When Should You Test Your Home For Mold Exposure
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency , if visible mold is present on inspection, testing is usually unnecessary. There are no Environmental Protection Agency or government standards that have been established for mold or mold spore levels, so it is impossible to prove that a building or room complies with any health regulations concerning mold exposure. Likewise, the CDC does not recommend routine sampling and testing of mold in the home. Health officials haven’t defined tolerable or acceptable limits of mold exposure for humans, and since individuals vary in their susceptibility to mold, testing cannot reliably predict the degree of health risks from any occurrence of mold.
When mold has previously been identified and cleanup procedures have been undertaken, sampling and testing may be carried out if necessary by qualified professionals to determine that adequate cleaning of a building has occurred.
Health Problems Associated With Mold In The Home
Health problems associated with mold in the home, including mold in attic, are wide ranging and include things like difficulty breathing, asthma attacks, the development of asthma in people previously unaffected by the disease, upper respiratory infections, sinus infections, headaches, sore throats, fatigue and allergy symptoms. Spores from mold in attic can spread throughout your house so you and your family can be affected even if you dont spend much time in the attic.
Why Is There Black Mold In The Refrigerator
Mold spreads through the air and through surface contact. The number one source of refrigerator mold is mold on food. Some types of food, such as cheese and hard salami, produce mold naturally and can still be eaten once the mold is cut away. These kinds of molds are less likely to spread to other foods and surfaces.
Rotting foods, including most produce, grains and nuts, will develop mold growth that not only destroys the food, but also is dangerous to consume. These molds may spread to the refrigerator through the air circulation, and by sitting in a drawer or on a shelf long enough for the spores to transfer to the plastic or metal surface. The refrigerator is dark much of the day, which allows mold to grow quickly, but you may not see it until it has become a larger issue.
If the mold is being caused by something other than food rot, or returns even after you have cleaned the fridge thoroughly, you may have a mechanical problem with your refrigerator. Perhaps the humidity level is too high, or a leak in the water line that may encourage the growth of mold. An appliance repairman can examine your refrigerator to make sure it is working properly, and perform any necessary fixes.
Recommended Reading: How To Clean Mold Off Leather Furniture
What Are The Symptoms Of Mold Sickness
If your Total Body Burden is high, or you are genetically predisposed to recycling toxins, regular exposure to mold can cause allergy symptoms, such as:
- Wheezing/shortness of breath
- Long standing or frequent sinusitis
And, serious pain and neurological symptoms, such as:
- Headaches and migraines
- Muscle cramping, aches and pains
- Persistent nerve pain
- Fatigue and weakness
- Poor memory, brain fog, difficulty with focus
In some cases, the spores from mold take root and grow in specific parts of the body, such as the lungs and sinuses. This can cause serious respiratory illnesses and infections.
Create A Bleach Mixture
If the black mold growth in your home is small enough for you to treat alone, a simple mixture of bleach and water can help. Add one cup of bleach to one gallon of water and apply it to the moldy spots. You can also find commercial black mold removal products.
Apply the cleaner to the mold spot and scrub away the growth. Be sure to dry the area thoroughly when youre done.
Do NOT mix bleach with ammonia. This combination can create toxic fumes that are far more dangerous than any mold youre trying to clean.
You May Like: How To Fix Black Mold
How Does Black Mold Form
The main reason behind the formation of black mold is moisture, which can be caused by several things, such as, water leakage, lack of proper ventilation, flooding, irregular maintenance, humidifiers, condensation, clogged-up gutters, damp clothes, humid basements, or even water accumulation around the foundation of your house.
How To Remove Black Mold
Protect yourself. You don’t need to worry about having mold tested if you find mold in your house. But you should get rid of it no matter what type of mold it is. Take precautions to protect yourself before you attempt to remove mold.
Use an N-95 face mask to avoid breathing in mold spores. Wear gloves to protect your hands and goggles without ventilation holes to protect your eyes.â
Find and destroy the mold. The most important part of removing mold is finding and removing its water source. Mold can’t grow without moisture. Keep the following tips in mind when you’re cleaning up mold:
- Items that can’t be dried quickly should be discarded if they show signs of mold or water damage. Porous items such as carpet, padding, drywall, and paper soak up moisture.
- Do not paint or caulk over moldy surfaces. Remove the mold and dry the surfaces before you paint. Paint applied over mold will peel.
- Use plastic sheeting to block an area with mold from the rest of your house and keep the spores from spreading.
- Scrub hard surfaces with mold with detergent and water and dry them thoroughly.
- Put any moldy items in a plastic bag before you take them out of the room to prevent mold spores from spreading.
- Use a HEPA filter in your air conditioner and furnace to capture mold spores that may be airborne in your house.
