How to Remove Mold and Mildew and kill Fungi in the Home.
Mold and Mildew are most prevalent in the Hot and Humid times of the year in areas of the home where moisture builds up, is dark and is not well ventilated. Basements and under sink cabinets are common areas for house mold.
Prevent mold and mildew by keeping areas and surfaces dry and well ventilated. Mold and Mildew should not be allowed to accumulate in the home as there are health risks involve as spores multiply and become airborne. Spores enter the body by inhalation and through contact with skin, as well as swallowed. Health is affected as allergy symptoms are manifested. The most vulnerable are the elderly, infants, those with weakened immune systems.
There is usually no need to spend money on testing -although Black mold is especially toxic and poses serious health risks. To be safe, if there is any doubt, have it tested. Typically, someone in the house would be displaying symptoms before you knew there was a mold problem.
You can use your eyes and nose for detection. The presence of mold and mildew give off an earthy, musty smell . Looking at an ugly, filthy looking build-up or stain that is either cottony, velvety, or granular. Colors vary: white, brown, black, yellow, green.
How to find mold: Look for staining or growth on surfaces of building material. Look for water leaks or build-up of excess water -in the form of stains or growth. Look for condensation buildup.
Sometimes getting rid of mold requires intrusive measures requiring repair -like opening up a wall to get at the fungus growth.
Common Indoor Moisture Sources that Promote Mold and Mildew Fungi Growth
- Through basement walls & slabs
- Roof leak
- Plumbing leaks
- Sink, toilet, tub overflow
- firewood stored indoors
- Humidifier use
- Inadequate venting of kitchen or bathroom humidity
- Improper venting of a combustion appliance
- Failure to vent clothes dryer outdoors
- Line drying laundry indoors
- House plants -excessive watering
Maintaining a 60% relative humidity level in the home by use of a properly sized air conditioning unit or dehumidifier will help. A hygrometer is an instrument for measuring the water-vapor content (or, relative humidity) of the atmosphere. You will need one to properly monitor the RH level.
CAUTION: Anyone attempting mold and mildew remediation should utilize Personal Protective Equipment for their own protection, as well as the protection of others in the area. Gloves, eye goggles and a respirator rated N95 or above should be used at a minimum. The use of Tyvek coveralls is recommended to avoid contaminating personal clothing with the spores. Preventive measures should be taken to avoid, or minimize the risk of contaminating the surrounding area as material is carried out of the house. Material should be bagged before being moved through the house and taken outside. Clothing, when done, should be bagged before being brought to the laundry area and washed separately. Airborne contamination can be minimized by use of plastic sheeting hung to cordon off the area being worked on.
Porous materials with mold and mildew growing must be removed. Porous materials include the following:
- Sheetrock (drywall or gypsum board)
- Fiberglass insulation
- Carpets and pads
- Wood products (other than solid wood)
- paper products
Hard and Non-porous material can usually be cleaned:
- Hard plastic
- Solid Wood
Remove or capture as much of the mold contamination as possible. Dead spores left behind will still cause health problems. Using hot water and a non-ammonia soap or detergent, clean the surface with a stiff brush. Collect the excess water with a wet/dry vac or a sponge. Rinse thoroughly and dry ASAP. Fans set up in the area will expedite drying.
After mold treatment and area is clean and dry, kill mold using a bleach solution and a sprayer (hand sprayer or garden sprayer). Use bleach with caution. Do not mix bleach with ammonia.