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 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.
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Is Black Mold Dangerous
There have been reports about black mold leading to illness. Black mold has been linked to lung problems in babies and children, including bleeding in the lungs. There is no scientific evidence to support that link.
Researchers have not found evidence that allergies to black mold are worse than allergies to other types of mold. People who develop respiratory symptoms associated with sick building syndrome have blamed black mold. The evidence suggests that mold-related illness can result from multiple types of mold, not just black mold.
Causes Of Damp And Mould
Mould and damp are caused by excess moisture. Moisture in buildings can be caused by leaking pipes, rising damp in basements or ground floors, or rain seeping in because of damage to the roof or around window frames.
A newly built home may be damp if the water used when building it is still drying out for example, in the plaster on the walls. Excess moisture indoors can also be caused by condensation.
If you have mould or damp itâs important to find out why you have excess moisture in your home. When you know whatâs causing the damp, you can make sure your home is repaired or take steps to limit the moisture in the air. You may need to get a professional to remove mould for you, but if itâs only a small amount you may be able to remove it yourself.
Page last reviewed: 8 August 2018 Next review due: 8 August 2021
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What Type Of Doctor Should I See For Black Mold Health Problems
The CDC recommends first consulting a family or general health care provider that can refer you to a specialist if necessary. The type of specialist depends on the health problem. Allergists treat patients with mold allergies, infectious disease physicians treat mold infections, and pulmonologists treat lung infections.
Black Mold Removal And Cleaning
Mold remediation in stores, offices, or schools is best left to professionals. 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.
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How To Know If You Have Black Mold In Your House
Mold isnt always visible. If you can see mold, its only a sign of the real potential health risk the unhealthy levels of harmful types mold in the air of your home or workplace.
Airborne mold is all around us in both the outdoors and indoors. The types and amount of mold determines the potential health risk. Most of us are accustomed to the varieties and amounts of mold present in our outdoor environments.
Healthy indoor environments will have mold conditions similar to or better than those in the surrounding outdoors. Over time, because of moisture , many indoor spaces develop unhealthy types and/or unhealthy levels of airborne mold that can be harmful to you or your pets.
These signs could mean you have unhealthy mold conditions in your house:
- Allergic symptoms
- A damp or musty odor in one or more places
- Frequent headaches
- The air in the home feels different
- Your house has been flooded or currently has leaks
- You previously tried removing mold yourself
Take note of how you feel in and out of the house. If the symptoms disappear or decrease when youre out and about, then you might have a mold problem, yes, even if you cant see mold.
What Are The Effects Of Breathing In Mold Or Mildew
Mold and mildew, found everywhere in the environment, are both fungi that need to be in moist areas to grow. Areas that are dark and have poor air quality can also contain mold and mildew. These fungi will eventually damage the surfaces they grow on by spreading seeds or spores. These spores can enter the air and be inhaled, or come into contact with your skin. While not always harmful, inhaling or touching mold or mildew can cause both minor and serious symptoms in some people.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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What Does Harmless Black Mold Look Like
Harmless black mold looks like any other type of mold, but its a little more common in certain areas.
Like all molds, harmless black mold is a fungus that thrives on moisture and grows on surfaces that are damp or wet. It can be found in places like the bathroom and kitchen, where humidity is higher and the temperature tends to be warmer.
As with all molds, harmless black molds growth depends on how much water there is available for it to feed on. If you find a patch of harmless black mold growing on your shower curtain or in your basement, it could be due to excessive moisture in those areas.
Do You Have Mold In Your Home We Can Help
We know mold is a serious health concern for many homeowners, so if you have any questions, or think you may have it in your home, please give us a call. Well come out and inspect the area in question free of charge!
As an industry leader with more than 35 years of award-winning experience, EnviroVantage specializes in indoor air quality improvements, mold remediation, asbestos abatement, duct cleaning, and more. We have helped thousands of homeowners eliminate problems in their home, including all types of mold.
Contact us today with any questions or for more information!