- Consult a specialist if you’re not sure of the best way to clean a valuable or sentimental item.â
Read Also: How To Stop Mold Smell
Care And Treatment Of Mold Exposure In Dogs
If your dog is affected by black mold, you will need to do two things. The symptoms of black mold exposure will need to be treated by your veterinarian. Your veterinarian may prescribe medication for symptoms such as bacterial infections in the lungs or on your dogs skin. Your dog may also be prescribed steroids or other drugs depending on how long their exposure was and how sick the dog is. Your doctors may also request you not return the dog to the home until the black mold has been mitigated. Working in your dog’s best interest, it might also be recommended you and your animals say out of the home until removal is complete, because treatment will not help if exposure to mold continues.
The Different Black Mold Tests
The first thing to do is verify that you have black mold. Symptoms of mold exposure are almost identical to other fatigue issues, like Lyme disease and chronic fatigue syndrome. And because mold can grow behind walls as a result of burst pipes or water damage, its often hard to pinpoint where mold is in your home.
If you can see black mold in the caulking around your bathtub or below your kitchen sink, for example and you have no reason to suspect its elsewhere in your house, you may be okay skipping a formal test. Otherwise, you have a few different options when it comes to testing for mold in your home:
- Mold culture test. This test includes a petri dish with a swab. You expose the petri dish to either the air or, through the swab, a specific area in your home, and then you cover it and let it sit for 48 hours. If you get lots of growth in the petri dish , you have a mold problem. If you get little to no growth, youre okay. Mold culture tests are fast and cheap . A mold culture test is a good option if you suspect mold in your workplace or school. The downside is that the test wont tell you where mold is only if mold is present. Heres a good mold culture test.
- ERMI test. Environmental relative moldiness index testing will tell you with much more specificity what mold is in your home and how big of a problem it is. ERMI tests will run you $200-$300.
Don’t Miss: How Do You Treat Black Mold Exposure
How To Get Rid Of Black Mold
Trying to kill or remove toxic black mold yourself is not advisable. If not handled properly, you could end up disturbing the black mold and releasing millions of spores and mycotoxins into the air. This could worsen you indoor air quality and cause damage to your home.
Since black mold is toxic, youre better off contacting a professional mold remediation company with experience in cleaning mold in buildings and homes.
Mold removal specialists will be able to accurately determine the extent of the mold infestation and can suggest the right course of action for your home. If you suspect that your home has black moldthat is, if you can see and/or smell it .
A healthy, mold-free home ensures a healthy, happy family.
Can Mold Be Detected Behind Walls
Because mold growth is often a result of water damage, water stains can be an indicator of the presence of mold. As such, if you spot water stains on your walls, then it is likely that theres mold growing behind them. If your wall has vinyl wallpaper, mold will look pink, orange, or purple in appearance.
Don’t Miss: What Mold Does To Your Body
Removing Mold On Exterior Of Home Surfaces
The best way to remove mold from exterior surfaces of your home depends on the types of materials on which the mold is growing. We suggest contacting the manufacturer of your home, if possible , to ask about the best way to remove mold. Not only can the manufacturer offer valuable advice, it’s important to check with them because using the wrong technique or mold removal product may void any warranties.
Generally the exterior homes surfaces are washed, sometimes with a power washer , then a mold removal product is applied. Our favorite product for removing mold from the exterior of homes is Rhino Hide’s UltraMean2. We aren’t sure why it’s named after a rhino, but it does a great job removing mold and mildew from all sorts of surfaces, including wood, siding and masonry. Not only does it remove the mold, it removes the stains that mold often leaves behind. You can learn more about Rhino Hide’s UltraMean2 here. Just remember to check with your home’s manufacturer or to consult a professional before using it to make sure it’s the right product for your home.
What Is Black Mold
Mold is one of the most common living things on Earth. Molds love damp environments. They grow indoors and outdoors, including in places like showers, basements, and garages.
Black mold, also known as Stachybotrys chartarum or atra, is one type of mold that can be found in damp places inside buildings. It looks like black spots and splotches.
Black mold developed a reputation for being toxic after a string of eight infants became ill in Cleveland, Ohio, between January 1993 and December 1994. All of them had bleeding in the lungs, a condition called idiopathic pulmonary hemorrhage. One of those infants died.
Results from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention investigation revealed these infants had been living in homes with severe water damage and increased levels of toxin-producing mold inside. This led many people to believe that the black mold was toxic and could kill people.
In the end, scientists concluded that they were unable to link black mold exposure to illness and death in the Cleveland infants.
In reality, all molds including black mold can produce toxins, but exposure to mold is rarely deadly.
People are exposed to mold through spores that are released and travel through the air.
