How To Get Rid Of Black Mold
Depending on the severity of your black mold infestation, you can either clean it yourself or hire a professional. Hiring a professional is more expensive, but it prevents you from being exposed to the mold while trying to remove it. Youll probably want to hire a professional cleaner if you have wide-spread growth in multiple rooms.
If you choose to remove the black mold yourself, be sure to take the proper safety precautions. You want to avoid letting mold spores touch your skin or breathing them in by wearing:
- Latex gloves
- Protective mark, preferably a dust mask
- Long sleeves and pants, or a full-body jumpsuit like a painters suit
Once youre dressed to tackle black mold, follow these steps to remove small infestations:
Where To Check For Mold In Your Bathroom
You may love a long, hot shower but, unfortunately, so does mold. The warm, wet environment of a bathroom is practically an invitation for mold growth. Bathrooms that lack proper ventilation are especially prone to attracting mold. While it may be clear to check for mold on shower tiles, there are plenty of less obvious places for mold to grow in the bathroom.
Key Signs Your House May Have Toxic Mold
Mold isnt always visually seen or easy to find. Here are some of the most common warning signs that may indicate theres toxic mold growing inside your home.
Some of the more commons signs of mold growth are:
- Dormant allergies or allergic reactions
- Aggravated asthma or other lung problems
- Discolored walls
- Black spots
- An increase in negative health symptoms such as a fever or feeling itchy usually these problems are associated with an increased consumption of medications such antihistamines
Well dive into some of these mold symptoms more to help teach you whether or not you need professional mold testing and mold removal or if you just need to take some precautionary steps to prevent mold spores from settling in your home.
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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:
How To Get Rid Of Mold
There are plenty of DIY mold removal options for you on the web some more effective than others. These may suffice if the problem is minor. After DIY treatment, it may be good to have an air quality test taken to determine the effectiveness of your work.
If the problem is more than minor, DIY methods will likely only remove the appearance of mold for a short time. If the problem is more serious, the best approach is to hire a certified and reputable local mold remediation company.
Most mold remediation companies will recommend demolition of the infected part of your home to get rid of mold, so keep in mind that you might have additional expenses to restore a portion of your house. Besides that, the process might take several days.
If you are looking into demolition-free mold removal, then look into the companies that use a dry fog technique. When properly done, this method not only kills mold without demolition to your home, but it also takes less than a day to complete.
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How Do I Detect Black Mold Inside My Walls In The First Place
Peeling wallpaper can also be a symptom of mold. While some scruffiness and discoloration tend to eventually strike your wallpaper, unusual surface or peeling abnormalities such as crackling or bubbling can be a sign of wall moisture. And remember, a reliable precursor to mold is always going to be moisture. Make sure to pay attention to any warped areas that feel damp.
To keep mold from growing in your cooling or heating systems, you can have a specialist check them regularly. Another indication of mold in the house is dark grout between bathroom tiles. Even if this type is most likely the harmless type, there could be flooding in the adjacent room or a leak in bathroom plumbing that could produce a more toxic fungus type that only professionals can remove. A sample sent for testing will let you know whether or not your shower is harmless.
Mold could also be the culprit when you have pre-existent problems with breathing that after long periods at home seem to flare up. Many household species of mold wont affect persons that do not have issues with breathing. However, in individuals suffering from asthma, it could aggravate it. Consider a mold inspection and a doctors appointment if the problems with your breathing seem to get worse with no clear cause.
Getting A Diagnosis For Mold Sickness
While symptoms to mold exposure are not uncommon , many health care professionals struggle to pinpoint the cause behind these symptoms.
Often only a few people or one person and not everyone, in a home or workplace experience symptoms. This is frustrating and confusing for the sick person. When their doctors cant find any reason for the illness, they can start to feel like the sickness is all in their mind.
People suffering from mold exposure can often be misdiagnosed with disorders such as:
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Preventing Mold In Your Home
The best way to keep your family safe from black mold is to prevent it from growing. Since mold grows in damp, dark places, you should aim to improve ventilation and reduce humidity in areas that are prone to mold.
In your bathrooms, for example, you can use a shower squeegee to remove excess water from shower walls and bathroom mirrors. You can also install a vent fan or open a window when showering to allow humidity to leave the room. These steps help reduce the moisture in your bathroom and make it more difficult for black mold to grow.
Make searching for black mold or potential growth areas a part of your spring cleaning routine. The sooner you catch a mold growth, the better chance you have to get rid of it before it causes health problems.
