Friday, May 17, 2024

What Causes Mold And Mildew

Use Green Cleaning Products

High Humidity Causes Mold, Mildew and Health Problems

Cleaning products with an overwhelming odor are ironically the biggest sources of volatile organic compounds in the home. This is especially true of artificial pine and lemon products. When using these cleaners to rid areas of mold and other pollutants, you are essentially trading one contaminant for another. When dealing with mold , try to stick with cleaners that are water-based, non-toxic and non-aerosol.

What Are Some Mold Prevention Tips

The best advice about dealing with mold is to get on it as soon as you suspect somethings wrong. Dont wait until the damage is done and expensive remediation work is needed. Mold is a fast-acting organism. The EPA guide reports that mold spores can cultivate within 24 48 hours of finding a warm, moist place. Time is of the essence.

Here are more of the EPAs mold prevention tips:

Clean up spilled water immediately

Insulate cold surfaces to prevent condensation

Ensure all rooms have adequate ventilation

Slope exterior ground away from your foundation

Clean gutters and downpipes often

Keep humidity levels below 60 percent

Make sure air conditioning drains run free

Make sure HVAC appliances are regularly serviced

Keep bathroom and kitchen windows cracked open

Run your fan when showering

Watch for standing water inside and out

Inspect your home each season for signs and smells of mold

Removing Mold From Leather Shoes Coats Accessories And Furniture

Mold on leather coats, shoes, purses, and furniture should be removed outside, if possible. Wipe down the surface with a cloth dipped in distilled white vinegar and then with a good leather soap and warm water. Dry with a soft cloth and allow to air dry completely. Once completely dry, treat the item with a leather conditioner.

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Moisture In Your Attic

Its common to find mold in attics, especially where there are poor ventilation and high humidity conditions. Few people spend time in their attics, particularly in todays homes that use roof trusses instead of rafters and storage space is impractical.

Most people never enter their attic unless theres an emergency. Thats usually due to a water leak, and by then, a mold infestation may be well advanced. Running water is easy to identify in an attic as its going to pour through hatch openings or from light fixtures. High humidity and moisture levels are more difficult to find. Consider these attic moisture sources:

Leaky or missing roof shingles

Leaking drain, waste and ventilation pipes

Condensation on plumbing pipes

Improperly installed flashings and ridge capping

Improperly installed exhaust vents for dryers, bath and kitchen vents

Condensation during cold months

Heat causing high humidity in warm months

Faulty or missing insulation

Snow and ice damming problems

Heaters or furnaces in attic

Air conditioning units in the attic

Stored materials that are wet or damp

How To Remove Mildew From Wood Furniture

Understanding The Difference Between Mildew And Mold

If your wood furniture has seen better days, it might be time for a deep clean. Follow these tips for removing mildew from wood furniture.

  • Vacuum mildewed wood furniture with a soft brush to remove any loose spores. After you are done, either throw away the bag or clean the canister outside.
  • Quickly wipe off any stains using a light touch.
  • Rinse the area with a damp cloth, let dry, then polish.
  • Read Also: How To Get Mildew Off Bathroom Ceiling

    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

    What Causes Mould And Mildew

    Mould and mildew are both caused by humidity a high level of moisture in the air. Mould only starts growing on a surface once its been wet for over 24 hours, so its usually a symptom that your property has a problem with damp. If it does, youre not alone. Its estimated that 1 in 18 properties in England suffers from damp of some description.

    Mould and mildew can often be a problem in houses that have naturally high humidity levels, like those near the coast or beside a lake. The moisture levels in the air can increase during long periods of unpleasant weather, and if mould spores get into your property, it can lead to patches appearing.

    There are different types of damp, and finding out which one is causing your mould problem is the first step towards stamping it out for good.

    Also Check: How To Clean Mold On Bathroom Ceiling

    Identify Problem Areas In Your Home And Correct Them

    You canât mold-proof your home, but you can make it mold-resistant. Do an audit of your home: where are the problem areas? Does the basement flood? Do you notice frequent condensation on an upstairs window? Is there a water stain on the ceiling from a persistent leak? Preventing mold from growing or spreading might be as simple as ripping up carpet in a damp basement, installing mold-resistant products, or repairing damaged gutters. Or it may be a matter of major excavation and waterproofing. Whatever the case, address the problem now. It might cost some money up front, but it will surely be more costly down the road if mold continues to grow unchecked.

