Mold is a vital part of the outdoor ecosystem. As a decomposer, mold represents one of the last links in the food chain – they transform decaying organisms and waste into recycled, nutrient-rich inorganic material, thus completing the circle of life.
However, the presence of mold in an indoor setting like your home or bedroom can be an extremely inconvenient financial burden and a major detriment to your health if left unchecked. Let’s take a closer look at mold, the types of mold that people encounter in their homes, mold symptoms and their negative health consequences, and what to do in order to properly remove the mold.
Mold – The Basics
Mold is naturally in the air as spores can enter your home in a variety of ways, such as:
- Through large openings within your home, like open doors or windows
- Through small openings within your home such as vents – heating or air conditioning
- Via sticking to another person, sticking to clothes or shoes, or sticking to a pet such as a dog or cat
Here are some of the most commonly found mold types in homes and other indoor areas:
- Penicillium – Characterized by its fuzzy texture, this mold is usually either green, yellow, or blue in color. It is typically found in basements or within insulation that has been damaged by a water leak.
- Aspergillus – This mold has more of a powdery texture and is usually white, gray, or green in color. It is typically found on expired food or within fabrics, attics, and walls.
- Cladosporium – This mold is characterized by its color – either black, dark green, or brown. It is typically found on wood, carpets, or in ducts or vents.
It should be noted that all indoor mold infestations typically thrive in dark areas that are damp or moist. That’s why basements are so prevalent in the world of mold infestation. If you’ve experienced water damage in your home recently, be sure to remove the water promptly before a mold infestation occurs.
Mold Signs and Symptoms
There’s always a tiny bit of mold present everywhere, indoors included. And that’s okay – your body is equipped to handle this kind of non-toxic mold. As a rule of thumb, you don’t really need to worry about mold removal or mold remediation unless there are physical signs of it. When there is physical mold growth present, there’s a very good chance that you have a toxic mold infestation that will require the services of a mold removal or mold remediation service. Here are some physical signs of a mold infestation within your home:
- Visible growth such as dark spots, especially in damp areas of the home
- A distinctly musty smell
- Disintegration and damage to the material or surface the mold is growing on
If you suspect that your home is suffering from a mold infestation issue, try dropping some bleach onto the mold spot in question. If the color fades within a few minutes of bleach application, it is probably mold rather than dirt or soot.
As stated earlier, mold is a problem for both the physical site of infestation and for the health of anyone who’s had prolonged exposure to it. Here are a few health symptoms caused by sustained prolonged exposure to toxic molds:
- Allergy symptoms such as runny nose, clogged sinuses, sneezing, and coughing
- Bodily irritation such as itchy eyes, skin rash, or headaches
- Lung irritation issues, especially for people who suffer from asthma
If you’ve experienced any of the above health symptoms, consult your doctor for a proper diagnosis. You should also consider over-the-counter treatments such as nasal sprays, allergy medicines, or decongestants
Removing the Mold
If you catch a home mold infestation early enough, chances are you can remove the mold yourself. Here is an easy process for mold removal in the case of an extremely mild infestation:
- When handling mold, it’s important to wear protective gear such as eyewear, a face mask, and gloves. You should also consider wearing a biohazard suit.
- Open all of the windows and doors leading to the affected area to provide yourself with some ventilation.
- Gather soap and water and mix a solution that consists of 8-10 ounces of bleach and 1 gallon of water.
- Using a brush, clean the mold off any affected surfaces and let it dry with windows and doors open.
While some mild mold infestations can be handled by performing the process laid out above, a lot of mold infestations are too severe for the average homeowner to handle by him- or herself. For your own safety, we highly recommend utilizing the services of a mold infestation or mold removal company.
If you live in the Azusa, CA area and are experiencing a mold infestation in your home or business, be sure to call ServiceMaster of Azusa at (626) 963-4048 to book an appointment.