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mold prevention tips

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  mold prevention tips

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The Facts

 

mold prevention tips

Mold belongs to a group of micro organisms which includes yeast, mildew and fungi. They form powdery type formations on the surface of fabrics.

 

Mold requires 3 things to grow;

1) Temperature (approx 20 degrees and above)

2) Moisture (65% relative humidity and above)

3) Food source – paper, leather, natural fiber, latex, oils, dirt or dust (even microscopic dust particles are enough for mold to feed on).

 

Moldcan remain dormant for long periods and then grow when conditions are right.  Mold is well designed for rapid infection and propagation, and can grow on anything even on synthetic fabrics.  Mold has many fruiting bodies and each one is loaded with thousands of spores that are easily dislodged in to the environment to spread the mold.  In every room there will be about 30 different species of mold.

 

Fungi &mold grows well in neutral to acidic conditions, it forms distinct spots (colonies) and can be several different colours.  Green mold is usually less harmful and some black mold can be harmful.

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At risk products

 

Mold mainly grows on leather, wool, cotton, and wood, but can also grown on synthetics and plastics.  On products such as coated synthetic fabrics and plastics, mold can feed on the oils or latex in the plastics or even unseen particles of dust on the products.

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Prevention

 

There is no complete prevention against mold but steps can be taken to prevent it by reducing food and water for mold to grow on.

 

1)   Housekeeping

 

First and foremost for prevention of mold is good housekeeping and a common sense approach

 

·         If you can smell mold and damp you have it.

·         Clean working surfaces is key in preventing mold. 

·         All working surfaces must be kept clean, use dilute detergent, disinfectant or dilute bleach on walls and floors.  The type of disinfectant will dictate how often cleaning is required.

·         Walls, ceilings and floors have to be kept clean

·         Clean the walls with disinfectant

·         Remove dust from shelves

·         Clean the factory on regular basis

·         Disinfection – use dilute detergent, disinfectant or dilute bleach on walls and floors.

 

2)   Product & material storage

 

Materials need to be kept clean so good warehousing procedures are vital, materials to be stored on racks and kept off the ground

 

·         Store old and new materials separately.

·         Keep materials, finished goods and cut parts off the floor.

·         Keep material, finished goods, stock & product 50cm away from walls.

 

3)   Humidity & temperature control

 

·         Ideal conditions are clean and dry with less than 20oC, and less than50-60 % relative humidity.

·         If packing garments at relative humidity levels over60% the risk of mold is greatly increased, so preventative action must be taken.

·         Air conditioning & dehumidifiers with silver particle filters should be used in sealed off environment for final packaging.

Note - As air temperature rises relative humidity also rises at a faster rate.

Note - Silver particle filters will kill mold spores as the silver is an antibacterial.

·         Never pack wet or damp products.

·         Garments should not be pressed and immediately packed as some moisture from steaming will still be in the garment.

·         Do not stack pressed garments too high as garments in the middle will not cool properly and will remain damp.

·         Keep steaming to a minimum.

4)   Moisture content levels

 

When relative humidity in the atmosphere is greater than 65% there is a higher risk of mold.  Higher relative humidity in the air leads to higher moisture content in fabrics which in turn leads to a greater risk of mold in products.

 

Moisture content risk in materials (general guide)

Low risk 10-15%

High risk >15%

Danger zone >20%

 

Limit levels for materials;

Cardboard e.g. Swingers and boxes 8%

 

·         Use moisture meters to check moisture levels of stock/ fabrics.

·         Incoming trims and components should be checked for moisture content.

 

5)   Packaging

 

Plastic bags should have “C” cut perforations in them to prevent condensation build up during packing. 



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