    Preventing Mildew From Returning

    Toxic mold devastates family, causes myriad health problems
  • 1Hang damp clothes up to dry right away. Whether its the towel you used after your shower or your workout gear after an hour at the gym, dont just throw your damp clothes on the floor or into the laundry basket. Instead, drape your wet clothes on the side of the laundry basket or hang them over the shower rod to dry out before they go into the laundry.XResearch source
  • Balling up wet clothes will cause them to stay wet longer, giving mildew a better chance to grow.
  • 2Use the recommended amount of detergent. Overusing laundry detergent can lead to a buildup of soap suds that never get completely rinsed out in the wash. This residue then feeds the odor-causing bacteria, leaving even your cleanest clothes with a funky smell. Each time you wash your clothes, measure your detergent carefully to make sure you dont add too much.XResearch source
  • Follow the guidelines on your detergent packaging to know how much to add. When in doubt, add a little less detergent than you think you need.
  • 3Dont use fabric softener on your workout clothes. Fabric softener leaves your clothes feeling soft and smelling good, but when its used on stretchy, synthetic workout clothes, it leaves a slick residue that is nearly impossible to remove. This residue then keeps water from penetrating the fabric, meaning your clothes will smell bad even when theyre clean.XResearch source
  • Fabric softener residue will also promote the growth of bacteria in much the same way as using too much detergent.
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    Figure A: Mold And Mildew Love Moist And Damp Places

    Mold and mildew need only a damp, moist environment and organic material to establish themselves and thrive. Roof and foundation leaks, high interior humidity, overflowing washing machines and more severe forms of flooding are common sources of moisture and are what causes mold in a house. Drywall backing, wallpaper, carpet backing, household dust and wood products are commonly attacked organic materials.

    What Is The Difference Between Mildew And Mold

    Mildew and mold are both types of fungi that are typically found in moist environments inside the home. They can both spread easily and they live on many types of surfaces.

    If either are allowed to thrive unattended they can quickly impact a large areas of your home and cause subsequent health problems. Mold is a fungus that can grow quickly in patches and penetrate the porous material in your home.

    Pro Tip: To learn more about the difference between mildew and mold, check out this comprehensive guide we wrote.

    Read Also: How To Treat Mold On Bathroom Ceiling

    Where Does Mold & Mildew Grow In A House

    As weve mentioned previously, both mold and mildew thrive in hot, humid conditions. Unfortunately, most homes have plenty of spaces that fit that criterion. You can find mold and mildew anywhere from damp patches on ceilings and bathrooms, window sills, shower walls, even air ducts. This is especially true for homes that have been water damaged, be it by flooding, leaks, or heavy rains. It can even lead to the growth of the toxic black mold we described above.

    To learn more about preventing mold and reducing humidity, check out our article about plants that absorb humidity.

    Blended Fibers Hemp Jute Natural Fibers Synthetic Fibers Wool

    Causes of Mold Growth in Buildings
  • When mildew is detected on carpet surfaces , the first step is to STOP its growth. Use a dehumidifier to remove the moisture from the air and carpet. As long as the moisture level is low, mildew will not grow. Open up windows and use fans tr circulate air over the carpet. If mildew growth is on the surface, open draperies to allow sun to shine c the carpet. Even artificial light will help. Usually mildew will first grow on the back of the carpet. If possible, lift up the carpet and circulate air underneath. By attaching the hose to the exhaust of a vacuum cleaner, it can be inserted under the carpet and used to flow air.
  • It is imperative that the mold spores be killed. If possible, take a rug or small carpet outside where it can be exposed to the direct rays of the sun. Allow 1 or 2 days of direct sunlight to kill the spores. To speed up the action, make a solution of 1 part 3 percent hydrogen peroxide and 5 parts water. Paint this solution on the affected back part of the rug or carpet and place in the sunshine. Now, you are ready to wash the mildew stai n from the carpet.
  • Run a vacuum attachment over the carpet surface to draw out the mold. Sponge the carpet with thick suds.
  • Follow the cleaning process by applying a commercial aersol or dry-packet foam of a mildew retardant. This is especially good to use in mildew-prone areas

    Also Check: Cleaning Mildew From Bathroom Ceiling

    Signs You Have A Mold Or Mildew Infestation

    1. You can see it.

    Of course, the most obvious sign you have an infestation in your home is actually seeing the mold or mildew in plain sight. However, both mold and mildew star out as microscopic particles, meaning that by the time they are visible by the naked eye, your home might already be overrun and your health already affected.

    2. You begin developing symptoms.

    As mentioned earlier, before the spores become visible by the naked eye, they might already be floating inside your home. As you inhale them you might begin developing mild symptoms such as headaches, allergies, nausea, or irritation of your eyes. If the symptoms are sporadic and quick to disappear when you leave your home, you might be dealing with a mold or mildew infestation.

    In any case, always be sure to consult a medical professional if you see your health deteriorate.

    3. You notice weird smells.

    Even before you develop symptoms, these fungi can already be multiplying inside your home. As these organisms digest matter and reproduce, they release gasses as a byproduct, which will have a distinct musty smell which is hard to miss.

    Moisture In Your Bathroom

    Bathrooms are by far the most common rooms in your house to experience mold problems. Fortunately, theyre the easiest rooms to discover mold outbreaks in, and thats because youre probably looking for mold during routine cleaning.

    Bathrooms are high-humidity rooms by nature of their intended use. Normal living creates high humidity from hot showers and baths. Using the sink creates moisture, as does flushing the toilet. Even standing water in the sink or plumbing traps contribute to evaporation and keep the bathroom’s relative humidity high.

