Recent Mold Remediation Posts
Mold’s Favorite Hiding Spots
Mold can grow almost anywhere, and there are lots of places in your home that it can thrive. Although mold most commonly develops in the bathroom and basement, it can also hide in many unexpected areas. Since mold can cause various health effects, keeping your house mold-free is essential to a healthy home environment. Check out these areas that could be harboring mold in your house.
Refrigerator Drip Pans
The drip pan under your fridge collects moisture, dirt, and bacteria, making it a perfect place for mold to grow. To clean your drip pan, spray a mixture of 1 teaspoon hydrogen peroxide in 1 cup water over the pan. Then, use a rag soaked in vinegar to wipe the pan. To prevent mold from growing in the drip pan, keep it clean and wipe off the moisture frequently.
Washing Machines Gaskets
If you have a front-loading washing machine, chances are that there is mold in the machine’s door gasket. The moisture and lint in the gasket provide a perfect habitat for mold. Prevent mold in the washing machine gasket by wiping moisture off the gasket after every wash. Leaving the door open after each wash twill help allow moisture to evaporate.
Air Conditioning Units
AC units collect dust, pollen, and moisture from the air, allowing mold to grow on the drain pans, coils, and ducts. To get rid of the mold in your AC unit, you may need to hire a professional restoration company. They can detect and remove mold from the unit using specialized equipment and techniques.
Window Sashes and Seals
Windows are common areas where condensation forms and dirt gathers. This combination results in mold growth if you don’t remove the moisture and keep surfaces clean. Scrub the mold off with a toothbrush and a mixture of half vinegar, half water. To prevent condensation in the first place, you may have to repair the seals and/or replace the sashes.
Mold can even grow on dishes that have been stacked wet and haven’t been used for several days. Wipe out the mold from dishes by running them through a hot cycle in your dishwasher. Then, dry the dishes completely using a towel. Make sure to wipe cabinets with a cloth soaked in vinegar prior to storing the dishes.
Rainwater and snow may enter the chimney if its caps are rusted or the flashing is damaged. Mold can grow inside chimneys due to the water, dirt, and other organic debris that collects in brick crevices. Before removing the mold, fix or replace the caps and flashing. To remove mold from a chimney, it’s best to hire a chimney sweep that can give it a thorough cleaning. Hiring a chimney sweep once a year is essential to preventing mold in your chimney.
What Is Mold?
Most people are aware that mold is a common problem in damp buildings. Whether it comes as a result of flood-related water damage or excess condensation, mold can very quickly take a hold of a building and bring a whole host of problems with it. But what is mold and the difference?
For everything we hear about mold, you’re probably left wondering "why is mold bad" and, more importantly, "is mold dangerous?" Here’s some important information to make sure you know about how to identify mold and the dangers posed by mold growth.
Is Mold Bad?
Mold is a type of fungi that grows in multicellular structures called hyphae. These hyphae produce the mold spores that are found indoors and outdoors. Although mold spores are found everywhere, in order to grow, mold requires moisture. Therefore, mold can be particularly prevalent in refrigerators and shower rooms, after a water pipe leak, or in the aftermath of flooding. There are thousands of different species of mold; some are used to produce common things like medicine (namely penicillin) and foods. However, when mold grows in your home or business, it can be detrimental, causing property damage.
So, why is mold bad? Mold growth in or around your property is dangerous for two reasons.
When mold starts to grow, it feeds on the materials it is growing on, resulting in irreversible damage.
How to Remove Mold Stains from Clothes
Damp clothes or fabrics can easily be infested with mold if they’re not dried in time. If you’re in this situation, there’s hope! You can still save your moldy garments if the mold has only left a few spots. Here are a few general tips for how to remove mold from clothes and fabric.
Read the label
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions about the suggested water temperature for washing and how the clothing items should be dried.
Scrub off the mold stain
Apply a mold stain remover, such as household soap, white vinegar or bleach, and use a toothbrush to brush off the surface mold. Be gentle and try not to damage the fabric in the process.
Pre-soak the fabric
Since mold stains are hard to remove, you should also pre-soak your stained garment before washing it. Saturate it for one hour in a commercial pre-soak product or in a bucket of water with one cup of white vinegar.
Wash your clothes in hot water
Besides being effective at removing bacteria and allergens, hot water also kills mold spores better. Of course, don’t surpass the maximum recommended water temperature to wash your clothing. If you have materials that can’t be washed, take them to the dry cleaner.
Use a mold killing solution in the washer:
Vinegar – Add one or two cups of vinegar per cycle along with normal detergent to kill any moldy smells and brighten your white fabrics.
Borax – You can also use borax in a regular washing cycle, but only with organic fabrics like cotton and linen. Dissolve half a cup of borax in hot water and add it into the machine once it has filled with water.
