Mold is a type of multicellular fungus that grows in moist and mainly humid areas in your house. Though it is not one specific type of fungus. There are various types of mold. Some of them contain toxins and are harmful to the health of people with weak immune systems who come are exposed to them. Since old people and infants, in general, have weak immune systems, mold poses a serious risk to their health. Being exposed to toxic mold can cause respiratory problems in them. Even though all molds are not toxic, they are still unsightly when growing on a surface. Some types of molds are even capable of destroying whole wooden structures if they are let to grow unchecked.
Regardless of the type of mold, you must remove all of them if you find them growing anywhere in your home. It would become difficult to remove them once they have reached extensive growth. No typical household has the equipment and expertise required to deal with an extensively grown mold. You would need to hire professionals for that. In this article, we are going to have a look at some information about the types of mold, signs of mold, and more in addition to the ways of removing mold from your home.
How mold enters your home
Mold spreads with the help of mold spores. These spores are present virtually everywhere and are invisible to the eye. Mold spores enter your home either by air through open doors and windows or are brought in by people, pets, and various objects. Due to their invisibility, they are impossible to stop.
Types of mold
There is a huge number of types of molds. But not all of them grow in your home. Following are the main types of mold that may grow in your home:-
As the name suggests, black mold is black. But black mold is not just a specific type of mold. There are many types of black molds. But the one that people refer to while talking about black mold is a specific type called Stachybotrys chartarum. This type of mold contains mycotoxins and poses a health risk to people who have weak immune systems. They also cause allergic reactions in people who have mold allergies. They are capable of worsening the condition of asthmatic people. Black mold, also called toxic mold, is considered the most dangerous type of mold.
Some types of fungus called aspergillus have a yellow color. These are called yellow molds. Yellow mold is very common in households. They can be found in many areas of your home that have faced water damage. If yellow wood grows on a wooden surface, it is capable of destroying the whole wooden structure. For that reason, yellow mold is also called house-eating mold.
Like black mold, white mold is not just one type of mold. The most common types of white mold that can be found in homes are Penicillium, Cladosporium, and aspergillus. Though they can change the color later on and cause inconvenience to you in identifying the mold type. You can find white mold growth in any area of your house that offers a moist and humid environment. People often mistake white mold growing on walls to be effervescence.
Some species of aspergillus, Neurospora, and fusarium often turn red. You can find red mold on walls, on plants and soil, as well as on food. Red mold, like every other type, causes allergic reactions in people who have mold allergies. It doesn’t pose any serious health risks but is as unsightly as every type of mold.
Signs of mold in your home
If there is the presence of mold in your home, there will be some signs. These signs will help you detect mold growth in your home. Following are the signs which mean that mold may be growing in your home:-
When mold grows on a surface, it causes discoloration of that surface. This sign is probably the easiest to spot. There may be other reasons for the discoloration too. But if you can’t find any other explanation for it, you might want to inspect it for mold damage.
Another sign that you are certain to get if there is mold infestation is a musty odor. If you’ve been getting an unexplained musty odor in your house, you might want to inspect it for mold growth.
In case there is toxic mold growing in your house, you might notice the following health problems in the people in the house:-
- Allergic reactions: Exposure to toxic mold can cause allergic reactions in people who have mold allergies. The symptoms include sneezing, runny or blocked nose, skin irritation. If any person having mold allergy starts showing these symptoms inexplicably, you must want to inspect your house for mold growth.
- Respiratory problems: Exposure to toxic mold can cause respiratory problems in people with weak immune systems. It can also worsen the condition of asthmatic people. So if someone in your household starts experiencing these problems inexplicably, you might want to inspect your house for mold growth.
Where to look for mold in your home
There are many areas in your house that provide suitable conditions for mold to grow. Once a mold spore enters your house, it can find plenty of suitable breeding grounds. The following are the most common breeding grounds for mold in your house:-
The walls of your house are easily some of the most common breeding grounds for mold. The mold growth on the walls is also perhaps the easiest to spot. Water damage and leaky pipes running through the walls are the main causes of moisture. That in turn causes mold growth on their surfaces or inside them. Mold growth inside a wall can be removed only by professional help.
