Sunday, 1 August 2010

How to get rid of black mold?

The black mold that grows in the corner of your shower stall or on the basement wall behind your washing machine is unlikely to be toxic. Toxic mold is usually found on materials containing cellulose. Cellulose is a fiber found in wood, cotton, hemp, and is used in the manufacture of such items as drywall.

Toxic black mold is usually found within walls, in crawl spaces, and around sump pumps. However, when removing any mold, be certain to protect your eyes, your skin, and your respitory system.

To remove non-toxic black mold you will need bleach, water, detergent, a scrub brush, sponges, clean rags, rubber gloves, and a facemask.

Make up a bleach mix of one cup of bleach to one gallon of water. Apply this mix to the mold with a sponge, repeating the process until the mold is gone. You may need to use the scrub brush to completely remove the mold. Once the mold is removed, wash the area with the detergent. Dry thoroughly with clean, dry rags.

Dispose of the sponge, being sure to place it in a plastic bag. Though this type of mold is non-toxic, it is still a trigger for those with respiratory illnesses such as asthma. Dispose of the gloves and face mask.

Cleaning this type of mold does not prevent its return. Non-toxic black mold will continue to grow in moist and damp areas with little or no sunlight.

Preventing mold growth means reducing or, if possible, eliminating the moisture content on the surface and in the air of our home.

Use the fan in your bathroom after showering to reduce moisture quickly. Keeping the air dry within your home with a de-humidifier may also help. Consistently wiping down areas prone to black mold will also aid in prevention.

Toxic black mold is more difficult to detect, and is a health hazard. Toxic black mold grows on materials containing cellulose, such as drywall and some insulation. Because these materials are not exposed, but rather within the infrastructure of your home, it's unlikely you'll be aware of the mold.

Undisturbed, this mold will continue to grow, its toxicity coming from the dispersal of its spores. As this greenish black mold continues to grow it sends out spores that infest the ventilation system of your home. The spores settle in your carpeting and upholstery, feed on the cellulose in the paint on your walls, the wood in your furniture, the cotton in your bedding.

How do you know if you have toxic black mold in your home, and if you do, how do you get rid of it?

You are probably familiar with the musky odor of common mold, but toxic black mold carries with a harsher smell, like that of urine. If you have areas in your home where you're unable to identify the source of such an odor, there may be black mold behind the wall or in the ceiling.

Should you see whitish or pale patches on your wall that look as if the paint has faded, this could indicate toxic black mold.

If you suspect you have a black mold infestation, you can purchase a test kit. These can be found online and are relatively inexpensive.

But removal of toxic black mold isn't cheap. You need to remove the infected materials, clean the surrounding area, and replace the materials. You also need to repair the initial cause of the mold infestation, such as a leaky pipe.

You will need protective clothing such as worn by a HAZMAT team, including goggles and a respirator. Seal the area designated for mold removal, making certain all furnishings are removed. Use an ionizer during removal to prevent spores from spreading.

These precautions are necessary because when you disturb the mold itself, you will disperse the spores at an accelerated rate.

Though there are chemicals that can remove toxic black mold from surfaces such as drywall and studs, they are only effective if the problem is minimal, the infestation new. The safer, more effective method is to replace any and all materials infected with mold.

Double bag the materials in plastic garbage bags. Don't carry them out through the house. Rather, put them directly into a garbage can outside the window.

If you need to address several rooms, you will need to remove your protective gear, wash it or dispose of it, and begin the process of sealing off the new area and wearing clean protective gear.

Take all the necessary steps to reduce or eliminate the recurrence of the source of moisture that caused the original infestation. Such causes would be burst or leaky pipes, poorly maintained or faulty heating or cooling systems, or faulty sump pumps.

Once you have removed the mold sources, replaced the materials, and thoroughly cleaned or replaced carpeting and upholstery, run another test for mold.

Steps to prevent toxic mold are similar to those for preventing non-toxic mold. Reduce the humidity in your house to a minimum. Ensure your ventilation system allows for a 50/50 fresh air exchange to prevent build up of "wet air". In the event of water damage, as from a washing machine overflowing, clean up the spillage immediately and continue to monitor the area for signs of infestation.

by Shelly Mcrae at

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