Mold: When to clean it yourself or call the professionals.
Mold is a gross word that can refer to the white fuzzy stuff covering your three week old guacamole or the dangerous black spores growing behind your walls. With so many variations how do you know what is safe to clean yourself and what needs professional attention? To help answer that question we first need to know what mold really is and where it likes to live.
What and Where
Mold is a term that is used to describe fungi that grow in thread-like structures called hyphae. Some molds play an active role in the production of various foods, such as probiotics, and other types of mold can be damaging to you home and your health.
The most common forms of household mold include aspergillus, chaetomium, Penicillium, and stachybotrys (more commonly known as Black Mold). Many common household molds can take on a black appearance and not all of them are dangerous to your health. The best thing you can do to prevent mold is to know where it grows and what it needs.
Mold needs moisture to grow and is most often found in damp building materials or moist, dimly-lit spaces. Bathrooms, attics, basements, kitchens, behind drywalls and beneath floorboards are all high risk areas for mold and should be checked regularly.
Sources of the moisture could be attributed to poor ventilation in a bathroom, a leaky sink, condensation from plumbing, or a flood that wasn’t taken care of properly. Identifying and monitoring these high risk areas will help you catch a mold problem early and prevent it from spreading.
DIY or Call the Professionals
Now that we are well versed on what mold is, what do we do about it? Here are some tips about how to identify what type of mold you have at home and if you should clean it yourself or call in the professionals.
- If you see it, clean it: If you can see mold starting to grow on bathroom tile or a window sill, then chances are that it is safe to clean. All it takes is soap, water, and a lot of elbow grease. For your protection make sure to wear gloves. If soap and water isn’t doing the trick you can use a solution of borax and water. Combine 1 cup of borax to a gallon of water, spray the area, and let it sit for a few minutes, then wipe it away. After cleaning the mold make sure the area is well ventilated so it can properly dry, removing an environment for future mold to grow. If the problem area of visible mold is large, but still safe to tackle yourself, invest in a pump sprayer to make clean up faster.
- When to call in backup: If mold is growing in the walls, floor, and other large areas or you're feeling ill with no explained cause then it’s time to get help. Letting a mold problem fester can cause allergies, headaches, sinus problems, rashes, and a slew of other symptoms. A warning sign of mold you can’t see is a damp musty odor. If areas of your home have this odor check for damp carpet or walls to identify the potential source. When you find the source assess the damage. If it is a fairly large patch of mold, but was created by leaky pipes, then fixing the pipe and having a professional clean the mold is probably enough to keep it away.
The best way to treat mold is to prevent it, but when it appears don’t fear! Just go back to the source of moisture and make fixes there first. There are so many great resources to help you achieve a moisture free home. The Dorai bath mat aids homeowners in this mission by expelling bathroom mold and bacteria. Order yours today and check bathroom off your list of worries.