How To Remove Black Mold
Learn how to remove black mold safely and effectively.
A detail shot of disgusting hotel shower bathroom tile sealant with mold and mildew.
Black mold can be an insidious problem for homeowners, potentially leading to a costly removal process and even a host of health problems. But by learning how to get rid of black mold safely and effectively, you can protect the health of your family and the value of your home, without breaking the bank.
Removing black mold is a step-by-step process that requires patience, an investment in protective gear and black mold removal products, and, of course, the courage to brave dark, cramped spaces inhabited by toxic fungus.
First, you must remove the source of any moisture from the affected area. If any leaks or persistent condensation aren’t alleviated, the mold will likely reappear after removal.
Next, seal any doorways or other openings leading to other areas of the home, place heavy plastic over them, then seal the plastic in place with duct tape. If there are outdoor openings in the room, place an exhaust fan near them to help remove mold spores from the room.
How Do I Know If My House Has A Moisture Problem
One of the best ways to tell is by checking the humidity. A home with high humidity likely has a moisture problem. Musty smells suggest mold, mildew or rot. Household odors that linger may indicate too much moisture in the air. Frost and ice on cold surfaces from condensation can be a sign of excess moisture in the air as well.
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.
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What Is Black Mold
Black Mold or stachybotrys is a specific type of toxic fungus that can appear in damp areas of your house. It is characterized by its unique appearance, as it is darker than most types of mold. Contrary to popular belief, Black Mold isnt any more toxic than other molds. All molds are biohazards that can produce toxins and should be removed immediately when found.
How Mold Remediation Works
- Inspection: During your homes mold inspection, the specialists will determine the severity of the problem including what areas spores have infiltrated and what type of mold has been found.
- Containing mold growth: Mold can grow quickly under the right conditions. Plus it can move through the air, putting other areas of the home at risk. The first step to mold removal is to seal off the contaminated area to prevent the mold from spreading.
- Controlling Moisture: Since mold spores thrive in a moist environment, the next step to clearing the area of mold is to get rid of any leaks or other moisture problems.
- Cleaning the mold: Once the area is completely dried, HEPA vacuums can be used to remove mold spores form the area , while the infected surfaces are cleaned.
- Cleaning the air: Since mold spores move through the air, it is vital that homes that have been infiltrated with black mold also have their ducts, furnace and air filters thoroughly cleaned to remove all spores from the home.
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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.
How To Remove Mold From Drywall
How the problem is handled on drywall depends on the condition of the sheet rock itself. If the material is unpainted or unsealed it is much more porous so it will absorb the spores right through to the back of the surface. In most situations, if you have a problem on the outside of sheetrock, it is probably on the inside as well. If you find it on unsealed sheetrock, the only thing you can do is remove the section that is affected and replace it. It is important to cut out a large enough section of the sheetrock to expose the wood behind it. Molds cannot be removed from insulation, so completely removing and replacing it is necessary.
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Remove Mold From Plaster Walls
Under the right conditions, plaster can absorb a large amount of water and if the water is allowed to sit, black mold may appear. Cleaning a plaster wall will help to temporarily remove the problem, but to prevent the risk of it returning and/or spreading, itâs best to improve the air circulation with a fan or install a dehumidifier.
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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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.
What About Tiny Mold Toxins Aka Mycotoxins
As mentioned above, though the Stachybotrys spores may be sticky and not easily airborne, there are other airborne contaminants to worry about: tiny fragments of mold and special toxins called mycotoxins. These contaminants may cause illness in those who are exposed, with mycotoxins being the most concerning.
You can think about mycotoxins as the molds defense: they are used for protection from environmental threats. Mycotoxins are minute organic compounds as small as 0.03 microns. These tiny molecules can stick to particles already floating through the air. Studies have found Stachybotrys mycotoxins on mold fragments that have broken off from a mold colony after it has been disturbed . This can be harmfulairborne particles less than 1.0 microns are easily breathed into the respiratory system, where they can cause irritation and potential allergic reactions. If this occurs, mycotoxins could accumulate onto local tissue and ultimately enter the bloodstream. The study by Brasel cited above showed that trichothecenes could be measured in the blood of people exposed to an indoor environment that had Stachybotrys.
