Mold is a type of fungus that grows in homes and is a nightmare of sorts. There are plenty of ways in which mold can set foot in your household. Also, there are many areas in a typical household that may serve as breeding grounds for mold. Areas like bathrooms, kitchens, and other places with moisture and humidity. If it is let to grow extensively, mold is capable of having adverse effects on your house. Though it doesn’t exactly eat up your house as termites do. Mold is also capable of causing health problems in the people who are exposed to them for an extended period of time. For these reasons, it would not be wise to let mold grow in your home. It would be best to get rid of it as quickly as possible.
So if you find mold in any part of your house, you are advised to get on removing it immediately. In case of extensive growth of mold, you are suggested to hire professional help from a reputed mold removal service. This is because only they have the professional equipment that is required for completely and effectively rooting out mold. Though if you find it in its early stages, you can remove it yourself but with a lot of precautions.
Types of mold
Mold is a type of fungus. And just like there are different types of fungi, there are different types of mold as well. In fact, there are hundreds of thousands of types of molds. They grow on different types of surfaces and environments. It is not possible to mention all the types of molds here, and neither is it necessary since not all of them grow in households. Following are the main types of mold that may grow in your house:-
Penicillium is green or blue in appearance. This type of mold requires moisture to grow. It can mostly be found on surfaces that have faced water damage. For example, on wooden surfaces such as floorboards, on walls, etc.
Aspergillus is the type of mold that feeds on dirt, dust, building materials, and other powdery substances. So it can be found on carpets and upholstery, drywall, powdered food items, etc.
Alternaria requires moist surfaces to grow. It can be found in damp places in your house. The conditions supporting the growth of this mold are found under bathroom and kitchen sinks, leaking pipes, bathroom showers, etc.
Cladosporium is a type of mold that can grow in warm as well as cold environments. It mostly tends to grow on clothes and wooden surfaces such as floorboards and window frames.
Health problems caused by mold
Molds are capable of causing health problems to those who are exposed to them for a long time. You can see these health problems as signs of the presence of mold in your house. Though it’s not necessary that they would cause these health problems in all cases. People who have healthy immune systems are unaffected by mold exposure. It’s mainly the ones who have a weak immune system, such as small children and old people, who face health problems due to mold exposure. Exposure to toxic mold or black mold might cause health effects in people who have weak immune systems. Following are the health problems that can be caused by mold:-
Mold exposure can cause allergic reactions in people who have a mold allergy. The symptoms of this condition include sneezing, wheezing, itching and rashes on the skin, reddening, and itching of eyes, etc. Exposure to mold spores also poses a risk of asthma attacks on people who have asthma in addition to mold allergy.
Aspergillosis is a serious health problem that is caused when someone with a lung problem or weak immune system inhales Aspergillus spores. There are 4 types of Aspergillosis:-
- Allergic Aspergillus sinusitis is a disease that affects the nose and might cause headaches.
- Chronic pulmonary aspergillosis causes breathing problems in people who have an existing lung problem. It might also cause weight loss.
- Aspergilloma causes coughing where the person might also cough blood. It may also cause problems in breathing to the person affected. This disease is also known as fungus ball.
- Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis affects the lungs of a person having an existing lung problem. It can also cause breathing problems for the person.
Toxic molds such as black mold release mycotoxins that can cause breathing problems in people. This causes problems in breathing to people who are allergic to them. They can also cause asthma attacks to people who have asthma and also cause irritation on the skin, nose, eyes, and throat. Again, people with healthy immune systems are not affected at all by mold spores. It is mainly the people with weak immune systems that are affected. Infants and old people are the ones that are mainly affected by molds since they have weaker immune systems.
How mold enters your house
Like all multicellular fungi, mold spread with the help of spores. And these spores are invisible to our naked eyes. Now, there are different ways in which these spores can enter your home. They are as follows:
Air is the main means of spreading mold spores. Mold spores are present indoors as well as outdoors. All they need is a suitable environment to grow. And there are plenty of suitable breeding grounds that they can find in your home. Mold spores can easily get inside your home by air through open windows, air conditioning vents, doors, etc. Even though not much can be done about this, you can still make sure that your house doesn’t offer conditions suitable for mold growth.
2.Along with people or objects
The other means for mold spores to reach inside your home is by clinging to objects or people. First, the spores reach the person by air and then they reach your house along with the person or the object. Shoes, clothing, and pets are some of the commonly available means for mold spores to reach into a typical household. Since the spores are not visible to your naked eye, you wouldn’t be able to tell whether mold spores have entered your home. But you can ensure the prevention of their growth by keeping the places prone to mold growth free from moisture and humidity.
