Mold is a Menace: Hazards–Causes–Fixes
We generally like to keep things pretty low-key for our blogs. Cleaning is important, but it’s typically not life or death… but then there’s mold. Mold can make you sick, make you cough, there’s some evidence that it can cause asthma in children, and–in extreme cases–it can kill you.
As bad as the health impacts can be, they are at least rare. Unfortunately, the presence of mold in your living space–especially mold bad enough for the spores to be causing health problems–is generally a sign of deeper, unmitigated problems with your home or business.
Unlike some other problems, mold isn’t just the result of a lack of cleaning. Mold crops up in moist, warm places in an array of colors and is hard to remediate once it sets in. The most likely places for mold to crop up are the dampest areas of your house: bathrooms, basements, and kitchens. However, mold can appear anywhere there’s moisture and poor ventilation. This can be the obvious places–like on your shower curtain and in your drains–but it can also be in the hard-to-spot places like behind the bookcases or entertainment center you have backed to the wall.
Another common cause of mold is slow leaks from pipes, drains, or even your roof. Even very small, slow leaks can cause mold. To make matters worse, every small, slow leak eventually gets larger and can become a very serious problem. Do yourself a favor. If you should spot a leak, get it addressed by a licensed plumber ASAP.
Additionally, many places across the US are experiencing wilder weather than ever before. A freakishly heavy rainstorm, consistently high humidity, or–at the extreme–a flooded basement or house can all cause water (and therefore mold) in places you don’t expect.
Start by removing excess moisture in your living space. Install vent fans in your bathrooms and use them whenever warm water is running. Consider getting a dehumidifier for basement spaces. Do a thorough check underneath sinks, around showers, and behind toilets to check for leaks and condensation.
Should you find mold, you have to choose between going after it yourself and hiring a professional service. This is really going to be a gut call for you. Just know that, if you do try to remediate the problem yourself, you’ll need to correct whatever caused the mold problem in the first place (most likely moisture), and then be ready for taking on what’s a potentially hazardous cleaning situation.
You can kill mold on hard surfaces with undiluted white vinegar and on virtually any surface with a solution of one cup of bleach in a gallon of water. There are also pre-mixed mold killers you can purchase. Whatever route you take, however, be sure to wear goggles, gloves, and a mask or respirator to protect yourself from both mold spores and the chemicals you choose.
Keep an Eye Out
Mold in homes is a fairly common occurrence. Mold dangerous enough to cause serious illness is comparatively rare. Still, use these tips and tricks to spot the causes of mold and implement the fixes and you can avoid any of the hazards.