The Moldiest Situation
After graduating college I received a job that gave me a nice cushy salary and I took the long awaited opportunity to splurge on a really nice apartment. I’m not the kind of person to splurge either, if there was a sign that was placed over my head it would be a huge blinking neon sign that read “CHEAP A$$”. Except I’d only use one dollar sign, not two. Nevertheless, I thought I deserved the two bedroom, all hardwood floor, two blocks from work, beach style apartment that sat up high and looked over all the peasants in town.
Disaster struck when that fluffed up little salary went bye-bye after 5 months of work and I was stuck with zero income and the most expensive rent in town. WHY DID I EVEN NEED A TWO BEDROOM APARTMENT ANYWAY. IS THIS WHAT THE RECESSION WAS LIKE?! MAKE ME A PEASANT AGAIN!
I had to supplement my income somehow and I knew my apartment was the biggest expense I had every month. I am very familiar with Airbnb and had used it all over the world so I had the idea to turn my second bedroom into a super affordable one bedroom Airbnb retreat in the middle of nowhere Texas.
I ran the numbers and knew if I had 18 nights booked a month and made a profit of $25 each night I could pay off half my rent all by washing a few sheets every day. The Airbnb business was my jam and was shockingly successful given the general location of where I lived. I was making enough to cover half my rent and give my sister a good portion of the money since she was doing the laundry (sucker). Lots of things went wrong and right when I was running this fun little side hustle. There were some highs and lows throughout the Airbnb biz but my lowest of lows sticks out like a moldy thumb…
One morning I get a call from my Airbnb guest (I was out of town so they were in the apartment alone) and they let me know that the floor in the kitchen is really squishy and there is water rising from in between the floorboards. To an Airbnb host this is essentially murder! One star review coming right up! Cancel all the guests booked for the week! Goodbye to my Superhost status! Take me now, Lord!
I get home and the guests were right - a water leak was coming from somewhere and my floorboards were swelling and separating right by my kitchen sink. I call my landlord and they discover that there is an issue with my air conditioning unit and it was overflowing water behind the walls and underneath the floors. They fix the issue after a few days but I’m gun shy to put my Airbnb back up on the market fearing another issue. During these few weeks of downtime I start to get really sick. I have a runny nose for weeks and my throat hurts when I am sleeping. I start taking medication for allergies but none of my symptoms disappear.
One morning I am drinking coffee and I notice some black smudges on the floor by the water heater cabinet. Being the cleanly person I have become due to Airbnb-ing I get a cloth and wipe it up and open my door to the water heater cabinet to make sure the mess hasn't made its way under there. I open the door and to my astonishing disbelief THERE IS A MOLD AMAZON HAPPENING ON THE WALLS AND CEILING!
I stand there horrified… don't get me wrong I have seen mold before. I work with microbiologists that grow mold in 3” petri dishes. Just to take the lid off that small petri dish do you want to know the PPE I am required to wear?! Masks, goggles, lab jackets, gloves and after you're done looking at it you scrub your entire body like a mad person!
Yet, here I stand in my jammie shorts, bare feetsies, and a t-shirt nose-to-nose with the megalodon of molds.
I DIDN'T EVEN KNOW MOLD GREW IN THE DRIEST LOCATION IN THE UNITED STATES.
The water leak from my air conditioner had been fixed but I had never thought of what those consequences might be. Mold spores had landed on and colonized on the damp walls and ceilings in just days and they were able to maintain growing even after the water source was gone. Maintenance guys came in and sprayed down the whole cabinet with bleach and told me to wait a few days before wiping it down.
The bleach smell was so strong that I couldn't sleep in my own apartment. I stayed at a friends for a few days and during this time I notice my runny nose, sneezing, and sore throat that have been hanging around start to clear up. By the time I go back home my symptoms are gone entirely. After a few google searches I find out that breathing in this abundance of mold spores that had taken up lodging in my cabinet was what was causing me to be so sick! They weren't even paying their $25 a night… free loaders.
My lovely apartment turned from my personal oasis to a microbiological playground in just days.
The mold started to wither under the power of the bleach and I was able to clear up a lot of it but I still wasn't sure if that was enough. What happens if another mold spore lands on the walls in my cabinet? Are there still spores there that I can't see? What’s the permanent solution to this?
Paint-Guard was engineered by engineers to prevent mold growth without adding more harsh chemicals to your home. When I was stuck in a moldy situation our team knew that we had the knowledge and resources to prevent this from happening again. We wanted to stop mold growth on walls. We wanted people to feel safe to stay in their own homes and or open their home to others. We wanted Paint-Guard.This type of situation was the motto behind me to stop blowing my nose in the office.
We test Paint-Guard against black mold all the time in order to ensure to our customers and ourselves that we are doing the job we are claiming. We just grow the mold in more controlled environments now ;).
Our first case study was done in my apartment when we took our first batch of Paint-Guard and painted that abominable water heater cabinet. Nearly a year later and I have yet to even blow my nose (jk, there's no evidence to support this). I do know that I can once again enter my home and breathe deeply. At BTG we want everyone to have that same peace.
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Written by: Paige Earl