A musty odor, allergy symptoms, or stains on walls are telltale signs of mold somewhere. If it’s inside the walls, you will need a professional for removal and remediation.
Moisture is mold spores’ favorite habitat. The best way to keep them away is by keeping surfaces dry and addressing any leaks.
Identify the Source
Mold spores can be present in even the cleanest homes. Still, they only thrive in an ideal environment: an organic substance to grow on (such as drywall, carpet, wallpaper and wood), moisture, and steady temperatures. Inhaling these spores can cause various symptoms, including skin rash, irritated eyes, runny nose and sneezing, asthma attacks, rashes and even death in extreme cases.
While it is easy to see when mold spores are growing on surfaces, the fungi can also be hidden in cracks and crevices. Look for discolored areas that appear to be a darker color than the surrounding area. The spores may also have a fuzzy appearance and a musty smell.
When preventing mold from returning, hiring a professional for a thorough mold inspection and remediation is the best course of action. This can identify the source of the problem, whether it is a roof or foundation leak or excessive humidity. A professional can also use a moisture meter to find mold within walls and other hidden places where a homeowner might be unable to locate the growth.
However, homeowners can also prevent mold from regrowing by keeping the humidity levels in their home below 50% and running fans and dehumidifiers in areas such as bathrooms, laundry rooms and basements. Ensure that appliances that produce moisture, such as clothes dryers and stoves, are vented to the outside. Routinely wipe down high-moisture areas such as kitchen and bathroom walls, floors and ceilings.
Prevent It from Returning
Even if you’ve successfully removed the mold, it can return if you don’t take steps to prevent it from growing back. This is because mold thrives in areas that are wet and humid.
The best way to prevent mold from returning after cleaning is to prevent it from getting wet in the first place. This can be done by addressing any water leaks, especially from pipes, as soon as they happen. Damp areas should also be addressed as quickly as they appear, and dehumidifiers can help keep moisture levels low in any room prone to it.
Another thing to do is ensure that all surfaces are clean, dry, and well-ventilated. This can be done by opening windows to air out rooms that have been cleaned and regularly dusting, vacuuming, and wiping down all surfaces. Mold spores can be trapped in damp carpets, fabrics, and other materials, so removing them quickly and thoroughly is important.
You can also use a 3% concentration hydrogen peroxide solution to remove mold. This is a much less toxic option than bleach, and it can be used to clean fabric materials and car seats, among other things. When using this solution, however, you should always wear rubber gloves and a respirator mask to avoid skin irritation or inhaling dead mold spores.
If you have a large mold infestation, hire professionals for full mold removal in Staten Island. They will not only kill the mold but also prevent its return with the proper cleaning methods. Mold and mildew are susceptible to simple antimicrobial sprays. Start with this on hard surfaces, then move to a brush for porous materials like drywall. Always rinse brushes and rags after use. It is important to remember that mold causes staining, so cleaning to the original color may not be possible.
After you have scrubbed and rinsed the moldy surface, make sure to dry it completely. You can use fans to help circulate air and reduce moisture, but it is especially important to do this in areas with mold. Mold thrives in poorly ventilated places where the air is stagnant, and if it can’t get a breath of fresh air, it will not only be harder to remove but will continue to grow.
Bleach is a popular choice for mold, but it is less effective than it is often thought. It can be very harsh on the skin and may even cause lung problems in some people. A better option is a mixture of water and ammonia, which works well on most materials and is safe to use on fabric.
Remove the Infestation
To grow, mold and mildew need only two things: moisture and a food source, and there are plenty of organic materials in our homes for them to feast on. They can be found in showers and tubs, beneath leaky sinks and in rooms that have suffered water damage. They can spread quickly and destroy the home’s structure if left untreated.
Fortunately, mold and mildew are usually easy to remove with antimicrobial sprays and cleaning solutions. You can also use a bleach solution on hard surfaces and a scrub brush for porous surfaces, such as drywall. Make sure to wear protective gear like a face mask and rubber gloves. This will help you avoid contacting the bleach and breathing in its toxic fumes.
Once you have removed the mold, clean up any affected areas with a disinfectant and wipe down the surface with a damp cloth. Then dry the area and open windows to air it out.
For permanent control, fix any leaks and water problems as soon as you notice them. Keep crawl spaces and attics well-ventilated and clean, and route water away from foundations. If you’re painting, choose a paint with mildewcide to control surface mold growth in damp rooms. Also, regularly vacuum and wipe down fabric items like furniture and carpeting.