Bill Tyrrell first got into the mold testing and removal business after combating mold at his former job with FedEx. Ever since, Tyrrell’s own company, Triage BioClean Services, has been helping residents of Iowa, Missouri and Illinois deal with their mold problems. In his many years of testing and cleaning mold from homes and businesses, Tyrrell has become a real scholar on mold-related things. Here, he outlines a few basics in dealing with a mold problem in your home.
Molds are small fungal organisms that can live in your walls, carpet, insulation, and just about any surface area in your home. Like most living organisms, molds need moisture to live and reproduce. That’s why you’re likely to find them in areas with leaks or high humidity. In most cases, you can identify mold by its smell, which is usually earthy and damp, or by its color, which can range from black to purple to white and often appears in a speckled pattern. Mold is more than just a gross, smelly substance; it can also present some serious health hazards.
A lot of clients have called me in a panic saying that they smell the stale musty odor of mold in their homes. So in an attempt to help them avoid a mold problem that’s gotten out of hand, I’m outlining a few tips for detecting mold early and some methods for dealing with it.
Usually, you can’t see mold, but you know it’s there. Mold has an earthy, musty smell (kind of like dirt). If you detect the smell of mold, start looking around for visual indicators as well.
It’s a lot easier to combat something you can see. Fortunately, in areas seriously afflicted by mold discoloration, it is quite common. Mold often appears as a dark stain or smear on clothing and walls. It comes in an assortment of colors — red, orange, yellow, blue, violet or black. However, what sometimes appears to be mold can be merely stains caused by other contaminants or pollution. To test it, drop a bit of water mixed with bleach on the stained areas. If it disappears instantly or loses its color, you’re probably dealing with mold. If the stains remain, it’s most likely something else.
Removing Small Mold Contaminations
It is easier to get rid of small mold contaminations. However, it doesn’t mean you should procrastinate because a small patch of mold can quickly become a larger one. You should always take proper safety precautions when cleaning up moldy areas, regardless of how small. All molds release spores, some of which are harmful when inhaled, so wearing a dust mask is a good idea. Wear safety goggles and gloves as well to minimize contact. People with health and respiratory problems should never clean mold, and small children and pets should be kept away from a contaminated area.
Once you’ve taken the proper safety precautions, you can get cleaning. For washable surfaces, use unscented detergent; then wipe with a moist, clean sponge and dry quickly. Remember, molds love moisture, so fast drying them is imperative. If cleaning a drywall surface with mold, use a bit of baking soda instead of detergent. Don’t get the drywall too wet, or you’ll make the problem worse. You should also vacuum the areas and rooms adjacent to contaminated areas. Mold spores are everywhere and a vacuum cleaner outfitted with the right filter will pick up a lot of them. You should buy and use a high-efficiency particulate filter in your vacuum. Keep the whole area as dry as possible. A dehumidifier installed nearby a contaminated area helps tremendously.
Cleaning Moderately Moldy Surfaces
Cleaning moderately moldy areas is more or less the same as smaller ones. However, you should also isolate the contaminated area from the remainder of your home. Use some plastic sheeting to divide moldy areas from the rest of the house. You should also consider installing an exhaust fan in the windows of affected rooms to ventilate air and prevent its spread. If you’ve cleaned moldy areas and taken preventative measures, but the mold has still returned, contact a professional mold remediation company.
Dealing With Extensive Molds
If you find extensive molds in your home, it usually means the time for a home cleanup has passed. I would recommend tackling mold contamination of this level with the help of a professional remediating company. Once you’ve called them, mold professionals can conduct the proper testing in your home and implement a successful remediation solution.
Bill Tyrell is a writer for Yodle, a business directory and online advertising company. Find a <a href="http://local. yodle.com/articles">mold removal specialists or more <a href="http:// http://local. yodle.com/articles/topics/contractors-construction/home-improvement-remodeling-services/ "> mold removal articles at Yodle Local.