Close

Mold - please share your tips and tricks for dealing with it

We live in an area where we get a lot of fog as well as rain. Not as much as some others, mind you, but still enough to create mold problems.
Examples: We had a bunch of stuff stored in cardboard boxes. We soon realized cardboard boxes invite mold! We had to take everything out of the boxes and wash them and throw out the cardboard and we had to buy (relatively expensive) plastic boxes for everything.

One suitcase also gets moldy even though I've put it in the sun for days to dry out... Close it up and soon it is moldy again!

One table in our living room (particle board) got completely moldy but strangely enough 2 other particle board (cheap) tables did not.

Okay... So we imagine an dehumidifier is not in our budget at this time.
So what can we do to minimize mold?

One thing we are thinking of doing is painting the particle board tables with anti-hongo tinta (a varnish like paint). Not sure it will "accept" the paint but we're going to try I think.

Our house is painted with anti-hongo paint in and out just fyi, with ceramic floors and very little wood - almost none except for some closet shelves which are painted with anti-hongo and we don't use closet doors, we put up a curtain instead which we mostly leave open. STILL, I found 3 leather belts with mold on them inside the closet the other day! (What the heck?!) I assume the belts must have held some moisture in them from sweat?

So okay, you get the picture...
Do you too have mold problems? How do you deal with them? What can we do to minimize it or get rid of it?

I saw a chlorine spray product at Maxi Pali' that is $5 and not just chloro but sayt it has some other anti-hongo ingredient as well in it. Vale la pena? (Worth the price?) Anyone tried it?

Okay, I look forward to any tips you can offer to deal with mold!

We regularly wipe any mold we see (inside drawers, cabinet doors, etc) with vinegar and some times we are proactive.  I also have three leather belts with the same problem and two days in the sun regularly fixes them up.  Have done the same with leather purses and shoes.  We do run two dehumidifiers two or three times a day.

Thanks for the tip re vinegar. Do you use it full strength or half water or what?
Did you bring your dehumidifiers from the states? If not how much does a good one cost here?
We just assume we can't afford one, haven't looked into it yet. Appliances seem to generally cost about twice what they cost in the USA.

50/50 for the mix.
We brought two new ones with us from Canada.
I have seen them in Pricesmart many times but did not price them out.  I did a search on their website but nothing showed up.  I have seen them in EPA but again did not look at the price.  EPA would be more expensive than Pricesmart.  I keep a good eye on the humidity, we have two electronic monitors in the house and one outside.  Our livable range is from 60% to 70% and I always turn both on when it reaches 70%.

I just moved back to the Valley, last week. I was living in the edge of the rain forest in Hermosa, Jaco. It was very humid there. I fought the mold, all of the time. I have been using water and vinegar and also the water and Clorox solutions. I Googled solutions, on the internet. Yes, I got mold on clothes that were in suitcases, also. I am still washing clothes, to get them fresh again. I have cleaned the wood furniture but will have to get the cushions cleaned. Slowly, the mold smell is going away.

BE SURE it is WHITE Vinegar ! I buy it by the Gallon in Heredia
(Costs a mere 1000 colones and I I use it for many cleaning  tasks ) including Washing clothes (especially for us pet lovers  because it takes out ANY and all odors  from pet rugs or blankets.)

And for those who need an excellent oven cleaner which does not almost blind you, like the commercial oven cleaners  which also leaves you choking from the fumes. I have the perfect solution (as I do a lot of baking,  and made croissants in my Cafe )

Make a paste of 1 (or 2)  cup of Baking Soda and 2 or 3 cups of WHITE Vinegar.
Take a paint brush and paint the inside of your oven with it, 
(Put the metal racks in a tub if HOT water after  painting them with the paste (Make more paste if  oven is heavily soiled )
Leave the oven and the racks  in the tub of hot water over night. Then next day rinse off and VOILA sparking oven (Including the class door )
Try it you'll like it!

If it is a black mold you can ise Bleach (I cannot tolerate the fumes and do NOT mix with the vinegar as that will make it Toxic YUK

Thanks for all the replies!
Pebs, your vinegar and baking soda combo can also be used for cleaning drains that I have used for many years. Pour some baking soda down the drain (maybe a quarter or half a cup). Then follow it by a couple cups of vinegar full strength. You'll see the "volcano" effect of it gurgling and bubbling up out of the drain.
Then follow that after a few minutes with very hot water.

We're going to look into getting a dehumidifier. If we can get a decent price on one we'll probably get one, sooner or later. Anyone have a brand or model recommendation?

Okay... I tried the vinegar and also the chlorine on our cheap furniture and within a few weeks they're all moldy again. Our media center is a major pain to clean, we have to move stuff off it to clean it and that means re-wiring and etc which is a hassle.

So any other ideas?

Will painting it with an anti-hongo varnish help?

Also leather belts. I have tried vinegar on them to no avail. I assume chloro may ruin the color (?)...
Anyway the mold keeps coming back even after setting them out in the sun for hours and hours.

Seems anything that's not plastic or metal will mold! 

So anyway, any MORE / OTHER suggestions?

Will a dehumidifier help enough to justify the expense of the unit and the electricity?
If so, any recommendations on units available here in Costa Rica and where to buy it?

Unfortunately, you have picked a VERY humid area to live in, so you don't have much choice other than to fork out the money, and purchase and run, a dehumidifier.

kohlerias :

Unfortunately, you have picked a VERY humid area to live in, so you don't have much choice other than to fork out the money, and purchase and run, a dehumidifier.

Thanks. That is the conclusion we have been coming to...
At least for the rainy season it looks like we will need a dehumidifier. Now where to get one and what brand etc?

Hey Samramon,

Have you been to Golfito ?  It is supposed to be dutyfree.  Maybe you can find a good deal there on dehumidifier ?  Never been there myself, but it seems like it could work.....maybe.......

Well we are putting dehumidifier on our list of things to save $ to buy!
As to Golfito I hate driving in Costa Rica nor am I a fan of long bus trips - especially here where the buses are not exactly "1st class" and don't have lots of leg room. So Golfito is not a good option for us.

Meanwhile we're going to use some more incandescent lamps which might help (or so I've heard).
And we are leaving the curtains open as much as possible and closing the windows when we are in a cloud of fog.
Maybe with these changes we can control the mold better.
If not we'll buy a dehumidifier when we can afford one.

New topic

Expatriate health insurance in Costa Rica

Free advice and quotation service to choose an expat health insurance in Costa Rica

Moving to Costa Rica

Find tips from professionals about moving to Costa Rica

Travel insurance in Costa Rica

Enjoy a stress-free travel across Costa Rica

Flights to Costa Rica

Find the best prices for your flight tickets to Costa Rica