Stachybotrys creates a class of mycotoxins referred to as trichothecenes. Trichothecenes have been widely studied and have been proven to be detrimental to the health of humans, animals and plants. In fact, trichothecenes have been investigated for the purpose of biological warfare needless to say, they are not something to which you want to be exposed.
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Myths About Black Mold
Its important to address myths some people may have about black mold. One common rumor is that black mold releases toxic compounds called mycotoxins that cause health issues, like memory loss, headaches, and infant pulmonary hemorrhage.
But according to a review from 2017, theres no evidence that exposure to black mold causes particular health conditions.
Furthermore, while a variety of molds produce mycotoxins, these compounds are primarily dangerous for humans only when eaten in significant quantities.
A 2019 review of research into this topic states theres currently no evidence that mycotoxins in the air cause disease.
A Qualified Environmental Lab Took Samples Of The Mold In My Home And Gave Me The Results Can Cdc Interpret These Results
Standards for judging what is an acceptable, tolerable or normal quantity of mold have not been established. Sampling for mold can be expensive, and standards for judging what is and what is not an acceptable quantity of mold have not been set. The best practice is to remove the mold and work to prevent future growth. If you do decide to pay for environmental sampling for molds, before the work starts, you should ask the consultants who will do the work to establish criteria for interpreting the test results. They should tell you in advance what they will do or what recommendations they will make based on the sampling results. The results of samples taken in your unique situation cannot be interpreted without physical inspection of the contaminated area or without considering the buildings characteristics and the factors that led to the present condition.
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How To Remove Mold From Brick Walls
Remember to wear protective clothing, gloves and eyewear when cleaning. Simply mix Â½ cup of oxygen bleach with 1-gallon of warm water and mix well. Sponge the mixture onto the brick and use a stiff-bristled brush or push broom. Allow the mixture to sit for 30-minutes, and then rinse with a garden hose.
Visible Dark Rings And Spots
One of the early signs that mold could be lurking in your home is the appearance of dark rings or spots on the ceilings or walls. Even if these spots arent mold per se, they may be indicative of water damage or pooling water, which is a recipe for mold growth.Dark rings on your ceiling? It might be an early sign of black mold.
If you see anything like this in your home, its best to mop it up as quickly as possible and clean the area using disinfectants. If you cant access the area, get an inspector to do it for you. Be sure to check other areas as well, since there could be more widespread water damage.
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What Are Black Mold Health Symptoms
We all know mold isnt welcomed in the home, but did you know too that breathing in the presence of mold can harm your health? There are over 2,000 different species of mold and the most dangerous of all is called Stachybotrys Chartarum, also known as black mold or the invisible killer.
Why is black mold so dangerous? Black mold releases toxic spores that linger in the air and attack your respiratory health. The potency of these toxic spores has proved to be the most detrimental to human health.
Black mold often appears as slimy and greenish-black. If its water source runs out, it can also appear as dry and powdery. Black mold is also dangerous because its sometimes difficult to distinguish from other species of mold.
The following are health symptoms associated with black mold exposure:
- Eye irritation
In severe cases, symptoms caused by inhaling black mold can lead to the following health troubles:
- Respiratory complications
Sometimes mold invades spaces that are hard to see and reach. It spreads fast, burrowing into walls and ceilings and hiding in cupboards and under carpets. Quite often, people are exposed to black mold without even knowing it. If you or anyone in your home is experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms without knowing why, you may be exposed to mold.
How To Remove Mold From Concrete Walls
- Fill a bucket with 1-gallon of warm water and add Â½ cup of liquid laundry detergent.
- Dip a scrub brush or a push broom into the cleaning solution and scrub the concrete to remove it.
- Rinse the concrete wall with a garden hose and allow it to air dry.
- Empty the bucket and fill with a mixture of 1-gallon warm water and Â¼ cup of bleach.
- Apply to the concrete with a sponge or sponge mop and allow to sit for 20-30 minutes.
