Mold is a moisture problem and it can happen anywhere. Sometimes you see them, sometimes you don’t. Sometimes they’re black, sometimes they’re white. However, if you clean up the mold but don’t solve the moisture problem, it will come back. Since mold is strictly related to moisture, making sure all the water damaged areas are cleaned and dried within 24 hours is the key to prevent mold from growing.
Furthermore, be sure to wipe away excess water on your sink as well as to open windows in a bathroom after showering. If you donâ€™t have windows in your bathroom, make sure the bathroom fan is working properly in order to help the moisture to go away. If the mold growth is over 10 square feet, call a professional as they will be able to use highly-effective cleaning agents and will have the proper protection against spore inhalation.
Even thou there are several ready made products to combat mold, you still can treat this issue by adopting a green policy in your home that utilizes more environmentally friendly products such as undiluted white or apple cider vinegar; borax and warm water; or a paste of baking soda, water, and vinegar.
Another great alternative to bleach (one of the main ingredients used to kill mold and mold spores) is Hydrogen Peroxide. Find a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution and add undiluted to a spray bottle. Spray the moldy surface with the hydrogen peroxide, let wait for at least 10 minutes, and then scrub off. Hydrogen peroxide is also effective at removing stains caused by mold infestations and it can safely be used on clothes, floors, fixtures, walls, and even appliances.
Depending on where the mold is and the size of its damage, you might have to throw away the absorbent or porous materials, such as drywall or ceiling tiles, as the mold can fill the tiny cracks and pores of these materials, making difficult to remove the mold completely. In this case, cleaning will be a temporary solution to inhibit mold growth and unless you remove the surface from your home completely, mold will keep coming back.
Because mold contains spores, which are air-borne particles, it’s very important to wear proper protection when cleaning moldy surfaces.Â [Be sure to wear an N-95 respirator â€” Available at hardware stores â€”, goggles, and gloves.] Make sure you clean and disinfect every moldy area completely before painting or caulking. Wipe away excess moisture and at least 72 hours before painting of caulking. Furthermore, don’t ever paint over or caulk a moldy surface.
Because mold is a moisture related issue, there are couple thing you can do to prevent it:
- When water leaks or spills occur indoors, act quickly! Make sure the area is dried within 24 hours after a leak or spill happens.
- Clean and repair roof gutters regularly.
- Make sure the ground slopes away from the building foundation, so that water does not enter or collect around the foundation.
- Keep air conditioning drip pans clean and the drain lines unobstructed and flowing properly.
- Keep indoor humidity low, if possible, between 30 and 50 percent relative humidity. Relative humidity can be measured with a moisture or humidity meter. You can find this small and inexpensive instrument at your local hardware store.
- Vent appliances that produce moisture, such as clothes dryers, stoves, and kerosene heaters to the outside. Keep in mind that combustion appliances such as stoves and kerosene heaters will increase the humidity unless vented to the outside.
- Reduce the humidity: use air conditioners and/or de-humidifiers when needed.
- Run the bathroom fan or open the window when showering. Use exhaust fans or open windows whenever cooking, running the dishwasher or dish washing, etc.
- Increase ventilation or air movement by opening doors and/or windows, when possible. Use fans as needed. It will also help you lowering your energy bill as well as it will improve your indoor air quality.
- Cover cold surfaces, such as cold water pipes, with insulation to avoid condensation.
- Air purifiers, including Venta Airwashers help reduce mold by passing particles through water and leaving the remaining air at an optimum humidity level.