Tips To Keeping Surfaces Clean Of Mold Longer
- Keep humidity levels in your home low to discourage mold from developing. Using a dehumidifier or air conditioning helps to keep humidity levels hovering around the ideal mark of 50% throughout the day.
- Use a handheld hygrometer to measure your home’s humidity throughout the day.
- Always use exhaust vent fans when showering in the bathroom and when you cook in the kitchen to prevent the build-up of moisture and humidity.
- Ensure that your dryer has a vent and that it vents to the outdoors, not indoors.
- Use mold-killing cleaners in your bathroom to keep spores away.
- Avoid using wall-to-wall carpeting in areas that may become wet or moist, such as basements, bathrooms, and kitchens.
- Prevent mold formation by fixing leaks anywhere in your home as quickly as possible.
Use Fans To Send Moisture Outside
If your home has kitchen, bathroom or window fans that vent the moist air outside, use them when you cook or take a shower. If you do not have fans, open a window when you cook or shower, cover pots when cooking, and try to take cool, short showers. Dry clothing on a clothesline outside or use a clothes dryer that vents air outdoors.
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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Mold Is Bad For Your Health
Mold can cause detrimental effects on human health, especially for children or people with pre-existing health conditions.
Asthma is the most common health issue associated with long-term indoor mold exposure. Adults who live in moldy homes are up to 50 percent more likely to develop asthma. Children are even more likely to develop health issues like asthma and rhinitis.
Mold exposure has also been associated with other upper respiratory infections, with symptoms that can range from sinus infections to sore throats. Mold can cause infections of the lower respiratory system as well. This often leads to shortness of breath, wheezing, or even whooping cough.
As if this all werent enough, mold can also trigger allergies. Sometimes mold-related allergies can develop into more serious illnesses, such as pneumonia and bronchitis.
If someone in your home has a weakened immune system, they will be more susceptible to develop mold-related infections. These infections are dangerous to immuno-compromised people and can lead to long-term illnesses and, in some cases, death.
If You Treat Mold Yourself Always Wear Protection
In fact, preparation and protective wear are important parts of making sure that youre removing and not spreading mold.
Robert Weitz is a certified microbial investigator and founder of RTK Environmental, a leading environmental testing firm. If you find mold, he recommends having a professional mold test to see if you can clean it yourself. If you can, he has a list of items that youll need:
- A mask or respirator to filter out the mold spores youll be disturbing
- Eye protection
- White vinegar
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Places In Your House Where Mold Can Lurk
The Spruce / Letícia Almeida
- Working Time: 1 – 2 hrs
- Total Time: 2 – 8 hrs
- Skill Level: Beginner
- Estimated Cost: $0 to $20
Mold spores are everywhere. It’s impossible to get rid of all mold forever since it’s always in the air, but you can control and remove mold by using a little elbow grease. Read on to learn how to get rid of mold on almost any home item.
If The Contaminated Surface Is Small To Moderate:
- Wear safety glasses or goggles, a disposable N95 mask, and household disposable gloves.
- You may want to isolate the area by taping plastic sheeting to the walls and ceiling to prevent the spread of dust and mould particles.
- Vacuum the area with a HEPA vacuum cleaner before and after cleaning.
- Clean the mould by using water and dish detergent. There’s no need to use bleach. When cleaning drywall, use a damp cloth so you don’t make the drywall wet.
- Sensitive people should not be in the same room during the work and may want to leave the house until the mould is removed.
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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
What To Do When Buying A Property With Mold
If you have your heart set on buying a particular house and discover it has mold, you have options. A certified mold inspector can identify the problem and present you with a written report estimate based on the scope of necessary work for remediation/removal of mold.
You can take that estimate to your real estate agent or the sellers and ask them to either address the remediation before the close of escrow or to give you a price reduction on the purchase price of the property.
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What To Do When Buying A House With Mold
If you decide to go ahead and purchase a property with mold, your first move should be to call a mold inspection and removal service. The sooner you take care of any mold issue, the better. Plus, there is no need to risk moving into a property that could potentially cause harm to you or your family.
In addition to testing and removing the present mold, you should also look into long-term solutions to prevent new mold growth. This includes sealing up pipes, HVAC systems, as well as spaces around windows and doors.
If mold has grown on the walls, it is best to use mildew-resistant anti-mold paint. This will help to kill any mold, mildew, or bacteria that begins to form. You can also use dehumidifiers or even fans to dry out the air in rooms with poor ventilation.
You should schedule regular mold inspections to ensure that the problem does not grow back. Some homes are more susceptible to mold growth due to climate or structural design. For instance, the New Jersey area has high humidity, particularly in the summer. This creates the perfect environment for mold to form, especially in areas like basements or bathrooms.
Finally, take action quickly if your home experiences any water damage. A burst pipe, major spill, or any flooding can quickly turn into a huge mold issue if it is not taken care of right away. You need a trusted mold remediation service on hand to step in and help if you run into any of these circumstances.
It Can Severely Damage Your Property
Mold can grow in areas you might not even realize, such as HVAC systems, air ducts and carpeting. If the mold grows in the air ducts, it spreads the mold throughout the home, making the spread worse and increasing the risk of danger to your family members.
If the mold growth is severe, it can cause thousands of dollars in damage and even make certain systems, such as the HVAC system, stop working. Depending on the level of mold damage that occurs, it can even lower the property value of your home.
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When Mold Removal Specialists Are Needed
Unfortunately, DIY mold removal wont do if the mold formation is affecting an area that covers more than 10 square feet. The job will then be too big for you, so your only choice would be to call in mold removal professionals. Fortunately for you, it will also be the best decision you can make to address your mold problem at home.