Bleach – This substance can kill mold in fabrics but it can fade colors. So make sure to spot-test first and read the label. Some labels say “no chlorine bleach”. Once you know your clothes won’t be damaged, wash them with normal detergent and one cup of bleach.
After washing your clothes, hang-dry them in the sun
Sunlight has a natural bleaching effect and also helps to kill mold spores in the fabric. Avoid using the clothes dryer as heat from this machine can make spots visible and difficult to remove.
What Causes Stachybotrys (Black Mold) To Grow?
Stachybotrys (Black Mold) in a room from water loss
Black mold typically refers to Stachybotrys Chartarum, which is one of several species of mold that produces a toxic byproduct called mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are created as the mold breaks down the building materials feeding its growth. Certain mycotoxins can cause health effects if they’re inhaled by humans or pets, particularly infants or those with pre-existing health conditions, which is why people sometimes refer to black mold as “toxic mold.”
Just like any type of mold, black mold requires constant moisture in order to grow. This means that mold could thrive in the aftermath of water damage from a flood or a burst water pipe. Similarly, issues with roof leaks, clogged gutters, or landscaping can lead to major moisture and mold problems. For black mold to survive, it needs the following:
- A nutrient source on a surface to grow on (e.g. drywall, carpet, wood, and ceiling tiles)
- At least 24 to 48 hours
Provided these conditions are met, mold can grow virtually anywhere. Ultimately, however, moisture is the most important factor. If your home or business has a problem with moisture, whether it’s condensation or water damage, mold can grow and begin damaging the materials on which it’s growing.
Stachybotrys chartarum is a greenish-black mold. It can grow on material with a high cellulose content, such as fiberboard, gypsum board, and paper. Growth occurs when there is moisture from water damage, water leaks, condensation, water infiltration, or flooding. Constant moisture is required for its growth.
Any building that has suffered from water damage or problems with excess moisture is at risk of mold growth. There are thousands of different types of mold found outdoors and indoors. All present potential risks and become problematic when they start actively growing. If you find that your home or business has begun to show signs of mold damage, it’s important to act as quickly as possible to have it treated and remediated to reduce long-term risks to your property and improve air quality.
When mold damage is discovered in your property, there are many questions that may spring to mind. For example:
- Is mold dangerous?
- What can breathing in mold do?
- What kills black mold?
- How much does mold removal cost?
Without the correct assessment and remediation, mold can become dangerous and affect the structural integrity and air quality of your property. As mold specialists, we’ve put together some useful guides on mold damage to help you understand and identify the risks before acting to remove mold.
Mold and Your Pets Tips
Molds are neither plants nor animals — they're fungi that play a vital role in the ecosystem by biodegrading organic matter. However, certain molds can cause health effects in pets who inhale or ingest them. In addition, mold is ubiquitous. It can grow in any moist, warm environment, both indoors and out. Mold can grow in everything from wet towels to sheet-rock, and around windows and floors. Outdoors it can be found in food thrown in the garbage, rotting tree stumps and in soil.
Mold can easily be licked or the spores inhaled wherever it grows. There are five species of mold that can cause health effects: Cladosporium, Penicillium, Fusarium, Aspergillus and Stachybotrys.
Treatment for Mold Exposure
If the mold was ingested, natural detoxifying agents such as glutathione, NAC, artichoke extract, milk thistle and SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine) can be very beneficial.
Preventing further exposure is the key to keeping your pet healthy going forward, so it's important to identify and eliminate or avoid all sources of potential mold.
Tips for Keeping Your Pet Safe From Mold
A good rule of thumb is to develop the habit of keeping anything your pet comes in contact with clean and dry:
- Keep pet food in a sealed container in a cold, dry area (freezer)
- Wash food and water bowls at least once a day and throw out plastic dishes
- Launder your pet's bedding frequently, and immediately if it becomes damp
- Wash pet toys once a week
Mold Prevention with your HVAC System
HVAC vents and ducts are popular places for mold growth within our homes and places of business. HVAC systems provide a very humid environment, attracting mold growth. One thing to remember is that once mold builds up in an HVAC unit, these spores circulate throughout the rest of the home when being used. The best way to prevent this from happening is to properly care for our HVAC systems. Here are some guidelines to follow to make sure these are properly maintained.
1. Routine Cleaning & Inspection. Make it a habit to inspect and clean drains and drain pans monthly. Check and clean coils on a yearly basis. For best results, hire a professional to help you clean.
2. Replace your air filters every 3-6 months. Air filters help prevent particles in the air from clogging up the system. In doing so, air filters also provide a great place for mold colonies to grow.
3. Repair any leaks in the ducts. Not only is it an energy-waster, but breaks in ducts can cause condensation to drip, causing mold to grow.
