Worried about mold in your home? Like most homeowners, concerns about mold are valid because it can cause congestion, eye, throat and skin irritation, difficulty breathing and headaches, among other things. As a result, homeowners want to know how to get rid of mold.
To help know how to get rid of mold by understanding why mold appears in our homes. So, it is interesting to know that mold simply happens because it grows wherever there is moisture. As a result, mold naturally pops up in many rooms in our home because those rooms are prone to moisture. For example, bathrooms always pose a mold risk because the air absorbs moisture from showers.
In fact, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), explains how mold enters and grows within our homes.
“Mold can enter your home through open doorways, windows, vents, and heating and air conditioning systems. Additionally, mold in the air outside can also attach itself to clothing, shoes, bags, and pets can and be carried indoors. Plus, mold will grow in places with a lot of moisture, such as around leaks in roofs, windows, or pipes, or where there has been flooding. Mold grows well on paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles, and wood products. Finally, mold can also grow in dust, paints, wallpaper, insulation, drywall, carpet, fabric, and upholstery.”
How Limit the Dangers of Mold
First, homeowners must acknowledge complete mold eradication remains almost impossible. However, as we understand the underlying causes behind mold growth, we can take steps to limit the dangerous impact of the substance.
Mold requires moisture to develop and grow, so the best way to reduce mold spores from growing is reducing moisture from your home. To help reduce moisture levels around your home, WebMD provides some great advice.
- Utilize dehumidifiers and air conditioners because they help reduce moisture in the air. (Pro Tip: experienced HVAC companies help ensure your system properly removes humidity.)
- Maintain indoor humidity below 60% (Pro Tip: hygrometers help measure humidity levels.)
- Keep the house warm in cool weather (Pro Tip: lower temperatures reduce moisture in the air and resulting condensation, which hits cold surfaces and encourages mold growth.)
- Check duct system for air leaks and proper air flow to each room in your home. (Pro Tip: increase air circulation by opening doors between rooms, using fans and/or moving furniture from wall corners.)
- Add insulation to cold surfaces, such as exterior walls, floors, and windows, which reduces condensation.
- Ensure air conditioning drip pan remains free of obstructions and flows properly.
- Dry wet areas within 24 to 48 hours.
- Fix leaks and seepage to keep water from entering your home.
If there is already mold growing in your home, then clean up the mold! Additionally, address the underlying problem because the mold will return if the underlying moisture issue is not addressed.
At A.Johnson, we rely on ultraviolet technology to identify mold. Independent tests of residential ultraviolet units have proven to be effective in constantly moving air environments (like HVAC systems). The UV light units help kill mold and bacteria quickly and effectively. While many homeowners initially install UV lights to address indoor air quality issues, they are pleasantly surprised the technology helps eliminate hidden odors and mold.
How To Get Rid Of Mold: The Experts Weigh In
Although complete mold eradication remains on our minds, the amount and type of mold exposure varies. For example, basically every bath or shower contains show some minor mold spores without routine cleaning. However, surface mold exposure does not necessarily mean significant mold damage and regularly cleaning the bathroom removes the long-term dangers.
But, at some point, most homeowners eventually experience some mold. However, smart homeowners clean the mold and understand why the mold exposure occurred. To help, HVAC and health experts share some secrets to reducing the mold exposure and cleaning mold spores.
Leverage Simple Cleaning Solutions
Simple cleaning solutions, such as bleach and water, remove mold spores from hard surfaces. The CDC explains how simple cleaning solutions works, but use caution.
“Never mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners. Mixing bleach with ammonia or other cleaning products produces dangerous, toxic fumes. Plus, open windows and doors to provide fresh air. Finally, wear non-porous gloves and protective eyewear.”
Mold Removal with Borax
Fortunately, a common answer for how to get rid of mold remains household cleaners. As a result, borax provides homeowners with another natural cleaning product that fights mold growth.
“Borax is commonly used as a deodorizer as well as for cleaning toilets and drains. Borax is also used as an insecticide, herbicide and fungicide and it can be mixed with water in a solution to kill and remove mold as it is a natural mold inhibitor. However, please not that borax is toxic if you swallow it, but does not emit chemicals or dangerous fumes like some other mold killers. You can buy borax in supermarkets for a few dollars from the laundry section.”
Baking Soda Fights Mold Spores
Another common household product that packs a punch against unwanted mold and mildew is baking soda. Additionally, baking soda offers a safe alternative to some products because it is safe for people and pets. Plus, baking soda absorbs moisture, which helps fight the root cause.
“To kill mold: Add one quarter of a tablespoon of baking soda to a spray bottle of water and shake until it has dissolved. Spray the moldy area with the baking soda and water solution, then use a scrub brush to remove all the mold from the surface. Next, rinse the surface with water to remove any residual mold on the surface. Finally, spray the area again and let the surface dry. (This will kill any left-over mold and prevent the mold from returning).”
Vinegar Fights Mold in Porous Materials
Add vinegar to the list of cleaning products that address mold growth. However, in comparison to products such as bleach, vinegar works best on porous materials and surfaces. (Conversely, bleach typically only works on non-porous or hard surfaces.)
