O Christmas Tree, O Crap! Dealing With Christmas Tree Mold
It’s here! The most magical time of the year is upon us! Maybe you are about to join or have already joined the almost 30 million Americans who cut down a live Christmas tree to decorate your home! In anticipation of all those trees, sellers cut the piney green holiday symbols before Thanksgiving to make everything go a little smoother. We agree that Christmas trees are a classic and festive addition, but did you know that your holiday decor might lead to a mold infestation? Luckily, the mold experts at Klean-Co are here to help you avoid any Christmas tree mold this holiday season!
The Mold Grinch Came For Your Tree!
Allergists conducted several studies in 2007 and 2011, revealing the extent of mold on Christmas trees. One study looked at 23 bark and pine needle samples and found 53 different types of mold. Another study measured 800 mold spores per cubic meter when a Christmas tree was first brought inside and compared it to the mold spores two weeks later. The mold spores grew to 5,000 spores per cubic meter! The scientists presented their results at the Dallas American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology annual meeting.
Why Would My Christmas Tree Have Mold?
Well, Christmas trees are like any other surface. Given the proper environmental conditions, mold can grow (and will grow) most anywhere! Let’s take a look at what these conditions are so you know how to avoid them.
Humidity and Warmth
That cozy fireplace and the warm cup of cocoa that creates the perfect holiday ambiance might not help your mold situation. Unfortunately, our homes quickly become warm and humid during the damp, colder winter months. If that happens, mold spurs already present in the air will stick to any organic surface (AKA your Christmas tree) and start growing.
In addition, the trees are usually tightly bundled before you release their branches in your living room. Unfortunately, the tight bundling is also a perfect environment for mold.
Modern homes have the luxury of better insulation, resulting in less heat escaping and less cold coming in. While this is a good thing, better insulation sometimes leads to stagnant air in our homes. Unfortunately, stagnant air is the perfect opportunity for mold spores to grow. These spores can grow into a full-on Christmas tree mold infestation without proper ventilation!
An Artificial Tree?
You may think you have an artificial tree, so you are safe from the mold grinch. But, sadly, the mold grinch does not care if your tree is fresh or fake! While many live trees have mold spores on their pine needles, mold spores can also grow on artificial trees that sit in a humid-attic or damp basement year-round.
Christmas Tree Syndrome
Some allergists have started calling the sniffing, sneezing, and wheezing caused by Christmas tree mold “Christmas Tree Syndrome.” About 70% of mold spores on Christmas trees can cause breathing problems. People who suffer from allergies are most at risk of developing this syndrome. Some of the symptoms of Christmas Tree Syndrome include:
- Runny nose
- Dry, scaly skin
- Itchy nose and throat
- Itchy or watery eyes
How Can You Avoid Mold On Your Christmas Tree?
Luckily, you don’t have to give up your holiday traditions or festive tree altogether. There are several ways you can prevent a mold problem.
1. Get an Air Purifier
An air purifier works well to remove the environmental factors causing mold spores to grow by helping to keep your air circulating. In addition, air purifiers also improve the air quality for people with asthma, reducing any reaction to your holiday tree.
2. Opt For An Artificial Tree
We know, we know, we just said that mold spores grow on artificial trees too, but hear us out. If you properly store your artificial tree, the risk of mold developing on it is less than with a live tree. However, without proper storage, your artificial tree will also become covered in mold. Follow these storage tips:
- Make sure to store it in a properly insulated room with minimal condensation—for example, a closet or finished basement instead of your unwanted attic.
- Never put your artificial tree in a cardboard box after the holiday season.
- Store your artificial tree in a bag or plastic container
3. Wash It
Before bringing your piney beauty into your home, it’s a good idea to clean it first. Begin by unbundling it and letting the branches breathe. Next, use a leaf blower to remove any pollen, spores, or nasty bugs hiding in the branches. Then, mix one part vinegar with one part water and spray the solution all over your tree. Finally, give it another once over with the leaf blower to ensure no damp moisture gets left behind from the spray.
4. Timing Is Everything
Even though you want to enjoy your beautiful tree for as long as possible, it isn’t the best idea to leave it up from the beginning of December to the start of the new year. Mold grows rapidly on your tree after about a week living in your home. Allergists recommend leaving the tree up for 5-7 days to reduce the risk of mold growing on the branches and impacting your air quality. This is especially important to consider if someone in your home already struggles with asthma or allergies.
5. Consider Cutting Your Tree
Opting for an experience cutting your tree helps you bypass the conditions that promote mold growth on Christmas trees while in storage and transportation. In addition, cutting your tree can provide a wonderful, fun family experience!
Goodbye, Mold Grinch!
Here at Klean-Co, we love educating our customers on best practices to keep your home and the people who live inside it happy and healthy – especially over the holidays! However, if you find yourself needing help addressing a mold infestation, give your professional, experienced Jacksonville, Alabama, mold team a call! From our Klean-Co family to yours, we wish you a merry mold-free holiday season!
Interested in learning more about mold remediation? Check out our Facebook and Instagram pages!