Friday, April 12, 2024

What To Do About Mold

Removing Mold From Interior Walls Flooring And Carpet

Misconception: Leaving Sub-Floor Insulation in Place When Treating Mold

If the mold is fuzzy and black, it may be much worse than just unsightly. The area should be opened to check for structural damage. Wear safety glasses and respiratory protection. All building materials should be bagged in heavy-duty plastic bags and disposed of properly. Allow the area to dry out thoroughly and make any needed repairs.

To clean off mold from porous surfaces like wood and drywall, a detergent should be added to the bleach and water solution to help it adhere. Mix one part dishwashing detergent, 10 parts bleach, and 20 parts water. Apply with a sponge or mop, trying not to over-saturate the surfaces. Do not rinse away, and allow the solution to air dry.

Carpet with mold or a musty smell should be removed completely. Wearing a respirator, cut the carpet and pad into small sections. Mist the materials and under-flooring with water to help prevent the spread of airborne mold spores. Wrap the carpet in heavy plastic for disposal. Use a wet/dry vacuum to thoroughly clean the area and allow to air dry for several days before replacing flooring.

Signs Of Mold In Your House

There are several subtle signs that indicate that your home may have harmful mold.

1. Strange smell from the air conditioner or heater

If you think your heater or air conditioner has an unusual smell, you might want to check it out.

A stand-alone air conditioner is one of the main places where mold starts to grow. These devices are dark, damp, and often exposed to warm temperatures when not in use. If you put your air conditioner in a warm place in winter, this also increases the risk of mold.

Regularly check the condition of the air conditioner and clean it every two years.

2. The seams between the bathroom tiles have become dark

When you take a shower, pay attention to the seams between the tiles. If they are dark, it is most likely mold. Luckily, this type of mold is not that dangerous.

However, if your bathroom has been leaking recently or flooding an adjoining room, you may be dealing with a more toxic type of fungus that will be harder to remove.

3. Wallpaper starts peeling off

While wallpaper may discolor or wear out over time, wallpaper peeling is not normal. If the wallpaper bubbles or cracks, this indicates the presence of moisture on the walls. And moisture is a precursor to mold.

Pay attention to walls and any areas that look damp or warped.

4. Your cold wont go away

Symptoms of a mold reaction may be subtle. It can be a common runny nose or bouts of sneezing. If you feel like your cold has dragged on, this could be a hidden sign of a mold problem.

The Dangers Of Constant Exposure To Mold

There are many dangers associated with constant exposure to mold.

For one, prolonged mold exposure can cause respiratory problems, including asthma and other respiratory infections.

Additionally, constant mold exposure is likely to increase mold sensitivity and allergic reactions.

Lastly, if the mold exposure comes from toxic molds, more serious illnesses may result.

More recent studies are showing that children who have prolonged mold exposure are more likely to develop asthma, especially if they are already genetically susceptible to it.

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Seven: Apply Fungicide To Materials That Can Be Adequately Cleaned

Apply a fungicide like Foster 40-80 to non-porous materials, like metal, tile, bathtubs, sinks, and countertops, either using a spray bottle or with a rag. Use a scrub brush or rag to remove mold. For porous materials that cannot be removed, like wooden studs in the wall, remove as much mold as possible. Sometimes sanding the wood is necessary to remove mold, but this should only be done by a trained professional because it tends to disperse large amounts of mold spores

More on products for cleaning mold.

How To Prevent Mold Growth In The First Place


According to the Environmental Protection Agency , There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture. Even if you clean the mold, it will still come back if the room is humid and poorly ventilated or there is excess moisture from a leak, even a small one. Humidity levels should never exceed 50% to control mold growth.

That means prevention is the only permanent remedy for mold. After you’ve repaired the leaks and gotten rid of any moisture problems, moving forward, create an environment where mold cant grow with these tips:

  • Add a dehumidifier or two to your home. Its best to keep indoor humidity levels between 30-50% to stop build-up make sure to buy one thats sized for the area you are treating.
  • Open bathroom doors and windows or turn on the exhaust fan during and after showering to let moisture escape.
  • Leave your shower curtain or liner spread open after showering to help keep it dry.
  • Vent moisture generating sources, such as bathrooms and clothes dryers, to the outside.
  • Avoid storing items in damp rooms, which may mean keepinglinens, books, or furniture our of your basement or attic.
  • Seal bathroom grout lines every year if you have tiling. This will help waterproof your walls and floors.

