Between thirty and fifty percent of homes across America have an issue with biological indoor pollution, such as black mold. And this can have a huge impact on the health of people living with this pollution.
Knowing the ins and outs of black mold removal could save your health as well as your home. Not familiar with the best ways to get rid of black mold? Then you’re in the right place!
Read on to find out everything you need to know about how to get rid of black mold in your home.
What is Black Mold?
Black mold is a type of microfungus otherwise known as Stachybotrys chartarum. It probably won’t come as a surprise, given its name, that this mold appears as a black fungus that is hard to miss!
It was first discovered way back in 1837 by August Carl Joseph Corda in Prague, Europe. But black mold spores may predate this as you can also find them in soil or grain.
Nowadays, black mold is a common problem in many buildings around the world. In particular, buildings with cellulose insulation experience problems with black mold.
However, one of the most important things you should know about this fungus is that it contains toxic spores in its slime heads. And these can cause serious health problems.
One of the most common problems it causes is Sick Building Syndrome. This affects people who live in proximity to black mold and breathe in its spores regularly. Some of the symptoms of Sick Building Syndrome include:
- A runny or blocked nose
- Itchy skin and rashes
- Sore eyes
- Exhaustion and difficulty focusing
Prolonged exposure to black mold can also affect your neurological functions and lead to mood swings or even brain damage. It is especially dangerous for children, babies, and pregnant women.
Over time, black mold toxins will weaken your immune system. This means that you find yourself getting ill much more frequently. Not only is this annoying, but repeated illnesses can cause severe damage to your long-term health.
So why do some buildings experience problems with black mold? To understand how to remove black mold, we need first to understand why it occurs.
Why Do Some Homes Grow Black Mold?
Almost any building could experience black mold, but some buildings are more likely to than others.
Damp conditions play a huge role in encouraging the growth of black mold. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, you shouldn’t leave material in your home wet for more than 48 hours. Longer than this and you are likely to experience issues with damp and mold.
It’s essential to keep an eye out for any leaks in your building. These could introduce excess moisture and lead to black mold. And a leak isn’t the only thing that could raise the humidity of your home.
Flood damage, poor ventilation, condensation, and high humidity could also make your home damper. If you don’t deal with this problem soon, then the chances of you experiencing black mold in your home are incredibly high.
The climate can also have an impact on your home. For example, if you live in a particularly humid or tropical area, then you will have to work even harder to keep your home dry.
How to Find Black Mold
As we’ve already mentioned, black mold is relatively easy to spot thanks to its characteristic black coloring. However, it doesn’t always appear in the most obvious of places. This means you need to be thorough when checking your home for black mold.
It often occurs in places where moisture collects. So always check in your bathrooms and under the sink. If you have a basement, you should do a regular check of this as well, as basements are prone to leaks and damp.
You may notice the smell of black mold before you see it. Black mold has a very musty, damp smell. This is similar to the smell of dirt or rotting leaves.
Identifying a new smell in your home can be tricky when you live there all the time. But if a close friend or relative comments on something odd-smelling in your home, you should check it out.
As we’ve already mentioned, black mold can also affect your health. If you find yourself experiencing any symptoms of Sick Building Syndrome, then you should give your home a check. Paying attention to when and where you experience these symptoms can help you to find the black mold.
For example, if you often experience symptoms overnight or in the morning, then the black mold might be in your bedroom. Or if you find that they are worse in the basement, this is probably where the black mold is growing.
When hunting for black mold in your home, always use a flashlight as it can be tricky to spot. Or you could hire a company to carry out a mold inspection for true peace of mind. Once you’ve found it, the next thing to do is to kill black mold as soon as you can.
Black Mold Removal DIY Kit
Before you start killing black mold in your home, you should make sure you have everything you need.
First of all, you will need a chemical to help kill the mold spores. There are several things you can use for this.
Borax, ammonia, or bleach are all great ways to get rid of mold spores. But you should be careful never to mix bleach with ammonia or other detergents. Doing this produces toxic fumes.
