What is it?
Let’s say you are buying a home, and the moment you walk in the door, you get this nose-wrinkling odor that hit’s your nostrils – it’s the dreaded “Old House Odor”. The house may not even be old, but that smell is definitely there. If you are the one trying to sell that house, this is a real problem! It can be a deal killer. This is a mold and or fungal issue and it doesn’t necessarily mean you have an expensive mold problem to fix. But it is a decided turn-off for anyone walking in a door for the first time. Excess humidity is enough to get mold started smelling. You probably won’t find mold actually growing anywhere, but the odor is definitely there. If you do find mold growing, then that is a bigger issue.
Here is what you need to do to handle this.
First, check thoroughly to ensure there are no water leaks, no dripping faucets, no leaks with the toilet water supply, the drain from the air conditioner coil is not blocked and so on. Look closely under each sink and lavatory – feel to see if there is any dampness. Check thoroughly!
Second, dry out the house. If the humidity is not high outside, open the windows and give the place a good airing out. If humidity is high outside, run the air conditioner because this will dry out the inside air. Keep the inside temperature fairly low for several days to allow everything inside to thoroughly dry. If this is not possible, or if some rooms do not have sufficient ventilation, you may need to purchase a de-humidifier for each of those rooms.
What about Furniture?
If there is furniture in the home, be sure and give that old overstuffed sofa the ‘nose test’ to make sure it is not the source of that musty odor. If this turns out to be the source of that odor, you can replace the sofa – or you can fight the fungus that is likely growing deep inside the stuffing by diluting SNiPER disinfectant and odor eliminator by 4 to 1 with water. Spray the sofa heavily. SNiPER must penetrate the stuffing thoroughly and come in contact with the growing stuff. In my personal experience, it took the sofa a week to dry fully, but it has been 6 years now, and the odor has not returned.
If the old house odor persists, then start washing the walls with SNiPER diluted by 4 to 1 with water. Use a rag to wipe down the walls. Do this wherever you detect a bit of that odor. A better option is to use a fogger – they are not cheap, but they are the quickest, most efficient way to treat large areas. With one of these machines, you can literally ‘paint’ walls ceiling and so on with a very thin coat of SNiPER. In a perfect world, someone would go behind you and give those ‘painted’ surfaces a quick wipe down with a rag that is already damp with SNIPER. You are not trying to dry it, but to wipe away anything stuck to the surface of the walls.
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Other Odor locations
Another hiding place for those old house odors is the inside of the air ducts. That fogger is a great way to apply SNiPER deep inside the ductwork in your home. Remove the grille, and use the fogger to spray up in there. You are trying to spray enough ‘fog’ inside that it will begin to condense on the interior walls of the ducts. You may also want to check the coils of the HVAC system. Those coils can become dusty and that dust is a food source for molds. Clean the coils thoroughly and spray them with SNiPER. Allow to air dry naturally.
Carpets in the house could also be the source of Old House Odor, so give them the ‘nose test’ as well. Treating the carpet is much the same as treating the sofa. You need to dilute SNiPER by at least 4 to 1 with water, and spray fairly heavily to ensure sufficient penetration in order to achieve contact with all the stinky stuff. Put fans on the carpet, run the AC to dehumidify and try to get it to dry as quickly as possible. Each twisted strand of carpet fiber acts like a candle wick and can pull up stuff from deep down. Speed the drying process to minimize what ‘wicking’ might bring up.
And that should do it! Give Ted a call at 866 551 1927 with any questions.
Now that all the waterlogged homes from Harvey and Irma are drying, there is a real need for products that can kill mold, mildew, and fungus infestations and the spores that accompany all this wetness. But so many of the disinfectants out there are highly toxic and are a real danger to your health. What to do? Why choose SNiPER?
There are 6 great reasons why choosing SNiPER is a good decision for you and your family.
- High degree of efficacy. Many cleansers can kill mold, but not that many can also kill the spores. SNiPER kills the spores too!
- Very low toxicity. The EPA rates all disinfectants and assigns them a score in each of 4 categories of toxicity: Toxic to skin, toxic to eyes, toxicity if inhaled and toxicity if ingested (eaten or drank). SNiPER receives the lowest toxicity rating that the EPA hands out in ALL FOUR categories. You can apply SNiPER without needing to wear gear to protect you from the disinfectant.
