Know your mold removal options
Recent water damage in your home or business can increase the risk of hazardous mold growth. Mold thrives in dark, moist areas where humidity and water can collect easily, especially when there is flooding, broken and loose pipes, or frequent leaks after rainfall. As mold spores spread they pose greater risks to your health, making safe, speedy removal the best way to protect yourself and others.
Effects of Mold Exposure
Mold is a type of fungus comprised of microorganisms that seek damp locations to form colonies. Mold spores can be released into the air and inhaled, causing allergies, sinus irritation, respiratory problems (such as asthma), headaches and disorientation. In severe cases, immune system damage can result.
Mold that receives the right nutrients can become toxic, leading to the production of poisonous spores. Specifically, the growth of toxic black mold encourages the formation and release of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other serious irritants. Black mold has the potential to cause severe damage to the respiratory, digestive and nervous systems, so it is necessary to take steps for removal immediately.
Although most homes contain small amounts of relatively harmless mold, it is still important to eliminate mold whenever possible in order to decrease the possibility of toxic mold formation. Property owners can easily remove non-toxic mold once it has been identified, but it is better to employ professional mold removal services if the specimen is dangerous or you are unsure about its toxicity.
For an assessment of the mold in your home, contact a company that handles flood restoration or mold remediation. Mold remediation companies are usually more successful at locating all contaminated areas and eliminating mold completely. Using meters that detect moisture and advanced infrared cameras that expose wetness in the building structure, a professional cleaner can identify sources of mold that you may be unaware of.
Whoever handles the cleaning must protect the face, skin and eyes by wearing protective gloves, a face mask, goggles and a respirator. The cleaning site should be marked off from other areas with sheets or other suitable materials to prevent the distribution of spores. Lingering moisture can be cleared using HEPA-filtered vacuums that remove water even at the microscopic level, and may also be dried with dehumidifiers.
To clean mold sites, first use warm water and soap, and afterwards you can disinfect the area with specialized commercial cleaners or a bleach solution. In most cases, affected wood may require sanding to completely remove the mold, while materials like drywall and particle board should be discarded altogether. Home repair projects may be necessary to completely correct the damage.
After the Cleanup
To be safe, discard all clothes worn and materials used to clean the mold, sealing them up in plastic bags if possible. If you performed a large-scale mold removal on your own, consider having an assessment after the cleanup to be sure that it was done properly. In the future, allow better ventilation and increased sunlight exposure to vulnerable areas to discourage further mold growth. Fighting mold buildup should be an ongoing project, and if you stay a few steps ahead, your home will be protected from these irritating contaminates.