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Condensation And Persistent Moisture
Whether there is excess moisture on your windows, or condensation dripping from your pipes, a damp home is an ideal breeding ground for mold, and can be an indicator that mold is already present in your home. The best dehumidifiers serve as a good solution to reduce excess moisture as they will set the humidity in your home to the level you indicate on the dehumidifier. They aren’t a permanent solution, however, and you should consider getting your windows swapped for double-glazed panes, or having them re-sealed by a professional.
If you’re finding moisture on pipes, a plumber can help diagnose the problem here. In some instances, putting insulation around pipes can prevent moisture build-up, and in others you can consider running warm-water pipes away from cold ones, to avoid excess moisture build-up.
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You Feel Like You Have A Lingering Cold Or Are Battling Flu
“It is pretty tough to detect until it starts coming through the walls because mold, as you know, is a problem with some sort of leak somewhere,” Hayes-Raitt said. “So the problem starts behind the walls. But if you’re getting sick, it might be because of a mold problem.”
If you’re dealing with symptoms that you can’t exactly pinpoint, it could be that you’re stressed, haven’t been taking care of yourself, or wound up with some sort of virus, of course, but it could also potentially be that you’re dealing with mold.
If possible, Hayes-Raitt said that one of the best ways to determine if the sickness you feel is related to the house or not is to leave for a few days and then return home. If you feel those same symptoms coming on again, it might be the result of something more than a cold or virus.
What Mold Smells Like
Mold has a damp, musty scentsimilar to what youd smell after opening an old book. In general, smell is not a good way to determine if there is a mold problem, says Laureen Burton, a staff chemist and toxicologist for the Environmental Protection Agency . The smell of indoor molds can differ depending on the type of mold, the surface on which its growing, and its source of moisture. Plus, she says, some people dont notice a smell at all.
The mold smell is caused by microbial volatile organic compounds , which are substances that are naturally produced by molds as they grow. The health effects of inhaling mVOCs are largely unknown, says Burton, although exposure to some mVOCs has been linked to symptoms such as headaches, nasal irritation, dizziness, fatigue, and nausea.
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How To Detect Mold In Walls
If there is an area of your home where you think mold may be present in the walls due to smell, a strange appearance of the wall, or any other factor there are a few ways you can test this.
The simplest way is to probe the area with a screwdriver. If the area is soft or the screwdriver easily pierces the drywall, mold likely has rotted the surface away, and youll be able to see it once a hole has been opened up in the surface. Be careful when doing this and do not do it near any wiring or electrical outlets.
You could also use a fiber optic camera to look around inside after opening a hole in the wall, but at this point, you may as well hire a professional inspector. A professional inspector has the tools required to examine the wall thoroughly, and ensure that its mold free or detect any potential issues.
How To Prevent Mold And Mildew
- Keep things clean.
- Increase ventilation in the affected area with exhaust fans.
- Install dehumidifiers to reduce humidity.
- Ensure that sources of natural ventilation such as windows remain open, if possible.
- Make sure that sources of mechanical venting such as HVAC vents remain open and unblocked.
- Inspect vents for clothes dryers and ensure that vents are clean and that they are attached.
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Your Planter Of Begonias Is Leaking
Exterior landscaping that is close to the home, as well as planters placed against exterior walls, can also lead to mold issues, especially for stucco homes, says Gregg Cantor, President and CEO of Murray Lampert Design, Build, Remodel. Moisture finds its way inside the walls and can cause mold growth in the drywall and insulation. This type of mold growth can be particularly dangerous because its rarely caught until the mold shows up on the interior of the wall, at which point the growth can be extensive and a danger to your health, says Cantor. Watch out for these other sneaky backyard dangers you need to be aware of.
Areas In The House To Starting Detecting Mold
- Bathrooms: In or under cabinets, in the shower on grout lines, flooring area, on baseboards, behind toilets, the edge of bathtubs, and behind wallpaper.
- Kitchens: In or under cabinets, behind the fridge, behind dishwashers, under garbage disposal, around drain and water supply lines.
- HVAC Closets: Found on the walls in the HVAC closet, condensate disposal drain lines, on air filters, flooring, and duct board/liners in the return air plenum.
- Laundry Rooms: behind the washing machine and on the flooring.
- In basement areas: Mold growth is found frequently in home basements on walls and floors when flooding or water intrusion has occurred.
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Signs Your Home Has Mold
Worried your house or apartment has mold? Here are the telltale signs you may have a damp or fungus problem.