Its true that some people are more sensitive than others to mold. These people tend to be very young, very old, or have:
- a compromised immune system
People who are very sensitive to black mold may develop severe respiratory infections when exposed.
Recommended Reading: How To Get Rid Of Airborne Mold In House
Black Mold Removal And Cleaning
Mold remediation in stores, offices, or schools is best left to the pros. This also applies to household mold exceeding 10 square feet.
The contractors you choose should have insurance and licenses from organizations like the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification .
Homeowners can handle cleaning about 10 square feet of black mold on their own.3 If the patch is small enough, a combination of bleach, water, scrubbing, and ventilation should do the trick.
Before treating mold on your own, prioritize ventilation and protective gear.
Removing black mold is a tough and dirty job. If you or anyone in your family is sensitive to mold allergies, has respiratory or immune issues, trust the professionals.
Find a contractor in your area to get started.
Black Mold In Refrigerator
You may not think to be on the lookout for black mold in your refrigerator, but the steady moisture, loosely sealed leftovers, minimal air movement, and persistent darkness can make the inside of your fridge the perfect breeding ground for black mold. If you find black mold, or any mold in your refrigerator, you must figure out the cause, get rid of the mold, and take steps to prevent the mold from coming back. This article will help you with each of these steps.
You May Like: Can Mold Cause Skin Rash
Prevent Black Mold In Bathroom
Preventive ways are always needed before it is too late. You can prevent black mold from growing in your bathroom by applying anti-mold paint on the clean bathroom wall and ceiling.
In addition to retaining the bathroom moisture and keeping bathroom humidity in low level, anti-mold paint is a good way. It will hold the steam produced by showers as a primary cause of black mold infestation.
What Happens When You Eat Mold On Meat
Chances are you wont have any ill effects after eating a bit of mold but its def not something you should actively try to do. The good news is that mold generally tastes pretty bad, so youll likely notice it and spit it out. Even if some does slip past your guard, its unlikely to make you sick.
Recommended Reading: Do It Soft Plastic Molds
How Long Do Mold Symptoms Last
The tricky thing about mold exposure is that its different for each person. The amount of time mold exposure symptoms persist depends on:
- What type of mold they are exposed to,
- How long the exposure has been,
- How well their bodies eliminate toxins
Those who process toxins well can see their symptoms disappear as quickly as a few days.
Others who eliminate toxins slowly can experience symptoms for much longer. They could be ill for months or even years after the source of mold is eliminated.
Getting Professional Mold Remediation
If you have a mold problem in your residential or commercial property, you dont have to deal with it alone. Here at BMS CAT, we are the experts in mold removal and effective remediation.
Now that you know how dangerous black mold is, its time to take action! Our expert technicians adhere to IICRC guidelines to help ensure efficient mold removal from your space. We offer comprehensive services that remove excess mold while also identifying and fixing the source of the problem that caused the mold in the first place.
Worried about mold damage? Contact us or call us at 877-899-0676.
Don’t Miss: Does Vinegar Get Rid Of Black Mold
What Are The Signs Of Mold In Your House
Musty smells are a tell-tale sign of mold. Another common indicator is visible signs of water damage.
As mentioned earlier, mold grows fast. Within 24 hours of a water leak, or a flood, mold will begin to take hold. This mold can grow on anything thats humid walls, floors, ceilings, furniture, and even wet laundry.
When there is a chance of mold, its important to have a professional in to test. Professionals qualified to do environmental investigations can:
- Check the surfaces of your house for mold
- Test the air for spores
- Help you to identify sources of moisture
- Identify where the mold is growing and help you decontaminate your house
- Use natural enzymes to kill mold spores
If you dont get rid of all sources of mold, you risk getting sick from it.
Do You Have Toxic Mold In Your Home
Toxic mold is generally referred to as Black Mold in the mainstream media. The dangers of black mold are well publicized. Black mold refers to a particular type of mold spore called Stachybotrys.
Heres the good news:
Stachybotrys is not typically found in your home randomly. This type of mold needs a ton of water over an extended period of time to grow and thrive
This means you will usually need a significant leak in your home whether it be a roof leak, plumbing leak window leak, etc..
In most cases, if you have a significant leak, you will know about it.
There are exceptions. Maybe you have a room that you rarely go in or you have a big piece of furniture in front of where the leak is located.
Here is an example of black mold in a home:
In this particular scenario, the homeowner had no clue that mold was growing in this area because there was a baseboard in place. It was also a guest bedroom closet which was not accessed very often.
It wasnt until the homeowner actually saw standing water on the ground before he took action.
A shower was leaking directly into a closet for months
The bottom line is this:
You may not always know that toxic mold is present.
Don’t Miss: How To Get Rid Of Mold In Car Air Conditioner