Where To Check For Mold In Your Kitchen
From long-forgotten leftovers in the back of your fridge to the not so easily forgotten dishes that pile up in the sink, there are ample surfaces for mold to take up residence in your kitchen. The added levels of humidity from using the stove and running hot water from the sink can cause kitchen mold to grow quickly. Some of the most common places to check for mold in the kitchen include:
Dealing With Mold In Walls
Before beginning the job of removing mold from the inside of walls, you need to cover doorways, air vents, and other openings to other parts of the home with plastic. If youre working in a large room, you can use large sheets of plastic to block off a smaller area in which you will be working. This prevents the spread of mold spores to other areas of the home. Mold remediation experts often recommend setting up negative pressure in the work area, as well.
Remove moldy drywall and insulation. Use a spray bottle of water to dampen moldy materials before removing them this helps prevent mold spores from becoming airborne during the process. When sawing through moldy drywall, you can have an assistant hold a vacuum hose with a HEPA filter nearby to further decrease the spread of mold spores. Enclose moldy materials in heavy plastic garbage bags before carrying it out of the home so no mold spores are spread to other areas of the home in the process. Its imperative that you do everything possible to prevent spreading mold spores throughout the house so that you dont end up with mold in other rooms.
Moisture: Investigating And Solving Problems
Mould will grow indoors if moisture is present. Moisture problems in homes may result from:
- daily activities such as showering or bathing, washing clothes or cooking, if exhaust fans are not working properly or are not used
- infiltration of water from the outside when there are cracks or leaks in the foundation, floor, walls or roof
- plumbing leaks
- moisture condensation on cold surfaces
- flooding due to weather conditions
- inadequate ventilation.
Moisture indoors accumulates when it cannot be vented outside and becomes a problem when building materials become damp or wet.
Moisture problems are preventable.
Unless the cause of the moisture problem has been identified and solved, mould will reappear. Once the moisture problem and its causes have been identified, they must be fixed. To prevent future problems, measures should be put in place to control sources of moisture in your home, for example:
- Ensure rain, irrigation water and snowmelt drain away from the house by sloping the grade away from the building.
- Keep eavestroughs and downspouts clean of debris and ensure that the outflow runs away from the house and not into neighbouring foundations.
- Repair plumbing leaks promptly.
- Use exhaust fans, ventilation and air conditioning systems to vent moisture outdoors.
- Use moisture tolerant materials in areas likely to get wet .
Run a dehumidifier in damp areas such as basements or if you observe that moisture is condensing on cold surfaces such as window panes.
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Remove Mold From Drywall/painted Walls
Mold can often grow on drywall and painted interior walls, especially in areas where moisture and humidity are a factor, such as kitchens and bathrooms. Walls can also be affected if your roof or exterior walls are infiltrated by water. If the drywall remains wet, mold can begin to grow and penetrate the drywall throughout. When this happens, the drywall must be removed and replaced, as you will not be able to get rid of all mold under these circumstances.
Figure B: 13 Common Breeding Grounds For Mold And Mildew
Problem #1 Leaky air-conditioning duct joints, especially those running through a hot attic, create a moist environment for mildew.
Perform yearly roof inspectionseven if you do it from the ground with binoculars.
Note: You can download and enlarge Figure B in Additional Information below.
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Where Does Mold Originate
Mold growth often begins in a high moisture area, such as standing water outside the shower or leaky windows. Once a source is identified, it should be fixed promptly and all the excess moisture removed, said Kimble. While many say bleach can handle a mold cleanup, it destroys the plant life itself but it waters the spore, or the seed, with moisture, which allows it to survive, he said.
Bleach may work on non-porous surfaces such as glass, metal or plastic, but not on porous surfaces like wood, concrete or drywall, where mold could easily seep into the material and stay alive, said Nardozzi.
Types Of Mould To Look Out For In The Home
Not all mould is created equal. So, when tackling mould growth in your home, its a good idea to know what youre dealing with especially as each type of mould has its own set of characteristics, growth patterns and health effects to take into consideration.
Being aware of where mould grows in home can help you stop the problem at its source and prevent you from going through the same mould, same mould process of locating and treating it. Here are some common household moulds to keep an eye out for.
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Air Conditioning And Heating Vents
You probably prefer your bedroom to be at the optimal temperature for you to get a good nights rest. While using the AC and heating unit are fine , its possible for mold to grow in the vents.
