If you've ever dealt with mold in your house, you are aware of the significant difficulties it presents: It is unattractive, may spread on practically any surface, and is hard to eradicate. Cladosporium, Aspergillus, and Stachybotrys are the three most typical kinds of home mold, according to Dr. Greg van Buskirk, co-founder, and chief science officer of Sensitive Home. In addition to growing under sinks, Cladosporium frequently grows in green-and-brown tones on fabrics (think carpets and upholstery); aspergillus occurs in a variety of species and colors and grows on moist surfaces, such as shower stalls (even though this type is allergenic, it is relatively harmless unless a person is immune compromised). He says, "Stachybotrys (also known as black mold) is most frequently found on cellulose materials, including wood or paper on drywall. It begins as little black spots and spreads; it is poisonous and can result in a variety of symptoms, including headaches, nosebleeds, and lethargy.
Here, our experts discuss the best ways to prevent mold growth and how to get rid of it if it already exists in your house. Related Articles: How to Maintain the Perfect Humidity Level in Your Home
Examine the damage
Given how unpleasant the condition is, Dr. van Buskirk advises that the very first action a homeowner should take is to determine the nature and scope of any issues. Finding the cause of the problem is the best method to solve it. "You will avoid a lot of future trouble if you can identify the source of moisture, for example, a drop or a leak that you can stop," he continues. Wiping down the walls and tub between showers would be a good practice if the problem was more related to general humidity, as may be the case in a bathroom shower since this would promote faster drying.
Ventilate your house
In order to prevent the growth of mold spores in your house, it's important to monitor the humidity levels. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the humidity in your house should ideally be between 30 and 50%. Also, make sure you have enough ventilation, advises Jennifer Parnell, co-founder of Humble Suds. Even routine daily actions like cooking and taking a shower increase the amount of moisture in the air, which can encourage the growth of mold. One of the most crucial instruments to counteract it is an exhaust fan. Parnell explains, "Running them while cooking and taking a shower distributes wet interior air outside of your house." The Home Ventilation Institute (HVI) advises running an exhaust fan for at least 20 minutes after taking a shower to ensure that the proper quantity of moisture is removed. Additionally, turn on and inspect the exhaust fans in other rooms of your house: While you're cooking, turn on your kitchen lights, and give your dryer in the laundry room a yearly checkup.
Dry off your areas
Paying particular attention to places that are prone to mold development, such as the tub, shower, and sinks, is a standard cleaning procedure, according to Parnell. "Pay particular attention to them and any locations that tend to pool with water, and make sure they stay dry," the expert advises. "These regions often store more water or are closer to a moisture source. After taking a shower, she advises squeegeeing the walls, floors, and shower doors. She also suggests keeping the bathroom door open and shaking and spreading out the shower curtain to allow it to dry.
Decontaminate all surfaces of the mold
When mold removal is present, be careful while protecting your skin and lungs with rubber gloves and an N95 mask. One and a half teaspoons of sodium percarbonate, a non-toxic oxygen-based bleach, should be dissolved in a spray bottle with 16 ounces of hot water. An example of such a bleach is Humble Suds Illuminate Mineral + Oxygen Powder (starting at $13.95, humblesuds.com). Do not keep the sprayer on the bottle; instead, periodically remove it to allow air out of the container and prevent pressure buildup. Parnell advises spraying your solution onto the moldy area and letting it sit for 30 minutes. Hot water should be applied once again, scrubbed with a sponge, and then rinsed. Consider using a cleaning paste if mold persists even after using this cleaning method (which works particularly well on grout). Make your own paste by mixing sodium percarbonate, baking soda, and hot water suggests Parnell, or use our Illuminate with Scour Cleaning Paste (starting at $11.95, humblesuds.com). After cleaning the area with a little brush, let it air dry. Never combine sodium percarbonate with ammonia, bleach, or any other chemical substances, regardless of the method you use.
Clean upholstery and textiles
Dr. van Buskirk advises using a disinfectant spray on textiles and upholstery that specifically states on the label that it kills mold and mildew. He also advises using enough spray to saturate the fabric. Try a soap and water mixture if you see a mold or mildew discoloration. To get rid of the discoloration, mix one teaspoon of dish soap—such as Sensitive Home Dish Soap ($5.99; sensitive home. com)—with one quart of water. If the fabric will allow it, try a sodium hypochlorite bleach solution if you have an extremely difficult discoloration (check your clothing labels or test a small area). Apply a mixture of one gallon of water and one cup of home bleach (hypochlorite solution) straight to the afflicted area. As an alternative, you can use a spray product with sodium hypochlorite (bleach) as one of its constituents.
Consult a specialist
You should get in touch with a mold remediation firm to come and do a mold test if you see mold growth in areas greater than 10 square feet and a musty, mildew smell. Although a tiny percentage of molds create mycotoxins, which are extremely hazardous to humans, Parnell notes that mold often produces hay fever-like symptoms. Mycotoxins have the potential to cause mortality as well as symptoms including nausea, exhaustion, eye and lung irritation, migraines, and death.