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Everything You Need to Know About Mold in a Home

Mold. It smells gross. It looks weird. It causes health problems. Mold is a constant issue amongst homeowners. It can make or break a house, as homeowners fear both the repercussions of having mold in a home and an inability to get rid of the mold. Before determining how severe the mold is in your home, it is important to be well-informed. Some situations may not be as severe as they are made out to be, while others may actually be more severe than considered. Here is everything you need to know about mold in a home:

What is mold?

Mold is a fungi that comes in a variety of forms. With different shapes and colors, the mold you find in your home may not be consistent. Typically, as it grows, it takes on a darker shade of green or brown.

Why is mold in your home?

Mold is attracted to areas that have moisture. It can only reproduce and live when it has an organic substance that it can absorb. Mold grows by little spores. The spores reproduce, but only become visible when they are able to create a mold colony. The majority of mold is unseen. As the spores float around a home, attach to clothing, grow on foods, looking and waiting for areas that contain moisture. When spores find moisture, they settle and attempt to grow into colonies. In a home, you are most likely to find mold in the bathrooms and basement.

What are the affects of mold?

The majority of mold is not going to cause any health problems. However, when the home is damp and moist, mold is going to be able to grow at a rapid rate, creating the potential for health problems. People with allergies or asthma are going to feel the affects of mold the most. The more mold in a home, the more allergens and toxic substances found in the home. If someone is allergic or sensitive to mold, inhaling or accidentally touching mold could flare a reaction. These people are typically going to experience symptoms similar to a cold, with coughing, sneezing, and a runny nose. They could also have problems with their skin and eyes reacting negatively. If a person has severe allergies, they could experience heightened symptoms like a fever and trouble breathing. Those with asthma have to be especially concerned as mold can increase the number and severity of asthma attacks.

Mold, in most situations, will not damage a home. Typically, mold is found on the surface of walls, indicating that there is extra moisture in that area. When you see mold, it should serve as a warning sign that there is probably a worse problem causing the mold to appear, like a leak. However, if the mold is not only on the surface, but is growing in the walls, then the problem is much more extensive. This occurs because the home has a severe amount of water damage. If this is the case in your home, you will have to spend a large chunk of time, money, and effort to have your house renovated. Having mold within the walls cannot be removed easily.

What do you do if you have mold?

Mold has to be taken care of with the right equipment. In most situations, you will be able to take care of the mold on your own. However, if you have mold between walls or are having severe health reactions to it, you should hire a professional to take care of the problem for you.

Cleaning mold on your own:
Items that have mold need to be cleaned thoroughly. Because mold spores are very small, you have to clean very particularly in order to remove all of the spores.

  • Items like books or paintings should be cleaned with a very fine brush and denatured alcohol.
  • Household items like rugs and mattresses should be cleaned with the least amount of liquid possible. Unfortunately, in most situations it is best if the rug or mattress is thrown away as it is very difficult to clean and completely take care of the mold problem. In these household items, the mold can penetrate the exterior surface, making it almost impossible to remove.
  • For the areas on your walls that have mold, do not try to take the easy route by simply painting over the spots. This will not kill all of the mold and could cause the paint to peel over time. Use bleach mixed with water to wipe the area down. Be sure to use rubber gloves while doing this as bleach is harsh on the human body. A stiff brush or mop should be used to scrub the area. Once the mold seems to have dissipated, rinse the area with water.

With all areas and belongings cleaned, make sure the area is ventilated. Without ventilating and drying the area, mold will return rapidly.

Hiring a professional to clean the mold:
When you hire a professional, make sure that this professional has previous experience cleaning mold. You will want to have a professional who has good recommendations and references. If you have a particular item you do not know how to clean on your own, seek a specialist for that specific item. For example: if you have a painting that you treasure that has molded, go see a professional art restorer and conserver. You will want them to have solid references and recommendations as well.

How can you prevent mold?

Due to mold loving areas that have moisture, you have to be rid your house of moisture. Your house needs to have good ventilation. You cannot just take care of the area where you see the mold, it is essential that you also take care of the water problem.

  • In the bathroom: make sure you have some type of ventilation to dry the room out after a shower or bath. Typically a fan or the sunlight from windows will do the trick.
  • In the basement: a dehumidifier can be used. You never want the basement to have humidity levels above 60%. If the level is higher, than you should consider buying a humidifier to bring the level back down.
  • In the kitchen: cooking and washing dishes can make the room a comfortable location for mold. As the heat increases, the moisture levels in the room also increase. Have windows open or run some type of ventilation frequently.
  • Everywhere in the house: make sure to clean up spills or leaks within one to two days of it occurring. If those areas are not cleaned up, mold will come rushing to the new moist location.

Unless the home has an extreme case of mold where the mold has penetrated the walls, mold can be easily and quickly taken care of. With a little knowledge, money, and effort, you should be able to rid your house of the mold problems you have been experiencing!

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