Does your home have mold? If you own your house or apartment, mold can be an expensive issue to fix, and a persistent problem. And it isn’t just the cost either – many forms of mold are extremely bad for your health, if ingested over a period of time, so you need to get it sorted. If you’re in any doubt about whether you have mold, what type you have, or where it is concentrated, you should pick from any of the best mold test kits and check it out for yourself. They’re all inexpensive, and can help you start to fix the problem.
However, you need to know the early-warning signs in order to start your investigation. Mold can often grow in places you rarely inspect, and can even spread behind stud walls, chimneys, or large items of furniture like wardrobes. One of the most common places for mold to grow is in your HVAC unit, which will then spread it through your home. Many test kits will sample from your air con unit, but some won’t. In some instances you may even need to change the heating and cooling system in your home, if mold gets bad, so if this is the case you should consult our guide to the best central air conditioning units.
Hopefully, though, you’ll spot one of the signs your home has mold early, and get it fixed before it spreads.
How Do You Keep Mold Out Of Buildings And Homes
Inspect buildings for evidence of water damage and visible mold as part of routine building maintenance, Correct conditions causing mold growth to prevent mold growth.
Inside your home you can control mold growth by:
- Controlling humidity levels
- Promptly fixing leaky roofs, windows, and pipes
- Thoroughly cleaning and drying after flooding
- Ventilating shower, laundry, and cooking areas.
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How To Test For Mold
You probably dont need to do mold testing or buy a mold test kit, especially if the fungus is visible. Because the health effects of mold vary from person to person, the CDC says that if you can see it or smell it, it should be removed, no matter what type of mold is in your home.
While its not possible to completely eliminate mold in your house, you can prevent a build-up by cleaning up any wet or damp spots and fixing any existing water leaks.
Neither the CDC nor the EPA recommends doing routine mold samplingsboth organizations point out that there are no federal limits for mold in buildings, so people cant check their apartment complexs compliance with the law, for example. Plus, the testing can be expensive.
If You Treat Mold Yourself Always Wear Protection
In fact, preparation and protective wear are important parts of making sure that youre removing and not spreading mold.
Robert Weitz is a certified microbial investigator and founder of RTK Environmental, a leading environmental testing firm. If you find mold, he recommends having a professional mold test to see if you can clean it yourself. If you can, he has a list of items that youll need:
- A mask or respirator to filter out the mold spores youll be disturbing
- Eye protection
- White vinegar
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How To Save Your Home From A Mold Outbreak
Mold needs more than organic material to grow in a home. It also needs a source of water, which generally comes in the form of leaking pipes, flooding, or high condensation issues.
A lot of times when I go into a home, Im finding mold near water sources in basements, bathrooms, and kitchens, says Bill.
A simple way to prevent mold from forming is to check your home and address any issues.
- Make sure your sump pumps are working and avoid water damage.
- Install braided metal hoses on your wet appliances dishwasher, washing machine, etc.
- Run the fan in your bathroom for at least 15 minutes after a shower or bath.
- Open a window after taking a shower or bath.
- Inspect your bathroom tiles for any caulking issues.
- Remove excess water from the tiles or the sink with towels.
- Monitor the humidity in your wet areas and keep organic materials, such as clothes and books, out of it.
- Fix any leaky appliances, such as hot water heaters and washing machines.
- Never grow plants in your basement.
If youre renovating your home, you may want to invest in certain building materials that can help to prevent mold growth.
There are materials such as green board, which is mold- and mildew-resistant drywall that can be placed into a basement, says Bill.
Durock is another mold-resistant building material.
Before starting a renovation or home improvement project, ask your contractor about using mold-resistant building materials if youre concerned about moisture in your home.
Signs You Might Have Toxic Mold In Your Home
Seeing mold growing on an old piece of bread is creepy enough, but mold in the home is something next level. It might not be a problem you think about regularly, but if you feel like you have some weird health issues, you might be exhibiting some signs that you have toxic mold in your home. Since mold isn’t always visible or easy to spot, it’s important to know what to look out for so you can take care of any issues if you have some â you don’t want your health to suffer just because your house looks clean enough.
“Although toxic mold can bring on the most serious health problems, all mold and mildew can cause health issues â especially for those who suffer from allergies,” says Robert Weitz, a certified microbial investigator and principal of RTK Environmental Group, over email. “An important thing to consider: Do you feel bad at home or at work, but feel better when you leave? Itâs very likely a mold or indoor air quality issue.”
If you suspect you have mold in your home, look out for these seven telltale signs. These signs can help you identify a potential problem, but if you feel that mold has made its way in, schedule a test. An independent testing company will provide you with an unbiased assessment of the situation, determine what type of mold is growing in your home, and determine the proper course of action to remove it.
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