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Spring Cleaning: Out With The Mold

Aug 17, 2007
Are black spots showing up on the bathroom walls and ceilings? Is a musty smell curling your nose? Let's face it, you've got mold. A touch of mold doesn't present much of a health problem for healthy adults but can cause coughing, sneezing and wheezing. For people with ailments such as asthma, lung disease, allergies and immune disorders, mold is a much bigger problem.

Houses are a great place for mold spores to settle in and thrive. The drywall, paper, wood and insulation make for an ample supply of food. When these materials get wet, mold spores multiply becoming thriving colonies of black gunk. The musty odors are waste products from the growing mold. The odors are a sign that mold is actively growing and thriving.

One of the best ways to clear out the mold is to eliminate its environment. Molds need water in order to grow, so by eliminating excess water buildup, you can stop the growth.

The first task is to repair any leaks, including pipes, roof, water heater, toilet seals etc. Next use the exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathrooms. If you don't have an exhaust fan, install one. If it's humid, use a dehumidifier or air conditioner.

Next, you must remove the mold itself. If your mold troubles are extensive, consider hiring a professional. For smaller trouble spots, you can tackle the job on your own.
If you're not sure, it's best to let a pro take a look.

Always wear goggles, gloves and a mask. Seal off the area from the rest of the house so the spores don't travel and settle in elsewhere. Cover the air conditioning and heating vents, recessed lighting, electrical switch plates, doors and any other opening that spores might be able to travel through. Open the windows to the outside for ventilation.

Now that the area is prepped, scrub all surfaces with a mild cleaner or detergent. Next, mix a cup of bleach with one quart of water and scrub with this solution taking care not to drip on carpet, towels and other fabrics or materials. Take a break for 20 minutes or so, in another room. After 20 minutes, repeat the bleach scrub down. Finally, apply a solution of a borate based detergent to the surfaces and do not rinse this off.

Remove the coverings from the air conditioning vents and vacuum the floor. Wash any towels, area rugs, bedding, etc from the affected area
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