One of the most pervasive parasites in a typical US household is mold. It grows in all sorts of places and will bloom under the toughest conditions. It is extremely hard to get rid of without proper technical know-how, and mold spores can cause respiratory difficulties.
Here at National Restoration Experts, we understand how difficult it is to remove mold, and how frustrating having a mold growth in your home is. As such, we have compiled this guide to assist you to get rid of any mold outbreak you may be experiencing in your home.
What Are The Symptoms Of Mold Allergies?
Some people suffer from mold allergies. Normally these allergic reactions are the result of the mold spores that are released into the air. These allergies can range in severity from mildly annoying to extremely serious. Mold allergies are also good indicators of the fact that you may have mold growths in your home. If you find yourself suffering from any of the following symptoms, you may have a mold infestation on your home:
- Chronic cough
- Runny nose
- Nasal congestion
- Itchy, watery and red eyes
- Skin rashes and hives
- Sinus headaches
- Reduced lung capacity and difficulty breathing
How To Detect Toxic Mold
There are multiple different strains of mold that can grow in a home. Most of them (apart from irritating the allergic and damaging your home) are not inherently dangerous. Mold is a natural fungal growth that occurs in dark and damp places.
However, there are a few strains of toxic mold that can be life threatening. It is imperative that if you find a mold growth in your home, you send a sample for testing to ensure that the mold is not toxic. While having a professional come out to your home to take samples and test for toxicity may be expensive, there are cheaper alternatives available.
One such alternative is to place clear sticky tape onto the mold, and then pull it off, trapping some spores in the glue. This sample can be placed in a Ziploc container and taken to a lab to be tested relatively inexpensively.
What Are The Areas That Mold Can Grow In?
Mold and mildew grow in humid places. This includes obviously wet and humid places like bathrooms, showers, and saunas. Mold grows between tiles and in cracks in this humid environment. However, mold also has an affinity for dark areas, like basements, closets, storerooms, and inside winter duvets and pillows that have not been aired out.
Additionally, mold may form on appliances that are exposed to water, like washing machines, sinks, and dryer vents. All these places must regularly be checked for mold growth.
How Do You Know If Mold Is Making You Sick?
If you are allergic or intolerant to mold, mold growths in your home could be making you sick. Symptoms are similar to those of most allergies – sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and a possible skin rash. However, in the case of mold, the allergic reaction is caused by spores in the air, which can irritate the respiratory system resulting in shortness of breath and asthma attacks.
If you are experiencing these symptoms, there is a good chance that you have a mold growth in your home.
What Mold Does for Us
Mold is a very broad name for many types of fungus. Fungi can be very useful as they have certain medicinal, flavoring or even useful traits that make the world inhabitable.
Mold is one of the main factors that causes dead things to decay. Without mold, things would rot and fall apart so the world would be filled with garbage, refuse and waste.
Mold is also what gives us penicillin, one of the most powerful and widespread antibacterial medicines used to cure a multitude of different illnesses.
Mold is also used to flavor food, as it is the ‘blue’ in blue cheese, the rinds in aged cheeses, the binding agent in soya bean recipes, and it is used in many other dishes.
Where Can I Look for Mold?
Mold likes to grow in dark, humid areas and as such, one should look for mold in those places. Particularly, mold is most commonly found in the following locations:
- In basements, kitchens, around bathroom sinks and counters, and in the washer/dryer area
- On the underside of carpets and rugs
- On the surfaces of walls behind furniture (where condensation forms)
- On ceilings and the top side of ceiling tiles
How to Remove Mold Safely From Your Home
Depending on the levels of contamination, mold removal can be relatively inexpensive or it can cost a lot of money and require major work to be done to your home.
For light mold outbreaks, and on outbreaks on non-porous surfaces, using a mold removal-cleaning agent of a diluted bleach mixture will kill the mold.
More invasive outbreaks on porous surfaces will require professional attention and may result in damage to your home.
Remember that the mold grew for a reason, and that simply removing it might not prevent its return. Find any water leaks you may have and seal them.
How To Remove Mold From Your Furniture
Furniture is also a hotbed for mold growth and should be inspected for mold regularly.
Soft furnishing that can be put in a washing machine should be done so, washed with powerful detergent, and thoroughly dried.
