China Elevator Stories

Mold, mold, mold

My husband and I find out we have a mold problem.


Ruth Silbermayr-Song


In May 2013, I leave Shenzhen during mold season. My fiancé and I make sure most things are stored safely in boxes in our apartment before we leave Shenzhen for our wedding in Austria. We have to leave a few things in our apartment unboxed, because they don’t fit into the boxes. 

When we come back to our little apartment in Shenzhen after having been away for 7 weeks, the first thing we do is clean the apartment and wash clothes, beddings and everything else that can be washed. 

Every once in a while, I will scream: “Oh my god, there’s another one!”, upon discovering another item that is completely covered in mold.

The first thing we discover that is completely covered in mold is a leather belt. Really? A leather belt? The next things are spices and rice. Some bugs are crawling out of one of the small glasses with spices when I open it. “This is so disgusting!”, I shout out loud.

I decide to go to the supermarket to buy mold inhibitors. I’m not very lucky with my search though. I decide to buy the most acid vinegar I can find. 9°, it says on the bottle. During the upcoming days, I still smell mold whenever I come back home to our apartment, so I guess the fight is not over yet.

Before the start of this year’s rainy season, I ask a friend from Guangdong province what they do to avoid mold growing everywhere you can imagine. She recommends to turn on the air-conditioners and use the dehumidifying option (抽湿). If you plan to stay in Shenzhen (or any other humid place) long-term, it might be a good idea to invest in a dehumidifier, since these usually work much better than the air-conditioners for dehumidifying the apartment. She then tells me to hang up my beddings to dry in the sun whenever the weather is nice. During the colder seasons, it would be good to use an electric blanket which you can turn on a while before going to bed. This will dry the sheets.

These options aren’t environmentally friendly, but considering that mold is bad for a person’s health and really hard to get rid of in humid places, prevention is probably the best way to deal with it.

My husband’s recommendation for storing winter clothes during rainy season is to put them into vacuum bags. This will save space, and stops the clothes from turning into little mold monsters.

Have you ever had problems with indoor mold?