You may prefer to use a natural remedy to get rid of your home’s black mold. Hydrogen peroxide, tea tree oil, and grapefruit seed extract all work on mold spores. Or you could use concentrated white vinegar or baking soda.
Along with your removal solution, you will need:
- A flashlight
- A spray bottle
- Rubber clothes
- Safety goggles
- A face mask
- One set of disposable overalls
- A nylon scrubbing brush
- Some old rags
- Paper towels
- A garbage bag
Before you start removing any mold, you should open the windows near where you are cleaning. This will help to ventilate the area while you clean. And it will stop you from breathing in a build-up of fumes from the cleaning products.
Black Mold Removal
Once you have everything in place and are wearing your protective clothing, it’s time to start cleaning!
Spray the mold-covered area with your removal solution and let this soak in. Depending on which product you use, you may need to leave the solution to soak into the mold.
For example, you should leave ammonia sitting on the black mold of at least two hours. But you can start scrubbing with products like Borax or detergent sprays straight away.
Scrub the mold away with your nylon brush. The spores should lift off easily. You can then wipe the area of any remaining spores up using your paper towels or old rags.
As you do this, make sure to chuck any mold-covered clothes in the garbage bag straight away to stop them coming into contact with any area of your home.
You need to rinse and wipe away some removal solutions, such as ammonia or bleach, from the affected area of your home. But you can let others sit on a surface after cleaning without causing any problems. Leaving some solutions, such as Borax, on a surface will stop black mold from returning.
Once you’ve finished cleaning, it’s essential to dispose of everything you’ve used properly. Your overalls, gloves, and face mask should all go in the garbage along with your scrubbing brush and wipes. You should put this is the trash straight away to stop spores from escaping into the rest of your home.
If the black mold has spread onto furniture, carpets, or tiles, then you should also remove and replace these.
An extensive mold problem can be much more difficult and dangerous for you to clean. If your mold problem covers over ten square feet, then you should consider hiring a professional team in.
Measures You Can Take to Prevent Black Mold
Once you’ve got rid of black mold, it’s also important to identify why it grew in the first place. This will help you to stop it from coming back in the future and protect the rest of your home.
Mold needs three things to grow: heat, food, and moisture. You can stop it in its tracks by removing at least one of these elements. Moisture in your home is the easiest thing to control.
Try to keep your home’s humidity levels low. These shouldn’t exceed 50% at any point throughout the day.
Getting a humidity measure can help you to stay on top of this. To stop your home from getting too humid you may need to invest in an air conditioning unit or a dehumidifier.
You should also make sure you have proper ventilation throughout your home, especially in the kitchen and bathrooms. If you have a clothes dryer, make sure that the steam vents outside your house.
You can also protect your home from mold in advance using mold inhibitors. You paint these onto walls or ceilings to stop mold growing there.
Finally, using specific cleaning products throughout your house will help stop any tiny spores in their track. Cleaning with a bleach-based product will do just that!
But one particular time when protecting your home from black mold is important is after a flood or a leak. So let’s take a look at what you should do when this happens.
Preventing Black Mold After a Leak or Flood
Leaks and floods in your home can lead to serious black mold issues if you don’t deal with them appropriately. This is because they immediately add excess moisture to your property. Dealing with the problem quickly is a crucial way of protecting your home.
If you find a leak, make sure you call a repairman near you straight away and set about drying out the area as quickly as possible. Remember, you ideally don’t want to leave moisture sitting in your home for longer than 24 hours and definitely not more than 48!
If you find a leak and don’t know how old it is, keep an eye on the area. This could help you catch black mold before it takes hold!
After a flood, you should follow the same timelines to drying out your home. If any furniture or carpets don’t try out during this time, then you should remove them straight away.
The Bottom Line
Finding black mold is an unpleasant moment for any homeowner, but fortunately, black mold removal isn’t as hard as it seems. The key to protecting your home and your health is dealing with the problem as quickly as possible, then addressing the source of the issue.
There are also some tremendously easy steps you can take to prevent black mold from growing in your home in the future.