Mold or Mildew – Why it appears, How to clean and prevent it from happening again?
MEC made from 100% pure and primary clay is inorganic and does not promote the growth of mold or mildew by itself, i.e. you can store an unused MEC pot for years without any mold growing on it. In fact, the anti-bacterial properties of natural clay are known and researched about – Environ. Sci. Technol. 2011, 45, 8, 3768–3773 (https://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/es1040688).
Mold or mildew occurs only in the presence of organic matter (food) and moisture, in most cases this happens if the pot was not cleaned and dried properly before storing away. Or if room/kitchen is more humid than usual or lack of adequate air circulation in the room.
Please note two important things:
1. This mold/mildew is not toxic and is easy to clean off; mold is toxic when it feeds off of toxins like in drywall, cement etc.
2. It only grows on the surface and not between the walls. We’ve tested to see if there’s anything that grows in between and have found none.
Sometimes if the pot didn’t get used back-to-back a few times, the seasoning process may not be complete and this could let the pot hold some moisture, which sometimes can cause mold or mildew to grow. Using it about 4 to 5 times after seasoning, before putting it away — if you have to — will ensure it gets fully seasoned and the pot will not hold moisture. If for some reason you are unable to use the pot this way just wipe with a cotton towel after washing and dry it out on stove-top on low setting with lid off till the rim of the pot is warm to the touch.
We are also noticing that mold or mildew happens, sometimes, more with pots used on glass cook-tops. Off course it’s not always easy to change to gas, and for some, it may be hard to add a standalone single gas stove either, but drying the pot some more can prevent mildew when using on glass or other electric stoves. Drying the pot on the stove (with diffuser) when the pot is still new, will help release any moisture trapped in the walls in this case. After some uses the pot can naturally air dry.
Here are steps you can take to clean the pot to get rid of the mold and prevent it in the future:
Wash the pot thoroughly with some vinegar or lemon juice, scrub this mixture throughout the walls of the pot, rinse, drain water and wipe with cotton towel to dry it out. Following this, dry it out on stove-top, on low setting with lid off, till the rim is warm to the touch. Let the pot cool down before putting it away. This should help get rid of the mold and prevent it from growing again.
Please store lid and pot separately to allow for adequate air circulation.