- Rinse completely and allow to air dry.
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What To Do If Your House Has Mold Health Risks And Tips To Remove Mold
Mold builds up in damp and poorly ventilated areas. On average, a person spends about 12 to 16 hours a day at home, especially children and senior citizens.
Inhalation of mold fragments or spores can cause airway inflammation, which can result in nasal congestion, wheezing, chest tightness, coughing and throat irritation.
According to the World Health Organization , continuous exposure to high levels of indoor dampness and mold can lead to a decrease in lung functionality, and may result in chronic respiratory conditions. People who are asthmatic or allergic can face a higher risk of severe symptoms when exposed to mold.
Aside from visible mold, other indications of dampness problems include mold odor, water stains, cracked wallpaper, wet basements, and so on.
Preventing Mold In Your Home
The best way to keep your family safe from black mold is to prevent it from growing. Since mold grows in damp, dark places, you should aim to improve ventilation and reduce humidity in areas that are prone to mold.
In your bathrooms, for example, you can use a shower squeegee to remove excess water from shower walls and bathroom mirrors. You can also install a vent fan or open a window when showering to allow humidity to leave the room. These steps help reduce the moisture in your bathroom and make it more difficult for black mold to grow.
Make searching for black mold or potential growth areas a part of your spring cleaning routine. The sooner you catch a mold growth, the better chance you have to get rid of it before it causes health problems.
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To Prevent Mold Growth In Your Home
- Keep humidity levels in your home as low as you canno higher than 50%all day long. An air conditioner or dehumidifier will help you keep the level low. You can buy a meter to check your homes humidity at a home improvement store. Humidity levels change over the course of a day so you will need to check the humidity levels more than once a day.
- Be sure the air in your home flows freely. Use exhaust fans that vent outside your home in the kitchen and bathroom. Make sure your clothes dryer vents outside your home.
- Fix any leaks in your homes roof, walls, or plumbing so mold does not have moisture to grow.
- Clean up and dry out your home fully and quickly after a flood.
- Add mold inhibitors to paints before painting. You can buy mold inhibitors at paint and home improvement stores.
- Clean bathrooms with mold-killing products.
- Remove or replace carpets and upholstery that have been soaked and cannot be dried right away. Think about not using carpet in places like bathrooms or basements that may have a lot of moisture.
- To learn more about preventing mold in your home, see the Environmental Protection Agencys book A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home at .
Clean Up Safely After A Flood
Flood water may contain bacteria, petroleum and chemicals. Mold can grow in a flooded home that is not properly cleaned and dried out.
Learn how to safely clean your home after a flood:
Mold , mushrooms, and yeast are all types of fungi. Fungi are found both indoors and outdoors. Hundreds of different kinds of mold are commonly found in the United States and New York City.
Exposure to mold can cause or worsen asthma symptoms and allergies, such as hay fever. People who are allergic or sensitive to mold may experience congestion, runny nose, coughing and trouble breathing.
Some people are at risk for more severe reactions to mold, such as fever and shortness of breath. This includes people who are exposed to large amounts of mold at work such as, agricultural workers and building demolition workers. People who have had or are undergoing certain medical procedures, such as bone marrow or organ transplants and chemotherapy, are also at risk. Health symptoms usually disappear after the mold has been removed.
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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.
Cleaning Up Black Mold
The processof cleaning up black mold is much more complex than most people think. If youtry to clean it up yourself, your symptoms of black mold exposure may worsen. Additionally, if you are not careful thecleanup process may cause black mold spores to become airborne and crosscontaminate other parts of your home.
Instead ofputting your health at risk, we recommend that you meet with a mold removalspecialist. Most mold removal specialists will give a free home inspection andevaluation, so even if you are thinking of doing the cleanup yourself you canstill get some free advice. They will inspect your home, help you find hiddenmold, discuss the best techniques for removing the mold in your particularcase, recommend prevention strategies to make sure the mold does not return,and give you a price quote. For a list of mold removal specialists offeringfree home inspections in your area, just follow the link
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