Household Mold Remediation

By | Do It Yourself, Mold Remediation, Mold Removal, News

Discovering mold in your house but failing to act on it is a little like putting off a visit to the dentist when you have toothache: the longer you wait for mold removal, the worse it will ultimately be.

Small infestations can be dealt with using a range of low-cost, DIY household mold remediation products but if the situation is allowed to get out of control, you may have no choice but to call in the professionals. Inaction not only risks your health, it can also be highly detrimental to your bank balance. It can even affect the value of your home.

How much mold is too much for you to deal with? According to guidelines issued by the Environmental Protection Agency, patches that cover less than 10 square feet – roughly 3ft. by 3ft. – can be dealt with by the homeowner. Once things go significantly beyond this size, though, it is usually best to call in a certified mold remediator.

If you intend to do the job yourself, it is important to bear in mind that household mold remediation requires both time and careful attention to detail. There are no short cuts. Each and every step of the clean-up process needs to be carried out if you want to ensure a successful long-term outcome and the best chance of a mold-free future.

Mold cannot grow without moisture so the first goal of any remediation plan is to identify the water source that is feeding the growth. In some cases, such as following a burst pipe or in the aftermath of a flood, this may be blatantly obvious but if the problem is a cracked and slow leaking pipe or a blocked vent, it may be far harder to track down.

It’s vitally important to devote sufficient time and energy to this part of the process. If the moisture continues to build up, the mold will eventually return, no matter how good a job you do of clearing it up, or the type and expense of the mold cleaning products that you used.

Before making your attempt at household mold remediation, it is important to ensure you have the right protective gear. While only a minority of molds are truly toxic, most are capable of producing a nasty allergic reaction that can leave those nearby feeling quite unwell.

Safety goggles (without air vents to prevent spores getting into the eyes), a good-quality respirator mask and long rubber gloves are all absolutely essential. They will protect you not just from the mold but also from any unwanted exposure to the chemicals you may be using to do the cleaning, some of which can irritate unprotected skin.

If possible, purchase a set of disposable paper overalls to wear while the job is in progress. If none are available, be sure to launder all clothing worn during the operation immediately afterwards.

When it comes to the actual clean-up, hard surfaces like brick or floor tiles simply need to be scrubbed clean with water and detergent or a specialized mold cleaning product. The area then needs to be allowed time to completely dry out. Once this is done, you can disinfect the area with a solution made of water mixed with bleach or white vinegar, which can help to retard future mold growth. Bleach solutions should be mixed in a 4:1 ratio and white vinegar should be mixed at 1:1.

Softer or more porous surfaces like carpet or fabric-covered furnishings may need to be replaced altogether.

Because mold is microscopic, it is important to clean well beyond the area that you can actually see the mold. You should also be aware that the process of cleaning may release spores into the air that can travel to other parts of the house and start a new infestation, months or even years later.

Mold removal companies will usually seal off the area where the cleaning is taking place from the rest of the home and a homeowner can easily do the same with sheets of inexpensive plastic from the hardware store. However, remember to ensure there is plenty of ventilation in the room where the bleach and other chemicals are being used.

If during your close inspection you discover more mold sites, or if after a thorough cleaning you find that the problem has returned, then it may be time to call in a team of household mold remediation professionals after all.

 

Mold Removal Cost – What You Need To Know

By | Mold Removal, News

We all like to think that we keep a pretty tidy house … but even if you do, that doesn’t mean that one day you won’t open up a rarely used closet and find a moldy infestation on all your leather jackets or go down to your basement and get hit by a wall of musty, nasty smelliness that makes your nose itch and eyes water.  It’s mold, friends.  It’s gross, it’s smelly, it’s dangerous, it’s probably destroying your favorite things and your health…. and it needs to be removed, pronto.  There are a huge range of mold removal solutions you could try so even after a lot of research, you might be left wondering … what does mold removal cost?

Mold Removal Cost

The truth about mold removal cost is that it depends 100% on how much mold you have, how much damage the mold has done to the structure of your house and, to a lesser extent, what type of mold you are dealing with.  For example, if you have just a little bit of mold that is affecting a confined area in your home, you can absolutely handle it with DIY methods without spreading the mold, endangering your health or spending your children’s inheritance.  If, however, you have a lot of mold (more than a 3’ x 3’ area), mold that has infested many areas of you home, mold that has affected the structure of your home or mold in that has taken hold in a difficult to remediate areas, you may need to bring in a mold remediator and, possibly, a mold inspector.

Fortunately, there is no shortage of experienced professionals willing to assist you in removing mold from your home.  Unfortunately, you’ll have to be very careful to find a remediator who will give you a good remediation plan, a reasonable cost and a guarantee that their work has been successful.  Much of this depends on what area of your home is affected and how difficult it is to rectify the circumstances that are allowing the mold to grow in that area.

Mold Remediation Cost Examples – Your  Mileage May Vary!

