Almost nothing is more unpleasant than finding a well-hidden patch of mold growing somewhere in your home. Not only are these unwelcome growths an indication of diminishing property value, but they can also make you and your family ill. Here’s the rundown on why this unpleasant growth occurs, what you can do about it and the potential consequences if you don’t take action.
Mold grows in damp and humid conditions but it can also result from a homeowner’s negligence. For example, mold can grow as a result of unfixed leaky pipes, roof leaks, or flooded basements. While homes located in warm, humid climates are more susceptible to pervasive mold growth, even structures in arid climates can develop mold if improperly cared for. If you live in an arid climate and find mold growing anywhere in your home, you are likely dealing with a mild to severe moisture problem whether or not you’re aware of its source. Because mold growth often stems from damage to your home’s plumbing system, roof damage or basement drainage issues, it’s best to contact a professional to locate the source of the moisture development. Once located, you can take the appropriate preventative measures to control future mold growth.
How to Clean It
A major mold infestation can cause extensive, sometimes irreparable, damage to your home. As such, even the most minute of growths must be dealt with immediately to avoid ongoing damage. To safely and effectively remove mold from any surface within your home, you’ll need to use a powerful disinfectant, such as a water-bleach solution or hydrogen peroxide. You’ll also need to wear a mask, gloves and protective eyewear to protect yourself from fumes and rogue mold spores. Here’s how to complete the cleaning process:
- Seal off the area in which you’ll be working to prevent mold spores from escaping. Make sure you cover air vents with plastic sheeting to prevent spores from entering your ductwork.
- Open your windows and use a fan to provide adequate ventilation while cleaning.
- Thoroughly wash mold-covered surfaces with your chosen disinfectant. Allow the product to sit for at least 10 minutes to kill existing spores.
- Scrub the area to remove existing mold and mold stains.
- Use paper towels or disposable cloths to wipe down the surface thoroughly and remove any remaining mold spores.
- Repeat the entire process to ensure you’ve killed all residual mold spores.
Once you’ve eradicated the existing mold within your home, it’s time to start thinking about preventative measures. To keep mold from developing in the future, try these tips:
- Improve ventilation throughout your home by moving furniture farther away from walls, opening closet doors and using fans, if necessary.
- If you have a basement, decrease moisture levels by installing the appropriate drains, properly insulating walls, installing a dehumidifier and using fans.
- If you are aware of any leaks in your plumbing, contact a professional to have them repaired.
- Immediately dry any wet surfaces in your home.
- Monitor your home’s humidity level. Keep relative humidity at or below 60%.
- Regularly disinfect any surfaces that you know are prone to mold development.
Negative Health Effects
Beyond its negative consequences to your home’s structure, mold can cause an array of harmful health effects. If you or your loved ones have noticed unusual symptoms that may be attributed to mold exposure, visit your doctor to determine the source of the problem. Keep in mind that mold spores can exist in the bloodstream for several years with extensive exposure. The most common health symptoms related to in-home mold growth include:
- Skin irritation, also known as allergic dermatitis
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Throat irritation
- Nasal congestion
- Asthma attacks
Keep in mind that the above-listed symptoms represent only a fraction of the possible health effects of mold exposure. Many people have reported debilitating health issues that have been traced back to mold, making it absolutely critical that you eliminate your mold problem as soon as possible.
If you notice mold anywhere in your house, do not ignore it. Not only can it quickly get out of hand, but it can also make you and your family sick. If cleaning just isn’t your forte or you simply don’t have the time, hire a professional to do the job for you. Your home and health will thank you.
If your mold situation has gotten out of control, let us take care of it for you! Give us a call today to schedule a house cleaning!