Larger furniture like couch pillows and mattresses should be replaced if they have mold growth on or in them.
Facts on Mold
- The most important fact about mold that everyone should know is that there is only one kind of black mold that is extremely toxic. There are, in fact, a few non-toxic black molds. So, always have your mold tested.
- However, many non-black molds can also be toxic. So, be sure to test every mold growth that you find.
- Lastly, bleach is not a recommended fungicide and, therefore, professional bought fungicides should be used. Remember that the mold grew due to a spike in humidity, so check the surrounding area for water leaks.
Can I Just Paint Over Mold?
Mold needs to be completely removed before the area can be repainted. In fact, some mold can eat paint, so in a few weeks, the fresh coat of paint you have applied will be gone and the mold will once again be visible.
Paint does not kill mold, use a dedicated fungicide to remove the mold and then you can sand down the surface and re-paint the area.
What Types of Mold Are There?
There are multiple different strains of mold. Many people classify these molds according to color, like ‘green mold’, ‘white mold’ or ‘black mold’. But, these groupings do very little to inform you of the danger of the mold as toxic molds can be any color on the color spectrum.
The dangerous mold strain that is sometimes known as ‘toxic black mold’ is in fact called Stachybotrys. This mold strain releases harmful spores into the air that cause sickness in those that breathe them.
How to Prevent Black Mold?
Black mold, like any other kind of mold, thrives in moist and humid places. The best way to prevent black mold from growing in your home is to keep the humidity between 40 and 60%.
This means that you need to take particular care when doing certain forms of maintenance like repairing leaks and ensuring that high humidity prone areas, like kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms are well ventilated.
How to Clean Black Mold?
Toxic black mold is a very dangerous substance to attempt to clean. Dislodging or working with it in any way will release clouds of spores, which are extremely dangerous. In addition, depending on the kind of surface on which the mold has been growing, specialist chemicals may need to be used to completely get rid of it.
As such, it is highly recommended enlisting professional help when you find black mold in your home.
Who Removes Mold from Homes?
With the correct chemical equipment and the right know-how, black mold can be removed by just about anyone. It is, however, a hazard to anyone attempting to do it. There are many mold removal companies, like National Restoration Experts, that have the expertise and experience to remove your mold with minimal risk. In addition, you will have the peace of mind and certainty that it will not return.
Which Mold Is Most Dangerous?
There is some sensationalism around what is commonly known as ‘toxic black mold’. While there are many non-toxic black molds, there is a certain greenish-black mold known as Stachybotrys that is particularly dangerous. Stachybotrys is a toxic mold. This means that it releases spores that can cause allergic reactions and affect the respiratory system. The reactions can range from very light, like a runny nose and a skin rash, to extremely severe, like asthma attacks and pulmonary bleeding.
Where Does Mold Grow?
Mold is a fungus. Like most fungi, mold grows in humid or wet areas that are out of direct sunlight. These areas are typically places that experience a lot of water traffic, like bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms, but can also be dark, dank areas like basements, attics, closets, and nooks.
Fungi also have a penchant for fabrics, so one must ensure that one’s carpets are regularly cleaned and allowed to dry and that foam fittings, like couch cushions and mattresses, are regularly aerated.
When Does Mold Become A Problem?
Mold can become a problem in one of two ways: property damage or personal health problems.
- Property Damage
Mold is a fungus, and as such, it grows and lives by feeding on whatever it is attached to. In the case of your home, the mold will eat the very fabric of your house. This includes paints, drywall and rafter material.
- Personal Health Problems
Health problems occur when the mold releases spores. This microscopic airborne seeds can incite allergic reactions or cause respiratory problems ranging from runny noses to asthma attacks.
Why Does Mold Grow In a Basement?
Mold grows best in dark, humid and dank areas. A basement is an ideal place for mold to grow for these exact reasons. Being underground and not often frequented, a basement is almost always completely devoid of light. In addition, being the lowest point in your home, it is a natural pooling point for all the water in the area, making it extremely humid if not well maintained.
These factors ensure that the basement is a perfect place for mold to grow, and as such, it should be very carefully maintained.
Are Mold Tests Accurate?
There is a stigma that home mold tests are not accurate. This is in fact not true, as all mold tests that one can get from a reputable dealer are based on the same science used to test in laboratories and can be relied on by you to produce accurate results.