Attack of the Mold
How to Identify & Remove Mold From Your Home!
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If you are reading this, chances are you have mold. And you want to learn what kind and how to get rid of mold. Mold should be removed from your home when you first notice it. Mold is a fungus that spreads quickly and easily and is almost impossible to remove once it becomes established in your home.
But first, let’s make sure you have a general understanding of what you may be dealing with.
Mold can be a prevalent problem in the house. Some types of molds are more dangerous than others and should be dealt with immediately, while others that may appear to be bad could actually be perfectly safe.
Usually, you will have a mold problem in your home when there is too much moisture present. That means that the mold spores will be able to ferment, reproduce, and spread throughout your house. The biggest problems start with plumbing leaks or flooding of any sort, so if you notice a small leak, get it fixed right away before it gets out of hand. Even a tiny leak can cause extensive damage if not dealt with quickly.
A few other signs that point towards an indoor mold growth are visible mold spots on surfaces (usually dark and wet looking), musty and earthy smell, and, in some cases, mildew on clothes and other fabrics.
Therefore, to avoid mold growth, you will need to ensure that the house is adequately ventilated so that the moisture levels are kept low. This means you should open all of your windows when it’s dry outside and keep them open during the night to let moist air out. If possible, try not to use an indoor humidifier to add humidity since this can cause mold problems quickly.
Also, try to operate appliances (i.e., dishwasher) only when they are full or empty them right after running a cycle if possible. Again, these appliances release significant amounts of moisture into the home environment, which could easily cause severe mold growth.
Another way to reduce indoor humidity is to ventilate your bathroom, especially after a shower or using the sink/toilet. Finally, if you must use an air conditioner, remember to dehumidify the air and make it harder for mold to grow.
Mold can be present anywhere in your home regardless of how often you clean or how nice your house looks. Therefore, no matter what type of cleaning products you use, it’s essential to be very careful because certain cleaners can cause mold growth!
Five common types of molds seen during home inspections.
Mold is a prevalent problem in the house. If you fear you have mold in your place or if you’re thinking about buying a home, you’ll want to do your due diligence.
Without wasting time calling for an inspection, here are five common types of mold typically seen by inspectors during their inspections:
Aspergillus spores can grow almost anywhere and seldom causes problems indoors. Health effects from exposure depend on the person and the amount of exposure. More sensitive people can have trouble breathing or show signs of asthma.
Aspergillosis lung infection caused by Aspergillus, vector outline diagram.Irritated airway, excess mucus and damaged cilia caused by common mold fungus spores.Microbiological danger for human health.
Aspergillosis is an infection, usually of the lungs, caused by the fungus Aspergillus. A ball of fungus fibers, blood clots, and white blood cells may form in the lungs or sinuses. People may have no symptoms or may cough up blood or have a fever, chest pain, and difficulty breathing.
Mucor spores are common in buildings and homes with a history of water intrusion problems, even if the source is unknown. This mold is more likely to occur in poorly ventilated bathrooms and seldom causes health effects unless there’s a lot of it growing indoors. It has been associated with skin rashes when high levels are found on damp clothes or carpeting.
Penicillium spores are commonly found outdoors during warm months due to their ability to grow at temperatures up to 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius). In colder climates, it grows best indoors, where it can be isolated to any moisture problem areas such as basements and crawlspaces. It is not considered a health concern unless it’s found at high levels and there are poor ventilation or water intrusion problems present.
Stachybotrys black mold, or simply black mold (also known as “toxic black mold”), is one of the most toxic molds due to its production of mycotoxins (actual toxins produced by molds). This can cause building-related illnesses in humans if exposed to it for an extended period at elevated concentrations. These symptoms include fatigue, headaches, fever, chest pain, and skin rashes.
The presence of these spores indoors is usually due to previous water damage. It is essential for people with existing respiratory problems such as asthma or allergies to avoid it. You can be exposed to black mold by breathing contaminated dust, skin contact (especially in children), and ingestion (eating).
Cladosporium spores can get into the house through outdoor air and cause allergic reactions in some people. It isn’t considered a health concern unless it’s found at high levels and there are poor ventilation and water intrusion problems present. If you find this type of mold in your home, don’t panic! And for heaven’s sake, don’t try to clean it up yourself with bleach because you’re just going to stir the spores up in the air and make your problems ten times worse!
Health Hazards of Mold.
Mold can be dangerous to your health if you come in contact with it. Some people are more sensitive to mold than others, but most people will experience a reaction when exposed to too much of it.
Mold spores land on surfaces and begin growing when they find an organic food source such as dust, dead plant material, lint, hair, or fabric. Without removing these food sources, you will never eliminate all of the mold spores in your home.
If you can see or smell any evidence of mold in your house, then it’s too late for prevention measures. It’s also far late if you have any of the health problems I list below. You should have removed it immediately when you noticed it. If it’s just starting to grow in one area, then you can be more aggressive than if large colonies are already established throughout your home.
If you don’t remove mold from your home, you will probably never be able to get rid of all of it, and you may develop some serious health problems such as:
· Nasal burning or irritation
· Coughing, tightness in the chest, and shortness of breath
· Headache and fatigue
· Skin irritations such as itching rash and hives
· Earaches and pains (pressure headaches)
Severe allergic reactions involving the respiratory system that may lead to asthma attacks which require immediate medical attention
These are just a few of the most common health problems people exposed to mold experience, but there can be many more, and some may not become apparent until years after exposure.