- Non-corrosive product. Because of its non-corrosive nature, you can put SNiPER into your favorite fogger to make application a breeze! Quick and easy application is the third big reason to use SNiPER for any kind of disinfection. It also means you can apply SNiPER and walk away – you don’t need to come back later and wipe toxic residues away.
- Ease of application. SNiPER can be applied using a hand pump sprayer, a pump-up garden style sprayer, a fogger (either ULV or electrostatic). You will not need to wear special gear to apply this product.
- Hypo-allergenic. SNiPER is unlikely to trigger any allergic response from people suffering from asthma or other allergies.
- Many odors are associated with mold, mildew and the like. SNiPER will eliminate odors at the same time it disinfects.
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SNiPER is a Proven Solution for your Disinfection needs
Taken together, it is easy to see why SNiPER is considered to be among the top products to use against biological infestations resulting from prolonged wetness. It is strong enough to stop these biological problems dead in their tracks, but it does not contribute to a toxic household. In our formulation, SNiPER can kill the mold and the spores safely, without endangering your home with toxic cleansers. You can breathe easy!
How to Use SNiPER to Kill Mold
Not All Water Damage is from Bad Weather
You leave for work one day, and then when you come home, you open the door and see that there is water everywhere – your home is flooded. The water supply line to your washer burst during the day and now there is 2 or 3 inches of water on the floor throughout your house. You need to act quickly to avoid costly water damage . It’s not Harvey or Irma, but it is a real mess nonetheless. Here is what to do.
First – turn off the water. You should be able to turn the valve just before that burst water supply to shut off the water. But if it is not accessible, then you will have to find the valve for the whole house.
Next – take photos of everything as documentation for the insurance company. And that is your third step – call your insurance agent and find out if they will send an adjuster and what they require you to do.
Get rid of that water!
Water is the stuff of life, but when it gets out of control it can create it’s own problems, even in a small-flood issue like this. Your most important task to minimize water damage is to get everything dry within the next 48 hours to prevent the growth of mold, mildew and fungus.
If it is a large amount of water you have to deal with, the easiest solution is to call a carpet cleaner and request immediate water extraction services. Their truck mounted machines have tremendous vacuum power and large storage tanks. They can vac up that water quickly, and they may have powerful ‘air movers’ that can speed drying.
If it is not so much water, you may be able to use a shop ‘wet vacuum‘ to vacuum up that water. Peel back the carpet (unhook it from the ‘tack strips’) and pull the carpet back until you see dry floor underneath. The pad underneath is cheap – don’t hesitate to bundle it up and just throw it outside, where you can later decide whether to replace it or dry it for re-use.
Be aware that the reservoir is small in a wet-vac, and you will have to stop and empty the tank frequently. Remember that water is heavy!
NOTICE: It is crucial to get standing water out from under your carpet as quickly as possible. If the restoration company tells you they can extract water through your carpet and pad using ‘deep extraction tools’ – fire them and get a new company! There is a time and place for such tools – but a flooding event is not one of them.
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Keep the Air Moving
Once you have vacuumed up as much as you can, point fans at wet areas, turn the fan in your HVAC to the ‘On’ position, borrow more fans, do everything possible to keep air moving and keep that water evaporating.
If the drywall is waterstained higher than the baseboards, you may need to remove those baseboards to check for trapped water. Hope and pray that there is no water trapped in the walls behind the baseboards!
It is absolutely crucial that you get your home dry within 48 hours or mold WILL start growing. Mold only needs one thing to start growing – water. In dry conditions, spores which are floating around us everywhere may land on the carpet. But since it is dry, nothing happens, mold does not begin to grow. Add a bit of wetness, however, and natures little recyclers come to life and start growing resulting in water damage.
Remember that bleach DOES NOT KILL MOLD. It will weaken the mold and it may make it change color, but bleach does not kill mold.
SNiPER kills mold and if you spray the air using atomizing sprayer, you can kill the spores in the air too. SNiPER is so safe because it is not a poison. You don’t need to wear protective gear to apply it, it doesn’t leave toxic residues, and it is non-corrosive, so you can spray it down – and walk away. Nothing could be easier.
We have several documents to help guide you in dealing with mold.
