You may have already taken down most of your Christmas decorations, but your live tree or wreath may have left behind some invisible irritants. Because live trees spend so much time outside in moist environments before coming in to your home, you might bring in allergens like mold spores, fungi, and dust particles in addition to holiday cheer.
Christmas Tree Mold in Your Home
Any plant brought into the home can introduce mold and other allergens, but few people bring plants as large as a Christmas tree into their home on a regular basis. Many people experience “Christmas tree allergies,” but that might simply be a reaction to tree mold.
Even people who don’t normally experience allergy symptoms can be affected by Christmas trees. Symptoms of tree mold allergies include:
- Runny nose
- Difficulty breathing
- Dry, scaly skin
Pre-cut Christmas trees are popular, but they are often cut weeks in advance and are stored outside in damp environments to stay fresh. Once brought into the home, live trees must be watered, creating an optimal environment for mold spores, fungi, and bacterial growth.
Unfortunately, while watering your Christmas tree is key in keeping it fresh and reducing the risk of fire, mold spores love the warm, damp environment in your living room. And before you think an artificial tree will help you avoid allergens entirely, be careful! Artificial trees must be stored properly to avoid dust buildup or mold growth from attic or basement storage.
Stop Mold Before It Starts
The best way to control tree mold in the home is to prevent it in the first place, but you can control mold growth once the tree is inside. Mold becomes more active in higher humidity, so aim to keep your home humidity levels lower than 35-45%. Above 50%, mold spores will still flourish.
Try waiting until later in the season to purchase or cut your tree to limit the amount of time it is indoors. The longer the tree is set up, the higher the concentration of mold spores, so if you are particularly sensitive to tree mold, you may want to consider waiting a little bit longer.
It’s also important to take down the tree before it starts to decay. Even a well-watered tree won’t last forever, and removing the tree before it shows signs of decay will help prevent allergic reactions.
Cleaning Up After the Holidays
Once the tree is properly disposed of, make sure you thoroughly clean the area where the tree was set up. Remove pine needles from the floor, and if there are any places where mold has grown, consider contacting a professional. Mold travels through the air, and can quickly move around within the HVAC system if it is disturbed in any way. Contact the mold removal experts at Service Master of Baltimore to restore your home today.