Can I Clean Black Mold Myself
The short answer to this question is yes, you can absolutely clean black mold on your own. There are both store-bought cleaners and home remedies that have been proven to kill off and remove the spores altogether.
While DIY cleaning is possible, we want to make you aware that some mold issues are worse than others and may require the attention of a professional.
For example, mold can hide in places that may not be noticeable to the untrained eye. Professional cleaners, plumbers, and restoration experts know exactly where to look and can help to identify the source of the problem and find ways to stop the mold from growing again.
Many home remedies are temporary treatments, which is why you may need to reach out to our professionals for deeper inspection and cleaning.
How Do Molds Affect People
Exposure to damp and moldy environments may cause a variety of health effects, or none at all. Some people are sensitive to molds. For these people, exposure to molds can lead to symptoms such as stuffy nose, wheezing, and red or itchy eyes, or skin. Some people, such as those with allergies to molds or with asthma, may have more intense reactions. Severe reactions may occur among workers exposed to large amounts of molds in occupational settings, such as farmers working around moldy hay. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath.
In 2004 the Institute of Medicine found there was sufficient evidence to link indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people with asthma symptoms in people with asthma and with hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals susceptible to that immune-mediated condition.
In 2009, the World Health Organization issued additional guidance, the WHO Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality: Dampness and Mould pdf iconexternal icon pdf icon. Other recent studies have suggested a potential link of early mold exposure to development of asthma in some children, particularly among children who may be genetically susceptible to asthma development, and that selected interventions that improve housing conditions can reduce morbidity from asthma and respiratory allergies.
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How To Identify And Treat Mold In Your Basement
- Working Time: 3 4 hrs
- Total Time: 3 4 days
- Yield: 80 square feet of basement wall
- Skill Level: Beginner
- Estimated Cost: $30 to $60
If any place in the house will grow mold, its the basement. Basements collect and trap moisture, and moisture is one factor that leads to mold growth. And because basements have less natural light and airflow than other parts of the home, that mold will not die off on its own.
Some strains of black mold can be a health hazard. Plus, mold can quickly decay organic materials such as wood, leading to structural failure. This means that identifying and treating mold in the basement should be a priority as soon as you believe that you have it.
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Do I Need Professional Testing
In short, usually not! Because, remember the saying: no mold, no matter what color, belongs in a healthy home. And that is good news because a professional mold inspection with testing can run anywhere from $300-$750. In most cases where mold is clearly visible, knowing exactly what type of mold you have is unnecessary. We advise most of our clients to forgo the inspection process and just apply that money saved to the cost of fixing the problem. The EPA agrees that mold testing isnt necessary in most cases.
There are exceptions, however, such as when a mold inspection with testing is required as part of a real estate sale or if you require proof that a mold problem is present, such as for a legal dispute. If you think you may have a mold problem, but arent sure, then we recommend formal testing from a professional. And if you require clearance testing to verify an all clear after a mold problem is fixed, then professional mold testing is necessary.
I Heard About Toxic Molds And Black Molds That Grow In Homes And Other Buildings Should I Be Concerned About A Serious Health Risk To Me And My Family
There is always a little mold everywhere in the air and on many surfaces.
Certain molds are toxigenic, meaning they can produce toxins . Hazards presented by molds that may produce mycotoxins should be considered the same as other common molds which can grow in your house. Not all fungi produce mycotoxins and even those that do will not do so under all surface or environmental conditions.
Mold growth, which often looks like spots, can be many different colors, and can smell musty. Color is not an indication of how dangerous a mold may be. Any mold should be removed and the moisture source that helped it grow should be removed.
There are very few reports that toxigenic molds found inside homes can cause unique or rare health conditions such as pulmonary hemorrhage or memory loss. These case reports are rare, and a causal link between the presence of the toxigenic mold and these conditions has not been proven.
