Eliminating and Cleaning Mold from Your Home
Mold and mildew cause more than unsightly stains on hard surfaces. The dark or black stains are actually caused by fungus. The fungus releases spores which enter the air and circulate through a space. Spores in the air can create serious health problems for people who suffer from allergies and other respiratory illnesses. Cleaning mold completely from your home may take some time, labor, and money but it is well worth doing. Most people do not know that mold and mildew are actually the same type of fungus. The only difference between the two terms is the way in which it is used to describe the fungus. For example, mold is usually used to refer to the fuzzy stuff that grows on food if left in your fridge for too long. Mildew is used the term used to describe the stuff on your bathroom shower curtain, tile, or grout.
How to Identify Mold
Mold grows best in areas that are warm, damp, wet, and even dark. It is important to look all over your house because damp conditions can exist even in your attic if you have a leak. Check in and around the tub, shower, sink, and toilet areas of your home. Attics and basements need checked periodically to make sure there are no leaks in either area. Mold has a musty odor that most people can easily identify. If you are unsure if a stain is related to mold, place a few drops of bleach over the area. If the stain disappears, then it is highly likely that the area is indeed affected with mold. Carpeting in areas of moisture can also become affected by mold. Check mats, rugs, and carpeting near or in the kitchen, bathroom, and entryways of your home.
In the attic, look for leaks in the roof or ceiling first. A leak in your ceiling will likely become a mold problem if left unattended for more than 24 hours. Leaky roofs are the hardest to find unless the water is seeping down to the ceilings. Basements are usually moist to begin with so you will need to check in and around your basement sink, hot water heater, and furnace. Be sure to also check in and around your washer and dryer. Check the walls in your home as well because moisture from broken or leaky piper within the walls can also create a mold problem.
How to Clean Mold
Cleaning mold and mildew will take some work on your part. Bleach is the best remedy for mold because not only does it remove the stain, it also kills the fungus. Cleaning mold, mildew, and other types of grime with bleach is dangerous if the area is not well ventilated. Use gloves, a mask, and clothing that can be ruined when cleaning with bleach. I recommend using a spray bottle and diluting the bleach a little because it will still be effective even when somewhat diluted. Mold cleanup may require more than bleach especially if the stains have been there for a long time. If you do not like to work with bleach or bleach based products you can also clean mold with other household products like baking soda and vinegar. Diluted vinegar works pretty well on new stains. A baking soda paste or mixture of baking soda with water can be used as well but you will need to scrub the area with a soft scrub brush or sponge. An old toothbrush works well for hard to reach areas.
When to Hire a Professional
I recommend hiring a professional if your mold problem is large. Homes that are left unattended for a long time can easily become consumed by mold and will need more than just a little bit of elbow grease to clean. If you suffer from allergies, it is highly recommended that you hire someone to clean black mold from your home. Black mold cleaning require that you clean the mold and completely remove the residue in order to keep it from coming back. Black mold clean up companies can be found in your local area. Most companies will use steam machines to remove the mold from your home. A hired company will also have the best mold cleaning products available that can handle a large mold problem quickly.
The market is full of mold cleaning solutions, some you can do yourself and others you should not. Always read the packaging or label of any store bought cleansers because each one has specific recommendations and uses. You should never mix bleach products with ammonia. The mixture causes a toxic reaction that is harmful to humans and animals. Use protective accessories and clothing when cleaning a large area and make sure you ventilate the area well before you allow family members and pets back in the space.
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