Pest- and Mold-Free Homes
Three Steps to a Healthy Home
Pests need water, food, and shelter to live, just like you. Here’s what you and your landlord can do to get rid of them and prevent them from invading your home.
1. Inside your home: take away pests’ food, water, and shelter
- Clean grease, crumbs, and spills and don’t leave dishes in the sink overnight.
- Store food in sealed containers. Pests can chew through paper, cardboard and thin plastic.
- Remove clutter from floors, and store extra clothing in sealed plastic bins.
- Take out garbage frequently; rinse food containers before recycling.
- At night, put away or put a lid on your pet’s food and water.
- Avoid sprays, foggers or bombs; they don’t reach hiding places and push pests into walls. Sprays, foggers, or bombs must be disposed of as household hazardous waste.
- Keep your home clean using less-toxic products. Read More
2. Reduce moisture to prevent mold and pests
- Open curtains and windows and use ventilation fans when cooking and bathing.
- Fan should be free of grease, and reported to landlord if broken.
- Separate furniture and appliances, including refrigerator, from walls.
- Dry moisture from windows and walls after bathing.
- Report drips or leaks for repair to property management or the landlord.
3. In and around your home: ask your landlord to seal out pests
- Install door sweeps or other barriers.
- Screen all vents, windows and entryways and repair broken screens.
- Seal all cracks, crevices and holes in walls and ceiling.
- Repair drips and leaks; seal cracks and holes around pipes and electrical outlets.
- Keep carports and garages free of clutter. Safely get rid of unwanted and leftover chemicals for free through San Mateo County’s Household Hazardous Waste Program.
- Thin out dense trees and overgrown plants. Trim branches and leaves that come close to gutters and roofs.
- Maintain interior and exterior water, drainage (incl. gutters), and sewage systems.
- Rinse common garbage and recycling bins as needed to keep them grime-free.
- Rinse common garbage and recycling bins frequently.
- Consider hiring a safer pest control expert certified in Integrated Pest Management (IPM): Ecowise Certified, GreenPro Certified, or Green Shield Certified.
Mold and Moisture in the Home: Keep it Dry
Reducing moisture prevents and reduces mold growth. Your first action is to address the source of the moisture, which causes mold. Read more about preventing mold and other healthy homes actions from the California Department of Public Health
What You Need
- Lemon juice or white vinegar: Cuts grease and grime (don’t use undiluted vinegar if you have asthma).
- Liquid soap: Free of antibacterial (triclosan) or sodium lauryl sulfate (detergent). Castile soap is a good option.
- Baking soda: Removes stains and grime, acts like scouring powder.
- Hydrogen peroxide (3% solution): Works like a disinfectant and
- Microfiber cloth: Damp microfiber removes dirt and germs.
- Scrub brush: Helps remove stains and grime.
All-purpose cleaner: countertops, floors, appliances, walls and more.
- Liquid soap and warm water; lemon juice optional.
- Liquid soap, 1 tbsp. baking soda, lemon juice and water.
- 1 part white vinegar and 1 part water.
Windows, glass and mirrors
- Wipe with a damp microfiber cloth.
- 1 part white vinegar or lemon juice and 1 part water.
Sink, tub and tile
- Creamy scrub: 2 cups baking soda, half cup liquid soap and some lemon juice.
- Mix liquid soap, baking soda and 2 capfuls of hydrogen peroxide (3% solution).
- Soapy water and a good scrub brush.
- Sprinkle bowl with baking soda, then drizzle with vinegar, let soak for 30 minutes and scrub with brush.
- Wipe toilet seat with hydrogen peroxide (3% solution).
- Mold and mildew remover
- Allow white vinegar to sit on moldy surface, then clean with hot soapy water.
- Mix liquid soap, baking soda, and 2 capfuls of hydrogen peroxide. Apply to surface for 30 minutes, then clean with soapy water.
- Ventilate well, especially when cooking, bathing and cleaning. Use kitchen and bathroom fans.
- Stick cloves into an orange.
- Sprinkle baking soda in bottom of garbage cans.
- Simmer cinnamon sticks, water and orange peel or cloves.
- Pour half cup baking soda down drain and follow with half cup vinegar. After 15-30 minutes, follow with 2 quarts boiling water.
- Apply paste of 1/4 cup baking soda, 2 tbsp. salt and hot water and let sit 5 minutes, then clean with scrub brush.