What To Do When You Find Mold During Spring Cleaning

Posted Wednesday, April 25th, 2018

found mold during spring cleaning removal

Across Michigan, the weather’s getting warmer. And you know what that means: Spring cleaning is in full swing! Getting rid of a winter’s worth of dirt and grime helps us welcome spring with open arms, but there’s always a chance you could discover something sinister that’s been growing all season: Mold! Underneath a floor mat, behind your bathroom drywall, inside your eaves, around uninsulated ductwork – mold can grow anywhere where there’s moisture and reduced air flow, which means it’s often well out of sight. But don’t panic! Here’s what to do when you find mold during spring cleaning.

Don’t Ignore It

If you suspect a dark/discolored spot could be mold, deal with it right away. Mold has a tendency to multiply rapidly when conditions are right, turning a small spot into a much larger problem. The last thing you want is for a tiny growth to take over your entire room!

Whenever you deal with mold, it’s important to wear proper mold protective gear. Gloves and a mask at the bare minimum! Also, if you or anyone in your home is allergic or reacts negatively to mold, call a professional rather than deal with it yourself.

Test It

There are lots of different types of mold, some of which look a lot like standard dirt or soiling. On porous surfaces especially, it’s important to know if what you’re dealing with is mold, mildew, or just dirt.

Mold vs Mildew

While they share many of the same characteristics (like to grow in dark and moist areas, comes back after cleaning, both are types of fungi), it’s possible to tell the difference between mold and mildew. According to mold-advisor.com, mold is “usually fuzzy in appearance”, while mildew “may appear powdery or downy.” Both can cause damage to your home, and both can adversely affect your family’s health, so it’s best to remove both when you see it.

To determine on your own if a dark spot is mold, there are many different types of test kits available. Make sure to carefully follow all directions to get the most accurate results.  

However, it’s always advised that you get a professional evaluation whenever you suspect mold is growing in your home.

Remove It

There are two options when you find mold during spring cleaning: DIY, or have a professional remove it. Each option has its advantages:

DIY

If the spot is relatively small and you know exactly what you’re doing, you might be able to tackle it yourself. You may have tried to clean the spot with standard cleaners, and if it’s mold, it has grown back. Soap and regular cleaning products don’t adequately deal with the spores that mold produces, leading to the growths reappearing – no matter how hard you scrub. That’s why using the correct mold-killing product is essential. Here’s how to use the three most popular mold-killing products. Please note that these products will only kill the mold they come in contact with, so use them only on non-porous surfaces. If you have mold on porous surfaces, like drywall, contact a professional mold remediator!  

How to kill mold with Bleach: Mix 1 part bleach with 10 parts water and apply the solution to the mold growth using a spray bottle or washcloth. Let dry, repeat as necessary.

How to kill mold with Vinegar: Take undiluted vinegar and apply it to the mold growth using a spray bottle or washcloth. Let it sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour, then rinse with water. (The vinegar smell will dissipate quickly with adequate air flow)
How to kill mold with Borax: Using a HEPA filtered vacuum, vacuum up the loose mold and mold spores. Mix 2 parts borax with 5 parts water and scrub the mold growth with the solution. Let dry, repeat as necessary.

Hiring a Professional Mold Remediator

It’s always advised that you hire a professional mold remediation company whenever you encounter mold in your home. An professional will be able to accurately determine the extent of the mold problem and offer you expert evaluation on what it will take to completely remove the mold growth. Another benefit is that a seasoned professional will know what steps to take to prevent the mold growth from coming back, including spore containment and air purification, so that you don’t have to keep dealing with the same problem. For your own peace of mind, hire a professional at the first sign of mold!

Prevent It

Killing the existing mold found during spring cleaning is only the first step in having a mold-free home; you also want to prevent mold from growing in the future, so that you’re not dealing with the exact same issue next spring!

There’s a reason you found mold growing where you did, and if you don’t limit the factors that contributed to the growth, guess what? It’s going to come back, and you’ll be starting from square one all over again! Nobody wants that!

When considering the mold found while you were spring cleaning, keep in mind the three factors that mold needs to thrive:

  1. Oxygen
  2. Organic Material
  3. Moisture

Since Oxygen is everywhere in your home, the last two are the factors you want to focus on. Mold uses Organic Material as a food source, drawing energy from plants, animals, droppings, old food, you name it. Limiting Organic Material is as simple as keeping the area clean, although this may be more difficult in hard-to-reach areas.

