Showing posts with label Mold. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mold. Show all posts

Mold Clean Up

How to Kill Mold with Bleach

Bleach produces harsh fumes so make sure the area is well ventilated before you begin. You should also wear gloves during the process to protect your hands.

  1. For killing mold with bleach use a ratio of one cup of bleach per gallon of water (ie about 1 part bleach to 10 parts water).
  2. Apply the solution to non-porous surfaces with mold growth either by using a spray bottle or by using a bucket and a sponge or cloth.
  3. You don't need to rinse the surface afterwards (unless it is used for food preparation or a surface which may be touched by small children or pets) as the bleach will inhibit mold growing in the future.

Does Bleach Kill Mold?

Although the active ingredient in bleach, sodium hypochlorite, is the main ingredient in many mold removal products, there are many reasons to use alternatives to chlorine bleach when killing mold. 

One reason is that bleach cannot completely kill mold growing in porous materials. The chlorine in bleach cannot penetrate into porous surfaces such as drywall or wood. The chlorine is left on the surface of porous materials and only the water component of the bleach is absorbed into the material, providing more moisture for the mold to feed on.

Some of the mold on the surface might be killed but the roots of the mold are left intact meaning the mold soon returns, leaving you in a cycle of repeated bleaching. Perhaps this is why some people believe that spraying bleach on mold doesn't affect it but instead just bleaches its color so you can no longer see it.

Another disadvantage of bleach is that it can damage the materials it's used on as it is a harsh, corrosive chemical. Chlorine bleach also gives off harsh fumes and it even produces toxic gas when mixed with ammonia. There are safer alternatives such as borax or vinegar which don't produce dangerous fumes or leave behind toxic residue. For these reasons try to avoid using bleach and if you must use it, only use it on non-porous surfaces.

Mold Removal with Borax
There are many advantages to using borax to kill mold. For starters, borax is a natural cleaning product and although it is toxic if you swallow it, borax does not emit chemicals or dangerous fumes like some other mold killers. Borax, a white mineral powder, has a pH level of about 9 (baking soda is pH 8.1 and pH 7 is neutral) and a low toxicity.

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. You can buy borax in supermarkets for a few dollars from the laundry section.

How to Kill Mold with Borax

  1. To kill mold using borax, create a borax-water solution using a ratio of 1 cup of borax per gallon of water.
  2. Vacuum up any loose mold with a HEPA filtered vacuum cleaner to lessen the number of spores stirred up into the air during the cleaning process.
  3. Use a scrubbing brush with the borax-water solution to scrub the mold off the surface.
  4. Wipe up any extra moisture and excess mold particles or dust/debris to prevent them spreading into the air once the surface has dried.
  5. You don't need to rinse off the borax as the solution will prevent more mold beginning to grow on the surface again.
  6. Leave the surface to dry completely.

Mold Removal with Vinegar

Vinegar is a mild acid which can kill 82% of mold species. However it also has the advantages of being natural and safe. Vinegar is non-toxic and doesn't give off dangerous fumes like bleach does.

How to Kill Mold with Vinegar

To kill mold with vinegar, use white distilled vinegar which you can buy cheaply from the supermarket.

  1. Pour some vinegar into a spray bottle without watering it down.
  2. Spray the vinegar onto the moldy surface and leave it to sit for an hour.
  3. Wipe clean the area with water and allow the surface to dry. Any smell from the vinegar should clear within a few hours.

If you want to use vinegar to prevent mold growing on surfaces just spray vinegar on the surface and leave it. Repeat this every few days to ensure the surface will stay mold-free. You can even mop your tiled bathroom floor or other hard non-porous floors with vinegar if you are worried about mold growing on them. 

Mold Removal with Ammonia
Like bleach, ammonia will kill mold on hard non-porous surfaces such as counter tops, glass or tiles but it is ineffective at killing mold growing in porous material such as wood or drywall.

