How to remove mold from you house: ideas and advice
Mold can appear anywhere: on the carpet, on clothes, on food, even in hard-to-reach places, such as the back of sofas or big furniture. Mold removal can be difficult, time consuming and costly; In addition, exposure to mold may raise the risk of allergies, especially in children, the sensitive and the chronically ill. What can you do if you are suffering mold in your home? The easiest way to address this is to prevent mold from developing before it becomes a problem. Mold spreads largely in humid regions, so that by managing the moisture, you may prevent the appearance of mold. After its appearance, one can remove mold by home-made remedies or by employing specialized products. By reading on, you may find out what mold is and how it appears, what impacts it has on health, and what you can do to get rid of it.
What is mold
Mold is a small, parasitic fungus that multiplies by microspores. These spores might enter the house through doors, windows, ventilation spaces or air conditioning systems. Also, the spores existing in the outside air can be adhered to the clothes, shoes or fur of the dogs, thereby reaching the interior. Once in the house, they “settle” in moist, chilly or dark regions. Cellulose materials, including paper and cardboard, as well as wood stimulate the development of mold. Moreover, dust, some paints, wallpaper, carpets or the substance of some sofas may stimulate the proliferation of mold.
Increased humidity in the home might develop due to faulty construction, poor ventilation or inadequate heating in well-insulated structures. Other reasons for the emergence of mold include: gaps in the walls, surfaces that have not been allowed to dry properly after the end of building work and moisture on the walls.
Insufficient ventilation of the space for drying clothes or after cooking or showering is another reason for the increase in air humidity and, indirectly, leads to the emergence of mold.
The earliest indicators of mold are green or black stains on the walls of the bathroom or in locations with high humidity. If mold is present but hidden from the eye, you can detect it by smell. The mold has a nasty, wet, stuffy, unventilated odor.
What species of mold can grow in the house
Although there are over 150,000 types of mold, just a few prevail in homes:
Cladosporium – can develop at high and low temperatures and can emerge on textiles or under parquet. May induce allergic reactions or asthma attacks;
Penicillium – Penicillin is created from this mold, but its presence is not exactly beneficial for you and your family. It has a blue or green tint and a velvet-like texture. It might occur on carpets, wallpaper, the region surrounding the pipes, even on beds. May impact the respiratory system of children and dogs. Prolonged exposure can lead to sinusitis, lung infection and asthma;
Alternaria – one of the most common varieties of mold. It develops in the area of the shower or bathtub, but also surrounding the pipes that have leaks;
White mold – appears as a dense white paste, and can be distinguished by its appearance of white-gray cotton wool;
Stachybotrys (also known as “black mold”) Is a black-green mold, which develops mostly on wood and plasterboard. May induce allergic reactions or raise the risk of sinusitis, shortness of breath and headache;
Acremonium – is a sort of mold that evolves over time. At first, it covers a tiny area, after which it acquires a powdery texture. It might be pink, gray, orange or white. It flourishes in homes when the humidifier or air conditioner is heavily used.
More mold types
Aspergillus – may induce allergic responses. There are over 185 species, so it can have any hue;
Aureobasidium – can emerge behind wallpaper, on painted surfaces or on wood. It can be pink, brown or black, and with maturity it gets a more pronounced shade of brown. It is related with an increased risk of skin, eye or nail infections. Because it can lead to dermatitis, it should never be achieved without gloves;
Chaetomium – has a cotton-like texture and changes color over time from white to gray, brown and black. It might appear on the ceiling, in the basement or under the sink, being recognized largely by the scent. It is a danger to people with compromised immune systems;
Fusarium – can grow even at low temperatures. It usually grows on carpets and wallpaper. It can be pink, white or reddish. Exposure can cause skin infections, sneezing or even dermatitis. In the long run, it can lead to bone or nervous system infections. It spreads easily from room to room;
Mucus – grows in thick layers and has whitish or gray hues. It occurs mainly near air conditioners, the heating system or in the area of pipes. May worsen asthma symptoms.
How and where the mold appears
Mold occurs when microspores are deposited on surfaces where there is moisture and a food source, so that the fungus can grow. The accumulation of moisture on the walls can favor the appearance of mold, but it can appear on any surface, from wood and plaster to carpets, plastic, cement or glass surfaces. Mold appears on the walls, this being the most common place, because there is a blockage of moisture transfer from inside to outside. As a result, moisture accumulates inside, condensation forms, and from here the first mold stains begin to appear.
How mold affects your health
In general, the presence of mold in the house can lead to respiratory diseases or aggravate existing ones. Mushroom spores and metabolic products can trigger allergic reactions manifested by:
- Red eyes
- Contact dermatitis
- Sore throat and cough
- Rarely, orientation problems
For people with weakened immune systems (chronically ill, diabetics, those with cancer or AIDS, etc.), mold can increase the risk of infection. People with asthma may also experience an increase in symptoms. Moreover, it seems that the presence of mold can trigger asthma among children with a genetic predisposition to this condition. Long-term exposure can lead to digestive and even neurological symptoms.
How to prevent mold
Prevention of mold starts from the construction phase of the house or building. No building material is immune to mold, but if you take a number of safety precautions, you can prevent it from occurring.
Insulation is very important, but it can prove to be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, quality waterproofing prevents moisture from entering the outside and laying it on the walls. But the outer insulation made of a waterproof material, such as extruded polystyrene, will not let the walls “breathe”. In other words, vapors associated with household activities, such as cooking or washing, will remain on the walls and lead to the formation of moisture. Opting for an exterior insulation that provides permeability to the walls can be a solution. In this sense, materials such as expanded polystyrene or basalt wool can be used successfully to prevent mold.