“Both distilled white vinegar and hydrogen peroxide do an effective job of killing mold spores in porous materials. Bleach can only kill mold on non-porous surfaces, as it does not penetrate porous surfaces; so mold roots are left to grow again. To kill mold spores and their roots, pour straight 3 percent peroxide, undiluted, into a spray bottle and saturate the blocks with it. Let the peroxide do its work for 10 to 15 minutes, and scrub the walls to remove all dead mold. You can add vinegar to the peroxide in the spray bottle to make the solution stronger.”
Fight Mold with UV Light Treatment
UV light treatment works by breaking up the underlying DNA contained in mold and related bacteria. Interestingly, test show UV lights kill around 99.9% of mold. Snappy Services share how UV lights prevent mold throughout the HVAC system.
“In addition to common spots containing mold, such as the bathroom tub, other places in your home remain prone to mold.For example, HVAC systems remain prone to holding moisture, particularly inside the air handler. As a result, mold growth within your HVAC system provides some dangerous side effects. After all, any mold spores that enter your ductwork eventually enters your air stream. Therefore, UV light treatment helps reduce mold risk in your home HVAC unit.”
First, Fix the Moisture Issues
Although plenty of cleaning products address mold and mildew, the problem persists. As a result, The Family Handyman recommends addressing the underlying moisture issue as the first step in getting rid of mold, along with providing a few examples.
“Step one in how to get rid of mildew and mold is to fix the moisture problem that’s setting the stage for its growth. This is key. You can scrub, dispose of and replace moldy materials, but until you fix the problem, mold will keep returning. The fix can be as simple as sealing up leaky air-conditioning ducts or as daunting as reshingling a leaky roof or regrading your yard so water runs away from, rather than toward, your foundation. Sewer backups and floods also set up ideal environments for mold and mildew growth.”
Proper Ventilation Prevents Mold Growth
Does your home contain proper ventilation? If not, common everyday activities such as cooking and bathing could be the underlying culprits causing mold. Therefore, take a look at the ventilation in the kitchen, bathroom and/or laundry room.
“It may be that your routine domestic activities are encouraging the growth of mold in your home. Make sure an activity as simple as cooking dinner, taking a shower, or doing a load of laundry doesn’t invite mold by providing proper ventilation in your bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, and any other high-moisture area. Vent appliances that produce moisture — clothes dryers, stoves — to the outside (not the attic). Use AC units and dehumidifiers (especially in humid climates), but make sure they don’t produce moisture themselves by checking them periodically and cleaning them as directed by the manufacturer. Your energy-efficient home may be holding moisture inside, so open a window when cooking or washing dishes or showering, or run an exhaust fan.”
Dehumidifiers Dry Homes & Reduce Mold Growth Conditions
One of the best ways to reduce the risk of mold and mildew remains keeping your home dry. After all, mold and mildew thrive in wet conditions because they feed off moisture. As a result, utilize dehumidifiers (along with proper ventilation) to reduce conditions ripe for mold growth in your home.
“For damp areas of the home like bathrooms and kitchens, you may want to invest in a dehumidifier. Also, be sure to fix any leaky plumbing as soon as possible to prevent mold and mildew from growing in hard-to-reach areas like behind walls and under cabinets. Make it a habit to air out your home regularly by opening windows and doors. Also, if you have ventilation fans, use them to further cycle the air in any rooms prone to excessive moisture. Keep shower curtains closed when not in use so they can dry. Furthermore, avoid leaving items like damp rugs, moist towels, or wet clothes laying around as these are the perfect medium for mold and mildew to grow in.”
Use Mold-Resistant Products
As mold continues to cause problems, new products hit the market that bill themselves as mold-resistant. For example, items such as drywall, sheetrock and even certain types of paint are now made of mold-resistant materials, which is perfect for moisture prone areas of your home.
“Use mold-resistant products like mold-resistant drywall or mold-resistant Sheetrock, and mold inhibitors for paints. Traditional drywall is composed of a gypsum plaster core pressed between plies of paper. Mold-resistant drywall is paperless (the gypsum core is covered in fiberglass, making the surface highly water-resistant). Moisture-resistant drywall is especially valuable in areas prone to wetness, such as bathrooms, laundry rooms, basements, and kitchens. Not only is traditional drywall more susceptible to mold than the paperless kind, but it is also difficult to rid of mold, and removal and replacement can be expensive. Mold-resistant gypsum board is also available; the core of the drywall is developed in such a way to prevent moisture absorption, and thus prevent mold growth.”
Keep Water Away From Your Home
Some common home maintenance activities, such as keeping your roof and gutters clean also help prevent mold. For example, if water seeps into your home due to clogged or damaged gutters, then that is entirely preventable. Additionally, does your home maintain the proper slope that directs water away from the foundation? If not, then look into improving the slope around your home, which helps prevent water from collecting near the foundation.
“Direct water away from your home. If the ground around your home isn’t sufficiently sloped away from the foundation, water may collect there and seep into your crawlspace or basement. Plus, clean and/or repair damaged gutters. A mold problem might be a simple matter of a roof that is leaking because of full or damaged gutters. Have your roof gutters cleaned regularly and inspected for damage. Repair them as necessary, and keep an eye out for water stains after storms that may indicate a leak.”