Another disadvantage of using ammonia is that it is a harsh, toxic chemical. Make sure you never mix ammonia with bleach because the gas they create when combined is toxic. Chlorine mixed with ammonia was even used as a chemical weapon during World War 2.

Additionally, although ammonia can kill surface mold, dead mold and dead mold spores are still allergenic so you will need to make sure to remove them afterwards.

How to Kill Mold with Ammonia

  1. To kill mold using ammonia, create a solution of 50% clear ammonia and 50% water in a spray bottle and spray it on moldy areas.
  2. Make sure the ammonia you use says "clear ammonia" on the label.
  3. Leave the area for a few hours before wiping and rinsing.
  4. Often detergents or mold cleaning products will contain ammonia. In that case just follow the directions on the label and be sure never to mix it with bleach.

Mold Removal with Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide kills mold as it is anti-fungal as well as anti-viral and anti-bacterial. Hydrogen peroxide is a good alternative to chlorine bleach because it is safe to use and doesn't damage the environment, nor does it leave behind toxic residue or produce toxic fumes like chlorine bleach does. You can buy hydrogen peroxide from drug stores for around one dollar for a bottle of 3% concentration.

Hydrogen peroxide kills mold effectively on many materials such as clothes, floors, bathroom fixtures, walls and items such as kitchen appliances. Since hydrogen peroxide is a bleaching agent it may also help fade the stain mold leaves behind. Spot test hydrogen peroxide on the material you're going to be cleaning to make sure it won't fade the material's colors.

How to Kill Mold with Hydrogen Peroxide

  1. To kill mold pour 3% concentration hydrogen peroxide into a spray bottle.
  2. Spray the moldy surface completely so that the moldy areas are saturated with hydrogen peroxide.
  3. Leave the surface to sit for 10 minutes while the hydrogen peroxide kills the mold.
  4. Then scrub the area to make sure to remove all the mold and mold stains.
  5. Finally wipe the surface down to remove residual mold and spores.

You can also use vinegar with hydrogen peroxide during the cleaning to more effectively remove the mold. Afterwards store the spray bottle in a dark place since light diminishes hydrogen peroxide's effectiveness.

Mold Removal with Detergent and Water
A solution of detergent and warm water can be used to scrub surface mold off non-porous surfaces. Although detergent itself doesn't kill mold, if the mold is on non-porous materials then the solution doesn't need to kill it as long as you completely clean away all the mold on the surface.

Mold Removal with Baking Soda

Baking soda is well known as a natural and safe household cleaner. But you can also use baking soda to kill mold in your home. Unlike other mold killers which contain harsh chemicals, baking soda is mild (pH of 8.1) and harmless to your family and any pets.

Besides killing mold, baking soda also deodorizes and so using it can get rid of the smell mold leaves in your home. Baking soda also absorbs moisture to help keep mold away.

Vinegar is often used along with baking soda when cleaning up a mold problem since vinegar kills different species of mold to baking soda.

How to Kill Mold with Baking Soda

  1. Add one quarter of a tablespoon of baking soda to a spray bottle of water.
  2. Shake the bottle to dissolve the baking soda into the water.
  3. Spray the moldy area with the baking soda and water solution.
  4. Then use a sponge or scrubbing brush to make sure to remove all the mold from the surface.
  5. Once you've scrubbed away the mold rinse the surface with water to remove any residual mold on the surface.
  6. Spray the area with the spray bottle again and let the surface dry. This will kill any left over mold and prevent the mold returning.

You can use a cloth instead of a spray bottle to clean mold with baking soda:

  1. Soak a cloth in water and then add one quarter of a tablespoon of baking soda to it.
  2. Use the cloth on the moldy area to remove the mold with the baking soda and water solution.

Mold Removal with Tea Tree Oil

Of all the natural mold killing solutions tea tree oil is the most effective. Although it is also expensive, a small amount of tea tree oil goes a long way in killing mold.

Tea tree oil is an essential oil which is harmless to people and pets. Tea tree oil is anti fungal, capable of killing all types of molds. Tea tree oil is antibacterial as well.

