Mold from heck

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Funasshi
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Mold from heck

Post by Funasshi » Tue Aug 09, 2016 1:36 pm

This year we moved into a "mansion" on 1F and noticed eventually that during winter there was quite a lot of perspiration on windows everyday, so we have counter measured that by frequently wiping and also placing dehumidifier elements all over the place. Also tried ventilating as often as the weather allowed, and used fans above the stove full-on to prevent steam to collect inside when cooking etc.
Not a big problem so far. But with the summer season we got mold growing all over the place. It is a mix of orange ones and black mold and also lots of green type. It grows rapidly on and in our furniture, doors , walls, curtains, you name it. I discovered a lot of mold the other day stuck to the underside of the bed frame...
Now, having lived in Japan for more than 11 years I am no stranger to the humid summers and the mold problem in general. But I have never seen anything like this.
The building is not that old neither, it is about 20 years. I have lived in much older on 1F in Japan.
It is pretty hopeless, and even after purchasing and using powerful dehumidifier machines constantly in each room, collecting buckets and buckets of water, there still seems to be enough left for the mold to flourish. :cry:
There are of course chemicals that can be used but they are all targeting bathroom use...

Anyway, my only hope is that soon we get to move to a more permanent place and that this situation is a exception. Gaman gaman. In the meantime I try to make sure my cats don't die due to licking their bodies after having slept on moldy floors or something of that nature.

Sorry for the long text. But I was hoping to hear if this kind of severe mold is a common problem in kominkas (since that could be an option for our next place) or even new structures close to nature/in inaka?
We didn't notice anything unusual when checking the place out before moving in, like smells or such. Any tips what to look for to avoid this kind of place? Any special type of home that is prone to moldiness? And also, any tips to reduce the problem that I haven't tried yet is very appreciated. :pray:

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Re: Mold from heck

Post by paradoxbox » Wed Aug 10, 2016 1:57 pm

Japanese apartments on the 1st floor are very prone to this kind of mold

You can do a few things to reduce mold by putting some alcohol in a spray bottle (Cleaning ethanol or some other fast-evaporating, non toxic alcohol) and spraying the entire apartment with it then wiping it up with rag dampened with alcohol. This won't stop the mold but it will slow it considerably.

You'll have to do this quite frequently.

You can also mix in hydrogen peroxide. Just be careful with both of these since they might bleach the surface you're spraying or wiping.

Avoid bleach to clean mold, it kills mold but it also tends to set the stains they leave.

Kominka and old J-houses are usually built on "stilts" so lots of air flows under them, mold is usually not too bad a problem but you WILL get mold under tatami if you place anything on the tatami and forget to move it regularly. I make it a practice to move my mattress around the room every day or two because the mold will start to attack the tatami in a big way after just a few days, be it winter or summer. Raising mattresses or futon off the floor so air can circulate reduces but doesn't eliminate this problem.

Mold also tends to accumulate in the usual places, bathroom/shower, and beside the washing machine if it's indoors. I just spray everything with alcohol and hydrogen peroxide every week and this keeps it in check.

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Re: Mold from heck

Post by Funasshi » Wed Aug 10, 2016 4:15 pm

Thanks paradoxbox. I will follow your tips.

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Re: Mold from heck

Post by Zasso Nouka » Sat Aug 13, 2016 5:48 am

What is it about ground floor apartments that causes so many mold problems ? Is it the materials or design ?

As Paradoxbox points out countryside properties don't seem to suffer from this in nearly the same way yet they experience exactly the same humidity and weather. Most of our windows are open from early spring to late autumn and only get closed if heavy rain is expected and even then due to an overhanging roof many are still open so there is good airflow. Is that possibly why countryside houses don't experience the same issues, because they can be left open to breathe most of the time ?

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Re: Mold from heck

Post by gonbechan » Sat Aug 13, 2016 11:56 am

Shikkui plaster also makes a huge difference.
Its alkalinity discourages mould.
It absorbs moisture in summer and releases it in winter.
Most kominka will have shikkui walls.

Besides bad construction in apartments that causes rising damp, you are sharing drain pipes with all the people above you who are probably not that fastidious about cleaning.
When rental properties in Japan are vacant, they allow toilets to go dry, this opens the whole apartment to the sewer air as there is no longer a water trap between. The u-traps in drain pipes from sinks and bath too will be open to the grey-water waste pipes too.

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Re: Mold from heck

Post by Funasshi » Mon Aug 15, 2016 12:07 pm

Zasso Nouka wrote:What is it about ground floor apartments that causes so many mold problems ? Is it the materials or design ?
I think definitely the airflow is the key. I just noticed our building is completely sealed underneath so it makes sense that we have such problems. Also checked with the next door neighbor and she said they have the exact same issue, but they basically have given up and don't use the room facing north anymore.
We try to have windows and doors open as often as possible but I think it is nowhere near enough (We both work weekdays so we keep windows open mainly in weekends...)
Trying to decrease humidity I have a heavy duty dehumidifier running constantly in each room every weekday when we are away. They yield about 6 liters of water each per day. But still things grow like a forest. :?

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Re: Mold from heck

Post by Zasso Nouka » Mon Aug 15, 2016 1:15 pm

Funasshi wrote:Trying to decrease humidity I have a heavy duty dehumidifier running constantly in each room every weekday when we are away. They yield about 6 liters of water each per day. But still things grow like a forest. :?
:shock:

That's some serious humidity man, lets hope you find a country place real soon. Anything on the horizon ? Apart from typhoon number 7 ;)

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Re: Mold from heck

Post by paradoxbox » Mon Aug 15, 2016 8:19 pm

Airflow is definitely what stops mold, the spores need to settle in order to grow, if the wind is blowing them around too much they can't settle.

Shikkui is good but maybe a little thick, limewash might be easier to paint overtop of wallpaper, it's thinner. The ingredients are basically the same though and like shikkui it deters all kinds of bacteria and fungus.

I would try keeping the air moving around as much as possible, this should significantly reduce the mold issue. Combine that with alcohol & hydrogen peroxide sprays (Including on the floor) and you shouldn't have much trouble. Get as much sunlight in the room as possible since UV kills or weakens mold spores (And lots of other bad things too)

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Re: Mold from heck

Post by Zasso Nouka » Tue Aug 16, 2016 12:42 pm

I think Gonbechan used some sort of roll on Shikkui that goes right over wallpaper in her new house, seem to remember seeing some pictures of Senior Gonbe applying it before they moved in, could be wrong though.

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Re: Mold from heck

Post by gonbechan » Tue Aug 16, 2016 4:35 pm

yes and you can get it through amazon.
Its pretty good although if i had to do it again, i would rip off wallpaper and go the trowel route.
Just for the look of it.

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