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I Found Mold Growing In My Home How Do I Test The Mold
If you can see or smell mold, a health risk may be present. You do not need to know the type of mold growing in your home, and CDC does not recommend or perform routine sampling for molds. No matter what type of mold is present, you should remove it. Since the effect of mold on people can vary greatly, either because of the amount or type of mold, you cannot rely on sampling and culturing to know your health risk.
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.
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How Can I Check For Mold
Its best to hire a professional to help you identify and remove mold, especially if youre allergic or vulnerable to it.
You should also consider hiring help if the mold covers more than 10 square feet or if its hidden behind wallpaper, ceiling tiles, or other areas.
Here are some steps for identifying and removing mold.
How To Remove Mold From Walls
When talking about the best way to remove it and the best way to prevent it, it is essential that you understand the answers to your questions depends on what part of the wall it is growing on and what type of material the wall is made of. For example, dealing with it on a concrete brick wall in the basement is much different than how you would deal with mold growing on and/or inside of an area made from drywall.
- Step 1: Clean all surfaces.Trying to remove black mold from a wall can be more difficult than it seems. Before tackling the wall, make sure to thoroughly clean beforehand. Not only does the mold need to be killed and effectively removed, but the underlying membrane must also be cleared. Without removing the underlying membrane, the mold can easily return.
- Step 2: Decide if you need a HEPA vacuum.If black mold is severe, HEPA vacuums may need to be used.
- Step 3: Disinfect.Air scrubbers, ozone machines and foggers can all be used to disinfect the surfaces after mold has been removed. This is an important step to keep the area clean and safe.
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How Common Is Mold In Buildings
Molds are very common in buildings and homes. Mold will grow in places with a lot of moisture, such as around leaks in roofs, windows, or pipes, or where there has been flooding. Mold grows well on paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles, and wood products. Mold can also grow in dust, paints, wallpaper, insulation, drywall, carpet, fabric, and upholstery.
The most common indoor molds are Cladosporium, Penicillium, and Aspergillus. We do not have precise information about how often different molds are found in buildings and homes.
Is Black Mold Dangerous Heres The Truth
The truth is, many people arent negatively affected by mold. However, mold can cause allergies in some people who are sensitive to mold. In these cases, it can make their lives miserable. Mold can also cause severe medical issues with a small percentage of people who have other health complications.
If youve seen a concerning growth in your home or been told that you have a black mold issue, you probably have a lot of questions.
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Black Mold Symptoms: What Happens When Youre Exposed
Dr. Lauren Tessier is a naturopathic physician practicing in Waterbury, VT, and New York, NY. She specializes in treating mold-related, biotoxin and other complicating illnesses and is CIRS-certified. Learn more about her practice Life After Mold by visiting www.lifeaftermold.com. You can also find her on , and .
Stachybotrys chartarum, more commonly known as black mold, was first identified in Prague in 1837. A Czech mycologist discovered the mold growing on an indoor wall of a home. Despite an early discovery, the term black mold only became part of the normal lexicon of the average homeowner in the 1990s, when the nightly news brought the phrase black mold into homes across America. Though black mold is considered harmful, the details are still in question. This article is meant to help inform those who are worried about being exposed to black mold.
Detoxing After Mold Exposure
There are no medications to treat mold toxicity, but you can help your body recover from the effects of exposure to mold by strengthening your immune system.
Obviously, you first need to make sure that youre no longer being exposed to the mold that you suspect is causing your problems. This may be easier to do if the source is your own house than if its an office building, school, college dorm or some other public building over which you have less say in whether it gets remediated.
But once youve dealt with the source of mold exposureor while youre waiting for that to happentake steps to keep your immune system as healthy as possible. Start by making sure youre following basic healthy lifestyle recommendationsstay well-hydrated eat plenty of fresh fruits, including colorful berries, and vegetablesavoid foods that promote inflammation, such as added sugar and fried, refined and processed foodsget enough sleep and enough exercise.