You can buy tea tree oil for about $10 for a small bottle from most natural food stores. Make sure the tea tree oil you buy is derived from the Melaleuca Alternifolia, which is the technical name for tea tree, as not all brands always are.

How to Kill Mold with Tea Tree Oil

  1. To kill mold using tea tree oil add water to a spray bottle, keeping in mind how many cups it takes to fill the bottle.
  2. Next add tea tree oil at the ratio of 1 teaspoon per cup of water that went into the spray bottle.
  3. Spray the solution on the moldy surface.
  4. There is no need to rinse since leaving the tea tree oil on the surface will kill the mold and prevent it from returning.

An alternative to using a spray bottle is to use a rag or cloth with the tea tree oil solution to clean away mold:

  1. First create a solution of tea tree oil and water in the ratio of 1 teaspoon per cup of water.
  2. Use a cloth to apply the solution to the moldy surface and scrub the mold away.
  3. Again, you do not need to rinse the surface afterwards.

Tea tree oil has a strong smell but it will go away after some time. You can keep and use the solution you have made for a long time afterwards as tea tree oil does not lose its potency quickly.

Mold Removal with Grapefruit Seed Extract

Grapefruit seed extract is similar to tea tree oil in that it is an expensive but very effective natural mold killer. The advantage of grapefruit seed extract over tea tree oil however is that it has almost no odor. Like tea tree oil you can buy grape fruit seed extract from most health food stores.

Grapefruit seed extract kills mold naturally as the citric acid from the grapefruit attacks mold. Grapefruit seed extract also disinfects areas and deodorizes as well. Like tea tree oil, a small amount of grapefruit seed extract goes a long way in killing mold.

How to Kill Mold with Grapefruit Seed Extract

  1. To kill mold with grapefruit seed extract create a solution of grapefruit seed extract and water in a spray bottle in the ratio of 10 drops of grapefruit seed extract per cup of water.
  2. Shake the spray bottle to mix the solution thoroughly and then spray it onto the surface where mold is growing.
  3. You do not need to rinse the solution away afterwards although you can use a cloth to wipe away the mold and solution after some minutes if you like. The longer grapefruit seed extract is in contact with mold the more it will cut through and kill the mold colony and prevent mold from returning.
  4. Repeat if needed to more thoroughly remove mold from the surface.

The grapefruit seed extract solution in the spray bottle will remain potent for a long time and can be reused again and again as grapefruit seed extract has a long shelf life.

Mold and Your Health

Exposure to airborne mold spores can occur through inhalation, ingestion or skin contact, and can result in symptoms including dermatitis, cough, rhinitis, nose bleeds, cold and flu symptoms, headache, general malaise and fever.
Molds are organized into three groups according to human responses: Allergenic, Pathogenic and Toxigenic.
  • Allergenic Molds - Allergenic molds do not usually produce life-threatening health effects and are most likely to affect those with allergies. The body's responses to allergenic mold tend to be relatively mild, depending on individual sensitivities and allergies. Typical symptoms include:
    • Scratchy, Sore or Itchy Throat
    • Nasal Congestion
    • Runny Nose
    • Sneezing
    • Coughing and Wheezing
    • Shortness of Breath/Breathing Difficulties
    • Asthma Flares
    • Itchy or Watery Eyes
    • Sensitive or Itchy Skin
    • Skin Rash
    These can lead to uncomfortable living situations for some if concentrations are present in the air or on surfaces.
  • Pathogenic Molds - Pathogenic molds usually produce some type of infection. They can cause serious health effects in persons with suppressed immune systems. Healthy people can usually resist infection by these organisms. However, in some cases, high exposure can cause hypersensitivity and infection with those who are seemingly healthy.
  • Toxigenic Molds - While a toxic mold is living and growing, toxic metabolites called mycotoxins are produced. Exposure to this chemical compound by other organisms can be harmful. The health effects of  mycotoxin exposure to humans can vary, ranging from short-term bodily irritation and allergenic reaction to lung infection, a weakened immune system, cancer or even death. Initial awareness of adverse health effects from exposure to  mycotoxins was raised by a mid-1990's study from Cleveland, Ohio, involving infants who had died from sudden and unexplained pulmonary hemorrhage (bleeding of the lungs). Upon investigation, researchers found that the infants resided in homes with high levels of the mold Stachybotrysatra were prone to serious health effects. Therefore, when the presence of  toxigenic mold is suspected within a property, inspection and testing is advised. Furthermore, when such mold and/or mycotoxins are identified, remedial action is highly recommended.
Mold and health concerns go hand in hand. The medical and legal communities are now taking mold contamination very seriously. There are a number of documented cases of health effects and physical problems resulting from indoor exposure to mold and mold spores. Mold related illnesses can result from high level/short-term exposures and lower level/long-term exposures. The most common health effects or symptoms reported from exposure to indoor mold environments are a chronic clearing of the throat, runny nose, eye irritation, cough, congestion and aggravation of asthma — allergic reactions similar to cat allergies — headache and fatigue. Mold related health effects are often reported as feeling like you have a cold but you don't. Eventually it may feel like you have the flu but you don't. Many of our customers report feeling better when they leave their home for a week or more. Once they arrive back within a day or so they are ill again.
With so much overwhelming evidence to support the dangers of exposure to mold, mold testing is the first step in properly assessing whether an abnormal or elevated mold condition exists.