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Where Can Black Mold Be Found In Homes
Black mold thrives in warm and damp environments, such as basements, bathrooms, and kitchens. To prevent black mold growth problems in your home, make sure there are no leaks that can lead to water damage. Use fans and dehumidifiers to keep the humidity in your home between 40% and 50%. Learn more about mold prevention tips here.
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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Black Mold Exposure Can Damage Your Circulatory System
Black mold spores can be inhaled, consumed, or absorbed through a persons skin or eyes. When mycotoxins find their way into the bloodstream, mycotoxins have the potential to cause serious damage.
Symptoms of circulatory system damage from black mold include:
- Irregular heartbeat
- Bleeding in the brain
Can Black Mold Spread From House To House
Yes. If you have had mold in your old house and youre moving into another space, it is possible to cross contaminate this new environment.
Because mold spores are not visible to the naked eye, it is hard to tell which surfaces are contaminated. Therefore, the mold has to be completely cleaned before you renovate or move to a new home.
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How Do I Deal With A Mold Issue In My Home
If its a large-scale mold growth problem , its advised to hire professionals to effectively remove the mold. They can thoroughly eliminate the mold with the use of specialized equipment and techniques. For a small mold infestation, you can consider removing it yourself by following these tips.
To learn more about how to deal with small-scale mold problems in your home, check out our tips to remove mold from your bathroom, basement, and kitchen, as well as from unexpected areas in your home.
What Are Some Physical Symptoms Of Mold Exposure
The extent of symptoms depends on ones sensitivity. A wide variety of reactions are attributed to the toxic effects of mold, including:
- Chronic clogged throat
- Persistent cold-like or flu-like symptoms
- Burning, itching, watering eyes
- Serious swelling of legs, ankles, and feet
- Serious swelling in the torso or stomach
- Prolonged muscle cramps and joint pain
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Does Black Mold Really Cause Health Problems
In one word Yes.
Mold is most often associated with allergies and asthma, but mold is much more menacing than people know. While all molds have the potential to cause irritation and allergy symptoms, molds can also cause much more dangerous health problems including: fungal poisoning from mycotoxins to mental health issues.
Mold hides in places no one ever thinks to look like under cabinets, in crawl spaces, attics, and behind furniture. People may spend weeks, months, and even years fighting illness, and never know what they are really fightingmold. Many of our customers find us after a recommendation from their doctor, that they may in fact have a mold problem, and not just an illness.
Black Mold Symptoms And Health Effects
Learn about black mold symptoms and health effects so that you can identify indicators of black mold exposure and black mold poisoning.
A mold infested room of an old building.
Mold in homes can be a costly and dangerous problem, particularly when infestations of toxic black mold occur. The symptoms and health effects of black mold exposure and black mold poisoning cover a wide range of health problems, but understanding the indicators can help keep you and your family safe.
Toxic black mold, or Stachybotrys chartarum, as it’s known to scientists, can release spores as it feeds on organic materials in common household materials like drywall, carpet, insulation or sub-flooring that have been exposed to moisture. These spores, if ingested or inhaled, can cause a range of unpleasant and even dangerous symptoms in humans.
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Identifying Black Mold Poisoning
If you have persistent symptoms of an allergic reaction, it is possible that you are exposed to black mold. It takes a blood test to confirm if the poison has entered the bloodstream. In addition, there are tests to determine if you are allergic to mold, which helps narrow down the cause.
Treatment is a combination of two efforts: the first to rid the symptoms from the body, and the second to remove the black mold from the residence or commercial building. Nasal decongestants, antihistamines, immunotherapy, and steroids are common treatments for black mold exposure.
Unless you find and get rid of the black mold itself, the symptoms will persist. Small patches of black mold on walls or floors can be removed using commercially available products, but an extensive invasion will need a professional company to remove.
How Fast Does Black Mold Spread
Mold begins to grow as soon as its spores land on a damp, fibre-rich material and it can spread around the house within 24 to 48 hours. It colonizes in one to twelve days and grows at one square inch per day. In less than a week, it can cover surface areas of several square feet.