Then consider adding the following supplements
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B-12
- Selenium, a trace mineral that increases an important immune system protein called immunoglobulin A .
All three are available as supplements and are in most multivitamins, but its best to consult a naturopathic doctor for appropriate dosages for you. Nasal irrigation with a neti pot and a nasal wash, such as Alkalol, also can help reduce respiratory symptoms.
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What Causes Black Mold On Windows
If youre like most people, your concern about black mold is likely based on the fear of a health issue. But, before you panic, its important to know what black mold is, and the possible causes of its presence on windows.
There are many different factors that can cause black mold on windows, but the most common is a lack of proper maintenance. If your windows arent properly cleaned and sealed, moisture can seep in and create the perfect environment for mold to grow. Other causes of black mold on windows include leaks, high humidity, and poor ventilation.
How To Test For Mold In 6 Steps
Mold infestations can usually be seen or smelled, but they can also remain hidden behind walls or under carpets. Testing isnt necessary if you can see or smell mold that is confirmation enough to call a professional and begin the remediation process. Testing for mold in the house may be necessary if requested by a health professional or needed for legal purposes, such as a lawsuit with a landlord. Another reason to consider testing is if you arent able to see or smell mold in your home but are having unexplained symptoms associated with mold. Always follow the instructions provided with a test kit , but this is generally what to expect:
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How To Identify Mold On Walls
Before you can start to remove molds from a wall, it is important that you identify all areas that have been contaminated. The most common areas where it is found typically include the basement, bathroom, kitchen, garage and bedroom, especially a bedroom that is next to a bathroom or a bedroom next to the laundry room. You should look in areas that have a lot of dampness or moisture, such as the laundry room, basement and kitchen. You should also look at the grout between the bathroom tiles, above ceiling tiles that water stains, in any area where you smell mildew or there is a musty smell and any area that has been subjected to flooding. If you have water stains on the wall, or peeling or bubbling paint, it may be inside of the wall, which means you may need to remove the drywall to look behind it, especially if you smell a musty odor. Identifying black mold is fairly easy, because it is as the name suggests, black in color. It also usually has a slimy appearance.
Signs Of Black Mold And How To Get Rid Of It
Do you know if theres mold in your home? Mold grows in areas that are dark and damp, like bathrooms or around heating and cooling units that produce condensation.
The thought of any type of mold growing in your home might have you reaching for the nearest scrub brush and cleaning agent. Before you start scrubbing, be sure to evaluate what type of mold youre facing. While you dont want any mold in your house, black mold may pose more health risks than other types.
Learn more about black mold so you can identify it and prevent it from contaminating your home.
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Black Mold: What Is It
Stachybotrys chartarum, commonly known as black mold, is a mold thats often black in color and can grow in homes in humid or damp areas. The mold feeds on organic materials in common household materials like drywall, carpet, insulation or sub-flooring that have been exposed to moisture, as HGTV describes.
As the mold proliferates, it can release toxic substances. It is these that cause health problems. The CDC explains it this way: The term toxic mold is not accurate. While certain molds are toxigenic, meaning they can produce toxins , the molds themselves are not toxic, or poisonous.
However, though the release of mycotoxins does not always occur, the possibility that it can is reason enough to take care of any mold problem right away.
How To Clean Black Mold
Before you begin scrubbing, make sure the area is no longer wet. After you are positive that any water leaks and dampness are resolved, you can go in with some treatment options.
Some of the more common treatment options that you may have laying around the house are:
- Lemon juice
- Other cleaners that are acidic or high in alcohol content
There are also store-bought cleaners that contain more powerful substances that can tackle larger areas or spots that have a denser growth of the mold. These can quickly kill off the spores, but be sure to read the label to find out the effect they might have on your paint or wallpaper.
If you have tried a couple of different treatment options and are still struggling to see results, reach out to a professional to help remove the mold once and for all.
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