The Definitive Guide to Mold Removal
Table of Contents
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How Mold Exposure Can Affect Your Health
Mold, a type of fungus, is present everywhere in the atmosphere. Typically, our air carries tiny spores of mold, but that is not hazardous for people with a healthy immune system. However, exposure to black mold is dangerous as it can aggravate respiratory problems in asthmatic people.
However, there is no scientific evidence that black mold exposure can cause impaired memory, fatigue, and headaches. Nor is there any indication that mold can lead to pulmonary hemorrhage or autoimmune disease in infants.
Some kinds of mold can even cause infections in people with weakened autoimmune system. Such infection can affect the lungs, eyes, and skin. Therefore, those with kids often search for mold removal companies, as younger people have weak autoimmune.
What Parts of Your House is Vulnerable to Mold Exposure?
Mold is one of the most inevitable and unavoidable problems that homeowners suffer from. Although quite prevalent, mold removal requires professional services.
According to the air cleaning specialist, AerIndustries, eliminating and controlling mold through DIY treatments is not possible. You may be able to clean the surface, but it usually penetrates deeper inside the surface. Thus hiring professionals is highly recommended.
9 Most Common Molds You Can Find in a House
Mold virtually grows everywhere and can be potentially hazardous for your health. The exact number of mold species isn’t known, but estimates vary between tens to hundreds. Each mold type has specific characteristics, growth patterns, and health effects.
We can classify mold into three different categories, including:
Allergenic: These mold types cause allergic reactions, such as respiratory problems and skin rash.
Pathogenic: They can cause infections and illnesses among people with compromised autoimmune system.
Toxigenic: Molds that dissipate toxic chemicals and gases that lead to severe health complications are toxigenic.
Here, we discuss nine common types of mold that you can find in your home:
- Acremonium: They are the toxigenic mold type that changes its form over time. It grows as a small damp mold but quickly becomes dry and powdery. They are often pink, grey, orange, and white and grow in areas such as HVAC systems, humidifiers, coils and drain pans. They pose a significant threat to human health and cause diseases related to bone marrow, autoimmune system, and other organs. It is marked as a carcinogen and can even impair brain functions.
- Alternaria: It is the most common allergenic mold type known for its velvety texture and dark green or brown hair. Like many other mold types, alternia also grows in damp areas, such as bathtubs, showers, and leaked sinks. Water damage buildings and homes suffer greatly from these mold types. An allergenic fungal, alternia can cause asthma-like symptoms in people who have asthma. It is highly necessary to remediate this mold type since it spreads quickly onto surfaces and leading to long-term damages.
- Aspergillus: It is the most common household mold in America with 185 different species. These molds appear in different colors, but they all grow out from long, flask-shaped spores. Typically, aspergillus appears in long chains of mold marks transferring on various surfaces. Originally, aspergillus is an allergenic type of mold. However, it can become toxic depending on the surface it grows on and the environment it thrives in. As an allergen, it causes respiratory problems, lung infections, and asthma, whereas as a toxin, it emits harmful carcinogens.
- Aureobasidium: It is the second most popular allergen mold that grows on walls and wooden surfaces. Usually, it appears in pink or light brown but darkens over time. It causes skin problems and affects eyes and nails as well. Since aurebasidium can cause a skin rash, thus it cannot be touched directly with bare skin.
- Chaetomium: This kind of mold grows on water-damaged surfaces, including your home. It has a cotton-like texture and appears in white. As the mold ages, it changes color from white to brown and ultimately black. The most common places where chaetomium can grow are leaky roofs, basements, and basins. The mold is easy to recognize due to its musty odor.
- Cladosporium: It is another widespread allergenic mold type, known for its unique characteristics. The mold can grow in both hot and cold conditions, thriving mostly in fabrics and wood. You can find them in upholsteries, carpets, floorboards, and cabinets.It can irritate the eyes, nose, respiratory tract, and skin. Although it is not toxic, you should not handle Cladosporium directly as it can cause asthma, lung infection, and sinus.
- Fusarium: This mold type can only survive in colder regions with allergenic and toxigenic properties. Typically, you find them in carpet, wallpaper, paper-based material, food products, and compost. It appears in pink, white, or reddish patches that spread quickly over the surfaces.You may experience skin infection and general allergic symptoms such as sore throat, runny nose, and itchy eyes. Prolonged exposure can lead to life-threatening conditions, including bone infections and brain abscess, which causes internal bleeding and brain hemorrhage.
- Mucor: It is an allergenic mold form commonly found in thick patched around the HVAC systems. It is often in grey or white color and formed due to condensation. However, the spores spread quickly, and you can find them on old carpets and rugs. However, it is quite a common mold type, but it can lead to several health complications, including respiratory issues, flu-like symptoms, fever, and malaise. If exposed for longer durations, this mold type can also lead to mucormycosis, an illness that damages lung, sinuses, and brain.
