Money Wise--Fighting Toxic Mold

Mold that grows in the moist recesses of your home can look like a harmless stain. But the spores from that mold can actually be very dangerous and can make you sick. There are some inexpensive ways to keep that potentially harmful bacteria in check.

To fight toxic mold, an unsightly and unhealthy fungus, the Good Housekeeping Institute recently tested Scotchgard  Mold and Mildew Block from 3M. "We tested the product on plastic surfaces, fabrics, ceramic tile, painted wood, any type of surfaces we felt mold could grow," said GHI home care tester Sue Booth.

According to Good Housekeeping, the Scotchgard creates a barrier on the surface so mold doesn't grow. A bonus is that the treated surface need not be sprayed again until about three months later, depending on the weather and wear and tear. But be careful when using it on fabrics.

"The Scotchgard Mold and Mildew Block is not recommended for soft fabrics because after it's applied it makes them very stiff," Booth said. "So it's not recommended for things like clothing, but it's recommended for stiffer outdoor fabrics like awnings, and patio furniture cushions where mold could grow."

You should also thoroughly clean all surfaces before applying. and always do a test. "It is recommended to always test this product in a hidden spot first," advised Booth.

There are also mold detection kits you can purchase. The Pro-Lab home test kit and the Home Diagnostics test kit. And if you're shopping for a new home, be sure to check for mold. To ensure that your home inspector is an expert in this area, consider hiring a professional who is certified by the Indoor Environmental Standards Organization.

Good Housekeeping says you shouldn't use the Scotchgard Mold and Mildew Block on floors, because it can make them slippery.

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Reported by: Dmitra Denmark,