Sinus headaches and stuffy noses abound during allergy season, but these symptoms don't always mean you have allergies. If you're suffering from severe allergy symptoms, especially when you're at home, you may have a much bigger problem.
Mold illness often begins with upper respiratory symptoms. Your nose plugs up, you have a difficult time catching your breath, and your eyes burn and itch as they turn red. Eventually, you begin to notice more severe symptoms such as nausea, brain fogginess, and general malaise.
It's time to start searching for black mold in your home. If you do have black mold, then what do you do? Is black mold removal like any other type of contaminant removal?
By the time you've finished reading this article, you will understand how to remove black mold after you've found it. You'll also understand how to prevent black mold in the first place.
Detecting and Finding Black Mold
To detect black mold, start with the physical symptoms of mold exposure.
Black mold can be a dangerous parasite in your home. It does not bother everyone. Some people live in homes with black mold and develop no symptoms of intolerance.
Others, though, can develop serious symptoms that threaten their quality of life. Regardless of if you have symptoms, you need to get rid of the black mold as soon as you can.
When looking for black mold, first assess the symptoms of those living in the home. The CDC states that black mold spores can cause flu-like or cold-like symptoms. So stuffy noses, wheezing, and skin and eye irritation indicate a potential problem.
If you've lived with the mold for a while, you'll have long-term exposure symptoms such as a fever, shortness of breath, and nausea. You most likely won't die from mold exposure, but you will feel extremely ill.
Once you've determined the occupants of the home may have been exposed to black mold, it's time to start your search. Black mold thrives on dampness. So look in the damp areas of your home. Start with the basement.
The mold needs a moist environment and then a product to grow on. So drywall and wood are ideal spots if the humidity is right. Often the mold will start in the walls, making a room smell moldy before you see it.
If you cannot see the mold but smell it, bring in a professional who has tools that detect mold.
Black Mold Removal Steps
Removing black mold takes time and expertise. You will need proper gear and equipment to protect yourself and the loved ones in your family. You may even need to send your kids away to relatives while you clean up the mold or have a professional crew do their work.
You can best protect yourself by wearing a respirator as you work. This will protect you against the spores that you're trying to remove. You should also wear clothing that covers all of your skin including long pants and a long-sleeve shirt.
Put on safety goggles and wear rubber gloves. Have several pairs of rubber gloves on hand, since you'll need a new pair every time you take a break.
Then turn off your fans, air conditioner, and heater. Avoid moving air throughout your home since you'll be releasing spores as you attempt to remove them.
Seal all of your doorways of the exposed areas with a tarp and painter's tape. This will isolate the mold spores. Put an exhaust fan near the outdoor openings to push the spores outside.
Clean Up the Mold
After you've prepared yourself and the room, it's time to clean up the mold. Create a natural solution such as one part baking soda combined with five parts distilled white vinegar and five parts water. Put this combination in a spray bottle, and begin spraying the moldy area.
You can also use a more chemical-based solution such as all-purpose cleaners, bleach, or dish soap.
Spray the moldy area, and let it sit for 30 to 60 minutes. Then scrub it thoroughly using a sponge and the cleaning solution of your choice. Let the area dry, and repeat the process until the mold is gone.
Once you've scrubbed the area, clean up any debris that has black mold. You may need to replace drywall or throw out furniture that has mold on it. Make sure you have no traces of mold before you unseal the room and expose it to the rest of the house.
Leave your outdoor exhaust fan on for a few hours before putting it back in storage. Then focus on preventing black mold in the future.
Preventing Black Mold
You can best prevent black mold by preventing excess moisture. Put a dehumidifier in your basement. Invest in a commercial dehumidifier, in the main part of your basement.
If you have smaller rooms such as bedrooms or bathrooms, put smaller dehumidifiers in them. This will keep all parts of the basement less humid and less susceptible to mold. It will also help the basement smell better.
Clean Up Water
Keep a close eye out for any water in your home or basement. If you have a place susceptible to high water, use a high water alarm so you know there is moisture. This alarm will send off a loud signal to tell you that you have water in an unwanted place such as above the sump pump hole.
If you find water damage, treat it immediately. Clean and dry the area thoroughly. Remove flooring and ceiling tiles that do not dry adequately to prevent mold from growing.
A HEPA air filter will keep your air clean and prevent mold spores from contaminating your breathing space. Put a filter in your living area as well as in the basement to keep the air clean.
Stay Dry, Stay Healthy
Basic black mold removal requires proper equipment, time, and energy. When you do not care for the black mold in your home, you put yourself and your loved ones at risk of serious illness. For the best possible clean-up results, bring in a professional.
Professional cleaners will know how to remove mold thoroughly and safely. They will have the proper training and best methods possible to make your home clean and safe.
Do you suspect a mold problem in your home? If so, bring in the experts and contact us today. Our mold removal team is ready to make your home a healthy, safe place once again.