Cleaning mold – from epa.gov
Did you know that the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) declared September as Mold Awareness Month? While the month draws to a close, mold is still a problem that many Americans face and awareness is quite important.
The EPA teaches us that “Molds live in the soil, on plants, and on dead or decaying matter…[they] produce tiny spores to reproduce, just as some plants produce seeds. These mold spores can be found in both indoor and outdoor air, and settled on indoor and outdoor surfaces. When mold spores land on a damp spot, they may begin growing and digesting whatever they are growing on in order to survive…molds gradually destroy the things they grow on, you can prevent damage to building materials and furnishings and save money by eliminating mold growth.”
The spread of mold can be a serious health risk, causing symptoms such as allergic reactions, asthma, and various respiratory problems. The major source of mold spread is moisture and humidity. Whether it’s excessive rainfall or the recent influx of storms, mold is a threat with higher humidity.
While removing mold from your home can sometimes be a difficult task, there are several steps you can take to combat the threat:
- Reduce humidity in your home by 30-60%. Your options include “venting bathrooms, dryers, and other moisture-generating sources to the outside; using air conditioners and de-humidifiers; increasing ventilation; and using exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing, and cleaning.”
- Clean up any sources of mold and moisture. Plug any sources of water leaks.
- Immediately clean up or dry any damp or wet areas in your home.
- Add insulation in order to reduce or prevent condensation.
Don’t wait for mold to infect your home. Be proactive and buy ED Lab Indoor Air Home Mold Test Kit to screen your indoor for mold and fungus. Or replace your current air filters with the Filters Fast Air & Furnace Filters – MERV 11, which reduce mold spores and improve your indoor air quality.
Mold Contamination & Cleanup
When an area experiences a major flood, water damage is not the only deadly culprit lurking around. As devastating as the damage is when the waters recede, residents are often faced with the new threat of mold contamination.
Porous materials that absorb water can confine mold infinitely. Anything that can harbor mold should be discarded immediately. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), some people are sensitive to mold because exposure can cause symptoms such as eye irritation, wheezing, nasal congestion or skin irritation. Those who are seriously allergic to mold, may experience more severe reactions such as shortness of breath or a fever. In 2004, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) found sufficient evidence linking indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms, wheezing and coughing in healthy individuals in addition to those with fragile immune conditions.
Mold and mildew can begin growing within 24 hours after a flood. Mold can begin colonization throughout your home, from the attic to the basement, and then to your crawl spaces. Porous materials such as rotten wood, drywall, ceiling tiles, wallpaper, rags, upholstered furniture or stale carpeting can trap mold indefinitely and should be discarded immediately. During cleanup, the EPA recommends that you wear gloves and use an N-95 respirator in a well-ventilated area.
Wet places need to be cleaned immediately and not allowed to remain damp. Mold cannot grow without moisture. Non-porous objects such as metal, plastic, glass or ceramic should be cleaned with a solution of household bleach, detergent and water. Use up to 1 cups of bleach per gallon of water. Do not forget to wear rubber gloves, goggles, an air filter mask and other protective clothing when working with bleach solutions. Never mix bleach and ammonia together. Mold contaminated areas should be washed down. Have ductwork inspected by a professional and don’t forget to change your air and furnace filters. Be sure to monitor the area for any signs of new mold growth and moisture.