Your nose could give you the first signal of black mold, especially since the fungus thrives in areas that are difficult to spot. A musty smell could be an early indicator of black mold, and if you or someone in your home has sudden breathing problems, its growth could be even more serious. Sneezing, coughing, burning throat, headache, disorientation, and watery eyes are common signs of mold exposure. Also, if someone has more serious breathing problems like asthma, it could lead to shortness of breath or fever.
None of these signs guarantee the presence of black mold, but if the fungus is left untreated, it could certainly lead to serious health problems.
Finding the source of mold growth and eliminating it quickly is essential before it does any more damage to your home and health. In some cases, you may be able to do this yourself. In more severe cases, you should seek professional help.
This guide will help you find any black mold in your home and learn how to remove it.
Step 1: locate the mold
Mold thrives in dark, damp environments, so the first places you should check are under sinks, in basements, in interior corners of the wall, near exposed plumbing fixtures, and around your water heater. . Use a flashlight during the inspection to aid in locating the problem.
In addition to musty smells, mold creates discoloration. Black mold can take the form of spots or patches. It is often viscous in appearance and will be blackish, green or dark gray.
If you find mold, you can use mold detectors to determine what type of mold it is. Affordable detectors won’t replace a professional inspection, but they are a much cheaper place to start. When using a mold detector, be sure to put on a surgical mask to reduce the risk of breathing problems.
However, if you have trouble seeing anything, even with a flashlight, there are alternatives. You can run a moisture meter over your walls, as it determines saturation levels. A counter that reads over 17% indicates the presence of mold or other issues requiring immediate attention.
Step 2: Determine the action plan
Chances are, if you smell moldy in your home or suddenly have breathing problems and discover mold, the mold has been growing for some time. If the growth is not generalized, that is, it does not cover an entire wall, you can first try to solve the problem on your own. If it’s more comprehensive, skip to step 8 on tips for hiring a pro.
Step 3: Gather the Supplies
To get started, you’ll need the right tools for the job. In addition to a face mask, have on hand goggles, rubber gloves that extend to the elbows, a spray bottle, a scrub brush, disposable coveralls to keep your clothes from absorbing and to spread mold, paper towels and a garbage bag.
Step 4: Create a cleaning solution
Once you have your supplies, you will need to create a cleaning solution. Home improvement expert Bob Vila recommends making a tea tree oil blend from Melaleuca Alternifolia and grapefruit extract. Each is non-toxic and works well to eradicate mold and leave your room smelling fresh. If you don’t have access, you can use bleach, a vinegar and baking soda solution, or a mildew repellant.
Then put on your gloves, mask, and goggles. Make sure your goggles are tight and flush with your face, as exposure to mold in your eyes could cause permanent damage.
To create the cleansing cocktail, mix the contents, then let it sit for a few minutes. If you are using essential oils, you will want to add a teaspoon per oil to a cup of water. For a baking soda and distilled vinegar cleaning solution, apply one part of baking soda with five parts of water and vinegar. While applying the cleanser, you should also continue to shake the bottle so that the solution continues to mix.
Step 5: Prepare the area
Before you start, you should turn off your heater or air conditioner, as this will reduce mold and mildew in the air and spread. You can also use a tarp to block entry points to other areas of your home to reduce the risk of mold spreading.
Take the spray and apply it liberally to the area where mold is growing. Make sure the section is fully saturated, then let the solution work for at least five minutes.
Step 6: Remove black mold
Once the solution has absorbed the area, take a sponge or bristle brush to scrub the affected area. If you have difficulty removing mold, you can apply the solution and clean again.
After scrubbing, apply the solution once more, allowing the area to air dry. This gives the cleaner time to remove any remaining mold while deodorizing the room.
Step 7: Dispose of Items Safely
When the job is done, place the gloves, goggles, mask, tarps and anything else involved in an airtight plastic bag. This prevents mold spores from getting into the air as you move around your home. Then throw everything in the garbage bag. Take out the trash bag, then throw it out. Go back inside and wash your arms, hands and clothes thoroughly.
Step 8: Hire a professional
You may find that you need a professional to remove black mold because of its heavy growth – or if you have respiratory issues, as you shouldn’t try to clean mold if you have severe allergies. or asthma.
The advantage for hiring professionals is that they can quickly diagnose and determine next steps. Before hiring one, however, it’s essential that you do your homework.
Start by finding several in your area, then research their reputation. You can use the Better Business Bureau, which assigns ratings from A to F, in part due to their ability to resolve customer complaints.
You can also read Google Reviews, which might give you a clearer picture of customer experiences with this business. Look for role models with companies like arriving late, breaking service, and other red flags.
Once you’ve found a company that’s right for you, they’ll need to inspect your home. After that, they will outline a plan to remove mold. Make sure you receive everything, including a written quote, before you start. The most reputable companies will be happy to take the time to set expectations up front so that you feel comfortable with their services.
Ultimately, removing black mold will reduce the damage to your home and reduce the health risks associated with life. Once you have removed black mold, you can conserve your air purifier by purchasing an air purifier. These systems work by removing pollen, pollutants, and animal dander so you can breathe easier.
In the future, you can also help reduce mold growth in other parts of your home with these guides:
Stop what you’re doing and clean out your moldy dehumidifier. here’s how
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