Common Breeding grounds for mold in your house
Many areas in your house serve as more or less common breeding grounds for mold. It is important that you check these areas in order to successfully detect the presence of mold in your home. The following areas and surfaces are common breeding grounds for mold in your home:-
1.Under the sink
The moist, humid, and dark condition under your sink can be called an ideal one for mold to grow. Once mold starts growing under the sink, it will grow quite fast. It might even spread to other surfaces and objects nearby that are suitable for its growth. That would give you a hard time trying to remove it. So you need to clean this area regularly. You are advised to wipe the cabin space under your sink with a bleach solution consisting of half a cup of bleach and a gallon of water. This would be effective in preventing or removing mold from under your sink.
2.On leaking water pipes
Leaking water pipes are another common ground for the breeding of mold. The leaking water from the pipes provides a suitable condition for mold to grow. Once a mold spore sits on this surface, it will start to grow and thrive. You must prevent its growth before it reaches extensive growth. For that purpose, you are advised to get repaired any water leaks if you have one.
3.On carpets and upholstery
As we have seen, dust and dirt are food for some types of mold such as aspergillus. That makes the carpet and upholstery that you have in your home a common breeding ground for mold. If a mold spore sits by chance on a carpet that has dust gathered on it, it will find a perfect spot for growing. So in order to make sure that your carpet and upholstery don’t grow mold, you must clean them regularly.
The foam that is contained in a mattress provides a perfect breeding ground for mold. On top of that, once a mattress is infested with mold, it is quite difficult to remove it. Sleeping on a mattress infested with mold is very dangerous. It can cause asthma and other respiratory problems. Mattress mold is a big factor in causing asthma in children.
The dishes you have stored in your kitchen are also a potential breeding ground for mold. Dishes that haven’t been dried properly after washing and before storing them on the rack provide a perfect breeding condition for mold. Eating food from a moldy dish causes mold poisoning. If there is mold growth in even a single dish, it won’t take much time to spread to other dishes. So you are advised to thoroughly clean your dishes by hand and dry them properly before storing them.
Toys, especially bath toys of little children, provide a perfect condition for mold growth. So they pose a risk of mold poisoning as little children like to put their toys in their mouths sometimes. You are advised to clean the children’s toys in a solution containing half a cup of white vinegar and a gallon of water. This works to prevent mold growth on toys as well as removing mold from them.
Other than the above mentioned indoor breeding grounds for mold, there are others that also serve as potential breeding grounds. In addition to the places that have been mentioned, you can also check for mold growth between the pages of books, on exterior walls, in insulation, on ceiling tiles, potted plants, etc.
Signs that you have mold in your home
If there is the presence of mold in your home, there will be some signs. You should look for these signs to detect the presence of mold. Following are the signs that might indicate the presence of mold in your home:-
Every type of mold gives off a musty odor. You can use this as one of the signs to detect mold growth.
The presence of mold on a surface causes it to be discolored. You can very easily detect the presence of mold in your house using this sign.
There are certain symptoms that would be shown by the people in your house if they are exposed to mold. These symptoms include allergy and respiratory problems. If the condition of a person who has asthma is getting worse, it can be a sign of mold in your home.
If a certain area in your home has faced water intrusion due to floods, pipe leakages, or any other reasons, that area could become a potential breeding ground for mold. So if there is an area in your home that has faced water intrusion, you are advised to clean it within 48 hours after the water has gone away. You must dry it completely to prevent any chances of mold growth.
How to remove mold from your house
After finding the presence of mold, the next and most important task is to remove it. Every type of mold is bad for your house and must be removed completely and effectively. In case the mold growth is at its early stages, you can remove it yourself. But in case of extensive growth, you are advised to hire professional help. Also, you are advised not to remove mold yourself if you have asthma or mold allergy. You must keep in mind that molds can regrow after having been removed once. You would want to fix the mold problem once and for all. Hiring a reputed and efficient mold removal service won’t be cheap; it would be a worthy investment. You are suggested not to go for the very first mold removal service that you find. Only after considering multiple options, you must choose the one whose credentials satisfy you the most.
Based on the type of surface you’re removing mold from, you will have to follow different methods. Following are some of the surfaces and the methods you can use in their case:-
1.Hard surfaces: In the case of hard surfaces such as walls, you can use either bleach or white vinegar for mold removal. You need to apply them with cloth on a hard surface and let them sit for an hour. After that, you just need to simply rinse or scrub it with warm water.
2.Soft surfaces: Soft surfaces include carpet, curtains, etc. In the case of curtains, you can apply baking soda and let it sit overnight. In the case of curtains, you must use non-chlorine bleach and let it sit for half an hour.
3.Drywall: In the case of drywall, the task would obviously be better left up to hired professionals.
Some precautions to take while doing the task
- While removing mold, you must keep the room you’re working in well ventilated.
- Remove all items that have not been touched by the mold.
- Use disposable clothing or better a mold remediation kit. Your body must be completely covered. Use gloves, boots, and a good respirator mask.
- Don’t move fast so as to not stir up the mold spores.
- The items from which it is not possible to remove mold should be discarded. You must wrap them properly so as to prevent the escape of spores.