You Might Have Mold Hiding In Your Washer Here’s How To Kill It
If your clothes aren’t smelling fresh when they come out of your washing machine, mold could be to blame.
Katie is a Writer at CNET, covering all things how-to. When she’s not writing, she enjoys playing in golf scrambles, practicing yoga and spending time on the lake.
Have you noticed your clothes don’t smell as clean when they come out of your washing machine? Mold, mildew or bacteria could be the reason, as they all thrive in damp environments. That means it’s time to clean your washer routinely to get rid of the smelly source and prevent it from coming back.
We’ll explain below how to make your clothes and washing machine smell fresh again, and how to keep the bad smells away in the future.
Do I Need To Get Medical Treatment
In many cases, exposure to toxic mold doesnt require medical treatment. If you experience cold-like symptoms after exposure to potentially toxic mold, these symptoms will likely fade on their own with no long-term effects once you remove yourself from the environment with the mold.
Generally speaking, your overall risk of long-term health effects related to mold exposure is fairly low. That said, experts still have more to learn about the possible health effects of mold exposure.
For this reason, its still important to avoid long-term exposure to potentially toxic mold and promptly address signs of mold in spaces you spend time in.
Reaching out to a healthcare professional may be a good option if you:
- have a compromised immune system due to another health condition
- have significant trouble breathing
- live with cystic fibrosis
As for a mold detox? Contrary to some beliefs, theres typically no need to go on a cleanse or detox in order to heal your body after exposure to mold.
Heres why: When functioning optimally, your body constantly detoxes itself and its very efficient at this task.
How To Spot Mold Indoors
Knowing how to identify mold in indoor spaces is another important step toward ruling out causes of unexplained respiratory symptoms and taking steps to address them.
Key signs include:
- discoloration in damp, warm, and dark areas of your home, such as bathrooms, closets, laundry rooms, or kitchens
- mold growth in areas where water may pool up or condense, such as your bathroom ceiling, cupboards under sinks, and drywall near water sources
- staining that seeps out of a wall or keeps coming back when you try to clean it
If you have a compromised immune system or preexisting respiratory condition, you may have a higher chance of experiencing a mold-related health condition.
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Mold Reactions: Who’s At Risk
For people sensitive to mold, inhaling or touching mold spores can cause allergic reactions, including sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash. People with serious mold allergies may have more severe reactions, including shortness of breath. In people with asthma who are allergic to mold, breathing in spores can also cause asthma attacks.
In addition to people with allergies and asthma, others who may be more sensitive to the effects of mold include:
- Infants and children
- People with chronic lung disease
How To Get Rid Of Mold And Stop It From Coming Back
ByKatie Mortrampublished 26 March 22
Heres how to get rid of mold, whether its in your bathroom or your basement
Everyone should know how to get rid of mold. If left untreated, these small black spots can spread and do some serious damage to your home, not to mention your health. This chore isnt as simple as cleaning a glass shower door you will need to take precautions and wear protective gear. But, the good news is you can get rid of mold yourself.
Mold spores can cause allergic reactions if breathed in or touched, which is why its imperative that you deal with it as soon as possible. It grows in areas with high levels of moisture, such as the bathroom or basement, and can be found on all kinds of surfaces, from carpet to paint to wallpaper. If youve noticed mold growing in your home, dont worry. Here, we take you through exactly what you need to do to get rid of it, and how you can stop it from coming back.
Check out these 9 things you didn’t know you could clean with a lemon. If you’re dealing with mold around your windows, here’s our guide on how to clean windows for a full once-over.
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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.
How To Remove Mold From Walls
Mold can often be found on walls nearer to the ceiling or windows where a leak may have formed. If this is the case, you should get the potential leak assessed and repaired first, otherwise removing the mold will be counterproductive.
If youre cleaning mold from drywall, you will need to use a more gentle application. Stick to dish soap and water and apply using a sponge of microfiber cloth. Dont scrub too hard, but work in the solution as best you can. Then rinse and leave to dry.
If this hasnt done the trick, you can also used diluted bleach. Mix one cup of bleach with a gallon of water and apply to the mold. Let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing and drying. Remember, if you plan to paint over with a fresh color, you will need to wait for the wall to dry completely to prevent peeling.