Unfortunately in most cases, mold is widespread and already a big problem before a problem is even suspected by the homeowners.
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How Does Black Mold Affect Children
Black mold exposure can impact a childs health if they inhale, ingest, or come into skin or eye contact with mold spores. According to the Centers for Disease Control , black mold exposure is linked to respiratory illness in otherwise healthy children. In addition, black mold exposure can cause some children to develop asthma, especially those who have genetically compromised immune systems.
Exposure Sources And Prevention
The primary sources of mold exposure are from the indoor air in buildings with substantial mold growth and the ingestion of food with mold growths.
While mold and related microbial agents can be found both inside and outside, specific factors can lead to significantly higher levels of these microbes, creating a potential health hazard. Several notable factors are water damage in buildings, the use of building materials which provide a suitable substrate and source of food to amplify mold growth, relative humidity, and energy-efficient building designs, which can prevent proper circulation of outside air and create a unique ecology in the built environment. A common issue with mold hazards in the household can be the placement of furniture, resulting in a lack of ventilation of the nearby wall. The simplest method of avoiding mold in a home so affected is to move the furniture in question.
Prevention of mold exposure and its ensuing health issues begins with the prevention of mold growth in the first place by avoiding a mold-supporting environment. Extensive flooding and water damage can support extensive mold growth. Following hurricanes, homes with greater flood damage, especially those with more than 3 feet of indoor flooding, demonstrated far higher levels of mold growth compared with homes with little or no flooding.
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Removing Mold From Your Home
Resolve any issues causing mold growth, and throw away anything affected by mold or contributing to mold growth that you cant clean.
- Wear protective gear. As youre dealing with the moldy area, cover yourself with a mask, gloves, goggles, and rubber boots. If youre cleaning a lot of mold, you can also wear disposable clothing or a mold-resistant suit.
- Ventilate the room. Open all doors and windows to increase ventilation.
- Sort and discard. Remove any objects from the area that havent been touched by mold growth. Throw away any items that cant be cleaned.
- Replace moldy housing materials. Cut away and replace mold-damaged drywall, ceiling tiles, and carpet.
- Scrub and disinfect. Cover and scrub nonporous surfaces affected by mold with bleach, a fungicide, or detergent and water, then dry them. Dont mix cleaning products together.
- Address any water issues. Make sure any water problems are fixed and the area is dry before you renovate the room.
You cant prevent all mold, but you can reduce the amount in your home. Here are some dos and donts for managing mold and keeping it from growing indoors.
Where Is Mold Found In A Home
A research study found that Stachybotrys preferred a very high relative humidity within wallsapproximately 97%which indicates that relative humidity could be an important risk factor . For black mold, you may consider smaller microclimates that may harbor such humidity levels: sweating pipes, under sink cabinets, front loading washing machines, standing water, roof leaks, damp cars, windows with condensation, etc. Generally, common places to check for mold growth include the kitchen, bathroom and laundry room.
However, humidity alone is not the only requirement for mold growthmold requires nutrients to grow. Any environment that has nutrients like cellulose or other organic matter can harbor mold if the humidity level is right. To further enable mold growth, an environment that has poor air flow and minimal disruption is ideal. For example, you can find mold on wallpaper, furniture, drywall, overly-packed bookshelves or overstuffed closets.
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How Do Doctors Test For Mold Exposure
If you are aware of mold growth in your home and you feel sick, inform your doctor about the mold and your symptoms right away. But sometimes you cant see mold, and it is not clear whether its mold exposure thats made you sick or not.
Because mold allergy or mold exposure symptoms can resemble that of other allergies, the doctor will typically start by asking about your medical and family medical history. Additionally, doctors usually run tests for mold exposure which may include one or more of the following:
- Skin test for reactions to allergens, including mold
- IgG mold antibodies test to see the immune systems reaction to molds. A positive test means that an individual was or is currently exposed to mold
- Urine mycotoxins test
- A fungal culture of the nasal sinuses
The type of testing youll receive depends on the doctor you visit, so be sure to ask questions ahead of time so you can feel confident in your diagnosis.