Cleaning furniture and items

Not all movables must be destroyed; some items can be cleaned. When moving out of a mould-infested home, clean your furniture and things carefully, because they can carry spores to your new home and cause symptoms.

Items and furniture with no visible mould or powerful smell of mould can be cleaned. If movables smell of mould or cause symptoms even after thorough cleaning, throw them away.

When moving into a new home, for example, bring the cleaned items in gradually to see whether they will cause symptoms or not. This will make it easier to connect any symptoms to specific items. You should keep a record of your symptoms to make it easier to keep track of the things that aggravate or alleviate them. Cleaned items that cause symptoms or have an unusual smell, in the new home, should be disposed of. Also, note that possible symptoms can be caused by indoor air problems in the new home.

Original documents and items of personal importance (e.g. photographs, books, paintings) can be stored in boxes in a room that is not used regularly (e.g. a ventilated storage room). Important documents or, for example, cards drawn by children can be preserved by laminating them. Photographs and documents can also be scanned or copied.

The Organisation for Respiratory Health in Finland is not aware of any new, safe and efficient methods, in addition to the traditional ones, described in official cleaning guidelines. Items that will not be thrown away should be cleaned by vacuuming, washing or wiping, in accordance with the instructions provided on the site, taking the materials and operating instructions of the items into consideration.

Heating the items in a sauna is frequently mentioned; but, it is not featured in the official cleaning instructions. The idea is based on the microbe-destroying effect of heat. However, heating will not necessarily clean items damaged by mould. Items should not be stored or dried in the sauna for fire safety reasons. It should also be noted that many items cannot tolerate heat and that heating can increase their volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions. VOCs can be detrimental to health.

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