Mold prevention best practices
1. What’s mold why it’s a critical defect?
Mold is a type of fungus that can be categorized as one of the most dangerous microorganisms for your brand. You might be wondering how a seemingly harmless strand of Fungus can affect your brand image.
Though Mold is seemingly harmless, it can cause serious health issues for a specific class of people including children, pregnant women, and the elderly to list a few. As such, imagine if a consumer observes mold growth on his or her newly bought shoes, jacket, cap, or any food item what do you expect their reaction to would be about your brand?
In addition, if the mold is found in a food product there can also be a lawsuit against your brand causing it serious damage in terms of revenue and prestige.
As a result, mold prevention is extremely important at your production site, retail stores, and storage facility to avoid any occurrence of molds in your products.
Before we move to the prevention strategies for mold let’s have a look at the environmental factors that support mold growth.
Molds are of numerous types and can grow depending on the support they get from the environment. Among a few common ones are the black molds, Cladosporium, Penicillium, Alternaria, and Aspergillus to name a few.
Generally, mold can grow rapidly in areas where the conditions support their growth.
Following are a few ideal characteristics of an environment that support Mold growth.
- Humid and Damp Areas.
Humid and damp conditions are ideal breeding grounds for mold. Water dripping from nearby sources or a leakage in the piping can create a moist environment that is ideal for Mold growth.
Furthermore, garments that soak up water or are placed in warehouses that have high humidity can result in high mold growth.
- Moderate Temperature.
Another important factor required for Mold growth is a temperate environment. This makes warehouses, factories, and retail stores are the ideal places for mold growth as the temperature is mild.
- Areas with Organic Matter.
And last but not least, Mold does not produce its own food and as such relies on organic matter in the environment to consume. Interestingly, molds produce enzymes that act on organic substances and make them consumable. That is why you can observe molds on products like leather shoes, jackets, or other organic products.
Keeping the devastating impact that mold can have on your brand. Here are the 8 tips for you to control Mold in your business environment and ensure a great brand image.
2. Control humidity
Mold thrives in conditions with a relative humidity greater than 65%. As a result, the first thing you need to control is the humidity at your production/storage facility. If you can keep the relative humidity of the facility below 65% then the growth rate for mold spores will decrease substantially.
As a result, maintaining the relative humidity of your facility below 65% is extremely important to avoid mold growth.
To keep the relative humidity of the facility below 65% or as suited for your product. Here are certain mold inspections need to be carried out that determine the vulnerable areas where mold can grow.
Once the weak areas have been determined steps are taken to ensure that humidity does not increase above the set value. These steps range from proper ventilation of the facility to placement of Silica Gel and Cargo Dry packs to protect the products from Mold growth. A few of these tips are as follows.
3. Proper Ventilation of the Facility
One of the most important steps that you can take to avoid mold growth is by ensuring proper ventilation of your facility. This can include measures from the design phase of the facility to onsite additions after the construction has been completed.
Mold inspections are part of the factory audit checklist. Also it includes a survey of the facility and points out the design flaws regarding its ventilation. Once the audit is complete, the comprehensive report on the flaws of the design features is shared with you so that you can take effective measures to avoid mold growth at your facility.
Possible design suggestions include:
- Upgrade of the HVAC system in areas that are prone to mold growth
- Re-routing or addition of ventilation facilities in areas that are currently not properly ventilated
- Optimizing the temperature and efficiency of your ventilation system to maintain the required temperature/humidity requirements
- Set up a dry room
By implementing these effective measures you will be able to better control the ventilation of your facility and thus will be better off at avoiding mold growth.
4. Avoid carton or product direct contact with floor or walls
One good way to avoid mold growth in your facility is by keeping the cartons or your products away from floors and walls. This is because mold usually creeps in from the floor or walls that have substantial moisture and a suitable temperature to support mold growth.
As a result, you should use high-grade plastic support bins/racks for your products/cartons. Also, you can store the cartons/products at a place away from the walls and floor by using special stands that can hold the weight of the product.