That’s why controlling Moisture is so important. If you can keep an area dry, it’s much, much less likely that mold will be able to grow and proliferate. Locating the source of the unwanted moisture will go a long way toward preventing your mold problem from coming back next spring: check your flashing and plug any holes, look for leaks in your plumbing, run a dehumidifier in the basement, and make sure your bathrooms are properly ventilated.

Air flow is key, especially for naturally humid areas of your home (like bathrooms and basements). With melting snow and increased rainfall, spring time is the worst time for unwanted moisture and humidity!

With these tips in mind, clean your home without fear! If you find mold during spring cleaning, you’ll be confident that you will know the best way to get rid of the unwanted intruders, and who to call if things look too complicated. While it’s always best to call a professional, you’ll know what to do when you encounter mold with this guide and other resources available on this site. Happy Spring Cleaning!

Do you have questions about possible mold in your home? Call the experts with 45+ years of Michigan mold remediation experience! Modernistic is here for you and your mold growth problems.


3 Disgusting Facts About Mold

Posted Friday, April 20th, 2018

facts about mold remediation

Untreated water damage in your home is dangerous for a lot of reasons, but one of the more repulsive risks comes from what grows in a water-damaged environment: Mold. Green, brown, black, slimy, grimy, nasty mold. Don’t think mold is a big deal? Here are just a few disgusting facts about mold that will convince you otherwise. Mold can…

…begin growing in as little as 24 hours!

There are only 3 things that mold requires to start growing: moisture, oxygen, and organic material. Left untreated, standing water can quickly become a breeding ground for mold spores. In as little as 24 hours, mold will form under these ideal conditions.

What you can do: Basements, bathrooms, kitchens, and other rooms with plumbing and/or high moisture are particularly susceptible to mold growth, so be especially vigilant in these areas! If you see any dampness, moisture, or water in or around porous materials (like drywall), take care of it (or call a professional) as soon as humanly possible.

…be dangerous to your health!

While some strains of mold are completely harmless, you definitely don’t want Aspergillus or Stachybotrys (Black Mold) proliferating in your home! These are only 2 of the thousands of strains of mold that cause adverse health effects; they’re just the most common. Besides looking gross, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) found that these varieties of mold have been known to cause upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, wheezing, and increased risk of asthma and asthma-related symptoms. And that doesn’t even touch on people who are allergic to mold spores! Severe reactions can range from fever and shortness of breath to mold infections in the lungs. Not fun!  

What you can do: Reduce your risk of mold formation by removing water and drying flooded areas as soon as possible. Bacteria exist on a microbial level, so it can hide anywhere: beneath carpet, under baseboards, in drywall, between strips of moulding – anywhere water, organic material, and oxygen all reside. That’s why it’s critical to make sure every square inch of the affected area is dried as thoroughly and quickly as possible!   

…number in the trillions!

Mold spores are microscopic and cannot be seen with the naked eye. A mold colony can produce trillions of these spores, and they all spell bad news. Once a colony starts producing spores, the slightest disturbance sends these tiny “seeds” airborne, spreading them throughout an area. Think the cow in “Twister”, except there’s a few hundred million more flying around.

What you can do: Unless you have had extensive mold removal training, call a professional. A certified mold remediation specialist will take the necessary precautions to ensure the mold doesn’t spread and make the growth problem worse. Containment is the name of the game!

Bottom line, what you don’t know about mold can hurt you, especially if you try to clean it up yourself. It’s not advisable to DIY; let the mold remediation experts save your home, your health, and your sanity!


Why Customer Delight Matters

Posted Wednesday, January 10th, 2018

Customer Delight

In our 40+ years of serving Michigan’s cleaning and restoration needs, we’ve learned a few things about customer satisfaction; namely, you’ll never go out of business if people love your service! That’s why one of Modernistic’s core values is Customer Delight. We want to do whatever it takes to make our customers happy, and that extends to all our mitigation and reconstruction services.   

Info When You Need It

When it comes to customer satisfaction, effective communication is key. Losses can be extremely stressful on a homeowner, and the last thing they need to worry about is if their contractor and their insurance company are on the same page. That’s why we go the extra mile and provide regular updates to not only the customer, but to the agent in charge as well. That way, everyone’s informed and up to date with the progress of the claim. Our goal is to make sure nobody’s left out of the loop!