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Treating The Affected Areas

  • 1Protect yourself. Cover your mouth and nose with an N-95 respirator to avoid breathing in spores. Wear elbow-length rubber or latex gloves to protect your hands from mold and cleaning materials. Cover your eyes with goggles to protect them from airborne spores.XTrustworthy SourceUnited States Environmental Protection AgencyIndependent U.S. government agency responsible for promoting safe environmental practicesGo to source
  • 2Clean hard surfaces. Mix equal parts water and detergent or bleach. Dip a scrub brush into the mixture and remove the mold. Dry the area completely when youre finished.XTrustworthy SourceUnited States Environmental Protection AgencyIndependent U.S. government agency responsible for promoting safe environmental practicesGo to source
  • 3Fix all leaks. If you noticed any leaking pipes or water seepage in your inspection, deal with it immediately. Call a professional plumber to repair leaking or sweating pipes. Fill in any spaces between pipes and walls with caulk or Icynene insulation.
  • 4Seal small openings. Use caulk to seal cracks around your windows, doors, and at critical junctures where the walls meet the floor and the ceiling. Apply caulk or weather stripping to your windows, especially between the frames and panes. Dry the area completely.XTrustworthy SourceUnited States Environmental Protection AgencyIndependent U.S. government agency responsible for promoting safe environmental practicesGo to source
  • 7
  • How Toxic Is Mold

    Any mold that produces mycotoxinsthe myco refers to fungusis toxic, and it can be quite poisonous. One of the more alarming varieties is Stachybotrys chartarum: Dense, black, and usually present where moisture has been a long-term, unresolved issue, like a damp basement or in an abandoned home, this fungus can trigger a suite of health issues, like persistent headaches, diarrhea, breathing trouble, and more. But other types can also cause issues, warns the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention : All molds should be treated the same with respect to potential health risks and removal. These are the signs of mold that you should be looking out for. Plus, learn the other ways your house could be making you sick.

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    White Mold In Crawl Spaces

    Crawl spaces are typically very tight spaces that are difficult to dry once moisture makes its way inside. Several reasons why mold tends to grow in crawl spaces are leaking pipes and plumbing, high humidity due to poor ventilation, and foundation cracks that allow water and moisture to enter. For all these reasons, many people question the practicality and necessity of crawl spaces.

    When Should I Sample For Mold

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    You don’t need to sample for mold because in most cases you can see or smell mold. Even a clean, dry house will have some mold spores, but not enough to cause health problems. If you smell mold it may be hidden behind wallpaper, in the walls or ceiling, or under the carpet. If you suspect you have hidden mold be very careful when you investigate, protect yourself from exposure in the same manner as you would for a clean-up.

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    Question 1 Of : How Do You Know If Mold Is Making You Sick

  • 1Mold can cause lingering cold or flu-like symptoms. If you have mold in your home or office, you may not even notice it, especially if its hidden in your walls. But if you feel like you have a cold or flu that just wont seem to go away and doesnt respond to any treatment, it could be because youre being exposed to mold.XTrustworthy SourceCenters for Disease Control and PreventionMain public health institute for the US, run by the Dept. of Health and Human ServicesGo to source You can test whether or not mold is making you sick by leaving your home for a few days to see if you start feeling better.
  • For instance, you could have symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, cough, and itchy eyes, nose, and throat.
  • If you do find visible mold in your home and youre feeling sick, the mold could be the cause.
  • 2You may have a more severe reaction if youre allergic to mold. If you have a mold allergy, exposure to toxic mold can make you cough, make your eyes itch, and potentially cause more serious symptoms. You could have difficulty breathing or tightness in your chest. Medications can help keep your reactions under control, but the best defense is to reduce your exposure to mold.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world’s leading hospitalsGo to source
  • If you have asthma and a mold allergy, you can experience wheezing and other airway symptoms.
  • Six: Remove Moldy Materials That Cannot Be Adequately Cleaned

    Spray moldy materials like drywall or carpeting lightly with a spray bottle of water before removing them in order to minimize the risk of mold spores being dispersed into the air. Using a vacuum with a HEPA filter while cutting into moldy drywall or similar materials will also help prevent mold spores from being dispersed during the process. Seal them in heavy plastic trash bags before carrying them through the house for disposal.

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    Taking Care Of Your Mold Problem

    1. If you have been suffering anyillnesses that wouldnt go away like allergies, itchy eyes, sore throat,headaches, fatigue, etc., go see your doctor and explain to him that you havemold in your home. Knowledge about the mold will help him to correctly treatyou. Here is more on the symptoms of mold exposure.

    2. Have your home tested by a trainedmold tester. Many people make the mistake of cleaning up the mold withouttesting. It is important to know the type of mold your dealing with, and howbad the problem is. Most mold testers are engineers so they can give your homea thorough inspection to find all the mold. If its a small problem they mayrecommend cleaning it yourself, and will give you advice on removing it. If itslarge job and a removal service needs to be hired, they will oversee the cleanup and supervise the removal process.When the cleanup is done, they will come back and test again to make sure theremoval was properly done. Make sure if you hire a removal company that youdont pay them until the final testing comes back showing the home is clean.For a list of licensed mold testers in your area, follow the link.