Disaster! Your home has been flooded! Two feet deep. And all that water came with a LOT of mud and muck that has started to stink. What to do? How can SNiPER or Nok-Out help with flood recovery? Restoring a home that has been flooded is an immense amount of work that is complicated by the sludge left behind because that sludge is likely to have everything from toxic chemicals to overflow from sewage ponds in it. Given that you must dry everything within 48 hours to stop the growth of mold, mildew and fungal infestations, you have a powerful need for a disinfecting odor eliminator to help you restore your home, your car, your offices. This is a perfect use for SNiPER, because with this one product, you can both disinfect and deodorize as part of flood recovery.
You need to disinfect not only for the nasty pathogens that may come from the sewage ponds, but also because natures little recyclers (mold, mildew, fungus) will begin growing within 48 hours if you cannot dry it out. Some – not all! – but some of those molds are actually quite toxic and you really don’t want that stuff adding to the problems.
Many stinks in the world are of biological origin. A good example is sweat. Our perspiration is not smelly, until bacteria living in our skin start eating it. Their excrement is what stinks – not your feet! So killing or holding down the growth of biologicals can help keep horrible odors at bay. As both a disinfectant and odor eliminator, SNiPER is perfect for flood relief, and home restoration.
How can SNiPER help my flooded home?
After you have pumped out the water, after the carpet and the upholstered furniture has all been thrown out to the curb, after the baseboards have been removed and holes poked in the drywall to allow trapped water to escape, it may well still be damp. But you can already begin spraying SNiPER even if it IS still a bit damp. Lightly spraying those damp areas that have stayed wet for 48 hours will slow the growth of biologicals and is an important part of flood recovery. It will not prevent the growth, but it can slow it down until your home has dried out further. The only thing that will stop the growth is for the area to be dry and SNiPER can retard growth enough to help prevent the entire structure being eaten by mold.
If mold has already started growing visibly, spray directly on it. (Be safe! Wear an N-95 mask, gloves and eye protection. If you start feeling ill or woozy, stop, go outside and breathe fresh air, before deciding if you can continue.) Use a soft scrub pad from the kitchen and try to scrub the crud loose, wipe it away, spray one more time and then you can walk away, leaving it to air dry naturally. If possible, use a ‘fogger’ for maximum efficiency in spraying. See below for links to many of our ‘how-to‘ articles on controlling mold.
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Why can’t I just use bleach?
Bleach doesn’t kill mold. Let me say this one more time – bleach does not kill mold. It will weaken the growth and it will make it change color, but bleach does not kill mold or the spores. SNiPER kills both – safely.
What about my furniture?
That overstuffed sofa that you like so much is likely to take several days to dry in the best of conditions. It is highly likely that mold will begin growing deep inside the stuffing where you cannot see it. Given the difficulty of drying and then removing the odor from that sludge, it is unlikely that sofa will ever be usable again. It is possible that you could clean it up, but given the demands on your time and the difficulty associated with cleaning it up, you will have to decide if it is worth trying to save it. It will certainly be a long row to hoe if you want to save it!
What about clothing? Can SNiPER save my clothes?
Yes – SNiPER or Nok-Out can be added to loads of laundry and if there is visible mold present, SNiPER will kill it. See https://www.nokout.com/Laundry-Odors.html for instructions.
“My home is mostly dry, but still damp in some places. I know mold is growing because I can smell it. Should I worry about the spores in the air?”
Yes – you should worry! Breathing in mold spores is not a good idea. Spraying the air with SNiPER will kill the spores. A professional would use a fogger to spray the air, because this machine can create droplet sizes that are small enough to float around on the breeze. Wonderful machines, but expensive. A slower alternative is to use a common household vaporizer or a room humidifier. These can do the same thing but are very slow. We have a good article for you here.
I have a 2500 ft2 house. How much SNiPER do I need?
A very good question. And, one that is not easy to answer because it depends on so many things, such as ‘how much do you spray’?, ‘should I spray more here’? ‘am I spraying enough? or not enough’? and so on. We think that you will need around 1.5 gallons to make it around the house once spraying economically. But you may find that you need more than that.
In general, spray enough that the area becomes wet, but not so much that it runs down the wall as if you had sprayed too much paint. Do not wipe it away, instead, allow it to air dry. SNiPER is non-corrosive and will not damage the sprayed surfaces.
