Cleaning Up Mold

Cleaning up mold is never a fun project, but it can be a manageable one with these tips for kicking it to the curb for good.


By: Caroline Shannon-Karasik

It might be hard to imagine, but mold is a bigger nuisance than your kid brother was in his elementary school days. Mold packs a long list of cons, including its nasty black color, the damage it can cause to your home and its possibly toxic nature. In short: It's not fun.

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Sabrina Soto Confessions

"I can't do anything until my space is neat. I've been that way since I was a kid," says Sabrina, standing in her spotless New York City apartment. Sabrina's sofa stays crumb-free thanks to weekly under-cushion vacuuming with the upholstery attachment.

Photo By: Melanie Acevedo

Coffee Table Storage

"In small spaces, every piece needs to be multifunctional. That's why I like a coffee table with a shelf for storage," says Sabrina. "I wipe it down regularly with just a damp cloth, and twice a year I treat it with a solution I bought at a jewelry supply store that keeps it from rusting. Still, you can see the rings from people's cups, and I kind of love that. I'm neat and clean, yes, but I don't want to dampen anyone's fun."

Photo By: Melanie Acevedo

Easy Rug Care

"I toss my rug if there's a stain...Well, not the whole rug! I bought these Flor carpet tiles not only because I love how they look, but also because if I can't get a stain out, I recycle the tile and put down a new one. The tiles come with self-adhesive dots that connect the squares together at the corners. I've been known to stockpile extras, so replacing them is no big deal," says Sabrina. (For similar tiles, try Fall In Line, .)

Photo By: Melanie Acevedo

Well-Hidden Mess

"The pretty boxes on the coffee table are like my junk drawers. They're where all my USB cables, remotes, and cords are stored. I keep them neat with Velcro cord wrappers. Sometimes I'll go in search of the perfect box to conceal a specific item, and other times I'll just buy a set of nesting containers in a bunch of sizes knowing I can always find something to put in them," says Sabrina.

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Make the Bed Quick

"I pull the flat sheet all the way up and the blanket two thirds of the way up, then I fold the sheet over the blanket and fold the duvet in half at the foot of the bed. On the weekend, I'll make the bed more elaborate by adding three Euro shams behind the regular pillows and shams. Most people use two, but I like how three cover the entire head of this king-size bed," says Sabrina.

Photo By: Melanie Acevedo

Under-the-Mattress Storage

"The first time people see this hydraulic bed, they always say, 'Oh my God! I need that for my house!' I bought mine a few years back from West Elm, but sells similar ones. I don't have a big linen closet, and there's nothing I hate more than seeing those plastic bins under the bed, so I keep extra bedding in here, plus bags, suitcases, and out-of-season stuff," says Sabrina. "I also love that the bed frame goes all the way to the floor. No dust bunnies!"

Photo By: Melanie Acevedo

Closet Sorting

"All my stuff is organized by category — skirts, tank tops, long-sleeve shirts — and within those, I sort by color. I started out doing lightest to darkest but quickly realized that wasn't going to last long! I use only Huggable Hangers, which take up a lot less room ($10 for set of 10, ). If I had more room, I'd insist on at least a finger's width of space between each hanger," says Sabrina.

Photo By: Melanie Acevedo

Home Office Space-Savers

Sabrina uses the wall as a vertical desk with clever storage and creative displays.

Photo By: Melanie Acevedo

Hanging Storage Containers

"I have lots of little objects in my office — illustration markers, scissors, swatches — but because there's a place for it all, it looks neat. When I saw these little buckets in the kitchen section of IKEA, I thought they would be great for color-coding my markers and making them easy to reach."

Photo By: Melanie Acevedo

A Place for the Purse

"I also use what looks like a giant metal binder clip to hang my purse off the side of my desk. It's from a company called Poppin (), which makes really cute office supply stuff. I drop my bag on it as soon as I walk into the apartment so I don't have to hunt for it later."

Photo By: Melanie Acevedo

Dirty Tricks

"My bathroom doesn't have a chance to get dirty," says Sabrina. "Every morning after showering, I do a mini cleanup. First I pull the shower curtain shut so it dries flat. Then I wipe the mirror with a damp microfiber cloth and a spritz of Windex. I'm addicted to Windex. I would wash my face with it if I could! Next I wipe down the countertop and sink. Bigger jobs get tackled on the weekend: I clean the toilet with Soft Scrub and the tub with Bon Ami. If the grout looks grungy, I'll use Homax Tile Grout Coating with a stiff grout brush to whiten it up." See what's in Sabrina's cleaning caddy.

Photo By: Melanie Acevedo

But when you do spot mold in your home — and it happens to nearly every homeowner — there are a few attack methods that can keep it from doing a number on an entire area.

Surface mold, commonly referred to as mildew, can easily be cleaned up with a store-bought cleaner and scrub brush. Even though these cleaners are fairly safe, keep your skin safe by wearing gloves and long sleeves to clean up mold. If the mold is infesting your bathroom spaces, then you may want to place fresh grout between the tiles after cleaning up the area.

If the infestation is rather large in nature, then the cleanup process becomes a bit more intensive. Be sure to protect yourself by wearing a mask, eye protection and gloves. Remove and discard any carpet that may have been affected. Treat the area with a biocide and disinfectant, like OxB biocide. Make any necessary repairs to the area and then allow it to completely dry. You may want speed up the process by using a fan.

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