To prevent mold from contaminating your bedroom, you should:
- Use a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from the air
- Dry up any condensation you find on the walls and windows
- Invest in a mold-resistant mattress or, at the very least, a waterproof mattress cover
Figure C: The Smart Way To Get Rid Of Moldy Building Materials
The key to removing moldy materials is containment and thoroughness. Seal off the area. Create a crude air lock door to contain spores and dust by covering the opening with a sheet of poly slit in the center, then cover that with another sheet or flap. Wear a respirator and work slowly and surely. Double-bag or wrap all materials, then wash all remaining hard surfaces with a 1/2 percent bleach solution and let dry.
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Mold Removal From Fabric
Its easier than you might think for clothes to attract mold and mildew. A forgotten load of laundry in the washing machine, the pile of clothes at the bottom of a closet, or even the armchair in a humid room can all quickly become overrun with mold. However as long as you catch the problem early, your fabrics can still be saved.
If you can apply bleach to a fabric without worrying about discoloration, do it. Thats the fastest and most effective way of getting rid of mold. Many laundry bleaches can be used on white and colorfast fabrics, although you should always check the instructions, and never use bleach on wool or silk. Simply apply a solution of one part bleach to three parts water and let it absorb into the fabric for a few minutes before laundering as usual.
For fabrics that cant be bleached, use white vinegar instead. Either apply white vinegar to a cotton pad and place it on top of the stain for five minutes before laundering, or briefly soak in a solution of ¼ cup vinegar to one gallon water. Rinse through to remove the vinegar and launder as normal.
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The Diy Mold Testing Process
While home mold testing kits are simple to use, they only capture samples in the air and on exposed surfaces. They arent intended to detect mold inside walls, but they can provide a starting point for DIY mold removal.
A top-of-the-line home mold testing kit should include:
Growth medium that serves as a base for tested samples Petri dish for passively catching airborne spores Sterilized swabs to collect visible samples directly from surfaces Sample bags for shipping suspected mold to testing labs
Once you send off your sample, turnaround time can vary from five business days to three weeks. Also, be aware that the cost for mail-in analysis is usually in addition to your original mold kit purchase price.
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How To Remove Mold From Walls
Mold on your interior walls doesnt just look unpleasant it can be a health hazard for your family. Depending on the amount and location, its presence also suggests a larger problem in your housewater infiltration.
For this project, we will focus on solving the mold problem. The remedy is two-fold: 1. Control moisture and 2. Kill the mold. While the former may take a more involved approach, depending on the situation, the latter often can be done with some bleach, water and a bit of elbow grease.
I Have Mold Growing In My House: What Now
You’re getting your house ready to sell, and you notice a small patch of black or green creeping up your drywall in the basement. Your thoughts go right to potential respiratory problems and expensive renovations that a toxic mold problem could bring. But is it the time to panic?
Experts say several things should be noted immediately mold occurs almost everywhere, and not all molds are toxic. The severity of a problem depends on the comparative air quality of the indoor space to the surrounding area, and the severity of a leak or other source of moisture that could be causing the mold.
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To Prevent Mold Growth In Your Home
- Keep humidity levels in your home as low as you canno higher than 50%all day long. An air conditioner or dehumidifier will help you keep the level low. You can buy a meter to check your homes humidity at a home improvement store. Humidity levels change over the course of a day so you will need to check the humidity levels more than once a day.
- Be sure the air in your home flows freely. Use exhaust fans that vent outside your home in the kitchen and bathroom. Make sure your clothes dryer vents outside your home.
- Fix any leaks in your homes roof, walls, or plumbing so mold does not have moisture to grow.
- Clean up and dry out your home fully and quickly after a flood.
- Add mold inhibitors to paints before painting. You can buy mold inhibitors at paint and home improvement stores.
- Clean bathrooms with mold-killing products.
- Remove or replace carpets and upholstery that have been soaked and cannot be dried right away. Think about not using carpet in places like bathrooms or basements that may have a lot of moisture.
- To learn more about preventing mold in your home, see the Environmental Protection Agencys book A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home at .
What Is Black Mold
Black mold is often found inside houses with excessive moisture damage to wallboard and other surfaces. Much is made of this type of molds toxicity but the mold itself isnt harmful. It does however have the potential to produce mycotoxins that can cause harm to people and pets, depending on the particular species of mold. A rule of thumb should be use caution when removing all molds, especially when in abundance.