  • Crawl space:  $500 up to $3000 depending on size of area and degree of infestation
  • Basement: $5000 or more depending on cost to eliminate the source of moisture
  • Bathroom or kitchen: $1500 or more depending on damage to structural elements
  • Closets: start at $500 just to remove mold

Structural damage to wood beams, wall materials, flooring or carpet will, of course, add to the bill.  Mold inspections (which should be done by an inspector not affiliated with your remediator!) will add even more to that bill.  Here’s a tiny slice of silver lining: the cost of “drying up” the source of the moisture that allowed the mold to grow in the first place can usually be mitigated by either fixing the (usually plumbing related) issue yourself or by bringing in some handy friends to help out.

What does this all mean?  It means that if you find mold in your home, your mold removal cost can range from almost nothing for a DIY solution to $10,000 or more.  Ouch!  Always check to see if your homeowners policy covers any costs and if your city or municipality has any programs that can help with the cost.  And always, always, make home repairs promptly to avoid letting mold become an expensive and unwanted houseguest!

Mold Cleaning Made Easy

By | Do It Yourself, Mold Removal, News

Just like death and taxes, mold is unavoidable.  Originally designed to help tidy up nature by decomposing waste, mold is now doing the same destructive work where we wish it wouldn’t: inside our homes.  Inside your home, given the proper ratio of moisture, lack of ventilation and warmth, mold can infest any organic material and begin to digest it while spreading its spores to other areas in your home so that new colonies can thrive.  Aside from the smell and the nuisance, any one of the more than 100,000 types of mold can affect the health of your family with the fumes from its decomposition work and the mycotoxins it releases.  From mild mold allergy symptoms to a full blown asthma attack, mold can make people feel pretty crummy.  So, once you’ve found the dreaded mold, how should you approach the daunting task of mold cleaning?

Mold Cleaning
-It’s As Simple As 1 – 2 – 3 (4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8!)

  1. Size up the area.  If your mold problem covers less than 3’ x 3’, be brave and do the clean-up yourself.  If it’s larger or spread wider, consider calling in some specialists in mold inspection and mold remediation.
  2. Protect yourself.  At a minimum, use a cotton face mask and non-porous gloves.  It doesn’t make sense to get sicker while trying to keep from getting sick.
  3. Remove items that may become infected during clean-up.  If it’s not moldy now, mold spores released during cleaning may land on an unaffected item and set up camp.
  4. Bag and remove loose moldy items.  If you think it’s worth trying to save an item that can be moved out of the area, move it in a sealed garbage bag and do the job outside in the sunshine. Otherwise, bag it, seal it, and take it to the outdoor trashcan.
  5. Open a window and scrub hard surfaces with a mild borax-based detergent solution. Allow to dry.  Repeat if necessary.
  6. After mold removal, you may disinfect with a water and bleach solution made in a 4:1 ratio.  Make sure you have adequate ventilation and use bleach carefully as its fumes can be dangerous. Do not rinse bleach solution from the surface.  It is important to note that while bleach does not kill mold, it can help to remove the stains that mold leaves behind and inhibit new mold growth.
  7. If bleach isn’t your thing, you can also protect surfaces by disinfecting with white vinegar and water in a 1:1 ratio.  Do not rinse vinegar solution from the surface.
  8. All rags, sponges and towels used for mold cleaning should be bagged, sealed and taken to an outdoor trashcan.  Disinfect your protective gear before storing.

After you remove the mold (and the source that made the circumstances for mold growth possible!), monitor your home for new mold growth and remove it while it is still manageable with DIY techniques.

Make Mold Cleaning Obsolete

Finally, deter mold growth with some good old fashioned prevention:

  • Keep humidity levels between 40% and 60%.
  • Make sure your home is well ventilated, especially in bathrooms, kitchens and basements where there is plenty of moisture and, therefore, the potential for problems.
  • Clean up spills, water leaks and floods promptly and completely.
  • Use dehumidifiers where necessary.
  • Clean bathrooms regularly with commercial mold-deterring products.

 

Mold Allergy Symptoms

By | Mold And Your Health, News, Videos

If you live on the planet called Earth, you are breathing in more mold spores than pollen on a daily basis.  And that means that if you have a mold allergy – even a mild one – your mold allergy symptoms can flare up at any time and make you miserable.

Mold spores are the reproductive bit of the mold cluster itself and they float all around us, looking only for a hospitable place to land where they can do what they were designed to do – break down plant and animal material and essentially compost the entire earth.  Unfortunately, now that we live in nice, toasty, airtight homes, the parts of our indoor environment that are darkest, warmest and most damp have become irresistible to mold.  And where mold grows, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and more mold spores are released, making those of us with mold allergies quite sick.

Mold can be identified by the musty odor caused by those VOCs which also irritates your eyes, nose, and throat.  Initial signs of an allergic reaction to VOCs and spores can be sinus drainage, upper respiratory problems and coughing that lasts for weeks if not months.  In fact, when a mold allergy is severe, it can be a year round problem and can truly alter your enjoyment of life.

Serious, on-going mold infestations can cause breathing problems in people with mold allergies (especially children and the elderly) including chest tightness, shortness of breath and asthma.  Over time, these problems can lead to a scarring of the lungs from which some people may never recover.

Mold removal at its source is critical for those who suffer from a mold allergy – and the good news is that when you do remove it, most people recover quickly.  So, what should you look for and what should you do about it?

