Black mold is another common problem for indoor air quality. This mold species can create numerous health issues, most often impacting people who are susceptible to breathing problems. It’s not uncommon for people with asthma, allergies, or COPD to be affected by mold.
Fortunately, there are ways to get rid of mold. With a little effort and a lot of persistence, you can significantly reduce the amount of black mold in your home. You’ll not only need to clean your house, you’ll also need to take measures that reduce the chances of mold growth in the future.
Wondering how to get rid of black mold? Let’s start by understanding what black mold is and what health problems it can create. With this knowledge, we can then move on to mold removal.
What is Black Mold Compared to Other Forms of Mold?Black mold is a fungus that can infest your home. It is common in damp areas, especially basements, and it can create a significant health issue for people of all ages and risk levels.
Black mold is a loose definition that encompasses a large variety of other molds. Yes, there are many different types of household mold, and some of them can be more harmful than others. However, “black mold” is a general category (not an official or scientific category) that is dark green or completely black. This can include many different types.
Black mold usually grows on surfaces that contain cellulose, including cardboard, paper, wood, and gypsum. The mold thrives in damp, warm, dark environments, which means a damp basement is often the most common place to find mold in a home. You can also find mold underneath sinks in bathrooms and kitchens, and it can grow in dark corners, such as behind toilets. You will often find black mold in areas that are not easily visible, so spotting the fungus is difficult. In most cases, you will actually smell the mold before you see it.
Medical Impact of Exposure to Black MoldUnfortunately, there are many health issues that can result from mold and mildew growth in your home. Black mold poisoning is not a scientific diagnosis, but a general group of symptoms that can be caused by the presence of black mold. These symptoms can include coughing, wheezing, and a stuffy nose. If you are exposed to black mold, you may also experience a runny nose or redness in the eyes. Redness in the eyes can even turn into itchiness, causing further irritation.
Respiratory conditions are common if someone is exposed to black mold, especially if that person has allergies or asthma. Spores from black mold (more on spores below) can cause a variety of issues, ranging from persistent coughing to frequent issues with breathing. It’s not uncommon for someone who has been exposed to mold on a regular basis to have frequent chest colds, or even inflammation of the sinuses. General fatigue and lethargic energy are also common if someone has been exposed to black mold.
In the long term, the effects of mold can be downright scary. Mold has been linked to the loss of memory, and it even makes it hard for some people to concentrate. It can create a general sensitivity to light, and is known to cause anxiety. Nerve issue are also linked to black mold exposure. It can cause numbness in the hands and feet, and has been known to cause general pain and even cramps.
All of these symptoms can make life difficult for anyone, but if you are in a high-risk group, you need to be particularly aware of the effects of mold. People with asthma, for example, are at a higher risk of issues caused by black mold, as are people with allergies to mold spores. Anyone with COPD should also be aware of the potential harms that can come if you are exposed to black mold. Black mold can also be more harmful in children, and there is evidence that children who are exposed to mold may be more likely to develop allergies.
Treating Medical Issues Caused by Black MoldThere are many problems caused by mold and mildew, but they can most often be treated thanks to modern medicine. If you have any issues, first speak with a doctor to get a professional diagnosis of the problem.
Depending in the diagnosis, treatment can take many forms. First, you may be prescribed antihistamines, which are useful if you are allergic to mold spores. Antihistamines are available in over-the-counter or prescription forms, giving you options for pricing and convenience, as well as dosage. Decongestants may also be recommended by a doctor, as these can provide short-term relief if you are experiencing issues with black mold.
In rare cases, a doctor may prescribe steroids to help treat problems caused by black mold. These can reduce inflammation and open the breathing passageways, and they are available in various forms including sprays, drops, creams, and tablets. These are most often only available as a prescription.
If you have had problems with black mold allergies for a long time, your doctor may also prescribe immunotherapy, which seeks to alter your immune system so it doesn’t create massive problems with your health.
Preparing to Remove Black MoldFor proper mold remediation, you will need to take a variety of steps to ensure the mold is cleaned properly and thoroughly. In general, you will find that the techniques for reducing mold fall into two categories: cleaning and prevention. In the first category, you will find steps that help you get rid of mold that is already in your home. Once those steps are complete, you can move on to the next step, which is the prevention of future mold growth.