This is a very effective method to avoid mold from affecting your product and will ensure your brand image stays intact.
5. Water, food, oil, and other liquid substance should remain outside the production workshop
Furthermore, as you know that mold needs an external source of nutrition to survive, this source usually comes from the organic substance that is found in your facility. Usually, food leftovers, leather products, oils, fuels, and other similar organic substances become major contributors to mold growth at your facility.
To overcome this, you must take proper mold quality control measures.
These measures include:
- Keeping Organic substances in controlled environments and away from the other products at the facility.
- During production special measures should be taken to avoid spillage of fluids or other food products in the facility.
- Measures should be taken to keep the work environment clean from any food leftovers by the employees.
- A strict housekeeping policy should be in place to avoid mold growth.
These are just a few suggestions to keep the mold growth at your facility in check. To discuss the complete set of measures that you can take, please feel free to contact Tetra Inspection and discuss with our mold experts.
6. Use Silica Gel
Another great way of controlling humidity in the vicinity of your products is by using Silica Gel. As a rule of thumb, 1 gram of Silica Gel is required for a container of 1 liter and so on. Here is a table that gives an estimate for the amount of Silica gel you need for the varying container sizes.
Note: These are only estimated values. Please contact Tetra Inspection, to get the exact values calculated for your environment.
In addition, you can also use Silica gel for your storage facility as it keeps the humidity under control even in extreme cases.
Hence Silica Gel is a good way to keep in the vicinity of your products to reduce the humidity and avoid mold growth in your products and packaging.
7. let dry after steam ironing, don’t pack into polybag straightway
One major reason for mold growth in garment factories and the related product is the left-over moisture that stays in the garment after steam pressing. As a result, to avoid mold growth from affecting your garment products, it is recommended to let the cloth naturally dry before you pack it into the polybag.
Since polybags are impermeable the moisture stays within the packing long after the clothes have been packed and provides an ideal growing environment for mold.
Tetra Inspection can help you in this regard by developing stringent procedures that would ensure the proper time between steam-pressing and packaging of the clothes to avoid mold growth.
8. Use cargo dry inside the container
While Mold can also affect your product during the transportation phase, Cargo Dry is a great way of protecting your products from Mold growth due to moisture during transportation. According to desiccate you may need 1.5 kg of Cargo Dry for a 20ft container. Subsequently, the amount doubles for a 40ft container to 3 kg per container.
Plus, the amount of Cargo Dry required also varies with the product being shipped. To confirm the actual amount of Cargo Dry required please feel free to contract Tetra Inspection to optimize your calculations as per the Mold Quality Control Program.
- Use radiation companies to kill all mold
In case Mold growth has been observed at your facility it is extremely important to take necessary measures. It is to kill the mold at the earliest and avoid it from spreading any further.
As a part of the Tetra Inspection mold and garment inspection services, we determine the areas that are affected the most by mold growth. Also recommend the best way to exterminate it.
One of the best and most effective ways to kill mold is by using the radiation method of extermination. Specialized companies use radiation, especially, UV radiation to kill the mold spores in your goods.
As a result, it is understandable that Mold is potentially a very serious issue for your product and ultimately your brand image.
Also, mold can affect your production or storage facility. Also, it can affect your product while shipping to clients.
As such you must be ready to protect your products from mold growth at all costs. Also it ensure a mold-free delivery to your clients.
Tetra Inspection can offer turn-key Mold Quality Control solutions for your business. It focuses on all areas of the supply chain from the point the raw material leaves the supplier to the time the final product reaches the client that your product stays safe from Mold.
Our solutions are based on thorough mold inspections that focus on:
- Production/Storage facility
- Packaging and Cargo loading
- Company Procedures and Processes
- And other aspects of the supply chain that will help you in controlling the mold growth in your products
In case you have any queries related to the mold inspection or the mold quality control program you can contact us via the details provided below.
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