There was a time when spring cleaning became an essential annual ritual because homes were heated with wood fires, and later, with coal or oil-burning stoves. This left a house covered in soot and grime, plus, of course, the stale air from having windows and doors closed against the cold. (Not that those older dwellings were impermeable. )
Now our sources of heat are much cleaner, though air can become stagnant since buildings now are much more impervious to fresh air intrusion. Sick building syndrome is a part of life–because today’s careful construction traps toxins and VOC inside. But if someone wants to guard against the mucus-membrane irritation, neurotoxic effects, respiratory symptoms, skin symptoms, gastrointestinal complaints, and chemosensory changes that are the result of sick building syndrome, then we are stuck with spring cleaning–whether or not we do it actually DURING Spring.
This also means checking for leaks, to prevent mold intrusion.
Undoubtably, mold is harmful–in fact toxigenic molds like Stachybotrys chartarum have been linked with cancer in a Swedish study of school systems a cancer cluster based in Swedish schools that had a serious concentration of viable airborne mold fungi. (This study links mold with pulmonary issues, concluding that “acute transient pulmonary function deterioration suggests the existence of deleterious effects in a moist environment with growth of microorganisms or other unmeasured exposures quantitatively related to the microorganisms.” Translated into plain English, this means mold can hurt your heart function. And of course,
molds like Aspergillus fumigatus are a known human pathogen.
So…before the floods, and especially after the floods, even though we live long past the age of “spring cleaning,” do it anyway. Your health will thank you.