Written by Karina Prananto
Summertime in Korea is hot and humid. The monsoon season that comes with it also makes it damp, and thus, a perfect opportunity for mold to manifest itself in our homes. Mold grows well in paper and wood products, so it usually is visible in Korean homes as most walls are lined with wallpaper. Mold is not only an eyesore, but harmful to our health as well. Mold is said to have numerous negative effects on our bodies, including:
- Headache, nausea, fatigue, cough, atopy, and difficulty in breathing.
- It triggers more severe allergic reactions in our respiratory system and causes nasal inflammation. Mold is especially dangerous for babies and small children, and for people who have asthma and various other allergies.
- Prolonged exposure to a moldy environment can foster hemorrhages and even cancer.
- When left for a very long time, mold can make a building’s walls weak, possibly causing them to eventually collapse.
Since mold occurs naturally, it is not possible to completely stop the growth of mold, but we can control it by following these easy steps:
1. Using germicide (살균제)
A general way to get rid of mold is by using a germicide or mold remover. These are sold in all large and smaller marts, especially during the summer season. As it is very easy for mold to appear, before using germicide, you will need to remove the wallpaper on which the mold has manifested itself and then paste new wallpaper over it. Spray the germicide over the mold-affected areas and then wipe them after leaving it for 2–3 hours.
2. Using oxygen bleaching (산소 표백제)
Using bleach is not highly recommended as it is bad for the health, but should you need to use bleach, opt for oxygen bleach instead. This can also be bought in large marts. Only use the bleach on the parts of the wallpaper infected with mold and then dry using a hair dryer. If you see that not much mold is removed, mix baking soda with the bleach to strengthen its cleaning properties. Never mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners because it can create toxic fumes and be fatal.
3. Using vinegar
This method is the most convenient and cheapest to use. It is also the most environmentally friendly and causes the least harm to health. Using cotton or a paper towel, mix vinegar with germicide, and use the solution to wipe the mold from the wall.
Sound like too much work? Alternatively, you could hire professionals to wipe out the mold for you. This is our recommended professional cleaner:
Korea Clean (K크린)
Address: 204 Sudeung-ro, Gwangsan-gu, Gwangju
Operating Hours: Weekdays: 9 a.m. – 8 p.m., Weekends: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Telephone: 1855-0432, 070-7178-8450
Prices range from 180,000 won and up (depending on your house size)
Prevention is always better than curing. Lessen the chance for mold to appear in your house by always allowing for a good circulation of fresh air, cleaning your air conditioner regularly, and basically keeping the humidity as low as you can by using a dehumidifier. Keep ventilation open to damp areas in your house like the kitchen and bathroom. Follow these steps and say goodbye to mold!
(Special thanks goes out to Kwak Ji-young for assistance on this article.)
Karina is from Jakarta, Indonesia, and has been calling Gwangju home for 11 years. She loves mystery books, is obsessed with cleanliness, and always reads horror books before going to sleep.