Sunday, February 13, 2005

How much clean do you have to clean if you could get clean

The bathroom has been driving me nuts for the last couple of months because I've been trying to kill the black mold between the tiles and on the caulking and nothing has been working. I've soaked it in Lysol, scrubbed with a brush, and still it grows. I'm convinced that when the greenhouse gases finally snuff out all the oxygen and turn this place into a pressure cooker, nothing will be left but black mold. It's THAT strong. Yesterday, I went after it again, and despite my heavy application of elbow grease, all I got back was gray mold.

To give you a little history, black mold is like THE cause celebre in my neck of the woods. It's the quickest way to get your house condemned, and easiest way to squeeze insurance companies out of a whole lot of money. My last apartment had black mold in the ceiling, thanks to the leaking upstairs bathroom. When I complained -- multiple times -- to the management, they finally sent over someone who PAINTED over the mold. We won't even talk about the moldy carpet in the bedroom, because of the leaking foundation -- the carpet that wasn't replaced until about two months before I moved out. I spent A LOT of money on Glade air freshners during the 18 months I lived in that place.

So of course, now when I see black mold in my shiny sparkly new apartment, I panicked. Black mold is a lot like cockroaches. Once you've got it, it's nearly impossible to get rid of; that's why houses with the mold can be total losses. Well, yesterday I was so motivated, I attacked the mold. One of us HAD to go, and as far as I know, I'm the only one paying rent. Well, the mold REFUSED to move out; it just kind of went pallid and grey, thus annoying me. I contemplated ripping out the caulking and then having the apartment people come and re-do it, but then I realized that that could be construed as wanton destruction and I do want my half of the deposit back.

In a OK Carroll style showdown, I poured the toilet bowl cleaner all over the mold and let it sit there for 10 minutes. I turned out the lights, put on the fan, and went and sat in the living room and watched part of "Speed 2: Cruise Control." I admit, I was feeling a little guilty about using toilet bowl cleaner on my tub, but really, people, how many chemicals do you need to clean your bathroom? I have three -- the Windex for the mirror, the Lysol Tub & Basin, and then the Clorox with bleach for the toilet. That's not counting the bleach and blue stuff pellets I throw in the toilet tank because of the water problems here (don't ask) or the Liquid Plumr I use because the drains don't... drain. Obviously, if there are SO many different kinds of cleaners for the bathroom, I was probably breaking some secret law somewhere akin to ripping off the tags on a mattress by using the toilet cleaner on the tub.

When I went back into the bathroom and wiped off the tub, I saw that the mold was GONE. Gone, gone, gone. I'm not ashamed to admit I did a little jig. The lesson of the day is that it IS okay to mix chemicals when cleaning the bathroom; manufacturers just want you to think that you HAVE to have this special thing for the tub and you HAVE to have this other thing for the mirror (well, okay there IS the problem of streaks on the mirror). Meanwhile, I'm just hoping the Valentine's Weekend Mold Massacre lives in infamy for all of moldkind; see if they try to move in here again.

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