With the holidays fast approaching, you may have started looking for local Christmas tree options. For many, shopping around a tree farm is a beloved annual family experience. However, live Christmas trees are typically ridden with mold, as well as insects and various chemicals. Keeping these trees in your home for an entire month can have a huge impact on your health and comfort. Here’s what you need to know about Christmas tree mold and what you can do to protect your family this holiday season.
Christmas Tree Allergens
A common concern with fresh-cut Christmas trees is the needles falling off too early. Unfortunately, another issue that you might not realize is that mold is spreading through the tree. Christmas trees are often cut weeks in advance to arrive on time in November at local tree farms. As these trees sit in lots across the country, they slowly begin to decay. This allows mold spores and insects to thrive between the branches and in the wood.
Christmas trees are coniferous softwoods, which have an incredibly high moisture content. This makes it easier for mold to make its way inside and thrive. Once these trees are brought indoors, the mold can spread at a much faster rate due to the warmer temperature. Mold can also be found in wreaths and other live decorations around your home.
Along with mold growth, these trees may have been sprayed with numerous pesticides while growing. They’re then treated again with terpenes while at the tree farm to enhance the natural pine scent. Millions of people buy live Christmas trees every year and inadvertently bring mold spores and dangerous chemicals into their homes.
When exposed to a Christmas tree, your family members can develop what’s known as the “Christmas Tree Syndrome.” This is often characterized by an increase in asthma symptoms, red, itchy bumps and general discomfort while the tree is in the home. Watch your family members for watery eyes, runny noses, chest pains and frequent coughing.
No one deserves to feel uncomfortable or perpetually sick during the holidays. If you don’t want to give up the authentic experience of a live tree, there are several ways you can minimize your Christmas tree allergies this season.
Thoroughly Wash the Tree
When choosing a local tree farm, consider choosing one that offers a tree-shaking service to remove loose pollen and needles. After you bring your tree home, hose it down outside to further remove dirt and debris. You can hang it to dry in a warm place for a few days, like your garage or basement. This will help to remove clingy allergens like insects, feces and dust that would otherwise infect your living space.
Cover Your Skin When Decorating
While some people may have allergies to the tree’s mold and pollen, others will experience adverse reactions when touching the lingering sap. The best way to minimize as many negative health impacts as possible is to fully cover your arms and legs when decorating the tree. You should even wear a mask if you have to work your way between the branches to place the lights. Try to keep any young children from playing with the tree itself or its stand.
Improve Your Ornament Storage
Mold thrives in moist environments. If your Christmas ornaments and lights aren’t properly stored every year, they may accumulate mold. When you finally bring them out and set them up, you may experience an allergy flare-up. Cardboard boxes and garbage bags aren’t enough to protect your holiday belongings. It’s best to store them in airtight plastic tubs in a temperature-controlled part of your home. Closets or spare rooms often make for safer long-term storage areas than the attic or basement.
Relocate Air Purification Systems
To minimize the spread of mold spores, move a portable air purifier or dehumidifier closer to your tree. These systems efficiently pull particulates, pollen and debris from the air. They’ll also help stop the spread of spores throughout your home. Whole-house air purifying systems are often the most efficient way to keep spores, mites and dust from disturbing your home’s vital indoor air quality.
Invest in Better Ornaments
Some ornament materials are more resistant to mold than others. Glass and metal ornaments are typically safer than decorations made of cloth, paper or felt. Wooden ornaments are also fine as long as they’ve been sealed with a protective varnish. You can often rely on sturdy materials like plastic or porcelain to remain safe over the years. Other materials like leather, yarn or wicker are more likely to become compromised by dust and mold spores. These items need extra protection to ensure they’ll last. Avoid keeping items made of food like candy canes or popcorn garlands for more than one season.
Lower Your Family’s Tree Exposure
Many families decide to put the Christmas tree up between the weekend after Thanksgiving and the first week of December. They’ll often last up to four to five weeks with a steady supply of water. However, it’s not recommended to keep a live tree in your home for more than four to seven days. The longer your tree is in your living room, the more time it has to spread mold spores and disrupt your comfort. If you’re committed to keeping your Christmas tree for as long as possible, be sure to stock up on allergy eye drops, nasal sprays and antihistamines.
Consider an Artificial Tree Alternative
One of the best ways to lower the number of mold spores in your home is to buy an artificial Christmas tree. Many of these trees come pre-lighted and in a variety of colors and styles. You can even buy scented ornaments to infuse your home with the smell of the holidays. It’s important to note that artificial trees also need to be properly stored, just like ornaments. These trees can become overridden with mold if stored in a damp area of the home.
Protect Your Home’s Air Quality
Give your family the gift of a clean and comfortable air inside your home this holiday season. Mold issues can quickly spread from your Christmas tree to your belongings and ductwork. These pesky spores will cause unpleasant health side effects and lead to lasting damage in your home. Stop mold issues from spreading by properly caring for your live tree this Christmas. Rely on high-quality mold remediation services when necessary to protect your family and property.
Outstanding Local Mold Removal Services
Pur360 offers permanent solutions to your mold and odor issues in Lake Zurich, IL and the Chicago area. We’re a company that has been helping families and businesses since 2006. Our business is highly rated on Google and has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. We use chemical-free mold treatments that never compromise your health or safety. Count on us for expert restoration services, ultraviolet sanitization and stain removal. Our skilled team can also remove and dispose of any drywall or carpet damaged by a mold outbreak. Call Pur360 today to learn more about our free inspections and second opinions.