Getting Rid of Mold Already in Your HomeIf you find mold in your home, you can use these steps to reduce and eliminate the harmful fungus.
Warning: Mold remediation often requires the use of harsh chemicals and sprays. Always take the appropriate safety measures, including the use of gloves and eye protection when getting rid of mold. If you have any concerns about safety when cleaning mold, have a professional clean the mold for you.
Spray the Mold with a Cleaning Material of Your ChoiceWhen you find mold, the first decision you need to make is to decide on which chemicals you will use against the fungus. There are a variety of chemicals and substances that can be used against mold, and some are more effective than others. Usually these are applied with a spray bottle.
Bleach, for example, is one of the common substances used against mold. In most cases, you will want to use a diluted bleach solution, especially if you are cleaning mold from visible or decorative materials, such as tile, bathtubs, glass, and countertops. Pure bleach will likely stain these materials, so a bleach solution, with one cup of bleach for every gallon of water, should eliminate the mold without harming the material. If the area is used for food preparation or it’s touched by children or pets, you will want to wipe the bleach away.
Borax is a household cleaner that can be used to eliminate mold, and it can be used in much the same way that you would use bleach.
Most homes have vinegar, which is one of the most versatile and effective cleaning materials available for mold remediation. Vinegar can be used on many different surfaces, and you won’t have to water it down. Use a spray bottle and simply spray the vinegar directly on the mold and let the liquid soak into the fungus for roughly an hour. Wipe it down with a wet cloth and you will remove the mold. If persistent mold is still found, repeat the process for a couple of days.
There are many other chemicals and substances in your home that can be used to eliminate mold. Ammonia, borax, and even detergent can be used to attack mold and reduce its presence in your home. Hydrogen peroxide is also a possible anti-mold substance. In all cases, use extreme caution, especially with harsh chemicals. Many of these chemicals may need to be diluted, and you will want to use proper safety, including gloves and eye protection, when using many of these liquids.
If you want a less harsh way to attack black mold, you can use tea tree oil, which is a safer, lighter, and more natural way to clean your home. Baking soda can also be used. To use baking soda to get rid of mold, add about one fourth of a teaspoon to a spray bottle and shake until the powder has dissolved. The solution is now ready to be used as a mold-fighting mixture.
Scrub and Scrape the Mold AwayNow you can start the process of mold removal. Once you have sprayed the black mold with whichever chemical or substance you prefer, you can start to scrub away the fungus. In many cases, you will need to let the substance sit on the mold for a few minutes or an hour to ensure the best results.
After a certain waiting period, take a scrub brush and start to scrub away at the mold. This should breakup and dislodge the mold. In some cases, you may need to repeat the process multiple time to ensure that all the mold has been removed from the surface.
Clean or Cast Away? Dealing with Mold in Carpet, Appliances, and Other MaterialsThere are many areas where the mold will have worked its way into hard-to-clean locations. In this case, you will need to make the tough decision about whether you will clean the material or whether you should simply replace it.
Carpet, for example, is a common place for mold to hide. If carpeting gets wet, it can be hard to dry completely. Even thorough cleaning and drying with fans and dehumidifiers may not entirely solve the problem. For this reason, you may be better off if you simply remove the wet carpet and replace it completely. If you are dedicated to keeping the carpet, there are ways to remove the mold. One strategy is to sprinkle baking soda onto the carpet, let is sit for roughly a half hour, then vacuum thoroughly. This step may help in absorbing some of the mold and the smell of mold, but it may not be effective if there is a lot of fungus on your carpet.
Another strategy that you could use is to scrub the carpet with vinegar. Vinegar is effective for killing many different types of black mold, and it can be an effective option for removing mold and saving the carpet. Once you are done, you should dry the carpet thoroughly.
There are also commercially manufactured anti-mold treatments that can be used on your carpet. Be sure to follow all instructions if you choose one of these chemicals.
Reducing the Chances of Mold in the FutureNow that we have cleaned the mold that was already in your home, we can start to reduce the future growth of mold. While nothing can completely guarantee that mold will never grow in your home, there are a few steps you can take to reduce the chances of another large mold infestation.
Clean Any Spilled WaterThe prevention of mold starts with basic, straightforward, and obvious steps. First of all, you should be sure to clean your home thoroughly. If you have any spilled water, either on tables, countertops, hard flooring, or carpets, make sure everything is cleaned so you can have less mold growth. Mold thrives in damp areas, so clean spills and you will reduce the chances of black mold in your home.
