My shop is in my basement, which has always seemed to be a very dry
floor. However, about 4% of my cords, my spare radio and tv knobs,
and the handles of my tools get a think layer of some sort of mold on
them. It's like a grey dust. (Or some other light color, I forget.)
I wasg them in the dishwasher and they come out clean, but once in the
basement again, after a few months, U notice that the same ones have
mold. And the rest never get mold.
I suppose I could just ignore this, since it doesn't spread, but I
wonder if any of you have ideas. No other part of my house is neat
or clean, but the shop is the most important place, and I'd like it to
So what are your lungs like?
Wasn't the biblical plague of deaths of the first-born sons put down to the
premium food reserved for the first-born sons, stored in the basement, being
contaminated with ergot or some-such mold
That's one theory, as made popular by a TV documentary.
The problem is that ergot can cause death in sufficient quantities,
but more commonly causes hallucinations, temporary insanity,
convulsions, and various symptoms that look like madness.
None of those symptoms were mentioned in the Old Testament. If it
were a massive overdose of ergot poisoning on the surface of the food
storage pot, there would be enough at lower levels to create mass
insanity. Ergot is also very easily visible in unmilled grain, and
would have been recognized. Also, the Nile valley is a large area,
with diverse microclimates. Chances of a country wide epidemic of
ergot poisoning is unlikely.
Drivel: Short lesson in critical thinking... If you read something
that looks like cause and effect, try to visualize what else the cause
might have produced. In this case, what would lesser concentrations
of ergot poisoning produce. There are plenty of theories that will
fall apart after failing that test including government solutions and
Jeff Liebermann email@example.com
150 Felker St #D http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
Hope you wear some kind of protection when you're in your basement.
This doesn't sound good to me over time for your lungs, etc... .
Probably need more information about the basement such as what's done
there, does this occur only in one area or all over, humidity level,
etc... . You said the rest of the house is not clean so I wonder if
there is a connection to the basement?
I'm wondering whether it's plasticizer migrating to the surface.
You might try putting the "susceptible" items in plastic bags and sealing them
tightly. I wouldn't be surprised if the "mold" continues to form.
On Wed, 27 Feb 2013 06:27:04 -0800, "William Sommerwerck"
So you mean clean them first and then do this? OKay, I'll try it.
It will take a few days at least to start the test and up to a month
or three to wait for resutls, but I'll get back to you. At least I
sincerely plan to.
Thanks to both of you and all of you.
Welll, sometimes I just watch TV, sometimes I make a fire in the
fireplace, most of the time I work on electric projects in the
"family" room and wood or metal projects in the laundry room, fright
next to it.
I think it's all over the basement, but I guess there are only 2 or 3
areas where those three things are kept. There is a dresser at the
far side of the room, the back end of the house. I keep a lot of
knobs in one of the drawers -- knobs that go back to the 1930's but
mostly I think it's those from the 50's and 60's that get moldy -- and
4 or 5% get "moldy". I put it in quotes this time because I've been
assuming it's mold. It's some sort of dust like stuff, that I can
wipe off with my fingers, but I use the dishwasher because it gets
into the cracks and crevices. .
There is t he pair of little dressers that hold my work bench, in the
middle of the house, near the base of the stairs. That has tools in
one of the drawers and in the In-basket at the far end, plus some
bananan plug jumper wires that get moldy. Thiese 8" jumpers were two
of the few cords that got moldy. Mostly it's knobs and tools. .
(Tools with yellow plastic handles are some of the moldy handles, but
not every yellow plastic handle.)
And about 18 months ago I set up the new computer in the basement so I
could use it to fix the old computer (which needed a new cpu.). So I
do that stuff down here too.