New Day Homes specializes in Mold Inspections in the Magnolia Texas area  area.

Buying a Home? Get a Mold Test

According to Dr. John D. Shane, Vice President of Laboratory services of PRO-LAB millions of homes across America have hidden water leaks that are promoting mold growth that can expose homeowners to mold spores.  Mold has a potential to cause health problems like allergies, irritation (to lungs, eyes, skin, throat, nose) and are potentially toxic.  Inhaling and touching mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals and normally healthy individuals may become sensitive to mold after exposure.
The EPA states that, "It is important to take precautions to limit your exposure to mold and mold spores. Avoid breathing in mold or mold spores". The EPA also recommends that if you suspect you have a hidden mold problem you should consider hiring an experienced professional to avoid exposure to potentially massive doses of mold spores.
Mold damages what it grows on. The longer it grows the more damage it can cause. If there is a mold problem in your home, you should clean up the mold promptly.  Mold can be hidden, growing on the water from a hidden leak, and can develop into a potentially large problem if not caught in time.
Testing your home on a regular basis is a prudent way to prevent small problems from growing into a costly and unhealthy situation, and always avoid exposing yourself and others to mold.

New Day Homes specializes in Mold Inspections in the Magnolia Texas area  area.

10 Mold Resistant Building Materials

More and more, mold resistant building materials are beginning to appear on the market. In addition to helping prevent mold growth, several of these materials are also being certified by institutions monitoring environmental impact, such as the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute and the LEED Green Building Rating System. Here is a list of ten great mold resistant products to use in your next construction adventure.

