Removing Black Mold In Houses
Removing black mold is a difficult process. Some people prefer to tackle the job themselves while others prefer to call in a professional.
There are a number of steps in the mold removal process:
- Fix any leaks and increase ventilation in any high moisture areas as needed to prevent the development of more mold in the future.
- Carefully inspect the entire home for any signs of black mold so you can remove it all. If you leave even a little behind, it will just grow and youll be right back where you started.
- Seal off each room as you work to remove its mold so that mold spores cannot spread to other areas of the house. Cover doorways with large sheets of plastic and tape them in place. If you can, place a large fan near an open window so mold spores will be more likely to leave the house rather than cause further contamination.
- Fill a spray bottle with water and lightly mist all areas of mold. This softens and loosens the mold, making it easier to clean. Allow it to rest for several minutes.
- Next, wash the moldy areas well with hot soapy water.
- Then apply a disinfectant specifically designed to kill black mold to all areas affected by the mold. Follow the directions on the package. If you are not sure if a particular area is affected by the mold, disinfect it anyway just to be sure.
- Wood surfaces should be sprayed with a protective encapsulate to ensure that any mold that was missed doesnt grow again or expand into the rest of the house.
What About Black Mold
While black mold is often used as a blanket term to describe many forms of mold, the picture of black mold that probably appears in your mind is that of Stachybotrys chartarum. This mold usually has a greenish-black appearance and tends to grow on materials with a high cellulose content, such as paper, fiberboard and drywall. Black mold needs a continuous supply of moisture to grow and spread, so its especially prevalent in locations with water leaks, water damage, condensation or flooding.
Stachybotrys chartarum is one of the most widely feared types of mold, often being used as the most dangerous and potentially life-threatening mold in households worldwide. This was largely impacted between 1993 and 1996, when 10 young infants in Cleveland, OH, all developed a serious condition known as idiopathic pulmonary hemorrhage . One of the infants passed away from this disease. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention conducted a study on this incident and determined that each of the children was living in households with very high levels of Stachybotrys chartarum. Following the release of this CDCs research, people all over the country concluded that black mold was extremely dangerous and potentially lethal.
How Do You Keep Mold Out Of Buildings And Homes
Inspect buildings for evidence of water damage and visible mold as part of routine building maintenance, Correct conditions causing mold growth to prevent mold growth.
Inside your home you can control mold growth by:
- Controlling humidity levels
- Promptly fixing leaky roofs, windows, and pipes
- Thoroughly cleaning and drying after flooding
- Ventilating shower, laundry, and cooking areas.
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To Test Or Not To Test
Stachybotrys is usually greenish-black and somewhat slimy or wet, but may also appear grayish with a sooty, powdery texture. Additionally, other molds may look similar. That’s why it is impossible to tell if any given mold is black mold by looks, smell or even location. The only way to determine a mold species is examination under a microscope. Testing is costly, advises the CDC, and isn’t really necessary. Any mold can cause health problems, as they point out. Therefore, you should arrange to have any mold in your home removed, no matter what type it is.
Reporting Black Mold In Your Workplace
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What Happens When You Breathe In Mold Spores
The human immune system is designed to react when foreign contaminants enter the body this is exactly what can happen when you breathe in mold spores. People who are asthmatic or allergic to mold may experience a more severe reaction than those who are not, but anyone can experience adverse symptoms after too much exposure to mold.
Mold spores can enter your airways through your nose and mouth, and they may irritate your exposed eyes and skin as well. Once the spores have made their way into your body, your immune system will try to get rid of them by eliciting a series of physical responses from you, such as coughing or sneezing. The intensity of these responses is mostly based on how sensitive you are to mold.
The most common symptoms of mold exposure include:
- Coughing and wheezing
- Redness and dry skin
- Asthma attack
Fortunately, mold exposure symptoms typically only last as long as the mold spores are present in your body. Once youve cleared away the mold in your home, bathed and circulated fresh, clean air throughout your respiratory system, the side effects should lessen within a day or two.
Other Ways Of Detecting And Identifying The Mold
If you are experiencing allergies whenever you walk into your house, chances are you have a mold problem. Some of the side effects of a mold infestation include:
- Coughing and lung problems
- Congestion in the nose
- Irritation in the eyes
- Throat disturbance
- Nose bleeds
Furthermore, the reason for this is because mold is not good for you. It can harm your overall health. Mold is not deadly, meaning it will not kill you, but it is important to know that if you already have pre-existing medical conditions, such as asthma or sensitive skin, they can worsen with mold present.
You also need to remember: molds effects on your health are not caused by just touching it. The particles in the air from it alone can cause various health disturbances and worsen any pre-existing medical conditions.