Plumbing leaks offer plenty of moisture to support mold growth. In fact, mold spores can grow quickly in such an environment. So if there is a plumbing leak in your house, you must inspect it for mold growth. Also, you are advised to get it fixed as soon as possible. As long as you keep it untreated, there will always be a risk of mold infestation on it. You must also ask for professional help if needed.
3.Under the sink
The level of moisture, humidity, and darkness under your kitchen sink offers a perfect breeding ground for mold spores.
Mold spores can find suitable breeding grounds even in mattresses. The foam that is used in all mattresses offers a perfect condition for mold to grow. If the mold growth reaches beyond the surface of a mattress, you might have to discard it. Since toxic mold growth in mattresses poses a very serious health risk, you must inspect your mattress for mold infestation.
How to abate mold from your home
For effective mold remediation, you need to be equipped properly for the job. Following are the equipment you would require for mold remediation:-
- An N-95 respirator
- Safety glasses
- Rubber gloves
- Utility knife
- A window fan
- Scrub brush
- Drywall saw
- A vacuum cleaner
You must have the following materials ready for the purpose of mold removal:-
- An oil-based primer
- A painter’s tape
- Heavy-duty cleaner
- Plastic sheeting
- 6mm plastic garbage bags
The process of mold remediation
- The first thing you must do during the mold removal process is to take all the items that haven’t been touched by mold growth out of the room. In case there is a carpet that is infested with mold, you are suggested to cut it up and put it in the plastic garbage bags and duct-tape them.
- The next step in the mold removal process would be to seal off the affected room. You must completely seal off the room affected by mold from the rest of the house that is unaffected. You must cover any air ducts or air vents that the room has with plastic sheets and tapes. You must also use the plastic sheet to cover the doorway to the room. This is to ensure that the mold spores that get disturbed don’t get to escape the room. Otherwise, there is a chance that they may find another breeding ground in your home and start growing again.
- After having sealed off the room, you may start with the actual remediation process. You must probe water-damaged swollen walls with a screwdriver in order to look for mold hidden in the framing and insulation. There is a chance that water-damaged walls will have mold since they offer moisture and humidity for mold growth. Also, you are advised to get your water damage repaired as soon as possible to make sure that there is no chance of the mold growing again. They often regrow when they find a favorable condition to do that. You must also pry off the trim and baseboards from the areas that are affected by mold growth.
- If the drywall has mole damage, you must cut it further than the damaged area. This is to ensure that you find all the mold that is present there. That would help you to get rid of mold completely and effectively.
- After finding all the mold, you must then gather all the mold-infested materials and put them in the garbage bags. You must remember to moisten them up in order to stop the mold spores from escaping. In case you find rots due to water damage in the wall, you need to take out the affected studs and sheathing of the wall. You might find it difficult to remove at some part. In such cases, you are suggested to clean them up and let them dry properly. After that, you must treat it with wood preservatives and then combine the rotted parts with pressure-treated wood. Pressure-treated wood is more resistant to the elements than untreated ones. So this will prevent further rots for a very long period of time.
- After the removal of the moldy material and packing them up in garbage bags, it’s time to clean up the room. Use the vacuum cleaner to clean up all the debris. You must also remember to clean the tank, hose, and attachments of the washing machine after disposing of the debris.
- After you have cleaned up the debris from the room, you must then get on to scrubbing the moldy surfaces. You must do this task specifically with the help of half a cup of bleach and a quart of water. Bleach is effective in killing off the mold. So this solution helps you to remove mold stains as well as kill the remaining mold on the walls. If the mold hasn’t completely disappeared, you can use the soft brush on the surface until there is no sign of mold left. Meanwhile, the bleach would penetrate the surface and kill the mold, if any, present in the inner part. After letting the bleach dry, you must wipe the surface. The proper thing to do with the trim after cleaning with the bleach solution would be to keep it under direct sunlight.
- The next would be to dry the cleaned and repaired areas properly with the help of new fans and dehumidifiers. You might wait for at least three days for this process while keeping the room sealed. After that, you must inspect the room for any remaining signs of mold. If you find some signs of mold still there, you must clean the surface with bleach again. And if you don’t find any traces of mold, you can safely prime the wood surfaces with an oil-based primer. Also, you are advised to use a paint that contains a mildewcide to repaint the walls that have been cleared of mold. This would ensure that there is no further growth of mold in the future. As for the insulation and the drywall, you must install new ones. The trim can be nailed back once ready.