Category: mold, blecch!!!

Last night I had a bright idea, and laid out a big black plastic garbage bag over top of the foamy, under the faux fur and fitted sheet. The crinkling all night kept making me feel like I was sleeping on a diaper, but the good news is in the morning the bed platform was dry as a bone. Which means the moisture wasn’t caused by body heat and temperature differential, rather it was plain old vapour coming off my body. Mystery solved.

A memory just came back to me. Once I bought an ikea bed, and when I got it home the instructions actually recommended not making the bed every day, rather leaving the covers down to let the bed air out. So there you go.

Needless to say, I’m not going to continue sleeping on garbage bags, I’ll find a more comfortable vapour barrier. And leave the covers down.


3rd Ave. and Lillooet. I think there’s something strangely pure about a block on which every single house is a Vancouver special!

For the last two days i’ve looked under the mattress, and while it wasn’t exactly damp, it wasn’t exactly dry either. I don’t trust it, is what I’m trying to say. So next payday I’m going to get some kind of cover that won’t allow vapour through, and see if that makes a difference.

Meanwhile, it’s so good to be back in the van! Altogether I think it was about two weeks that I was staying at other peoples’ houses, and while they were all really nice visits, I think I’ve become really attached to my own bed, moisture issues notwithstanding. That van really does feel like home.

Big day today. Some people got up early to watch the Governator carry a torch through Stanley Park. Others got ready to protest the olympics… not the games themselves but the way our government can find 6 billion dollars for this massive party while brazenly cutting comparatively cheap services for our most vulnerable citizens. KD Lang rocked the opening ceremonies. And of course one young athlete died.

For the most part I’d like to keep my blog an Olympic-news-free zone… there’s more than enough of that elsewhere. But at the same time I can’t pretend to be totally oblivious to the madness that’s overwhelming my city right now.

Well, today was big for me because I spent several hours drilling vent holes, which means tonight will be my first night back in the van, wahoo! Needless to say, I’ll look under the mattress in the morning to see if this did the trick. I’ve heard from many people about their experiences with mold and damp under foam mattresses, so I don’t feel so bad anymore… turns out our skin really does breathe vapour all night, blecch. Well now I get why beds are constructed the way they are.

More gratitude is in order… Kristie and Russ were my hosts for the drilling, and I’ll be sleeping in their back yard tonight. Yummy dinner too, thanks guys!

So, I’m back in Vancouver, dealing with the mold.

Apparently mold is present in all life-sustaining environments: there’s no way to keep the spores out of your home (or my van), so the only way to avoid happy mold colonies is to avoid creating a comfortable place for them to breed. I tried, but obviously something went wrong.

Just like people, mold needs food and water. I know mold loves wood, but the puzzle for me was to figure out how moisture got down there. I don’t wet the bed, sooo… ??? I think what happened is, my body warmed up the mattress every night, and whenever that heat finally met up with the cold piano hinge, moisture condensed out of the air molecules, pooling on the metal, eventually soaking into the wood, and then having nowhere to escape to. Presto, happy mold colony. You can see how the black patches are concentrated right beside the hinge. But the hinge is just left of centre, so I think once it was established it started migrating to the right because there’s a little more heat. So what do I do?

1) Kill kill kill!!!!! I found a non-toxic biodegradable mold killer and sprayed it down immediately (that’s why there’s moisture in the photo… before that it had been drying for a week). Boat people know about mold; I bought this stuff at a marine supply store near Granville Island. To be safe I’ll do a second round where I take all the bed pieces apart and spray again, scrubbing at the same time.

2) Control the moisture. The No-Damp stuff above is a really simple dehumidifier: there’s a little plastic basket above a basin, you put these weird chemical pellets in the basket, and they somehow pull moisture out of the air and condense it into liquid that drips into the basin. Every so often you just empty the basin, and replace the pellets when they’re low.

3) Improve airflow. I’m going to drill fairly large (like 1″ diameter) holes in the bed platform so that any moisture that does get under the mattress again can evaporate into the air.

4) Insulate the hinge? I’m not quite sure how to do this… liquid latex? Bathtub caulking? Still pondering that one.

Wish me luck!

I knew it, I fucking knew it. Moisture is the enemy, I just wasn’t at all expecting where it would find me: under the bed! BLECCCHHH!! Mold, between the mattress and the plywood bed platform.

I’m not one of those sweaty sleepers, I swear! But I guess if even a little bit of moisture gets under the mattress it has no way to get out, and that plus the delicious wood gives mold a lovely place to settle in and bear children. I’ve ripped it all apart and for now I’m just letting it dry: fortunately this coincides with a trip to the island so hopefully when I get back in a week it’ll be done. Although I learned today that mold spores can survive in dry environments, they just can’t propagate. So the next step, when I get back (I just didn’t have time to do it before leaving today), is to blast the little motherfuckers with bleach and a scouring pad, see how they like that. Meantime get a mattress cover with a vapour barrier.