How do you remove mold?
There is no easy way. The first step is always:
Isolate the area to don’t spread the mold spores further than they already are throughout your home. If inside, start by shutting off any air conditioning or heating as these typically provide enough ventilation to keep spores settling and growing on surfaces such as walls and ceilings. Then shut down all fans that may stir up those spores into the air, such as bathroom exhaust fans and range hoods. Finally, we need to contain the area by covering it with a sheet that you don’t mind throwing away later. This will prevent any spores that are disturbed into the air from spreading more spores around your home.
Once this is done, I suggest using one of these two methods for both safety and effectiveness:
Mix a solution of 1 cup bleach to 1 gallon of water. You need enough to fill up a large container such as a bucket or even the tub if it’s small enough. Don’t worry about being exact on measurements. It’s not rocket science! But make sure you mix in lots of extra bleach so that when you pour it over surfaces, they will be wet all over. You can use a sprayer, but it’ll just take longer and won’t be as thorough.
Now, you can pour this solution on any surfaces that have mold growth, such as walls and carpets, etc., or if it’s awful, like with black mold, you may want to soak the areas such as carpets in the bleach water for most effective removal of these stubborn stains. If you think about it, though, the most common mold problems are probably under sinks where pipes come up through floors and walls, etc. So if we’re going to treat our home like a science experiment (and we are), then let’s see what happens when we apply bleach directly to these specific problem areas.
Mix a solution of 1 cup vinegar and 2 cups water. Again, mix it until it’s well diluted to cover all surfaces with the vinegar spray.
Now the big difference is that instead of pouring this mixture on our moldy areas, we’re going to use a little handheld sprayer because these vinegar mixtures cannot be used in large open containers such as buckets. If you pour them in there, they will eat away at your plastic container, so don’t do it! We want here for the acidic properties of the vinegar (yes, I know it’s acetic acid but saying that makes me feel like a science nerd) to dissolve and remove mold and other stains from our affected areas. This works great when dealing with any mildew, mold, and most stains.
You can also use a cloth to wipe off walls, under sinks, etc. Just be sure the area is dry before spraying with either of these mixtures, or you may dissolve some of your paint! In most cases, though, this will not happen, but be careful if you have anything painted on the surfaces you’re working with. Also, don’t forget to clean any surface where water from pipes comes up through, such as under sink cabinets.
In most cases, one application should be enough to deal with your mold problems, but there are instances where it could take more than one tries due to a horrible problem or if your house is already very fungus infested (yes, I said fungus). If it will take more than one application, make sure you let the first application dry completely before applying another.
Hiring a Professional
If you don’t feel like doing any of this yourself and would instead hire someone to fix your mold problem for you, a mold remediation specialist is what you need.
Mold remediation requires the removal of all affected material down to the studs and sub-flooring/sub-decking depending on the extent of the damage. If you are selling your property, the mold must be removed entirely before putting the house back on the market.
Mold removal can take several days to complete depending on quantity and type of growth. Still, once completed, the space will likely need time for ventilation before being fully reoccupied by humans or animals. The air needs time to clear out all spores to prevent a relapse of mold growth. You should consider hiring a company that has been doing this type of work for some time and is well versed in proper mold remediation practices.
Many companies have the equipment and processes necessary to get rid of your mold problem quickly while being careful not to damage the property further or create more dangerous conditions.
Cleaners That Actually Cause Mold
Here are five everyday household cleaning products that can cause mold growth:
1. Bleach (Sodium hypochlorite)
2. Disinfectants containing quaternary ammonium compounds (quats or “quats”)
3. Pine oil
5. Ammonia-based cleaners
6. Fabric softeners and dryer sheets (which contain fragrance, fabric softener, and anti-static properties in addition to water)
Note: Please refer to labels on these products for complete lists of ingredients if you’re not sure whether they might contribute to mold growth. This is also true for other cleaning products you may use around your home.
Also, even though ammonia is sold as a cleaner, many people think they can get rid of the mold only to find out that this feeds the mold even more! So, instead of using ammonia, opt for non-ammonia-based cleaners. A great example is vinegar which typically does not harm most types of surfaces, but on some porous materials, it might leave a white ring because it’s an acid.
If, after all this, you still have a mold problem, here are a few things you should keep in mind:
1) If you see visible signs of mold growth, remove them immediately before they start to propagate and spread through your house.
2) The best way to deal with any mold problem is by preventing it from happening in the first place, so make sure you immediately fix any possible leaky plumbing or other water leaks.
3) Do not attempt to clean mold yourself unless you know what type of mold it is.
4) If the problem persists, seek professional advice because this could signify that you have a severe issue on your hands.
Mold can be a dangerous problem if not treated quickly and adequately.
Some molds produce mycotoxins that can pose serious health risks to humans and animals. If you suspect your property has a mold problem, contact a service provider for assistance. They will help identify the source(s) of the problem so you can take the appropriate action to prevent further growth and damage.
It is up to the homeowner to identify the stains, odors, or any visible signs that mold may be present to take action. It is also essential to look for leaks under sinks, around windows, appliances like dishwashers and washing machines, and inside cabinets due to high humidity levels.
If you do find mold, your first step should be to contact a reputable Mold Removal Company near you today so they can begin immediate remediation services before any complications arise from exposure!