Use a Dehumidifier, Especially in the BasementDamp, humid air is the favorite condition for mold. Mold is an extremely resourceful life form, and it can actually get the water it needs to survive directly from the air, which means when relative humidity is high, so too is the chance of mold growth. Fortunately, there are many top-notch dehumidifiers. These appliances are most effective when placed in basements, as this is often the most humid area of a home. There are also crawl-space dehumidifiers, which can be placed underneath your home if you do not have a basement.
One of the main challenges with indoor humidity is that it’s tough to know if your moisture levels are too high. To solve this problem, choose a dehumidifier with a built-in hygrometer. This is simply a device that tests the air and tells you the levels in your home. To get rid of black mold in your home, it’s best to keep your humidity levels below 50%.
Use an Air Purifier to Capture or Destroy Mold SporesMold reproduces by using spores; to kill mold. This tiny bits of air pollution are so light that they can float in the air, spreading throughout the surrounding area. The goal is that as these spores spread around, a small portion of them will land in a spot where they can grow into new colonies of black mold. It really is a numbers game with mold spores, as the more spores that are released, the better chance there is for mold reproduction.
Much of the issues caused by mold, as well as mildew, are created directly from mold spores. Many people are allergic to indoor mold, so rooms with mold can cause a variety of symptoms.
To reduce mold levels, you should use an air purifier inside your house to clean the air. An air purifier will capture mold spores in its filter, removing them from the air and keeping them from creating a health concern. HEPA filters are effective at removing mold spores, and you can also use an air purifier that has UV light, which can kill or disable the mold.
Ventilate the Home with Fresh AirVentilation not only makes your home smell and feel fresher, it also helps to reduce the chance of black mold. When you open the windows, you allow mold spores and indoor humidity to be rushed away, greatly reducing the chances that mold could find a foothold in your home.
To enhance ventilation, you should also use fans throughout the house. Keep ceiling fans going throughout the day, and place box fans in strategic locations so they eliminate moisture. Placing a fan in the basement, for example, is a great way to reduce the chances of mold in your home.
Fix All Water LeaksIf pipes are leaking, mold is sure to follow. Inspect your house for any potential leaks by looking under faucets in the bathroom and kitchen, as well as pipes that run through the basement. If you find any leaks, hire a professional plumber to come to your home and fix the issue as soon as possible. If you let leaks go unchecked, they can cause dampness and eventually lead to increased mold or mildew throughout the home.
Use Mold Resistant ProductsIf you are renovating your home or building an entirely new house, you can reduce the chances of mold by using mold-resistant materials. You can find mold-resistant drywall, as well as mold-inhibiting paints. With these products, you have far less chance of black mold in your home.
These products reduce the chances of mold by taking aways the fungus’ food source. Typical drywall is made from a type of plaster that is essentially wrapped in paper. Mold is able to eat paper, so drywall basically becomes a food source. Mold-resistant drywall, on the other hand, is made without paper, so mold has nothing to eat. This material is especially useful for areas where mold tends to thrive; namely bathrooms, kitchens, and basements.
Keep Water Away from Your Home with Proper Sloping and Quality GuttersThe best strategy for mold removal, as well as mildew removal, in your home is to keep it dry, and this often means keeping rain water away from your house. Quality gutters are essential, as they help move water away from the home, where it can’t seep into your basement. Be sure there are no cracks in the gutters, and clean the gutters twice a year to reduce the chances of clogging. Many people are aware of their gutters, but the sloping near your home is important as well. There should be a gentle downhill slope away from your house. This slope will guide water away from the house and keep your foundation and basement dry.
Reduce Mold Spores in Your Home with an Oransi Air PurifierNow you know how to get rid of black mold. If you have mold and mildew in your home, make sure you have the right air purifier to reduce mold spores and ensure proper black mold removal. With advanced designs and efficient filters, our air purifiers will help you have cleaner air all through the year.
From mold to dust to chemical air pollution, you can reduce a large percentage of pollutants by using any of our outstanding air purifiers. Whether you are using tea tree oil, bleach, or a chemical made for mold removal, make sure you have the right air purifiers for the job.