Cleanup and prevention

Mold is a silent killer that affects many households. It is especially harmful to children, older people and those with existing respiratory problems, such as asthma. Mold often goes unnoticed by homeowners until the damage has become extensive. It is important to know how to recognize mold in the home. Once you have verified that you have a mold problem, it is even more important to know how to get rid of it and keep it from returning.

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Where Mold Lives

Mold is a fungus that grows in humid places. The most commonly affected areas in the home are the bathroom and the laundry room, due to the high humidity levels in these areas.

The bathroom is humid due in part to the fact that bathrooms are, in general, poorly ventilated. This gives the moisture a chance to accumulate in the room. If you take very hot showers and there is a lot of steam produced, the steam will then permeate every crevice in the room, allowing mold to establish a foothold.

As with bathrooms, laundry rooms are, in general, poorly ventilated, and many times, ventilation depends entirely upon the dryer exhaust alone. These dryer exhaust vents can develop leaks in the hose, which allows the hot, humid air to escape into the room itself. How to Prevent Mold

Here are some simple tips to prevent mold from forming in your home:

  • Rooms in your home that have a high concentration of moisture should be painted with enamel paint. Enamel paint acts as a protective barrier between the moisture in the room and the surface of the walls. Most walls are built with drywall, a very porous material that is conducive to the incubation of mold. Indications that mold may be a problem are paint peeling from the walls, walls softening andwalls beginning to crumble. In advanced cases of mold, small black or green spots develop and then grow in size.
  • If the room has an exhaust fan, be sure to check that the fan is operational and that the vent to the outside is unobstructed. Make sure to repair any water leaks that may be present. This includes all water fixtures, including underneath sinks and behind your washing machine. Check to make sure that the vent on the back of your dryer is connected to the vent that goes through the wall. Carefully inspect the hose to ensure that it is securely attached and is free from tears and cracks.
  • One of the most important tips is to caulk or silicone around the baseboards of these rooms. The most common mold growth occurs when moisture gets into the gap between the baseboards and the floor. The moisture that accumulates has nowhere to go, so it is eventually soaked up by the wall itself and tends to spread up from the floor.

When Mold Has Invaded

Cleaning up a mold problem can be a costly and lengthy ordeal. If the mold is discovered soon enough, you may save yourself thousands of dollars in cleanup and repairs. If you discover that you do have a mold problem, you must remedy the source of the moisture, whether it is a water leak or high humidity in the room.

After you have fixed the trouble that caused the mold, you must clean up the mold. The best way to clean mold is to use water with detergent in it. I find that a little bleach in the mix really helps. The bleach not only kills the mold but also helps to lessen the stains left behind.

After cleaning the mold from the surfaces affected, be sure to dry them thoroughly. This can be done with something as simple as a room fan or even a hair dryer. At times, the damage may be too extensive and a simple cleaning will not suffice. If the area affected is a portion of wall, you can simply cut that section out and patch the hole with a new piece of drywall. The same goes for baseboards as well.

There is no 100 percent effective way to prevent mold; however, if you know what to look for, you can recognize it before someone in your family is affected or you have to pay for expensive cleanup and repairs.

By Nicholos Poma

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