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.