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Question 1 Of : How Do You Know If Mold Is Making You Sick
How Can You Tell If Mold Is Making You Sick
It can be hard to distinguish common mold exposure symptoms from those of an infection or a more serious condition. Many of these illnesses share a lot of the same side effects, and you may not be able to tell that youre sick until several days after exposure.
While most healthy people may only experience the temporary symptoms listed above, those with more compromised or weakened immune systems are at a greater risk of becoming sick after mold exposure. People in this group include the elderly, pregnant women, babies, young children and those with chronic health conditions.
There are a few serious illnesses that can be caused by mold exposure, but each usually has its own telltale symptoms that separates it from the others. Remember: the most common sign of an infection is a fever, so check your temperature regularly if you fear you may be sick.
These are just a few examples of illnesses that can be caused by molds:
- Aspergillosis an infection that typically comes after exposure to molds in the aspergillus family. These molds are often found in decaying vegetation, such as dead leaves, compost piles and stored grain. People who have gone through chemotherapy, had an organ transplant or have compromised lungs are the most likely demographic to contract aspergillosis. Common side effects include coughing , fever, chest pain, difficulty breathing, chills, shock or kidney/liver problems.
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Create A Bleach Mixture
If the black mold growth in your home is small enough for you to treat alone, a simple mixture of bleach and water can help. Add one cup of bleach to one gallon of water and apply it to the moldy spots. You can also find commercial black mold removal products.
Soak a paper towel in the cleaner and press it over the mold growth to dampen the area. Then start scrubbing. Avoid spraying moldy areas, since the droplets will collide with the mold spores and launch them throughout the room, making them easier to breathe in and harder to eradicate.
Be sure to dry the area thoroughly when youre done.
Do NOT mix bleach with ammonia. This combination can create toxic fumes that are far more dangerous than any mold youre trying to clean.
Always Use Protective Gear
If you choose to remove the problem on your own, it is important to wear protective gear, including eyewear, gloves and long sleeves. In many situations, it is best to contact a professional mold remediation company to remove the mould for you. You should contact a professional if it covers an area of the wall that is ten square feet or more, if you suspect a problem inside the walls, unless you are experienced in replacing drywall and insulation, if you suspect problem inside the heating and air ducts or if you have a respiratory disorder.
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Question 4 Of : How Do You Get Rid Of Mold In Your Lungs
The Best Test For Mold Toxicity You
If you are having a reaction, regardless of the color or quantity of mold present, stop the moisture, clean up the mold and get rid of damaged materials. Even if you arent reacting to the mold, your house is! Wood is rotting, materials are discoloring. So, truly getting rid of mold is important to protecting the value of your house, and more importantly, your health.
Finally, another myth is that any discomfort or illness you experience is proof of just mold. The truth is there are dozens of non-mold ways your home can be impacting your health. Find out which of the seven major issues are in your home.
For more information and tips on mold cleanup, you can also visit the EPA here.
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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.
Remove Mold From Concrete And Cement Walls
Removing black mold from concrete or cement walls is fairly simple. However, in some situations, it may be difficult to completely remove all traces of it, especially if it has gotten deep into the concrete. In this situation, it may be necessary to apply an encapsulation to help seal in any remaining traces of spores, which will prevent it from growing and spreading.
Watery Or Irritated Eyes
When allergens are present, the body releases histamines as part of its immune response. This histamine release is what causes the eyes to water excessively when exposed to toxins from mold.
This reaction from histamine may be the bodys way of flushing out allergens and toxins. It can serve as a warning to you that your environment may contain dangerous black mold.
Scrub With Baking Soda Or Borax
Sodium bicarbonate and the natural mineral borax each have a high pH that inhibits the growth and survival of mold. Both products are inexpensive and easy to use.
Make a paste of the powders with a few drops of water and apply it to the areas of mold growth. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes and then use a dampened scrub brush to scour the area. Rinse well with fresh water and dry with an old cloth.
Neither product is as effective at killing mold or removing stains as chlorine bleach or vinegar.
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What Does Black Mold Look Like
The appearance of black mold can vary depending on the species, but it is usually a black to dark brown or greenish-black slimy film that grows on organic matter. It is often found in damp and dark places such as basements, bathrooms, and crawlspaces. Its easy to confuse black mold with other types of mold that you might encounter in your home.
Here are some signs that indicate youve got black mold:
- Unpleasant odors coming from your walls or other surfaces
- Moldy patches on walls or ceilings
- Mold growth on woodwork or other building materials
- Musty smells in different rooms of your house
What To Do About Mold In Your Home
If you recently found mold in your home, you are probably searching the internet to figure out what to do. This step-by-step guide will answer all of your questions. Dont panic, it may take some time but you will get past this. The key is to educate yourself and do it right the first time so the mold does not return.
Please note that this page was written to help homeowners. If you live in an apartment or rental house, here is information about the landlord responsibility for mold.
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