Monday, February 21, 2011

Rachel vs Mold

My never-ending battle here in Rio de Janeiro is against mold. I guess you can't really call it a battle. It's more like mold is making me his bitch and I'm left salvaging what I can.

You see, Rio de Janeiro is like a petri dish in a nice warm incubator.  Things grow like crazy! Mold, fugus, viruses, and acne flourish in this environment.

I don't care if you live in central air, a rare phenomenon in this city, because mold will find you.  It will grow on your suede purse like it does on a fine French cheese.  The only difference is the mold on the cheese makes it better while it just makes the purse look like a nasty science experiment gone bad.

My current standoff is over sippy cups. Of course I brought back these cool sippy cups for my toddler from the states. No leak, extra tight, fabulous cups are a glorious field full of unreachable creases.  Mold has found a happy new home in these non-spill bad boys. This almost pisses me off more than my shoes!  It's annoying to find mold on my shoes but I'm not going to lick them or anything.  How in the hell am I supposed to non-leakingly water my child with a cup that is growing like an uncleaned fish tank.

But there are just some things you have to accept. If you don't regularly use something, it could mold. That still goes for a well lit and airy apartment.  It totally gives me a new understanding into the Brazilians' tendency to have a full time maid bleaching the crap out of everything on a daily basis.

As for me, I have decided that my battle on mold is like my battle with ants.  You seemly have "wins" but the little bastards still come back.  I'm over it and I'm going to try to live in peace with the native organisms of my adopted country.

That is except for the sippy cups. I will scrub, soak, and scrape to my hearts content. Then again, that's less about battle and more about decreasing the nasty in my kid's life. 


  1. bleach bleach. SP is quite dry (air wise) so we don't have that problem. but if i see even a speck of mold, it gets hosed with bleach. I only clean the bathroom once a week and there is always tile mold. i go through a lot of bleach. good luck with your sippy cups, that would be frightening :S

  2. I hear you. My catch 22 is that we have mold, but both the maid and myself have ruined things (curtains, bathmats, shirts, towels) with bleach! I swore I'd never buy bleach again, and then I broke down and bought some, and what do you know? I ruined my brand new US$2 Old Navy tank top. Ack!

    And don't get me started about the ants...

  3. Bucketfull of water and a dash of bleach by a sunny windowsill for an hour... then rinse like mad.
    Have you noticed the inside of bath toys, by the way? They're like worlds of their own! Ours get the bleach soak every month or so.

  4. I had to stop buying bath toys the day I squirted the little water spray one and seedweed like stuff came out. Nasty! We use regular toys that can be taken out and put in the sun, otherwise only bleachable items.

  5. I feel your pain. Imagine ants + mold in Manaus. Ugh.
    I'm looking forward to leaving humid Florida and moving to dry Brasilia.

  6. Ok, Guys, there is mold and there is BLACK MOLD!
    Do not take BLACK MOLD lightly, it is evil and dangerous...
    There are several sealants and great products to help you fight mold.
    A good dishwasher with steamy super hot water should help keep your sippy cups clean and sterelized.
    Bleach and Vinegar also works wonder, Vinegar is a healthier alternative if you are sensitive to bleach.
    Can anyone tell me if you can find "Splashless" bleach in Brazil yet? That is my all time favorite cleaning product, besides scrubbing bubbles and Vinegar Windex off course... :)


  7. feel your pain... you need to wash them, get the mold off then from now on after each use dry them really well. Use your hair dryer if you have to and keep them in a place that gets a lot of circulation. My input..

  8. Dishwasher? She has two names, Stephanie and Val.

    Bathtoys have a one month lifespan for us. I usually buy that big yellow mommy rubber duck with the three chicks, but after several weeks, they all start getting the's so gross! Even when I toss in the baldes from the praia and leave them for a couple of days...mold, slime..ick.

    I do believe a portion of it is black mold, I think there's a leak from our upstairs neighbor's apt. into our bathroom and my son's closet. And that is the reason why I have allergies and my son too (in 30+ years I never had allergies before moving here). We're ripping out his closets in the next months and putting in a free standing one. I'm happy to say goodbye. Also, I think mold probably lives inside of our window air-conditioners and that's another reason why we have bad allergies. Mold, not easy or cheap to get rid of in this climate. I gave up on nice leather purses, jackets, agendas, no more. It's a waste because within a month, those white/green spots appear. Humidity will ALWAYS WIN HERE, I threw in the towel a long time ago. Bleach, sun...not enough.

    Someday I see myself with some sexy leather boots and a very expensive bag again. Every winter, when it's possible to wear clothes, I always long for those sexy black boots that I used to have. They disintergrated from the inside out and outside in. Mold took over, even where you couldn't see it. I think I've lost 6 pairs of leather shoes, 2 jackets and 10 leather purses in 7 years. Pisses me off to think I wasted that much valuable space in my luggage moving here when it was pointless.

  9. I battle mold here in the south of France too! I HATE it! It is a never ending disgusting struggle! Good luck with the sippy cups

  10. That would drive me crazy! I never even thought of it being a problem. How much mold is too much before it is a health concern? Or are there different types???

  11. yeah really very nice this post . great idea and best details shared in the post . i loved that

  12. Thank Romantic Dinner.

    Lisa, there are different types. I don't have the black mold like Ray said above. And thankfully, only things get molded. I don't have mold growing on actual walls in my closets.

    Sara, thank you. I'm considering covering the couch with trash bags and throwing away the sippy cups

  13. I think I live in a rare mold-free zone. We've never had a problem. But then, we don't have little one with bath toys.

    Most liquid things around here contain alcohol LOL - so we're beating the mold at its own game.

    I should also note that we have large windows that are always open 24/7 and enjoy great air circulation (thank god!)

    Ray - dishwasher? That must be a São Paulo thing... I have almost never seen a residential dishwasher here (except the bare footed woman standing at the sink).