INDOOR MOLD – THE BASICS

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014 - Post by Betsy Pond

Whether you know it or not, all homes have mold.  Its presence is not always immediately known, but it is there and needs to be taken seriously.  It can affect your family’s health, as well as damage your home.  Here’s an overview:

Mold loves dampness:  bathrooms, basements, kitchens, attics, and even places where you may least expect it.  Mold can be found where water has damaged building materials and furniture caused by flooding or plumbing leaks.  It can also be found growing along walls where warm moist air condenses on cooler walls.  Check storage places  where articles have been against walls.  Kitchens, baths, laundry rooms, basements and rooms that have high water usage are mold’s best friends.   Wherever it is, don’t ignore it.  Identify, attack and kill.

When you attack mold, you are stirring up its spores that may become airborne so you need to approach clean up carefully.  If the area is small, you could probably clean it yourself.  Larger areas, however, should probably be handled by a professional.  Before any clean up begins, make sure you have identified and fixed any sources of leaks in your home.  If you are going to tackle this task on your own, use the following guidelines:

It would be wise for you to protect yourself by using goggles, gloves and a breathing mask.  First try to seal off areas to be treated from the rest of your home and cover heat registers, ventilation ducts and grills.  Open windows before you begin the clean up.  Move any furniture to a neutral area, and bag up all moldy materials for disposal.

Scrub all affected hard surfaces with a mild detergent and warm water.  Next make a solution of ¼ cup of bleach to one quart of water.  Apply, wait 20 minutes and repeat the procedure.  The final step is to apply a borate based detergent, and do not rinse it off.  Hopefully this will prevent mold from growing again.

Finish by cleaning up the entire area and washing anything exposed to mold, including clothes and other washable items.  If the cleaning job was effective,, you should not be able to notice any odor.  Do continue to check for any new mold growth.   Pay particular attention to health issues of your family to make sure the environment is safe.  Red flags are excessive colds and/or allergies that linger; itchy eyes or skin rashes.

Maintaining the right level of humidity inside your home is king.  The humidity level should be between 40 and 60%.  Use a dehumidifier and air conditioning during humid month, and be sure your home has adequate ventilation and exhaust fans.

 

 




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