Mold remediation specialists have been trained specifically to get rid of mold colonies in any setting. They are experts not only at locating mold growths wherever they may be in your home, but also at identifying the sources of the moisture that caused the mold to form in the first place.
They will take steps to address that source of moisturea leaky pipe, a leaking ceiling, water damage, or excessive humidity in the affected areaso that mold wont return anytime soon once theyre done with their job.
They also have the right chemicals and the tools to use to make sure they kill off the entire mold population in your home.
Most mold removal companies accept insurance, so if your policy covers mold remediation, then waste no time in calling in the specialists. They can rid your home of mold more efficiently, quickly, and permanently than any DIY effort on your part.
How Can I Tell If I Have A Mold Problem
Any part of your home that gets wet is likely to be moldy. Check for:
- Leaks in your roof or plumbing. If water is trapped inside your walls or under your carpet, molds may grow there, although they can’t always be seen. See if your walls or rugs have light stains or a strong musty smell.
- Mold in your basement, especially if your basement floods because of rain. Moisture can also seep through your home’s concrete foundation and make the bottom of carpets or the inside of a finished wall moldy.
- Water damage around your windows or doors to the outside of the house. In winter, moist air can change to water on these cooler surfaces and cause molds to grow there.
- Mold on walls, ceilings, floors, carpets, books or piles of newspapers. Smell these areas too sometimes a musty smell is your only clue that you have a mold problem.
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How To Deal With A Mold Problem In Your House
Mold per se is not bad. It plays an important role in ecology, as it helps in the decomposition process of organic material that produces nutrients for plant life. As long as they form outside, in nature, mold is definitely good.
Mold inside the home, however, is an entirely different story. To say that mold is a nuisance inside your home would be an understatement.
Mold forms in areas that have excessive moisture and poor ventilation. Typically, mold can grow on the floors and walls of bathrooms. Shower curtains are also favorite mold targets. Do you have a water heater or a sump pump in your basement? Then expect its floors to be playing host to mold over time.
When you have a leaking pipe within the walls, mold may also form in its vicinity. Even a leaky roof can lead to mold formation on your ceiling and the wall directly underneath the leak. Here is how to identify and remove mold from your house.
If You Use Bleach To Clean Up Mold
- Never mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners. Mixing bleach with ammonia or other cleaning products will produce a poisonous gas.
- Always follow the manufacturers instructions when you use bleach or any other cleaning product.
- Open windows and doors to provide fresh air.
- Wear rubber boots, rubber gloves, and goggles during cleanup of affected areas.
- If you need to clean more than 10 square feet, check the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency guide titled Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings, which gives advice on all building types. You can get it by going to the EPA web site at .
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How To Remove Mold
Some mold is quick and easy to clean, merely requiring a regular wipe down around the tub or window, but sometimes professionals are needed. The general dividing line between homeowner clean up versus professional remediation is whether the mold is covering under or above 10 square feet, says Ragsdale. You may also need to hire a professional if your drywall is covered in mold or if you are allergic to mold.
In order to get rid of a major mold problem, you must remove the mold and remedy the moisture problem that caused the excessive mold growth in the first place. Ragsdale highly recommends immediately fixing the cause of the moisture problem that led to the mold, whether its bad plumbing, a leak, or excessive humidity. Mold requires moisture, so if the moisture intrusion is not corrected, cleaning efforts may be in vain, says Ragsdale.
When cleaning mold on your own, be sure to wear gloves, goggles and N-95 respirator masks to reduce your exposure to the mold. If there are outdoor openings in the room, place an exhaust fan near them to help remove mold spores from the room. If the moldy area is dry, lightly spray with water, as this will reduce the incidence of airborne mold spores during cleaning.
Place all used sponges, equipment and other materials in a heavy-duty garbage bag, and if possible, remove the bag through a nearby exit as opposed to the main house to avoid distributing mold spores.
Can Mold Cause Health Problems
Molds are usually not a problem indoors, unless mold spores land on a wet or damp spot and begin growing. Molds have the potential to cause health problems. Molds produce allergens , irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic substances . Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash .
Allergic reactions to mold are common. They can be immediate or delayed. Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold. In addition, mold exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mold-allergic and non-allergic people. Symptoms other than the allergic and irritant types are not commonly reported as a result of inhaling mold. Research on mold and health effects is ongoing.
This provides a brief overview it does not describe all potential health effects related to mold exposure. For more detailed information consult a health professional. You may also wish to consult your state or local health department.
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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.
Mold Can Spread To The Hvac System
Mold infestations get exponentially worse if they spread into heating and air conditioning systems. HVAC ducts can attract mold growth since the air is quite humid inside. Mold also feeds on dust moisture, which is plentiful inside of an HVAC system.
The issue with mold growth in the air ducts is that the spores can travel through the air and spread to other rooms. This also means that the mold spores can enter your familys lungs and cause potential health issues.
Having mold around is never healthy and it gets exponentially worse when that mold is breathed in. Mold can trigger allergic and asthmatic reactions and lead to respiratory issues and infections.
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There Are Many Types Of Dangerous Mold
One of the dangers of buying a home with mold is that there are so many different kinds some of which can be extremely toxic. Researchers have identified over 100,000 different varieties of mold, many of which are routinely found indoors.
Someone who is unfamiliar with mold might be unable to recognize the signs, even if they were to see them. Further, mold often grows in hidden spots you cant easily get to, like underneath carpets or in the attic.
Mold growth is often missed by traditional home inspectors as well unless there are obvious physical signs. This means they will not be able to identify all the problem areas properly, so you could wind up buying a home with severe mold issues. To avoid this issue, it is highly recommended to schedule a professional mold inspection before buying.