Based on response from
Kenn Brown at: environmentsensitive.com
I used 20 Mule Team Borax(o) - quite inexpensive and available at
most grocery stores. It worked PERFECT - made a paste of boraxo -
scrubbed it on the benches - left them to dry for a few days in HOT,
dry sunny weather (90 -100 degrees F) (summer time high humidity is
virtually non-existent in northern California) and the mold is gone
as well as the gray stain residue that was on the wood from the mold.
Since cotton can be laundered and Boraxo is a common laundry
additive - I would think this would work -
BUT - you might also want to consider - sending the cotton covers
out to the refiner - and using the proceeds to buy new filter bags.
Good luck, Linda
I had a problem with mold that grew during a very wet winter here in
Maine. I had a window in the bathroom completely black on the frame
and mold and mildew in the corners throughout the entire apartment. I
was considering replacing the window, thinking there was no way to
eradicate the mildew and mold. I had professional cleaners come in
and they used the bleach and scrub method and still the mold
persisted. My husband googled mold and came up with a site for a
product called moldzyme. He called them and they guaranteed the
product and better yet, it is NON TOXIC. We had nothing to lose and
ordered it. It worked great and easily. Spray it on,let it set a
minute or two, wipe it off. I did use a scotch brite for teflon for
the really thick mold. I was amazed and happy to find this product
since we deal with this problem often. Next project, the deck!