If youve spotted mold on any ceiling tiles, then youre better off replacing these as the surface is too porous to clean.
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What To Do For Black Mold
If you see a patch of what you think might be black mold, don’t touch it remember, says Anderson, that disturbing the mold is what causes the spores to release its toxins. “Don’t attempt to wipe it or spray it or put any chemical on itthat’s just going to make it angry,” she says. “The best thing to do is contain it.” She recommends covering the entire area with plastica bag or dropcloth will worksecured around the outer edge of the mold area . “If you have HVAC running into that room, shut the vents so they’re not pulling anything into the other rooms,” Anderson adds.
Does Insurance Cover Mold Removal
Most homeowners insurance policies do not provide coverage for mold. If a pipe bursts and you call a plumber immediately, an insurance company will likely cover your claim. However, if there was a small leak and you decided to put it off for a while which led to the growth of the mold, the insurance company might deny your claim based on negligence. Many insurance providers also offer flood insurance which means youre covered if groundwater rises and floods your home.
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When To Hire A Mold Remediation Professional
Upon discovering a mold infestation, you may decide that its too much to handle on your own and you need the help of a certified professional.
The first step when you find mold is to have it tested by an independent professional, says Robert Weitz, a certified microbial investigator and founder of RTK Environmental Group, a mold testing company. He says an independent company will pinpoint the mold and give you a blueprint for remediation.
But Weitz advises against using the same company for testing and remediation, because its a clear conflict of interest.
If you hire a company that does both, oftentimes companies will offer mold testing on the cheap or even for freewith the intent to fudge the results and make money on the remediation, Weitz says.
In some states, such as New York, its actually illegal for the same company to test and remediate the same mold problem.
Once you have had the mold remediated, have your home tested again to ensure the job was done right, says Weitz.
You should receive a detailed report documenting that the mold has been properly remediated and your home is safe.
This documentation will be critical when you sell your home and for insurance claims, he says. Without proof that your home was deemed mold-free after repairs were made, the insurance company might take the position that a new claim is not justified or that you have met your policy limit.
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First Can I Remove Mold Myself
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You can, but mold spores can travel in the air when cleaning, so youll want to limit your exposure by wearing protective gear. Wear long rubber gloves to protect your hands and forearms. Its also best to wear eye protection, like goggles, to prevent bleach or other cleaners from splashing in your eyes, especially when removing mold from ceilings or overhead areas.
If the mold problem is severe and more than a few spots, it could be a sign of a bigger moisture problem. If the area is widespread and larger than approximately a 2 x 2 foot area, you’ll want to call in a pro to have it removed safely.
What A Mold Remediation Professional Will Do
Mold remediation companies will clean up your mold in a few days if just some washing and removing carpet is involved, or in a few weeks if demolition and rebuilding is required.
Generally, the cleanup process entails:
- Removing water-damaged, mold-infested materials.
- Cleaning and disinfecting walls, carpet, and personal items.
- Removing drywall and studs if mold damage is extensive.
- Vacuuming with HEPA filtration.
If mold infestation is severe and you are mold-sensitive, you may have to live elsewhere during cleanup.
Remediation costs vary depending on how much and where mold exists. Figure on:
- $500 to $4,000 to remove mold from crawlspaces only.
- $2,000 to $6,000 to remove mold from ducts, crawl spaces, walls, and attics.
- $10,000 to $30,000 to repair widespread structural damage.
Mold remediation isnt about kill, kill, kill, says Wane A. Baker, a Wisconsin mold investigator. Even dead mold can still be allergenic.
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Scrub Moldy Surfaces With Mold Cleaner
- Scrub the surface mold stains from walls and wood trim with a mixture of one quart water and 1/2-cup bleach mold cleaner to kill the mold.
- Use a soft brush and work until signs of the mold disappear.
- After scrubbing the surfaces, allow the bleach solution to continue to penetrate the surfaces and dry.
- Wipe off, but DO NOT RINSE these surfaces.
- Set trim in direct sunlight to dry. Scrub concrete with TSP or automatic dishwasher detergent.
Wipe Down The Refrigerator
When cleaning your refrigerator, you may find mold in hidden areas like produce drawers or drip pans.
Use a rag or paper towels to wipe the inside of your refrigerator and freezer with distilled white vinegar to eliminate and inhibit mold growth.