Another thing to keep in mind when using wood in construction is that it is more susceptible to mold infestations than other materials such as concrete or brick. Many types of construction wood are antifungal treated. If this is not specified on the packaging, it is recommended to treat the wood with an antifungal solution.
Masons can use additives to prevent mold; they can be added to plaster, paint, mortar or adhesives (for example, wallpaper) (for example, wallpaper).
It is very important to place cabinets and other large pieces of furniture at least 15 cm from the wall to allow air circulation. Similar in the case of heavy curtains.
Here are some other tips to help prevent mold
Ventilate as often as you can – double-glazed windows encourage condensation. It is good to leave the windows wide open for at least 10-15 minutes, at least twice a day;
Ventilate the bathroom after each shower – the high humidity in the bathroom increases the risk of mold. After the shower, ventilate or open the window (if you have one) (if you have one). If the space allows you and the humidity level is very high (more than 70 percent ), you can install a special bathroom fan to remove water vapor from the room;
Ventilate the kitchen after cooking and the rooms after ironing;
Install a hood – this will help prevent odors from entering the house and reduce the humidity associated with cooking;
Avoid drying your clothes at home;
Vacuum and dust weekly – this will remove mold microspores;
Thoroughly clean the kitchen – carefully and periodically wipe the stove and the walls next to it (grease stains are the ideal environment for mold development) (grease stains are the ideal environment for mold development). Discard spoiled food and food that has expired;
Avoid using textile rugs in the bathroom, as they will retain moisture, thus becoming a favorable environment for mold multiplication.
How to get rid of mold
If you notice it early, this fungus can be easily removed using homemade solutions. Before any method, put on a protective mask and a pair of sturdy gloves to avoid coming into contact with mold microspores.
One of the handiest ways to get rid of mold is to expose yourself to the sun. As mold needs moisture and darkness to grow, natural light seems to be the antidote. Open the windows wide and let the sunlight into the house. You can also take some pieces of furniture outside in the sun. If you stay at home, you can remove furniture, carpets, or other textiles. Leave them out for 2-3 days.
Materials to use to remove mold
Another anti-mold solution is based on baking soda. Mix four tablespoons of baking soda with 300 ml of water and spray the mixture over the affected areas of the mold. The method is useful for cleaning wall finishes, carpets and textile accessories.
Vinegar is another aid in the fight against mold. Mix 200 ml of water with 200 ml of white vinegar and apply the resulting solution to the problem area.
One last solution made at home involves the use of chlorine. This method is especially suitable for severe infestations. It is good to know that the use of a mixture of water and chlorine (according to the instructions on the package) can lead to discoloration or even staining of furniture or materials.
If chlorine does not get rid of mold, you can use commercial anti-mold solutions or turn to a professional disinfection company.
There are many products on the market, usually acid-based, that can remove mold, along with water or undiluted, especially in cases of severe infestations. After applying the solution, wait until it dries, then apply another coat. After the wall is completely dry, the moldy area is mechanically removed. Removal before using such a solution will lead to the dispersion of spores in the air and the formation of mold in another corner of the room or house.
How to remove mold depending on the surface
The method used to remove the mold also depends on the surface on which it is located. Thus, if the mold exists on fabrics or clothes, you can get rid of it if the infestation is early. Otherwise, the material cannot be recovered. For the first case, it is advisable to take the fabric out to avoid spreading spores in the house. Shake it well, then put it in the washing machine at the highest temperature allowed on the label and put, in addition to detergent, a few caps (depending on what is written on the package) of disinfectant. If the stain persists, you can also use chlorine.
To clean leather shoes, clothes, accessories and the sofa, it is necessary, as far as possible, that they be exposed to sunlight outside. Clean the surface with white vinegar and then a leather-specific soap. Allow to dry completely after wiping with a dry cloth. Apply a special solution to polish the skin after it has dried.
Remove mold from your house
Mold has the ability to completely destroy books and papers. Early cleaning, on the other hand, can assist in the removal of mold and the recovery of sentimental books or important documents. Place the books or documents in direct sunlight or in a container filled with cornstarch to absorb excess moisture if the mold only takes up a small portion.
Mold can grow on the surface of bathroom tiles as well as in the spaces between them. Commercial solutions based on products that whiten these areas are available. You can apply a solution of one part chlorine to 16 parts water to the affected area. Allow at least 5 minutes for the solution to work before rubbing with a brush. After rinsing with water, wipe away any remaining liquid while keeping the window and door open.
To clean wooden surfaces, dilute the water and chlorine mixture with a little dishwashing detergent (10 parts chlorine to 20 parts water and one part dishwashing detergent). Use a sponge or mop to apply the resulting solution, being careful not to oversaturate the surface. Allow the solution to dry naturally rather than rinsing it. After that, wipe with a special wood-cleaning solution.
Carpets can only be saved if mold is detected at the earliest possible stage. Use a carpet cleaning solution with 100 mL white vinegar added to it. Use a sponge or brush to clean the carpet with this solution. Remove the carpet to dry in the sunlight after removing the mold. You can only put it back on after it has completely dried.
Installing a dehumidifier if moisture persists can help reduce the risk of mold recurrence.
Mold can be prevented with little effort, especially if you clean it regularly and catch it early. At the same time, a thermometer that measures the humidity level in the room may be useful. Mold will be more likely to grow if the humidity level rises above 65-70 percent, so you’ll be prepared to avoid it.