A very important consideration is the bacteria that come up out of sewers during a ‘big flooding’ event. Wherever that nasty water went – it carried those bacteria with it. These bacteria can easily pass to you if you touch something wet and then later, touch your mouth. Stop this mode of transmission by spraying interior surfaces with SNiPER.
Wear the mask (N-95) to avoid the possibility of breathing in spores and other muck. If you begin to feel ill – stop! Go outside and recover. Consider hiring a pro to do this for you. Here are symptoms to watch out for:
- rashes or hives
- eye irritation
- nasal passage/sinus congestion or irritation
- difficulty breathing
Keep children away from standing water and mud, which is often contaminated with toxic chemicals and sewage. Pay attention to dangerous debris such as boards with protruding nails. Unplug all electronics and electrical devices. Make sure that gas is shut off. Avoid drinking tap water until you are sure it is drinkable again.
Some of our ‘How-to’ mold articles
Using a fogger is an excellent way to apply Nok-Out or SNiPER very efficiently. It is especially useful when you want to apply over large areas – such as your basement, or the whole of your house. A fogger is simply an electric sprayer. A good one will be adjustable and you can dial the droplet size up or down. Using the smallest setting, the droplets are around 15 microns across and are nearly invisible they are so small. At this size, the airborne droplets can float around on the air currents in a room. When dialing in the larger droplet size, the volume of spray is increased and so it sprays out much greater quantity of liquid. The larger size droplets will not ‘float’ in the air as long as the smaller size droplets. Foggers are tools used by professionals because they allow you to be efficient and they are fast. Many consumers use them also, for the same reasons.
If your basement has a tendency to get a little damp at times, a fogger is a great way to spread a very thin coat of Nok-Out or SNiPER very evenly over large areas. It is quick and takes only a few minutes to ‘fog’ large areas. Being able to spray such a thin coat makes it efficient, because you don’t use much of the spray, so it can help you be efficient as well as effective.
How to use a fogger
You can ‘paint’ the walls and other surfaces you would like to spray, treating the fogger as if it were a ‘paint sprayer’. A larger droplet size makes this very quick. Or you can spray the air until the atmosphere becomes saturated with moisture. At this point, the excess moisture will begin to condense onto literally every surface in the room. When you start spraying the air, the little droplets will also come in contact with mold spores, dust and dander and will fall to the ground where they can be vacuumed up easily. In this way, you can lay down an extremely thin layer of Nok-Out or SNiPER onto literally every surface of a room. This is perfect for some things, such as when you are trying to get rid of smoke odor, which, as you know, get’s onto every surface in a room. Fogging a smokers room is the perfect way to get Nok-Out or SNiPER to come into direct contact with residue from smoke, whether it is fire or tobacco.
When ‘painting’ surfaces using a fogger, the idea is to spray enough that the surface gets wet. But not so much that the liquid begins to run down the wall, or that puddles form on horizontal surfaces. In this way, you can be most efficient in your use of Nok-Out or SNiPER. This efficiency and ease is what using a fogger is all about.
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Uses for a Fogger
- sanitize a locker room or sports facility using SNiPER disinfectant and odor eliminator
- get rid of cooking odors with Nok-Out
- remove smoke odor (tobacco or fire) using Nok-Out
- treat large areas using SNiPER for mold, mildew or fungal infestations (SNiPER)
- hotel smoking rooms (Nok-Out)
- remove smoke odor or musty odors from upholstered furniture (Nok-Out)
- remove smoke odor from cars (Nok-Out)
- basement odors (SNiPER for microbial related odors, Nok-Out for non-biological odors)
- sanitize or disinfect a kennel (SNiPER)
- sanitize or disinfect a day care center, or elder care center (SNiPER)
- hospital or clinic settings (SNiPER)
- micro-sanitizing of mouse droppings (SNiPER)
At Nokout.com, we like the ‘Fogmaster Jr’ and keep them in stock. It is available here: https://www.nokout.com/Fogmaster-Jr.html. A more professional fogger is the RL Flo Master 1035B. Foggers are very nice tools, but they are expensive. Maybe you only have a one-off need for this type of application. In this case, you could consider using a ‘vaporizer’ or room humidifier or a pump up atomizing sprayer, etc., which will be much slower, but can also put Nok-Out or SNiPER in vapor form into the air. It is really slow though, and if time is an issue, may not be a good alternative. See: https://www.nokout.com/Vaporizer-How-to-use.html to see if this may be right for you.