- Penicillin: It is an easily recognizable mold due to its appearance. This velvety bluish-green mold thrives in water-damaged areas. However, it grows on fabric or paper-based surfaces, including carpets, wallpapers, mattresses, and ducts. Though highly beneficial for manufacturing processed food and antibiotics, exposure to penicillin can lead to severe breathing problems, pulmonary inflammation, and asthma. It is an airborne mold type thus can travel throughout the home or building.
If you find any of these mold times in your home, contact a professional mold removal and remediation company like ours. We have a team of experienced mold cleaners equipped with proper gear and gadgets necessary for treating all kinds of molds.
What Tools and Materials You Need to Remove Molds?
Mold is a severe health hazard that can damage your home and health. Typically, mold removal and remediation require professional help due to the complication of the process, but many homeowners opt for skilled DIY treatments.
This guide will help identify the required tools and safety gears used during the mold removal process. You can find most of the materials at any hardware or home improvement stores; you can even order them online.
Protective Gear: Before you start cleaning, mold using DIY kits, it is quite necessary to cover up yourself. This will protect you from developing any kind of allergies, skin rashes, or other health problems.
Disposable GlovesThey are available in different materials, including latex, vinyl, and nitrile. However, the size of the glove is much greater when it comes to protection against mold. Spores can easily come in contact with your skin if you are wearing the wrong size. However, don’t touch your face, mouth, or nose when cleaning mold, increasing the chances of inhaling the spores.
FacemasksIt is highly important to cover your face when cleaning mold, but you can’t wear any type of facemask. Air-purifying respirators, such as N95 or P-100, are ideal since they filter out the mold particles. You can easily find them online.
Safety GogglesThey keep your eyes protected against mold spores and other forms of debris. Cutting out drywall and scraping off damp surfaces to remove mold spores releases various particles in the air that could damage your eyes. You will need these goggles to protect your eyes from the harmful chemicals present in the mold cleaners.
Disposable Hair CoversThey are similar to shower caps to protect your hair against mold contamination. Mold spores are potentially dangerous for your hair and can penetrate deeper into the hair roots and scalp.
Disposable Shoe CoversYou need to keep your shoes covered so that mold spores don’t travel from one place to another. Also, certain mold types can thrive in shoes. On prolonged exposure, the mold can cause various types of skin and nail infections.
Special SuitsInstead of wearing separate gears, you can buy yourself a Tyvek suit, which will even cover your clothes as well. You should always remove the protective layer of clothing at the worksite, so you don’t spread mold all over the place.
Negative Air MachinesYou will need negative air machines, during mold remediation, to filter the air and remove excess moisture. Always use high-quality, HEPA-filter machines to prevent cross-contamination. The most common negative air machines are as follows:
Air MoversThey remove moisture from the surfaces and direct mold spores into a contaminated area. It will also improve airflow and, if placed strategically, can mitigate the chances of mold contamination.
DehumidifiersThey are placed in the room to disperse cold air, which relatively holds less amount of moisture. It will effectively bring down 40% of the humidity level, thus reducing chances for mold to thrive. However, you need to be careful with the size of the humidifier concerning the space. The right size of the dehumidifier will keep the humidity level between 30%-50%, making it less likely for mold to become pervasive.
Air ScrubbersThey remove airborne contamination, including the mold spores. They have HEPA filters installed, thus are highly eco-friendly. These scrubbers are also used in fire-damaged buildings as it effectively removes smoke as well.
Duct Tapes and Plastic Sheets. Before you start mold removal treatment, you need to cover up the unaffected areas so that mold doesn’t cross-contaminate the spaces. Duct tapes and plastic sheets completely block the air or water passage, thus mitigating mold transference.
Scaffolding. You will need a high ladder to clean off mold from different spaces such as attic or ceiling.
HEPA-Filter Vacuum. You should always vacuum mold-infested surfaces, such as carpets, floors, and upholstery, before and after the remediation process. mitigating mold transference.
Wire Brushes. To scrub off hard surfaces, you will need brushes. This will penetrate the cleaning agents deeper into the surface for effective cleaning. However, porous surfaces such as floorboards would require replacement.
Biocides. You would need a reliable cleaning agent to eliminate mold. Bleaches and other kinds of detergents many only mask the surface while biocides will treat the root cause and prevent continuous growth.
Fans. After cleaning the space thoroughly, you will need to air out the rooms. This will remove the stagnant air as well as eliminate the airborne mold spores. The process will remove excess moisture as well as bring down humidity levels.
From Carpets to Furniture: Mold Removal Process
Treating the Moldy Carpets:
- Use a utility knife to cut off musty and stained carpets into 6×8 ft.
- Mist the surface with water using a pump sprayer
- Double wrap it in a plastic bag and seal it with duct tape to prevent air contamination
- Dispose of the heavily damaged carpet pieces and sprinkle your DIY cleaning agents on rest of the carpet and underneath the surface; i.e., floor