Household Black Mold: Leave It or Clean It?
Mold is most often a black or turquoise fuzzy substance that returns home on your teen’s lunch. Upon long periods of exposure, this same mold can cause respiratory illnesses in otherwise healthy people. For those who already suffer from lung or breathing ailments, the effects of mold exposure can worsen. Thus, if it’s there, it needs to be treated.
This brief article will explain where you can find the mold and how you can remove it.
Where to look for mold
Mold grows in warm, damp, and dark places. No, not your ex’s soul, but in targeted areas such as bathrooms, basements, and closets. These places rarely have big, bright windows so they tend to create just the right conditions for the growth of mold and other fungi. Furthermore, they tend to hold more moisture than other locations, especially if you like long, steamy baths.
However, humidity is also naturally occurring and can form from liquids evaporating into the air. Not to mention, unless you like to freeze, you are probably heating your home, which encourages the development of mold. Lastly, mold requires a source of food so surfaces like drywall, wood, or clothing are common hot spots for contamination. And, as we all know, mold will even grow in food. You’ve probably already witnessed this if you’ve kept your fruits, vegetables, or grains sitting on the counter for too long.
What to do if you find mold growing in your home
At this point, you’re probably wondering what you can do about it. Well, the first way to conquer mold is to prevent it in the first place. Many people get dehumidifiers in their basements, which work to reduce the amount of humidity in the air, which contributes to the formation of mold in the first place. It is important to maintain indoor humidity at less than 55%, as anything higher will promote mold.
Relative humidity inside your home should be between 30% and 50%.
Furthermore, make sure that the air in these rooms can circulate. Try keeping doors and windows open. When placing furniture against the wall, leave an inch or two between it and the wall so that it can breathe. The goal is to allow the air, as well as the moisture in it, to move around freely. (Also, the dehumidifier won’t work as well if it is only accessing a small portion of the room.)
Next, it is important to keep excess water out of your home. Regularly check on your pipes to ensure they aren’t leaking or producing condensation. Every little bit matters. Flooding and cracked foundations are major sources of water. Not to mention the collection of condensation when warm summer air means your cool basement.
If you do have a water event, it is important to clean it up quickly. Not only that, but try to dry the materials that get wet. For example, if water gets on a rug, be sure to let the space between the rug and the floor dry. Fans are great for getting the air moving. If mold does form on surfaces such as wood or drywall, you may need to use chemical treatments.
Yellow and green mold on walls, floors, and baseboards as a result of Poor airflow, unheated space, insufficient thermal resistance, absence of a vapor barrier, etc.
Before resorting to chemicals, you will need to ensure that the source of the problem is fixed, whatever it may be. Fix the caulking around tiles, tighten pipes and dry out rooms. The drywall may need to be replaced if it is too badly damaged. If these surfaces and items can be salvaged, then you need to find the right cleaner for the task. Ask your local hardware retailer what product is right for you, and always follow the instructions on the label. Of course, don’t skip the safety equipment. It’s all for your health, right? And keep in mind that some products, such as bleach, can create harsh vapors that demand good ventilation.
When to call in mold professionals
Another solution, which is much easier, is to call the professionals, especially if you’re dealing with larger contamination. They’ll be able to determine exactly what’s wrong and how to fix it safely and effectively. Pinpointing the problem is important because the mold may be hiding behind unexposed areas.
The moral of this article is simple: don’t store any kind of mold for a long time in your house. It can be harmful even to the healthiest of people. Keep your spaces dry and, when in doubt, call the professionals.
- National Center for Environmental Health. Facts about Mold and Dampness. USA. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/mold/dampness_facts.htm
Mold Busters. Photo of yellow and green mold on walls. Retrieved from https://www.bustmold.com/