If you decide you need a fogger, be sure that the one you get is NOT a ‘thermal’ fogger because the high heat will damage and reduce the effectiveness of Nok-Out or SNiPER.
Suffering from Allergies? Runny nose, teary eyes, congestion, sneezing got you down?
It’s the time of year that some of us dread – the coming of Allergy Season. Indoor Air Quality is directly related to our experience of allergy season because we spend a lot of time at home, yet is something most of us take for granted. We have air filters for our HVAC, our car, home, and office too, that trap particulates to prevent us breathing them in. This is a good thing because much of that stuff masquerading as dust is actually pollen, spores, dander and other nearly invisible biological material that can irritate eyes, nose and throat and in some cases, can provoke a headache, dizziness or fatigue.
The degree to which allergy season affects you can vary widely. The blessed among us may never notice anything at all. Allergy sufferers, on the other hand, may dread the arrival of spring and/or fall because of the load of pollen, spores and other stuff floating in the air. Some of the immediate effects of breathing these are very similar to the symptoms of a cold or the flu, which may cause a bit of confusion.
These ‘pollutants’ in your home or office may have many sources:
- combustion by-products
- tobacco products
- new construction (new floors, carpets painted surfaces, cabinetry
- newly manufactured furniture such as mattresses that emit VOC’s
- dirty HVAC filter
- high humidity inside your home
- things that continuously emit ‘fragrances’ or other odor masks
- outdoor sources such as pesticides, and human-caused environmental pollution such as smoke and particulates arising from manufacturing and construction
For many of these a great solution is simply to open the windows and air out the home or office – but this is not always practical, or desirable if the outdoor air is filthy.
Fortunately, we have filters in our homes that help. If you suffer during allergy season, you should not skimp here. Purchase HEPA air filters with the finest filtration ratings you can find, and replace them regularly. There are other filtration sources in the home as well – your carpet is one of them. Drapes and curtains are another. A too-full vacuum cleaner bag can release particulates right back into your home.
How can you reduce ‘allergy triggers’ (allergens) in your home?
Remember that we can’t change conditions outdoors much, but we can have a positive effect on our indoor environment! Don’t let allergy season get the best of you. Here’s how you can make a difference in your home. With a little effort and knowledge, you can restore your indoor environment, to be comfortable at home during allergy season.
1) Place doormats both outside and just inside entryway doors – one on each side of the door. Cleaning your shoes on both of them will help keep floors clean – and the air, too. Clean the mats as part of your weekly housecleaning. If this is unappealing, consider removing your shoes on entry to your home and wearing house shoes while at home.
2) Change your HVAC air filter regularly. Increase the air filtration with the use of an additional air filter. You can make a DIY one with a 20 inch box fan to which you tape a 20 inch square HEPA air filter. (The better quality air filter you get, the better this simple device will work for you – and, it’ll take some of the load off of the HVAC filter, allowing your HVAC filter to last longer and consequently, to run more efficiently).
Also, have your drapes/curtains and carpets professionally cleaned regularly. It is amazing how much filtration is provided by these household items, so keeping them clean will reduce allergens noticeably.
3) Dry wet items quickly. This will prevent the growth of mold and spores. Mold can begin growing on almost any surface within 24 – 48 hours. Put a squeegee in your shower stall and use it before you leave the shower every time. With mold, prevention is far and away the best solution. Manage the water to manage the mold!
4) Dust and vacuum often. Replace your vacuum bag with a new one when it gets 2/3 full, because a full bag will leak particulates back into your home environment. Dust mites, animal dander, fleas and other small insects can be controlled effectively by frequent vacuuming.
5) Take control of indoor humidity levels by using the vents in the bathroom after a shower, and by using the vent over your stove when cooking (but only if it is vented outside the house). Use dehumidifiers in your basement during the times of year when it becomes damp.
6) Reduce your use of cleaning products that leave toxic residues. See: http://blog.nokout.com/replace-your-toxic-household-cleaning-chemicals-for-a-safer-home-environment/ (The Indoor air pollution blog entries are relevant also, part 1, part 2 part 3.) Non-toxic Nok-Out and SNiPER disinfectant are good alternatives for your bathrooms and even the kitchen.
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