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How To Get Rid Of Mold In Walls
If the wall is made from a non-porous surface, such as finished wood or stone, it must be thoroughly dried. A dehumidifier, proper ventilation or a wet vacuum can be used. Then, a damp wipe down of the area should remove most of the mold. Cleaning products designed for mold removal are helpful, however it is not necessary to bleach moldy areas or use other biocides. If the wall is made from a porous material such as gypsum drywall, wallpaper or unfinished wood, it is not possible to remove all of the mold from the tiny nooks and holes in the wall. The affected section of the wall must be cut out and replaced. This can be very expensive. However, the mold will almost certainly come back otherwise.
Finish the mold removal by using a vacuum with a HEPA filter. A non-HEPA vacuum may not contain the mold spores and can actually spread them into the air. Vacuum the entire area and surrounding areas, even if no mold is visible.
Do not just paint or caulk over mold without removing it. According to the EPA, this will cause the paint to flake and peel, and when the paint comes off, you will still have mold on the wall.
Remember That Professionals Have Tools That You Dont
According to Jeff Miller, a real estate agent with AE Home Group in Maryland, More often than not, the mold is either from a small plumbing leak or from a roof leak, so fix that first. If the mold is located under a bathroom or kitchen sink where there could be a plumbing leak, call a plumber to investigate. Similarly, he recommends having a roofer inspect and seal any gaps in the roof if you see thats the cause of the mold.
Miller recommends having the mold remediated by a professional. They have access to the proper chemicals you need to ensure no mold residue after treatment, and they can test your home to ensure that the mold hasnt spread.
Kyle Rowley, mold remediation expert at Restoration 1 in Waco, TX, agrees. He says that mold can be tricky and dangerous. Even if there has been no water damage to a property, mold can come from something as simple as a leaky window because moisture and mold go hand-in-hand.
And because mold can cause so many problems, he says homeowners shouldnt take any chances. Having mold present can lead to allergens, irritants, mycotoxins, sneezing, breathing problems and long-term diseases, Rowley says.
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Removing Mold From Different Rooms
Some rooms are more prone to mold than others. Bathrooms are notorious for mold growth because they harbor damp, humid environments that mold loves. Less frequented rooms such as basements and attics can also suffer from mold, which can go unchecked for a long time before being noticed. Heres how to prevent mold from taking hold in each room of your property.
How Do Molds Affect People
Exposure to damp and moldy environments may cause a variety of health effects, or none at all. Some people are sensitive to molds. For these people, exposure to molds can lead to symptoms such as stuffy nose, wheezing, and red or itchy eyes, or skin. Some people, such as those with allergies to molds or with asthma, may have more intense reactions. Severe reactions may occur among workers exposed to large amounts of molds in occupational settings, such as farmers working around moldy hay. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath.
In 2004 the Institute of Medicine found there was sufficient evidence to link indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people with asthma symptoms in people with asthma and with hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals susceptible to that immune-mediated condition.
In 2009, the World Health Organization issued additional guidance, the WHO Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality: Dampness and Mould pdf iconexternal icon pdf icon. Other recent studies have suggested a potential link of early mold exposure to development of asthma in some children, particularly among children who may be genetically susceptible to asthma development, and that selected interventions that improve housing conditions can reduce morbidity from asthma and respiratory allergies.
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Limit Your Exposure To Mold
Its important to limit your exposure to mold and mold spores. Keep them out of your eyes and try not to inhale any.
- Wear a mask or an N-95 respirator to avoid inhaling mold.
- Wear gloves that extend to the middle of your forearm. If youre just using water and a mild detergent, household rubber gloves work fine.
- Wear goggles that dont have ventilation holes to avoid getting mold or spores in your eyes.
What Is White Mold
White mold is often found in cool, damp environments such as in basements on walls and other structures. It is often confused with efflorescence, which is a mineral deposit that forms on foundation walls and other masonry surfaces due to water seepage. You can test to see if its mold by spraying it with water. If it dissolves, it is a mineral deposit if it does not, then its most likely white mold.
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Learn About Your Landlord’s Liability For Mold Problems How To Get Rid Of Mold And How To Prevent It In The First Place
By , Attorney
Mold is an environmental hazard that can cause concern among renters. Across the country, tenants have won multimillion-dollar cases against landlords for significant health problemssuch as rashes, chronic fatigue, nausea, cognitive losses, hemorrhaging, and asthmaallegedly caused by exposure to “toxic molds” in their building.
If you suspect there is mold in your rental unit, learn what to look for and when your landlord might be liable. Even better, take steps to prevent mold before it becomes a problemor clean mold up before it does become a problem.