One Point of Contact

Another way we help facilitate good communication is with dedicated claims coordinators. Have you ever tried to find out the status of a project and had no idea who would have the information you need or how to contact them? Very frustrating. That’s not Customer Delight! That’s why Modernistic assigns a claims coordinator on each claim to act as a point of contact for homeowners, agents, and everyone in between. That way, specific, up-to-date project info is only a phone call or email away! No waiting for a receptionist to relay a message, or getting lost in phone menus; just one call or email to the assigned claims coordinator puts you in touch with the person that has the info you need.  

One Goal

Everything we do here at Modernistic is focused on one thing: Providing service that makes our customers, clients, co-workers, vendors, and everyone else we do business with go “Wow!”. If that falls in line with your business’s goals, let’s have a conversation. Contact your local Modernistic office today!


Do You Know How to Identify Black Mold in Your Home?

Posted Friday, November 11th, 2016

Is the Mold in My Home Harmless or Toxic?

Mold loves moisture and will grow wherever it is found. It quickly spreads in nooks and crannies in the bathroom, behind pipes in the kitchen, in basements, furniture and even your HVAC system. As most allergy sufferers know, many common molds can irritate allergies or cause other respiratory problems, including fungal infections in the lungs of elderly and other immunocompromised people. This makes it extremely dangerous for anyone living in a mold-infected home. Knowing how to identify black mold in your home—and prevent it from forming in the first place—is a key for any homeowner.

What is Black Mold?

Black mold is a fungus which produces mycotoxins that can be quite dangerous to humans. Though there’s insufficient evidence to conclusively link black mold to rare health complications, like acute idiopathic pulmonary hemorrhage in infants, the CDC recommends preventing and removing black mold where you can. Since it can be expensive to remove mold once it’s colonized a large area, here are a few tips for identifying and avoiding black mold in your home.

Keep Your Home Consistently Dry

Mold quickly dies without water, so keep every space in your home at around 50% humidity. A good dehumidifier, regularly emptied, will often adequately dry damp spaces. Air conditioning will also help, particularly in warm humid climates. Be sure to run your home ventilation fans appropriately, so that the bathroom and kitchen stay as dry as possible when you shower or cook. If you notice a leaking pipe or appliance deal with it as soon as possible. Every drip creates a more hospitable environment for the mold spores that are constantly floating in the air.

Use Your Nose to Sniff Out the Source

Smelling something musty? Try to track it down to the source. You may know of a likely spot based on previous water damage, but if not, let your nose guide you. Does a certain area of the carpet, section of the wall, or piece of upholstery, seem particularly malodorous? It could be hiding a mold colony.

Spot the Mold (If You Can)

Sometimes mold grows behind walls or in fabric, making it hard to see. However, once you find the origin of the moldy smell, it’s possible you might notice visible mold. Mold comes in many colors: yellow, pink, orange, black, white, and green. Black mold is dark, as the name suggests, growing in a particular shade of blackish green. Other molds are also dark so the color alone is not enough to confirm that you do have black mold living in your home. Still, if you see patches of a black colored mold, you should take further steps immediately.

Test the Mold

The CDC has partnered with two biotech companies to sell revolutionary testing kits that rapidly detect several strains of mold. An affordable kit from either Advnt Biotechnologies or Alexeter Technologies comes with a user-friendly test strip, that should allow you to rapidly test your home for a variety of molds.  This can help you identify visible mold, or detect molds that hiding behind walls or in carpets and upholstery.

Eliminate Mold Colonies

There are a variety of home solutions for removing mold from various surfaces. Some tile and grout cleaners are specifically formulated to attack the mold growing on hard surfaces in your bathroom. A homemade bleach solution will usually kill mold on any hard surface. Mix a cup of bleach with a gallon of water, then wipe or spray over the moldy area. Allow it to sit, then clean it off thoroughly with rag or scrub brush.

Call for the Experts

If you smell mold in carpet or upholstery, professional cleaning is your best choice. Only professional cleaning equipment can penetrate deeply into fibers and padding, delivering a targeted amount of cleaning solution, and removing mold. Leather should also be cleaned professionally. With any delay, the problem will only get worse with time, potentially ruining your furniture and carpets.

When your mold problem has gotten out of hand, Modernistic is here to help. Our certified technicians offer a full list of services, including:

  • Professional evaluation
  • Air sampling and testing
  • Containment of the affected area
  • Growth removal and treatment of all affected areas
  • Disposal of affected materials
  • Re-testing of air samples

We can tackle the most resistant strains of mold, even when the growth is extensive. Don’t let mold destroy your belongings, your home and your health. Contact Modernistic today!

Serving Lansing, Michigan for 40 years.