    4. Contact your insurance company andfind out if mold removal is covered in your policy. In many cases it is,depending on the cause of the mold. This article on homeowners insurance andmold explains it well.

    10. Be proactive in the future aboutmold prevention. Here is more information on preventing mold.

    Additional Reading:

    How To Remove Mold From The Shower

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    Bathroom tiles and grouting are one of the most common places you will find mold. Thats because this room is filled with moisture on a daily basis.

    You can scrub the mold away using dish soap, warm water and a scrubbing brush such as the Amazer Scrub Brush ), then rinse and dry afterwards with a microfiber cloth. You can alternatively use a dedicated mold and mildew cleaner such as Tilex Mold & Mildew Remover ).

    If you want a more sustainable remedy, you can also use white distilled vinegar, although bear in mind this method will take more elbow grease.

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    A Musty Or Damp Smell Is Noticeable

    If the house smells musty then it can be an indication of a mold problem. But, the different species of molds also smell differently so it can be difficult to pinpoint. If you observe that the smell is not something that you usually smell and is unpleasant, then it calls for an immediate investigation.

    Can Mold Spread From One Apartment To Another

    Unlike houses, apartments are not usually self-contained living environments. Apartments exist as interconnected units with common ventilation and plumbing systems.

    As a result, if one apartment has a mold and mildew problem, it can easily spread to other apartments through the air in HVAC systems.

    This means that even if you remove mold from your apartment, it could still come back if other apartments in the building remain contaminated. In addition, its very difficult to find the source of the contamination especially if you dont have the help of a professional mold inspector.

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    Only 8% of living rooms we have tested didnt have presence of mold?! Find out more exciting mold stats and facts inside our mold statistics page.

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    Why Does Mold Grow On Clothes

    Similar to the reasons why mold appears in your home, mold on clothes can grow because of dampness and lack of ventilation. Mold disperses spores and toxins that travel through the air and are attracted to damp materials that are fibre-rich, such as wood, drywall, and fabric.

    If your clothes remain wet for an extended period of time, mold will be attracted to it fairly quickly anywhere between 24-48 hours. Keeping wet or even moist clothes in unventilated areas or closely together becomes a breeding ground to grow mold on clothes.

    If you have recently washed your clothes, it is always best to dry the clothes in sunlight as soon as possible. If you do not have a way to dry clothes outside, dry them in the dryer. Do not let the clothes remain in the washing machine in their damp state for too long.

    Dampness is only one of the causes for mold on clothes. If your home is too humid, or if the room where your clothes are stored does not have enough ventilation, chances of finding mold on clothes increases significantly.

    How To Differentiate Between White Mold And Efflorescence

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    White mold and efflorescence look a lot alike. In fact, theyre so similar that people often mistake one for the other. Both are white in colour and found on walls and other building materials. Understanding what both substances are and how they form will help you to determine which one is making an appearance in your home.

    So what is efflorescence? Simply put, efflorescence is salt deposits commonly found on concrete and brick. It develops when water evaporates from concrete or brick, and leaves behind a salty residue on the surface of the material. However, efflorescence causes only cosmetic damage and will not threaten the structural safety of your home. Likewise it also doesnt pose any risk to your health.

    Tips for distinguishing between white mold and efflorescence:

    • Efflorescence dissolves in watermold does not
    • Efflorescence is typically found on concrete and brick while mold grows on organic materials like wood and drywall
    • White mold is a living organism while efflorescence is simply salt deposits
    • Efflorescence is not harmful. It wont make you sick, but white mold will.
    • White mold gives off a distinctive odour while efflorescence not.

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    Should You Use Bleach For Mold

    The EPA and the CDC do not recommend using bleach to clean mold. Bleach does not efficiently kill mold. Additionally, bleach will not penetrate porous materials and may allow the mold to come back. Instead of using bleach for mold, use a fungicide. These products are specially formulated to kill mold.

    When You Find Mold While House Hunting

    The key to finding mold is knowing where to look for it. Check dark, damp places for mold, like under cabinets and in basements, crawl spaces and attics, advises Tina Tyus, a real estate broker at Town Square Realty in Birmingham, AL, and author of So You Want to Flip Houses?

    Even if you dont find mold, Tyus says a home inspector will be able to locate it if mold is present. And if its found, mold remediation should be addressed prior to closing, she says.

    During the home inspection process, theres an inspection contingency period and buyers have options, according to Shawn Kunkler, a San Francisco-based realtor and author of Insiders Guide to Home Buying. If mold is discovered, he says this can be point of negotiation or the prospective buyer may be able to walk away from the home.

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