4. Invest in a dehumidifier. Humidity levels in your home should be under 40%. Some A/C systems already come with one built-in so make sure to check before you buy a new one.
At the end of the day, calling a professional is better than embarking on a new DIY project. As much as we like to take care of our own homes, specialists have the right training & tools to help you. For air ducts & HVAC system cleanings, give us a call at 337-462-6500 to see how we can help.
The Most Common Types of Mold in Your Home
Mold can grow just about anywhere - in our home, our workplace, our backyard, etc. While there are over 100,000 types and species of mold, not all of them are harmful. In this post, we'll go over some of the most common types of mold that are found in the home:
- Aspergillus - This type is usually found in food & A/C systems. Since there are over 185 species, it can appear in different colors. It can cause allergy like symptoms, and respiratory issues in more severe situations.
- Cladosporium - This type can be black or green in color. Usually found outdoors, it can also be found or carried indoors. Indoors, this can grow on wood or in the back of toilets. This mold is non-toxic, however, may cause allergy symptoms, hay fever or asthma.
- Penicillium - Green or blue in color, it can also have a fuzzy texture with a musty odor. It can grow on wallpaper or carpet that has water damage. Exposure to this mold can cause allergic reactions or sinus infections.
- Alternaria - This black and fuzzy type can be found outdoors but can pretty much grow in any damp area. Common places for growth are under the sink, showers or windows. It can also start to appear after a home has experienced a flood. This mold can cause allergic reactions and asthma attacks if left untreated.
- Stachybotrys (black mold) - Greenish or black in color, this mold is found in damp areas with high humidity levels. Also referred to as "toxic mold", this mold releases mycotoxins that can cause severe health issues to those exposed. This can cause allergies, asthma attacks, breathing issues, headaches, fatigue and also depression.
Remember, just because mold isn't easily spotted in the home doesn't mean it's not there. If you've had leaking or flooding in the past, mold would usually appear within 24-48 or these events. Give us a call at 337-462-6500 to see how we can help or if you have general questions about mold and its effects.
Signs of Mold in Your Home
While mold is present everywhere, it might not be so easily spotted in your home. Here are a few key signs to look for when checking for mold:
1. If you've recently experienced flooding or a water leak, that could have led to mold growth. Mold can appear as fast as 24 hours after areas are exposed to water.
2. Visual signs such as wall discoloration, black spots, peeling, and bubbling may indicate mold growth behind the walls.
3. Mold usually gives off a musty odor. The smell is usually one of the first signs of mold. Remember, just because you don't see mold doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
4. Mold allergies can also affect certain individuals. Those affected will usually experience congestion, a runny nose, coughing and sneezing. Take note of when your allergies flare up. If your symptoms seem to get worse when you're at home, this may be a sign to get your home checked.
5. Some types of mold are more harmful than others. Toxic mold may have a more serious affect on people - causing headaches, memory loss or trouble focusing.
In summary, it's common for homes to be affected by mold. However, it is also our responsibility to keep our families safe and protected from all the dangers of mold. The only way for us to truly be on the safe side is to seek help from mold specialists.
If you have questions about mold, please give us a call at (337) 462-6500 to see how we can help.
Facts on Toxic Mold
Call SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville, and Vinton at (337) 462-6500 for all your mold remediation needs!
There is no way to completely eradicate mold, there will always traces of it in the air you breathe. There are risks associated with mold, especially with things like food and wood. While these are damaging, there’s also a type of mold that contains mycotoxins that can cause some health effects. Good knowledge and routine cleaning are usually the best ways to prevent mold from growing and to help with any problems when dealing with existing mold. Below are some common mold questions, showing what the proper course of action is for each case.
Structure mold grows anywhere if there is moisture, so it is especially common for a home or business to have some form of growth.
How Do Molds Begin to Grow?
In just about any indoor environment, mold is generally a natural problem. It usually enters the premises through windows, doors, or even ventilation systems. Mold spores that grow outside can easily be transported into your home or business by riding air currents.
Understanding Stachybotrys Chartarum
Stachybotrys Chartarum is a dark green or sometimes even black colored mold that usually grows on things like gypsum or fiber board, paper, dust, or even lint because of its preference for materials high in cellulose and low in nitrogen. It requires regular moisture, generally from leaks or high humidity.
The effects of Mold Mold can cause health effects, so you may want to consider vacating the building until proper remediation procedures have been completed.
Am I at Risk?
Anyone can be affected by inhaling mold, but it generally affects people with severe allergies.
How to Check for Mold
Mold is usually identified by simply being seen or smelled. If you suspect mold you can contact a local Environmental company to inspect it.
The Potential Risk to Health
Just because you’ve been exposed to growths of mold, it does not mean you may be at risk for health problems. There are some people that are more sensitive to everyday mold, and some strains of mold that can be harmful.