I think the humidity is about 30% in the summer. Lower now. (I"ll
get a meter and measure it , sicne you ask) But I'll say this. WRT
water spilled on the laundry room floor, some of it soaks into the
cement quickly and the rest evaportates within 12 to 24 hours (even
when there is a lot of water from the laundry sink over flowing, or
the hose to the washing machine springing a leak) and the cement
itself dries out in less than 12 hours. I used to make a point of
taking the laudry upstairs as soon as it was done, but one time I
forgot and since then I've noticed that it can sit in the washing
machine wet, for days, without getting moldy or smellilng bad, and can
alos sit in the dryer only partly dried for days and it smells just
the way freshly dried laundry should smell.
20 years ago after one of the bigger leaks, some mold grew on a
sheetrocked wall, but I killed it with bleach and then painted it
over, and that was the end of that.
I was mostly making a joke. The rest of the house isn't that dirty,
and anyhow, it was clean for 15 or 20 years and I still had the moldy
cords, tools, and knobs in the basement. Two or three times I've
gathered them together and washed them in the washing machine. I
don't pay close attention, but they all turn moldy again, in less than
a year, probably less than 3 months.
I'm not worried about my health. Some mold is bad for all of the
people some of the time, and some for some of the people all of the
time , and some doesn't bother some people any of the time, and
whatever I've got here has never bothered me in the 30 years I've
lived here. And I'm the only one living here now. I'm just
getting tired of having moldy things.
I used to think like you ... that my body was pretty strong (and it
was) but lately I'm experiencing things that never used to be so I
think age is the culprit. My point is that even if your body was
strong against the mold before, it may change with your age now. And
it may be too late after you begin to notice it. Sorry if I seem
overly concerned but I've had to deal with Cancer patients going to
the doctor, etc... .
My mother eventually began, when I was over 40 she said it outloud,,
to believe that I would do whatever she told me not to do. After I
noticed this, I asked her, So if I do what you tell me not to do, why
do you keep telling me not to do these things? She didn't have an
answer, but afaict she didnt' stop either.
I also have a parts drawer with an assortment of old knobs and I
recently had the same experience you have. Out of an assortment of
about 25 there were 6 that had an off white coating similar to mold.
The coated knobs were identical and appeared to come off the same
piece of old test equipment. The rest of the knobs were perfectly
normal. Thinking they were moldy I soaked them overnight in a clorox
solution and it didn't phase them. So it definitely wasn't mold. But
with soapy water and a old toothbrush they cleaned easily so I
determined it was an old plastic compound reaction.
Contrary to what some are saying I don't think you have a health
problem in your dry basement.
Some Craftsman tools with plastic handles left in a car trunk or hot
toolbox for a long time often get real stinky. That again is the type
plastic they use and giving them a soapy bath usually helps a lot.
The plastic on the handles was coated with a thin white layer
which I could scrape off with a sharp tool (the results in
that picture are of a screwdriver scraped years ago, but some
of the persistent white stuff is still on the handle, in spots).
I don't know WHAT it is!
Like you experienced, it wouldn't 'wash' off and chlorine bleach
didn't faze it (of course, if it 'is' mold, it would be dead but
still there if bleach did kill it, since it's white).
I don't know if it's a "mold" or a "chemical".
It does seem to 'infect' other tools - but both a mold and a chemical
'can' do that (think hydrochloric acid).
Brian Berg wrote the following on 2/27/2013 3:45 PM (ET):
I have some hard spots on my tool handles like that, but I know what it is.
It is remnants of paint that may have been on my hands when I used the
tool while painting, like removing face plates off switches and outlets,
or other uses of the tool while painting.
The plastic in some tool handles will break down over a period of time. It
is just bad quality plastic. Even some other wise good tools have this
If it only some tools and always the same ones, you just have to replace the
tools when the handles fall off.
Just use that dipping handle cover.
Here's one such product
I have different tool boxes for different uses, such as electrical,
plumbing, carpentry, car, bicycle, motorbike, general, etc.
I get it in different colors, to identify which tool box or "application"
tool kit they belong to. It has really cut down on tool "evaporation". It
also has made enforcement of tool replacement to it's proper box far easier
with other family members.
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