FrameGuard® Mold Resistant Wood

1. Mold Resistant Wood: Another great choice for preventing mold is mold resistant wood. Companies like Frame-Guard® manufacture wood that has been treated with anti-mold chemicals. In addition to staving off mold, this product also keeps termites away. Another great attribute of this product is that Frame-Guard® wood is certified by Greenguard to not release any harmful emissions into the air.
2. Mold Resistant Insulation: Even though fiberglass is inherently resistant to mold, there are companies producing insulation that has been treated with a fungicide. Companies like Nu-Wool manufacture a Premium Cellulose Insulation that is one of the few insulation products which contains a fungicide registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In addition, the fungicide being used by Nu Wool is low in toxicity making it a safer choice when considering treated insulation.
3. Mold Resistant Drywall: This type of drywall has fiberglass facing instead of the traditional paper facing. The use of fiberglass removes the “organic material” aspect from the drywall (mold feeds on organic material). Even though mold resistant drywall does not completely prevent mold growth, it greatly reduces occurrence. Top mold resistant drywall brands include U.S. Gypsum (Sheetrock® Brand Humitek®) and Georgia Pacific (DensArmor® Plus).
4. Mold Resistant Drywall Tape: Providing more protection against mold than paper tape, mold resistant drywall tape is the ideal tape to compliment to mold resistant paperless drywall market. One brand, FibaTape® a, produces a tape that is covered by an anti-microbial coating; their tape achieved a perfect 10 rating on the ASTM D3273 mold test.
5. Mold Resistant Paint: More and more, there are paints being offered that contain fungicides. The point of using a mold resistant paint is to discourage the growth of mold on the paint surface (the wall). However, it should be noted that if there is already mold present before the paint is applies, the paint will not kill the mold; any mold must be removed at its source before paint is applied. An example of a great mold resistant paint is “Perma-White®” by Zinsser. It is guaranteed to prevent the growth of mold on the paint film for at least 5 years as shown in independent laboratory tests.
6. Mold resistant Stucco: Mold conscious builders now have a choice when it comes to exterior finishes. Mold resistant Stucco, such as Amerimix® Water, Mold & Mildew Resistant, offers excellent protection against mold and offers double-duty protection against water damage. Mold resistant Stucco is pre-blended with a waterproofing and anti-microbial product, and is easily found at stores like Home Depot.
7. Mold Resistant Carpet: Carpets made of Olefin (polypropylene) fibers or acrylic fibers offer resistance to mold growth, although, acrylic carpets are being less used in today’s market because of their poor resilience. Polypropylene carpets can be found almost anywhere today.
8. Mold Resistant Caulk: On the market, this tends to be sold as “Mildew Proof” or “Mildew Resistant” caulk. Because mildew isn’t necessary the mold you see in your home, (See The Difference Between Mold and Mildew), we choose to call it Mold Resistant Caulk. Manufacturers like Dap® have introduced products like Kwik Seal Plus Adhesive Caulk with Miocroban®. The caulk is treated with fungicide so it helps prevent mold growth on the caulk as well as stains and odors. In addition, the caulk emits low VOCs.
9. Mold Resistant Sealant: Easily applied to wood, OSB, concrete, stucco, brick, tile, gypsum, and other surfaces in the home, mold resistant sealant is a protective coating that has been blended with anti-microbial chemicals. Mold resistant sealants come in either spray or non-spray forms. Brands like Fiberlock IAQ 6040 Mold Resistant Sealant® can be used on wood, OSB, wallboard, concrete and other construction materials to withstand the moist, humid conditions that provide the ideal environment for fungal growth.
10. Mold Resistant Shower Pan: A great alternative on the market is the Tile Redi Barrier Free Black Shower Floor®. Claiming to be the best water intrusion solution available, Tile Redi® produces a shower floor that is ready for tile and is set on the shower pan floor with epoxy. The product is leak free and mold resistant. Tile Redi® also states that no further waterproofing will be required with use of their product.
While there are more products being manufactured to help resist mold growth, it is important to note that if there is a mold problem to begin with, the mold must be removed at its source. Nevertheless, mold resistant building materials provide great building blocks for a mold-free property and help prevent having to endure the process of mold removal. Especially when used in high-humidity and mildew-prone areas, mold resistant materials can significantly increase indoor air qualityas well as help maintain a mold-free environment.

What Is a Mold Inspection and What Does Mold Testing Do?

