Everyone is exposed to some mold on a daily basis without evident harm. It is common to find mold spores in the air
inside homes, and most of the airborne spores found indoors come from outdoor sources. Most people are unharmed
by such encounters with mold. But sometimes, mold can cause damage, both to your health and your finances.
Introduction to mold
Molds are simple, microscopic organisms, present virtually everywhere - indoors and outdoors. For molds to grow and reproduce, they need only a food source - any organic material, such as leaves, wood, paper, or dirt - and moisture. When excessive moisture or water accumulates indoors, mold growth will often occur, particularly if the moisture problem remains undiscovered or un-addressed. To reproduce, molds release countless tiny spores, which waft through the indoor and outdoor air continually. When mold spores land on a damp spot indoors, they may begin growing and digesting whatever they are growing on.
How does mold affect people?
For those sensitive to molds, exposure to mold spores can cause symptoms such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, or skin irritation, amongst other things. Some people, such as those with serious allergies to molds, may have more severe reactions, like fever and shortness of breath. Those with chronic lung illnesses, such as obstructive lung disease, may develop mold infections in their lungs. Molds can also trigger asthma episodes, so people with asthma should avoid contact with or exposure to molds.
Also, because mold digests whatever it grows on, objects exposed to it - carpets, paintings or expensive furniture,
just to name a few - can eventually get destroyed. A mold patch settled in the foundations of a building can gradually weaken them to the point when walls start cracking and crumbling apart.
How can I tell if my house has mold?
You may suspect that you have mold if you see discolored patches or cottony or speckled growth on walls or furniture or if you smell an earthy or musty odor. You also may suspect mold contamination if mold-allergic individuals experience some of the symptoms listed above when in the house. Evidence of past or ongoing water damage should also trigger more thorough inspection.
Be on the lookout in your home for common sources of indoor moisture that may lead to mold problems:
|FloodingLeaky roofsPlumbing leaks
||Overflow from sinks or sewersDamp basement or crawl space
Steam from shower or cooking|
How do I get rid of mold?
3. Bag and dispose of all material that may have moldy residues.
1. Identify and eliminate sources of moisture.
- Fix the source of the water problem or leak to prevent mold growth.
- Reduce indoor humidity (to 30-60% ) to decrease mold growth by: venting bathrooms, dryers, and other
moisture-generating sources to the outside; using
air conditioners and dehumidifiers; increasing ventilation; using exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing, and cleaning. DO NOT use the home’s central blower if flooding has occurred in it or in any of the ducts. DO NOT use fans if mold may have already started to grow (more than 48 hours since flooding).
2. Clean and dry moldy areas.
- Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials and furnishings within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.
- Clean mold off hard surfaces with special
mold cleaners, and dry completely. Absorbent materials such as ceiling tiles, that are moldy, may need to be replaced.
- Use protective gear. A mold-proof face mask and a pair of rubber gloves should be sufficient for a small mold-infested area. Use full-body work coveralls and protective goggles when dealing with a medium (a full bathroom or a mold-infested basement, for example) to large (whole building infestation) contamination problem - or consider calling in a professional.
4. Take appropriate measures to make sure that mold does not return.
- Discard porous materials (for example, ceiling tiles, sheetrock, carpeting, and wood products).
- Bag and discard moldy items, such as rags, paper, leaves, and debris; if properly enclosed, items can be disposed with household trash.
- Dry affected areas for 2 or 3 days.
- Clean up should begin after the moisture source is fixed and excess water has been removed. Wear gloves
when handling moldy materials. Spores are more easily released when moldy materials dry out, hence it is advisable to remove moldy items as soon as possible.
- Get rid of the clothes you were wearing while cleaning the molds up - or at least wash them thoroughly.
Airfree Enviro Sterilizer
Air purifier and germ/mold remover in 1!
Delonghi 40 pint Dehumidifier
Is your house too humid? This will solve your problem.
Delonghi Pinguino Portable Air Condtioner
Great for enclosed spaces with poor ventilation.
EnviroRite Mold and Mildew Control Spray
Prevents mildew growth on hard, nonporous surfaces in your home.
DuPont Tyvek Coverall
Best for medium to large scale mold removal projects.
3M Mold-Proof Face Mask
Offers exceptional protection and comfort.