What is mold?
Molds can be found in places with damp, warm and humid conditions. Outdoors, you can find them in wooded areas, damp gardens, or other areas where there are plenty of dead leaves or other decomposing vegetation. Indoors, they can be found in bathrooms, basements, laundry rooms, and in areas where it’s humid, dark, and damp.
Mold spores develop into actual mold when they are exposed to moisture and any organic material that they can digest. Molds can grow on walls, carpets, wooden furniture, and floor tiles that have been constantly exposed to moisture and humid air.
How are people exposed to mold?
How do I know if it’s mold growth? How can I detect it?
What are common places in the house where you can find mold?
Can I do something to prevent or minimize the occurrence of mold growth?
- Check for water leaks – and fix them. Make sure the plumbing in your kitchen and bathroom is leak-free. If you have a leaking roof, it’s best to repair it as soon as you can.
- Optimize ventilation in your home. Set up exhaust fans in basements and laundry rooms so that air can freely circulate to the outside. It’s also good if you can let in warm or fresh air from outside into the structure. If feasible, provide some space between large objects and the inside of your exterior wall to allow air to circulate more. Try to ventilate your attic if you can.
- Dry off soaked carpets, upholstered furniture, clothing, bedding, blankets, and sheets. Always clean and dry them within a day or two. If you have water-damaged furnishings that are difficult to clean or completely dry off, you may have to replace them.
- Clean your house on a regular basis. The cleaner and dryer your home is, the less likely it will be to invite the propagation of mold spores.
How can I eliminate mold?
For small areas of infestation:
We still recommend that you get professional mold remediation and abatement services. However, if you are up to the task, you should still exercise great care. Protective gear like goggles, rubber gloves, and face masks are a must to avoid exposure. Try to wear clothing that covers most of your skin, so that direct contact with mold spores is minimized.
There’s a substantial risk of stirring up the mold colony, so it’s advisable to seal off the affected area from the rest of the house when the cleaning is taking place. Ventilation ducts and heat registers should be also be sealed off. Cover your furniture and remove carpets if possible.
Discard all moldy materials in a carefully sealed bag. Thoroughly clean any hard surfaces that were affected. You can use warm water and laundry detergent for an initial cleaning. Afterwards, mix a solution of 1 quart of water and cup of bleach. Apply to the hard surface and wait for a period of 20 minutes. Re-apply and wait another 20 minutes. Finally, use a borate-based detergent solution on the area – but refrain from rinsing. Keeping moisture at a minimum will help stop the mold from growing back in the area.
Clean, clean, clean! Wash beddings, sheets, and clothing that were exposed. Vacuum your floors and carpets.
How do I clean furnishings exposed to mold?
Non-permeable and washable types. This category includes plastics, ceramics, glass, silverware, jewelries, metals that resist oxidation, and wooden items. Wipe them with a solution consisting of 1 quart of water and 1 cup of bleach. Please note that bleach may cause discoloration, so test before fully applying.
Permeable but not washable types. Beds and furniture fall in this group. If you have moldy furniture, it might be best to discard it. If you want to salvage it, take it outside, clean what parts you can, vacuum it extensively, and then let it completely dry out. Unfortunately, it’s quite possible you may not be able to get rid of all the mold spores, so we recommend that you continue to monitor the situation. If your furniture doesn’t exude a musty odor, and if there’s no visible sign of mold growth, then it may have been spared from irreparable mold damage.
How can I control mold?
Here’s a quick summary of our specific recommendations:
- Humidity inside your home should be between 40% and 55%.
- In especially humid months, use an air conditioner or a dehumidifier.
- Install proper ventilation ducts and exhaust fans.
- If you are applying paint, it’s best to add mold inhibitors when possible.
- Use anti-mold cleaning agents for bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms.
- Avoid putting carpets in bathrooms and basements.
- Discard and replace water-damaged carpets and upholstered furniture.
What are the dangers of mold? How can mold exposure affect my health?
Serious health hazards
Certain individuals who undergo constant and prolonged exposure may experience severe, chronic problems like flu-like symptoms, exhaustion, pneumonia and other bronchi ailments, nose-bleeds, nausea, migraines, vomiting, diarrhea, and liver damage. The symptoms may stop when the individual is no longer exposed, but in some cases, the effects become permanent.
Microbial Volatile Organic Compounds (mVOCs)
mVOCs are compounds released into the air as an end product of fungal metabolism. These compounds give off a strong, “rank”, odor. Although research about mVOCs’ health effects is still in the initial stage, studies indicate that they may cause eye irritation, nasal congestion, respiratory diseases, headache, dizziness, and fatigue.
Certain molds discharge toxins as a defensive mechanism against other molds and bacteria. These compounds are called mycotoxins, and they may induce nausea, eye irritation, respiratory ailments, and fatigue.
How do I know if I have been exposed to mold?
How do I know if I’m allergic to molds?
The Radio Allegro Sorbent (RAST) is a type of blood testing that detects the levels of antibodies in your system that react to different allergen types. This test is quite effective, but it is also costly. Test results may take 2 weeks.
Is there a type of medical specialization in mold exposure?
What do I do when water intrusion occurs?
In case of disasters like fires, floods and storms, we strongly advise you to take action only when it’s safe to do so. Board up broken windows or doors, and cover damaged roofs using plastic sheets. Remove soaked carpets, rugs, sheets, and belongings.
How can I tell if the humidity indoors is acceptable?
Why do I sneeze when the air is humid?
“Humidity promotes mold growth and dust mite population growth,” said Dr. Michael Ruff, an allergist who works to raise awareness about asthma and allergies for the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. “Both are significant indoor allergens and can set off allergic sensitivity and can trigger rhinitis and asthma.”
We don’t always realize it, but millions of organisms are thriving in the air, on door knobs, on table tops, in carpets, in pillows, on blankets, and on furniture. If the air around these places is moist, it’s a good area for molds to flourish. Lower humidity levels usually mean lower mold and dust mite growth.
Can humid air affect the structure of my house?
How do I solve mold infestation? What are my options?
The second step is elimination. We have the knowledge, experience, and equipment to conduct a complete mold remediation and abatement procedure in your home’s affected areas. The process is guaranteed to be environmentally safe and risk-free. The extensive service will be performed by our professional and dedicated staff, and we will make sure that the chance of re-contamination will be minimal. We offer these services at very affordable rates. Feel free to contact us for more details.