Mold grows all around us, from the sides of our houses to inside sink drains and on kitchen sponges. While the CDC reports that cases of “toxic mold syndrome” or otherwise becoming ill is more rare than we are often led to believe, it is still in your best interest to remove molds whenever you see them. This is particularly true if you suffer from allergies or asthma, both of which may become irritated or triggered by the presence of mold.
What is Black Mold?
Perhaps the mold with the worst reputation is black mold, or Stachybotrys chartarum. Though it is not technically toxic, black mold is toxigenic. This means it is capable of producing myctoxims, or toxic compounds. The good news is that black mold is uncommon in households because it requires a constant source of moisture in order to survive. Therefore, if you develop black mold, it means you probably have other issues that need to be addressed, such as a serious roof leak or a broken pipe. Of course, these issues can also lead to other problems, such as wood rot or termites, which means you should have addressed them long before black mold developed.
How Can I Prevent Mold?
To prevent mold, you should keep in mind that all types of molds needs three things to survive: moisture, a surface on which to grow and a food source. Therefore, the easiest way to prevent mold from growing on your surfaces is to prevent your surfaces from becoming moist. To do this, keep your house clean and dry with proper ventilation. This is particularly important in the bathroom where water does have a tendency to collect on certain surfaces, particularly on shower curtains and tile grout.
If your bathroom seems to be otherwise clean and dry but you are still noticing gnats or a damp odor, your issue may be within your sink drain. Period cleaning of your drain to prevent clogs will help to address this issue.
How Can I Remove Mold?
To remove mold, the CDC recommends using a solution of no more than one cup of beach to one gallon of water. To clean the mold off of exterior surfaces, such as your siding, simply use the solution with a pressure washer after ensuring everything is properly sealed. Be sure to always wear a mask and rubber gloves when removing mold and when cleaning with bleach.
When clearing mold away from indoor surfaces, make sure the space is well-ventilated by opening windows or using a fan if necessary. If you discover mold on soft and porous surfaces, such as drywall, furniture or carpeting, it is best to dispose of the material that has been affected. This will help to prevent the further spreading of the mold.
If your home has experienced flood damage, you may develop a more serious mold infestation that should be handled by a professional. This is not just due to the potential of mold, but because flood-damaged homes are also frequently contaminated by chemicals and human waste, both of which can have seriously negative health effects.