Mold – Everything You Need to Know About It
- February 18, 2015
- Posted by: Elliot Stark
- Category: blog
What Is Mold?
Mold is a fungal organism that is different from plants or animals. It grows on decomposing organic bodies (rotting wood, leaves, etc) and “feeds” on it. Mold inside the house is considered to be a threat both structurally and health-wise, because of its adverse effects.
How to Detect Mold?
Mold detection is an important aspect that should not be overlooked, especially if you live in a high-risk area that is humid. Mold thrives in damp areas with high humidity as it needs water to grow. Moisture is our enemy when it comes to fighting off mold.
To start on your mold detection process, look for mold in the areas that are most susceptible to mold growth – dark and damp areas. Basements, attics, bathrooms and kitchens are prone to mold growth, so check there. If you live in a highly humid place, look for signs of mold at the base, corners and crevices of drywalls (if you have installed them). Carpets, clothes, paper, leather, wood and food are the areas where mold growth can be commonly seen.
Mold grows on organic substances only. However, it can also seemingly grow on inorganic surfaces such as plastic, if there is a layer of organic substance on it (e.g. grease). So don’t skip on checking anything when you look for mold.
What Does Mold Look Like?
Mold growth looks like a fuzzy blanket of fine hair. It can be black, blue, yellow, brown, gray or white depending on surrounding, oxygen levels and various other factors. A small colony of mold cannot be detected by the naked eye, but given favorable conditions, they can easily cover several square feet of area within a short period of time. Mold gives your spaces a spotty, tarnished look.
What Does Mold Smell Like?
Mold has a distinct smell that can be described as a musty, stale smell. The smell of mold has also been described as rotten, earthy and old by many people.
Symptoms of Mold in Your House
Allergies: Do you feel like sneezing a lot more when you are at home or the office? Chances are, there is a mold growth somewhere in that area and you are having an allergic reaction to it. Common allergic reactions to mold growth include sneezing, watery eyes and a runny nose.
Smell: If you think that certain areas of your home has started smelling like a wet, old barrel, you might have a mold problem in the house. Mold has a distinct musty, stale smell that takes over the house when it starts spreading.
Visible Mold: Now this is pretty obvious, but more often than not, mold can be visible in small amounts which people mistake for dirt. Mold can spread fast and has the potential to do a lot of damage to your house which is why action should be taken immediately. Visible patches of mold however small they may be, shows that your house has a suitable environment to play the host to mold. Visible mold could also suggest that there is a hidden colony of mold somewhere hidden in the house. Unusual looking mold may also not be identified sometimes. Some less known types of mold appear to be white thread-like or clusters of small black spots. Mold could also be black, gray, brown, green, white or a combination of these colors. Mold can also appear pink, orange or purple when it grows behind vinyl wallpapers.
Water Leaks: If you are aware of a water leak (leaky ceiling or leaking pipes) taking place in your home, it is a strong sign that there could be mold growing in the house somewhere. If the leak occurs behind a wall or other surface, mold growth could also occur in a hidden manner behind such surfaces. If your house has been flooded before, it is also likely that you have mold growing somewhere. Spaces where water tends to collect and pool, such as the basement, are most likely to host mold.
Water Problems: Water stains, discoloration of walls, floors and ceilings, peeling, bubbling or cracking of paint and wallpaper are all signs that you have a water problem in your house. Also, bowed, bulging or warped walls strongly indicated that seepage has occurred into them. Long-term water and moisture problems in the house inevitably results in mold growth.
Condensation: If your house has a lot of condensation, it means that the moisture level is high, meaning a suitable environment for mold to grow and thrive. Humidity is your enemy when it comes to mold. Rust on indoor pipes is a strong indication of high moisture in your house. Check surfaces such as glass, windows or metal pipes for signs of condensation.
Symptoms of Mold Exposure
A lot of times, your house may not be spilling on the secret that you have a mold problem. However, your body is most likely to tell the tale. Mold in your house may or may not be toxic, but to be on the safe side, look for these mold allergy symptoms:
- Constant Sneezing
- Runny Nose
- Red, Watery and Itchy Eyes
- Skin irritation or rash
If you have these symptoms and have a feeling that mold may be growing in your house, get a test done on your house for mold immediately.
How to Treat Mold
A mold problem in your house could be very stressful for you. “How to kill mold?” is a question that stays on your mind almost all the time if your house is affected by mold. Worry no more as here are some DIY mold treatment solutions for you to try:
How to kill mold with Bleach: Mix 1 part bleach with 10 parts water and apply the solution only on non-porous surfaces with mold growth, with the help of a spray bottle or a bucket and a sponge/cloth. Unless you use such surface to prepare food, or is touched by children or pets, you do not need to rinse the surface off afterwards as the bleach restricts further mold growth.
How to kill mold with Borax: Make a solution with 1 part borax and 10 parts water. Using a vacuum cleaner, vacuum up any loose mold so that you are dealing with a lesser number of spores during the actual cleaning. Scrub the mold off the surface with a brush and the solution that you made earlier. Wipe up any extra moisture and excess mold particles and dust/debris to prevent them from flying off into the air once they have tried. Leave the surface to dry off completely.
How to kill mold with Vinegar: Without watering it down, fill up a spray bottle with distilled white vinegar. Spray it onto the surface with mold growth and let it stay for an hour. Wipe the area clean with water and allow the surface to dry. If you do not like the smell of vinegar, don’t worry. It will go away within a few hours.
How to kill mold with Ammonia: Create a solution of water and clear ammonia in a 50-50% ratio. Put the solution into a spray bottle and spray it onto moldy areas. Let it stay for a few hours. Wipe and rinse.
How to kill mold with Baking Soda: Fill up a spray bottle with water and add a quarter tablespoon of baking soda into it. Shake the bottle to dissolve the baking soda with the water. Spray the solution onto the moldy area. Use a scrubbing brush or a sponge to remove mold from the surface. Rinse the surface with water to remove any residual mold on the surface once you have scrubbed away the mold. Spray the solution on the area again and let the surface dry.
How to kill mold with Tea Tree Oil: Make a solution of tea tree oil and water in the ratio of 1 teaspoon tea tree oil to one cup of water. Pour the solution to a spray bottle and spray it onto the moldy surface. You do not need to rinse the surface as the tea tree oil will kill the mold and prevent it from growing back again.
How to kill mold with Grapefruit Seed Extract: Make a solution of grapefruit seed extract and water in the ratio of 10 drops of grapefruit seed extract with each cup of water. Transfer the solution to a spray bottle and shake it to make sure that it is mixed thoroughly. Spray the solution on the surface where the mold is growing. Leave it for a few minutes and use a cloth to wipe away the mold. The longer the solution is left on the moldy surface, the more effectively it’ll wipe off the mold colony.
How to Prevent Mold
Preventing mold is pretty easy. It all comes down not letting a suitable environment to be created for mold growth. Keep your house dry and clean. A more detailed guide on preventing mold in your house is available here. Do give it a look to keep your house mold-free in the future.
Having a mold growth in your house can be very intimidating. We hope the information will prove to be helpful to you. Let us know if you have tips and tricks to kill and curb mold growth in your house by leaving us a comment in the section below. Remember, a clean home is a happy home.
Happy Cleaning, everyone!