Removing Mold And Mildew In Your Home
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) website, molds are a part of our natural environment - but that doesn't mean we want them to run amuck in our homes. The types of mold that cause damage in homes can also cause infection, allergies, skin irritation, headaches and asthma.
What Is Mold?
Mold is a word that people throw around often times without really understanding what it is. It sounds downright disgusting, and to be sure it isn't pleasant, but it is a rather simple thing.
- Outside, mold is a part of nature's order, consuming dead plant matter, but inside mold is not so useful and should not be allowed to grow.
- Mold only needs one thing to grow and prosper: moisture.
Mold requires water, oxygen and moisture to grow, which is common enough in our daily lives, so it's easy to see why it's a fairly common problem many deal with in their home and offices. Moisture is caused by rainstorms and humidity which are common around the country, as are the woods and fabrics that hold its nutrients.
Don't think because you have mold it means you are dirty or not clean, it's just that molds require common items to thrive. You've got to be vigilant to keep it at bay, and with a few steps you can do just that. It's important to test for mold even when you can't see it, because it can grow in places you can't readily see, and effect your home or business.
How To Prevent Mold And Mildew
Mold becomes a problem indoors when the right conditions meet with the right mold, so the EPA recommends taking the following steps to prevent mold in your home or office.
- The first place to start in mold prevention is avoiding conditions that make mold grow: keep moisture out. Make sure you clean and dry your home and places where mold are likely to grow, including bathrooms and kitchens.
- Fix plumbing leaks and any water problems immediately. Since mold likes water, you don't want to give it an easy environment in which to grow. Make sure you dry everything well.
- When you find mold on hard surfaces scrub the mold with detergent and water. And, as always, make sure you dry it well.
- Bathrooms tend to be a common place for mold to show up, so if you see it in the shower or on the tiles, make a note to ventilate the bathroom better. Open a window or, if needed, put in a running fan. Cleaning the room more often will help keep mold away, too.
- Test your home for mold. There are a number of test kits you can do yourself, or if you suspect a more serious problem, you can call a mold specialist. They charge roughly $150-$600 dollars.
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Removing Mold And Mildew
You should be able to get rid of mold yourself if the area isn't very large, otherwise do seek professional help. Remember that you can't get rid of all mold because some is natural and will exist in a home. Here are some guidelines recommended by the EPA to help you rid your home of mold.
- Chemicals that remove mold include: bleach, borax, vinegar, ammonia, hydrogen peroxide and baking soda.
- Before you begin mold clean-up, make sure you are wearing the proper gear.
- You will want to wear long gloves that extend up the arm, and make sure the material they are made out of can withstand the cleaning products you use.
- You should also wear goggles without ventilation holes so you don't get it in your eyes.
- Since you don't want to breathe in mold, the EPA suggests an N-95 respirator. You can check with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for their guidelines.
- If you have mold in rugs, the ceiling or tiles (anything absorbent or porous,) you might have to throw it way. Since mold grows and can get into crevices it might be impossible to remove it completely from the material.
- Don't paint or caulk moldy surfaces. Clean up the mold and dry the area first before you do work.
- If you are unsure of how to clean an item, get professional help.
- If you have a leaking faucet, pipe or roof that is supplying the water that grew the mold, get it fixed immediately.
Mold is a naturally occurring substance,but with awareness and persistence to keep moisture out of your home, you can reduce the chances of having mold in your home.