    Bathrooms have many surfaces where mold can start. There are plenty of places like smooth tile faces and porous grout spaces that quickly harbor mold if moisture isnt controlled. Inside vanity cabinets is a common spot for mold to start. Another common place for mold is behind toilets where air circulation is blocked. All this is due to the presence of moisture that rises from these sources:

    General plumbing problems like leaks and overflows

    Water evaporation

    Poor ventilation, like fans or opening windows

    Frequent running water like tap drips or toilet run-ons

    Damp shower areas including shower curtains and doors

    Standing water in sinks and tubs

    Leaky drain pipes

    Condensation on cold surfaces such as toilet tanks and chrome fixtures

    Broken toilet seals

    Wet floor mats and towels

    Low heat to allow evaporation of excessive moisture

    Failed grout or caulk around shower and tub enclosures

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    I Live In Va But Have Been In Ma For A Few Months Taking Care Of My Granddaughter While It Is Cool In Ma It’s Still Quite Warm In Va When My Husband Arrived Home Yesterday He Found Mold On Several Pieces Of Furniture The A/c Was Off And There Has Been A Lot Of Rain There Recently I’m Somewhat Surprised At The Problem Although I Understand Why It Happened The Couch In The Picture I Attached Will Be Tossed As It Wasn’t Expensive However The Rest Of The Furnishings Were More Costly My Question Is If It’s Worth Trying To Save Any Of The Other Pieces That Are Just Beginning To Show Signs Of Affectation Should I Just Clean House And Start Again Or Try To Get Things Under Control My Granddaughter Will Be There Over Christmas And I’m Scared For Her Health

    The mold growth on the couch is pretty extensive. Your intuition is correct, this should be discarded. The ability to salvage the other furniture depends on the materials. If its hard, non-porous items like wood tables, cleaning is fairly easy and theres little fear of lingering spores. If its upholstered, the cleaning is much more difficult. I recommend HEPA vacuuming the furniture outside . Even the best HEPA vacuums bypass a fairly large amount of spores into the air. After cleaning, you could have a local mold inspector collect an air sample while you gently agitate the furniture. This should give you a fairly good picture of whether youve removed the latent mold spores.

    Mold & Mildew In The Home

    How to Prevent Mold in your Home

    What is mold? Mold is a fungus and a common component of household dust. In large quantities, it can present a significant health hazard, causing asthma and allergy attics, respiratory problems, and in some cases neurological problems and even death.

    What does mold look like? Mold can be distinguished from mildew by its appearance. Mold color varies in shades of black, blue, red, and green. The texture is most often slimy or fuzzy.

    What is mildew?Mildew is also a type of fungus. It usually grows flat on surfaces. The term is often used to refer to any type of mold growth.

    What does mildew look like? Mildew starts off as a downy or powdery white and often appears on organic materials, such as wood, paper, leather, textiles, walls and ceilings. It can turn to shades of yellow, brown, and black in its later stages.

    Both mold and mildew produce distinct offensive odors, and both have been identified as the cause of certain human ailments.

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    Removing Mold From Fabric

    If your home has been flooded and mold and bacteria have been left to grow for many days, it may be impossible to salvage fabric items. However, if mildew has developed due to dampness and is caught early, it can easily be removed from most fabrics.

    Begin by taking the items outside to brush away as much surface mold as possible and to prevent spreading the mold spores inside your home. If the fabric is washable, use the hottest water recommended on the care label and add a disinfectant. If stains remain, create a solution of oxygen bleach and water and allow the clothes to soak for at least eight hours. Oxygen bleach can be used safely on any washable fabric.

    For fabrics that are dry clean only, brush away the mildew outside and then head to a professional cleaner. Identify and point out the stains most fabrics can be successfully restored.

    Also Check: Fungus On Leather

    You Leave Wet Towels Or Clothing On The Floor

    Whether its a towel after your teens shower, your sweaty running shirt and shorts, or your toddlers bathing suit, wet fabric left crumpled on the floor is an open invitation to mildew. Youll smell the distinctive musty odor in as little as a day if conditions are just right for this nuisance fungus. Hang up towels after every use, and either wash wet or sweaty clothing right away or hang it up to dry before tossing it into the laundry bin.

    Also Check: How To Clean Ceiling Mold Bathroom

    Question 9 Of : What Is The Difference Between Mold And Mildew

  • 1Mildew is powdery and grows more on the surface. Inspect the affected area to see if the spot grows flat against the surface. Mildew tends to look white or gray, and it has a dry or powdery texture when you touch it. Luckily, mildew doesnt penetrate deep into a material so its easier to clean. Since mildew is a type of fungus like mold, you can use the same methods to clean it.XResearch source
  • Youll typically find mildew in places with high humidity, such as basements, windowsills, and bathrooms.
  • 2Mold looks slimy or fuzzy and can be more dangerous. Carefully inspect the spot to see if it looks raised from the surface. It may be green, red, blue, or black. Mold penetrates deeper into the material and causes damage thats more difficult to repair and completely remove. Exposure to mold can lead to headaches, skin irritation, and respiratory issues if you leave it untreated.XResearch source
  • Mold also has a pungent musty odor, so its easy to detect.
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