Wipe vinegar on the rubber door rims, seals, and gaskets, as well.
Dispose of the rags if you do not want to disinfect them and toss all paper towels.
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Don’t Finish Your Basement Unless It’s Very Dry
Don’t finish the walls of your basement with insulation and wallboard unless your basement is very dry. Also avoid putting wall-to-wall carpet on your basement floor. If your basement floor is concrete, you can paint it and use area rugs instead. Then you can take the rugs outside to clean and dry them the rugs aren’t as likely to get moldy.
Reviewed in 2018
How To Get Rid Of Mold In The Basement/crawlspace
Removing mold in these areas follows the same procedure as for walls and ceilings. However, in these areas, the cause of the mold might be especially hard to deal with. An overly humid basement or a poorly ventilated attic could become damp and moldy. Resolving the moisture problem that caused the mold is vital.
Remember that soft, porous surfaces contaminated with mold almost certainly need to be thrown away and replaced. Carpets and rugs are nearly impossible to get completely mold-free.
While mold remediation can be a dirty, time-consuming process, it is not impossible for the average homeowner to deal with. Keep in mind that mold spores are everywhere, so you do not need to eradicate every last spore. Removing all visible mold, thoroughly drying the area and resolving whatever caused the moisture to begin with are the key steps in removing mold. A thorough wipe down with a damp cloth and a HEPA vacuum can accomplish most of your mold removal needs.
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Cut The Power In Case Of A Flood
Water and electricity don’t go well together.
If you are dealing with a flood, Carson says make sure your power is turned off. You shouldnt attempt to turn it off, though, if the breaker box is near or under water, of coursethats a recipe for electrocution. Instead, call your power company to have it shut or contact an emergency electrician who is better equipped to handle such a situation.
What Can You Do
To prevent and get rid of mold:
- Keep your house clean and dry.
- Fix water problems such as roof leaks, wet basements, and leaking pipes or faucets.
- Make sure your home is well ventilated and always use ventilation fans in bathrooms and kitchens.
- If possible, keep humidity in your house below 50% by using an air conditioner or dehumidifier.
- Avoid using carpeting in areas of the home that may become wet, such as kitchens, bathrooms and basements.
- Dry floor mats regularly.
To find mold that might be growing in your home:
- Search for moisture in areas that have a damp or moldy smell, especially in basements, kitchens and bathrooms.
- Look for water stains or colored, fuzzy growth on and around ceilings, walls, floors, windowsills and pipes.
- If you smell a musty odor, search behind and underneath materials such as carpeting, furniture or stored items.
- Inspect kitchens, bathrooms and basements for standing water, water stains and patches of out-of-place color.
To control moisture problems and mold:
- Fix any water problems immediately and clean or remove wet materials, furnishings or mold.
- Clean up spills or floods within one day. If practical, take furniture that has been wet outside to dry and clean. Direct sunlight prevents mold growth.
- Dry all surfaces and fix the problem or leak to prevent further damage.
- Install a dehumidifier when a moisture problem is evident or when the humidity is high.
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Clean Out Coffee Maker
The moist interior of a coffee maker is prime real estate for mold and mildew growth. Clean the coffee maker by using a funnel and pouring white vinegar into the maximum fill line of the water tank. Run a cycle with the vinegar . Repeat if you spot a lot of mold or mildew at the top of the tank.
Run one to two cycles of plain water to rinse the vinegar from the coffee maker before making coffee again.
How To Get Rid Of Mold In Your House: From Ceiling To Floors To Basement
Mold is the last thing any homeowner wants to find. It damages your home and may impact your health. It can be difficult to get rid of. Preventing mold from forming in the first place is always the best option. But if you do have a mold problem in your house, it is possible to clean it up safely and make sure it does not come back. It is important to follow the correct steps and use the right tools for the job to get rid of mold in your house.
Why is it important to get rid of mold? In addition to the musty smell and damage it causes to surfaces it grows on, mold may aggravate or exacerbate your familys health problems. A review of multiple studies on indoor mold exposure found that, excessive moisture promotes mold growth and is associated with an increased prevalence of symptoms due to irritation, allergy, and infection. . Its best to avoid all of these and eliminate the mold problem from your home completely.
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