Mold Allergy Symptoms

Common mold allergy symptoms include:

  • Itching, watery eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing, wheezing
  • Sinus congestion and sinus headache
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Skin irritation including rashes and hives

More severe symptoms include:

  • Reduced lung capacity and other asthma symptoms
  • Nose bleeds
  • Chest congestion
  • Dizziness and mental confusion

A skin or blood test administered by an allergist can positively identify the presence of a mold allergy.

What to Do If You Have a Mold Allergy

Mold allergy symptoms flare up when your immune system decides that the mold spores in your environment are a threat to your survival and reacts by fighting the only way it knows how.  OTC antihistamines and decongestants can help calm your allergic response but more severe responses may require allergy shots.

In the meantime, reduce your exposure to mold by removing it and preventing its reoccurrence.

  • Remove the mold and the moisture that is feeding it, increase airflow and eliminate clutter.
  • Use exhaust fans in bathrooms and dehumidifiers in suspect areas.
  • Keep the humidity level in your home below 50%.
  • Regularly use non-toxic mold cleaning products in bathrooms and kitchens including water-dependent appliances like refrigerators and water purification systems.
  • Try to live without carpet – it’s a true safe haven for mold.
  • Use moisture absorbing chemicals under beds, in closets and under sinks.
  • Keep the place dry; clean up moisture problems like spills, overflows and floods immediately and well.

And remember that mold can grow in the craziest places so inspect everything … and don’t forget your HVAC system, washer and dryer, mattresses and pillows.

Mold Cleaning Products – Safe, Effective and Inexpensive

By | Do It Yourself, Mold Removal, News, Videos

If you’re in the mood for an off-the-shelf solution to your home mold removal project, there is no shortage of mold cleaning products available in your local hardware store.  Just look for the displays full of green spray bottles which bear names that almost always include the words “shield,” “armor,” or, in order to appeal to the eco-minded among us, “eco-molderizer-o-rama.”  On the other hand, if you have a manageable amount of mold and you’re looking for products that are safe, effective and inexpensive, you need look no further than under your kitchen sink.

Mold is a living organism, thriving in the perfect tropical environment of the deep recesses of your home that are damp, airless, warm and filled with the organic flotsam of our daily lives: newspapers, carpet, drywall, books, clothes, wood, windows and shoes are all equally hospitable for mold.  When mold makes itself at home on one of these surfaces and the conditions are right, it begins to slowly digest the material on which it sits and emit the toxic fumes and spores that can make you and your family very sick.  And because mold can make you sick, you must not only kill mold quickly but you must kill it with mold cleaning products that will be safe for your family and pets … and while we’re at it, wouldn’t it be nice if the products you use to kill mold didn’t do more damage to your home than the mold itself was doing?

Mold Cleaning Products

To safely clean visible mold (no matter what color or texture!) off the organic surfaces in your home, simply do the following:

  1. Take the proper safety measures: wear latex gloves, coveralls or long sleeves and long pants, a respirator mask and, if possible, goggles to protect your eyes.
  2. You will release mold spores into the air when you begin to clean so enclose the area in which you are working if necessary or practical.
  3. Spray the surface with water to prevent the mold from releasing spores then clean the surface with warm water, borax soap and a sponge.
  4. Rinse often and scrub hard.  Don’t skimp on this step as you are actually killing the mold in this step.  Don’t just wipe it once and think the job is done!
  5. Dry the area thoroughly using a dehumidifier and/or open doors and windows.  Remember, damp conditions of some kind allowed this mold to grow.  Even though you have just killed the mold, mold spores are constantly floating through your house looking for a nice place to land so don’t leave the area wet or new mold will grow quickly.
  6. Optional but highly recommended, the next step is to disinfect the area with a mild bleach solution (be careful not to inhale any fumes from the bleach!  Bleach is as bad for you as mold is!) or diluted white vinegar and water. Dry the area thoroughly.
  7. If you are removing mold from a wood surface such as a windowsill or baseboard, consider sanding and repainting with a mold retarding paint.  Do not consider simply painting over the mold!  The mold will show through and will be harder than ever to remove.
  8. Make sure that the conditions that allowed this mold to grow in the first place are eliminated.  Leaks, lack of airflow, condensation buildup, poor cleaning habits … fix it or be prepared for the return of the mold.
  9. Clean and put away your protective gear, store your cleaning supplies under the sink and you’re done!

Beyond the Basics

If you have a large area of mold, mold that you cannot see, mold that has infested the structure of your home or very wet carpets, furniture or other fabrics, you will need to bring in bigger guns … up to and including a mold inspector to find all your problem areas and mold removal companies to safely remove all the mold and materials that are harboring it.  We have lots of articles and resources here at Mold Removal Center to help you make this decision and guide you in finding the help you need.

Believe it or not, the best mold cleaning products are not the fanciest ones, the newest ones, the ones with the longest list of ingredients or the ones with the shiniest labels.  The best products are already in your house.  Add a little safety gear and some elbow grease and voila!  You will be not only mold free but you will have saved money that can be better spent on whatever well-deserved reward you desire for all your hard work!