Stories about black mold, toxic mold, mold lawsuits, and mold sickness are plastered across the headlines these days. As a result many property owners and renters are making the decision to get their buildings inspected for mold.
Perhaps you are one of the growing numbers of people wondering if a mold inspection is right for your property.  Is it worth it? What does the process entail? How do you search for the right mold inspection and testing company? This article will help to clarify some of the questions people have about what a mold inspection is and what mold testing can tell you about the health and safety of your property.
Let’s start at the top. Why should you get a mold inspection? People get mold inspections for many different reasons. Homeowners oftentimes get an inspection as part of the home buying or selling process, in order to make sure the house is free from mold before they move in or move out. Many people get mold testing done if they can see that there are areas of mold growth in their home. These people are interested in determining the exact nature of the mold—whether it’s harmful to human health, and whether or not they need professional help to remedy the situation.
Some people need an inspection with testing in order to get a proper estimate for remediation. The mold problem is probably extensive, and they want to take the first step towards restoration. Besides just being a visual blight on a property, mold can deteriorate walls and decompose wooden beams, weakening a home’s structural integrity.
Other people request an inspection because they merely suspect that there may be mold growing in their home. They could smell a musty odor or feel a dampness or mugginess inside their home. Mold might not be clearly visible. It could be growing inside walls, behind the dishwasher, or in a crawl space. A mold inspection with testing will determine if there is in fact mold present in the building.
Along the same lines, many people request a mold test or a mold inspection because although they don’t see any mold they feel some of the common health symptoms associated with mold exposure. Mold can cause a wide range of health effects in humans, depending on the specific person and the concentration of mold in the air. Most of the symptoms are associated with allergies and asthma. Some people feel as though they have the flu, complete with headaches, drowsiness, sneezing, coughing, wheezing, and eye irritation. The elderly, small children, and people with immune deficiencies or respiratory problems have the worst reactions to mold. “Black mold” (Stachybotrys) has even been linked to pulmonary hemorrhage, or bleeding of the lungs.
Now that we know why people get mold inspections done, let’s discuss what actually happens during the inspection. The most comprehensive mold inspections will involve four main processes:
  1. Complete visual analysis of the premises: Mold inspectors are trained to locate the most common areas of mold growth, as well as some of the less obvious places where mold can develop in a building. Visual inspection alone cannot determine the presence of mold or the potential for mold within a structure, so more advanced techniques are also necessary.
  2. Moisture testing with a digital moisture meter: Hand-held moisture meters can pick up the level of moisture present in wood, sheetrock, and other materials. If your building has high levels of moisture, it’s likely that rot, mold, and mildew will affect the structure’s stability.
  3. Leak detection: Because mold growth in homes and apartments is almost always the result of unwanted water intrusion, inspectors should look for leaks in the roof, ceiling, and water pipes. Even small cracks in the exterior of a home can cause major damage if left unchecked.
  4. Air and surface samples, with testing and analysis from a laboratory: A good mold inspection will take air samples from various places inside the building as well as a “base” sample from outside. The outdoor air sample will give the laboratory a standard air quality reading against which they will compare indoor samples. Results from a laboratory analysis of the samples will usually tell what kinds of molds are present in a building (including the presence of “toxic mold,” like Stachybotrys).
Some mold inspection companies will provide these services separately, and others include them in a complete package. Be wary of companies that offer free or extremely cheap inspections, as they likely charge more for estimates and results from a laboratory or offer different aspects of the inspection a la carte.
Additionally, many people request an inspection of their building with infrared thermal imaging equipment. This kind of service can detect minute changes in temperature on walls inside a home, which may determine where moisture levels are high and subsequently where mold is likely to grow.
Besides the use of high-tech equipment, a mold inspection needs to be conducted by a competent service professional. Mold inspectors should be certified through the Indoor Environmental Association (IEA) or other industry organizations which regulate standard practices and provide oversight for inspection procedures. Initial training courses and continued education will provide inspectors with the necessary information to conduct the most extensive of inspections. Many inspectors have educational backgrounds and experience in the biological sciences and building construction trades.
Although mold inspections and mold testing can be requested for a variety of reasons, all inspections should be performed by qualified professionals. Exhaustive inspections will include four main aspects: visual investigation, moisture readings, leak discovery, and air/surface sample testing. Homeowners, renters, property managers, and landlords should take the necessary steps to safeguard their properties from mold infestations.

New Day Homes specializes in Mold Inspections in the Magnolia Texas area  area.