How can you tell if your home has mold, and what should you do if it does?
Mold comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. It may be growing in your house without you even noticing.
If you experienced flooding this summer, be sure you don’t have any lingering moisture within your walls or basement floor. Here are some ways to check for the mold that may not be so apparent.
Mold or Signs of Growth
If mold is visibly growing in your home, it will be easy to recognize in most stages. It can be green, black, white or yellow. Watch for signs of mold around any areas that gather moisture, such as bathrooms, kitchen sinks, or outdoor faucets.
In its beginning stages, the mold may look like black dirt, in which case you’ll need to rely on some other signs.
Mold has a musty odor that is distinct and strong.
Have wallpaper? If you can’t see mold in your house but think you smell it, mold could be growing behind your wallpaper. If it is peeling, bubbling or cracking, or the wallpaper feels damp, those are signs of mold growth. If the walls are wet, there is a good chance mold has at least started its growth.
Allergies or Toxic Symptoms
If you are allergic to mold, your sneezing might be the first thing to alert you of its presence in your house or apartment. Toxic mold such as black mold can cause more severe symptoms, even if you do not suffer from allergies. In extreme cases, you might experience neurological symptoms such as dizziness or headaches.
How to Handle Mold
There are things you should and shouldn’t do when dealing with mold in your home. The best course of action may be to call a professional for mold remediation services. However, if you decide to handle the project on your own, here are some do’s and don’ts from INTEK and the EPA.
- Fix plumbing leaks and other water problems immediately to prevent further growth.
- Dry any condensation or moisture you see collecting on windows, walls or pipes.
- Use de-humidifiers to dry areas affected by mold.
- Scrub any visible mold off hard surfaces with detergent and water and dry the area completely.
- Keep indoor humidity low by using a de-humidifier. Get your indoor humidity down to 30-50 percent.
- Vent appliances that produce moisture, such as clothes dryers, stoves, and dishwashers.
- Increase air circulation by opening doors and windows.
- Have the mold tested to figure out what you are dealing with. In the case of toxic mold, you’ll want to hire a professional for mold remediation.
- Attempt mold remediation yourself unless you know what you are doing. There is plenty of literature available on proper remediation. Or hire a professional like INTEK for mold remediation.
- Clean mold without gloves. Mold can be toxic and should not be handled with bare hands.
- Attempt remediation without ventilation. Breathing in the mold can cause health problems. If you must clean in an area with poor ventilation, wear a mask.
- Spread the mold. Carelessness with cleaning cloths or scrub brushes could leave you with more than one mold problem.
Safe Ways to Clean Mold
Household cleaners can effectively eliminate mold, but you might feel better about yourself and the environment if you opt for some of these more eco-friendly options. When cleaning, be sure to use gloves and get a solid scrub brush.
- Vinegar — Acidic in nature, vinegar effectively removes mold, grease, soap scum and grime without harsh chemicals.
- Lemon Juice — Natural lemon juice rids you of mildew, mold, and grease, and can shine hard surfaces while also working as a pleasant air freshener.
- Olive Oil — Olive oil is a healthy cooking oil that can also be used to clean and polish areas once you have removed mold.
INTEK uses biodegradable products for the safety of you, your family, and our technicians and can be reached at just a moment’s notice for all mold remediation in Sioux Falls and Yankton.
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