How to Get Rid of Black Toxic Mold
What is Black Toxic Mold
Black Toxic Mold is basically similar to mildew, with both being a type of fungi. Fungi are not considered animal or plant, living in their own 'Camelot' of sorts. The world of fungi has some really dangerous (for humans as well as other living things) elements for sure—black toxic mold for instance. But it also includes some really great and even tasty fungi citizens;
- Edible mushrooms
Not too much to be afraid of with this list, but when it comes to Stachybotrys and Aspergillus-niger (black toxic mold) things start to take turn for the worse. Especially when we discover a colony has set up house within our own home!
A Quick Look at Mold on a Biological Level
When we look deep into the life of mold, we discover it has defined cell walls, no chlorophyll, and reproduces by spewing thousands of spores at a time into the environment. We know of about 100,000 species of fungi, leaving about 100,000 more still unknown. Any rotting organic matter is the food supply for fungi, which means we can't live without their help in recycling dead animals and plant matter.
Humidity Meter and Alarm
Quickly Test for Mold in Your Home- black mold test kit
How Do I Know If I Have a Black Mold Problem
Human Senses Spot Toxic Mold
By using our sense of smell and sight, we can initially suspect we have a mold problem. The familiar "musky" "earthy" "rich soil-like" aroma tells our genetic memory that we have run upon something from the fungi family. But if you see mold—commonly a dark, slimy, greenish-black color—in a dark moist area, you can be pretty sure you have toxic black mold.
Why is Black Mold So Toxic
Mycotoxins are the answer to why mold is toxic. Mycotoxins are a compound that mold manufactures, and this compound is quite toxic to humans and many other living things. Fungi scientists (mycologists) believe that the toxin is made specifically for doing battle with competing organisms, and we humans are not excluded from the collateral damage.
What Does Black Mold Look Like (click to see full-sized)
How to Prevent Black Toxic Mold
How Humidity Effects Mold Growth
If you can manage to prevent mold from happening to begin with, you will be miles ahead of the curve. But how do we prevent mold from growing? For mold to begin its life cycle in your home (or anywhere for that matter) it must have 4 critical and readily available elements;
4 Required Elements Needed for Mold Growth
- Spores for Mold Reproduction
- Nutrition (Food) for Mold to Eat
- Correct Temperature for Mold Growth
- Sufficient Moisture for Mold Growth
By removing any one of the four required elements, you remove the ability mold has for growth. Let's take a look at each of these elements, and discover how to do battle with this abundant organism, called mold.
High Quality Mold Screening Kit
Spores for Mold Reproduction
What is a Mold Spore
Mold spores are itsy-bitsy—3 to 40 microns, whereas a human hair measure 100 to 150 microns—that are found everywhere; literally in and on everything imaginable. No realistic way to remove them from the human environment is possible. So trying to control when, where, and how they grow is the only available approach when it comes to mold management.
Nutrition (Food) for Mold to Eat
What Does Mold Eat
Mold eats just about any organic substance found on earth (and probably beyond). Providing that the other three elements for mold growth are present, it doesn't take much food to create a big problem. Such simple food sources like human oil residue left behind by a sweaty palm, soap scum residue, or even a used tissue, can serve up just what a hungry spore needs to survive nicely. Even more difficult to contend with is the fact that what mold likes to consume most are those things that we readily find in our homes; wood, organic fibers, and the glues that hold it all together. So, getting rid of the stuff that mold prefers to eat is, at best, an impossible undertaking.
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Correct Temperature for Mold Growth
The Right Temperature For Mold Growth
Mold and humans have climate temperature in common, which only makes things more difficult for humans and more likely to excite toxic mold growth. Because we prefer the same temperature as does most mold, controlling mold by temperature revisions in the home is not going to work either. The really bad news is that mold has the ability to withstand broader ranging temperatures than we do. We find this evidence when pushing our way to the back of the refrigerator where near freezing temperatures seem to leave mold growth completely unfazed.
We also find mold resilience in places where the temperature is too hot for our long term comfort, but mold is found to thrive. Steam rooms and saunas being most notable examples of hot temperature and high humidity found to be perfect for mold spore growth, while wilting humans.
Sufficient Moisture for Mold Growth
How Much Moisture Does Mold Need to Grow
Most mold needs lots of moisture to grow. This available water is referred to as "water activity" by mycologist. It is in direct relation to the relative humidity of the air, or in an object. The majority of mold needs the water activity to be at or above 77% relative Humidity (RH). Add into this high humidity a food source like long term damp and porous cellulose-type materials, and you have an increased probability that black toxic mold will find the location, set up house, and thrive!
The Good News About Humidity and Mold
Luckily for humans, 77% humidity is pretty uncomfortable for most of us. So, this means the good news is that we have some control surrounding mold growth in our home. By keeping your home below a sustained 77% RH you will create a fairly good front line strategy for battling mold growth.
Why is Mold so Much Worse Today Than Years Ago
Title 24 and the Perfect Mold Habitat
Title 24 to the United States Code of Federal Regulations (which deals with energy conservation) changes much about the way we can legally build homes and other buildings these days. The new rules do a good job at making sure our homes are all but air-tight which makes for an improved decrease in home energy consumption. This is great for energy use concerns, but also creates a perfect low air-flow, non-breathing, moisture enhancing mold spore super nursery.
Standards or Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) for airborne concentrations of mold, or mold spores, have not been set. Currently, there are no EPA regulations or standards for airborne mold contaminants.
Outdoor Temperature to Recommended Indoor Temperature for Maximum Relative Humidity
TEMPERATURE OUTDOORS (°F)
INDOOR RELATIVE HUMIDITY
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Poorly Installed Flashing is a Huge Contributor to Mold Growth (click to see full-sized)
Tips for Getting Rid of Toxic Black Mold
These are a few recommended methods that will help get rid of mold in your home. Even though there is no real way to eliminate mold all together, these suggestions can help reduce or control how much mold growth resides within the walls of your home or building.
Basic Approach For Mold Cleanup
- Control moisture (reduce water activity).
- Repair any water leaks or moisture problems with flashing→ (metal barriers around fireplace [see photo at right], inlets to home, and throughout home construction where water or airflow requires control), walls, A/C units, and anywhere else moisture might gather.
- Keep home relative humidity between 30% and 60%.
- Vent bathrooms, laundry rooms, and other moisture rich places in the home.
- Use exhaust fans when cooking, dish washing, or cleaning.
- Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials or furnishings within 24 hours of use to prevent mold growth.
- Clean moldy surfaces with water and soap, be sure to dry them completely. Replacing porous materials that have signs of mold may be required.
- Prevent condensation from forming around windowsills, exterior walls, pipes, fireplaces, roofing, and flooring (under sinks is a primary location to monitor for this).
- Spray a 2% to 5% bleach to water solution on mold inhabited areas.
Ridding Your Home of Black Mold
If your mold problem gets out of hand, you may be best served by bringing in professional help. Reputable companies can eradicate most of the mold, and help you to better approach the unique mold problems your home may present. When it come to getting rid of toxic black mold in your life, a professional assessment can prove to be worth its weight in gold.
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