If you see or smell mold, it's time to not only clean up but repair and replace!
We hear occasionally about the horrors of black molds with super-toxins - they are indeed very serious. On the other hand, the more common types of mold we deal with can also cause a few problems for some individuals. These are the ones you find on a plastic lawn chair that became neglected in a corner of the yard. (Yes, some folks leave those things lying around.) There are also the molds that you can't see, that are lurking in shower heads, behind walls, and around leaky toilets. One day, you notice an odor - it's musty or stinky: there's a problem.
Mold exists all around us - in the soil and in the air. It is beneficial in that it breaks down debris. It also releases spores that are constantly floating, unseen. Yes, we inhale them and most of us feel few effects from their presence. The spores exist in our homes and in most buildings we pass through. In fact, it is in the very most airtight spaces that molds can cause additional problems - there's simply no place for them to go.
When you see mold, that means there is - or has been - a damp environment, usually in a place that should not be wet. Mold needs this moisture to thrive and regenerate. While you can clean up the surface, it is equally important to eliminate the source. Otherwise, it will return with a vengeance. You may find mold exists in an undervented bathroom. It can grow unseen in airducts, air conditioning and heating units, and even thrive behind wallpaper and in insulation. If you suspect there is mold, but can't see it, call for a professional inspection.
When cleaning up mold, always wear proper safety gear. Gloves, long sleeves and pants, and a respirating mask, if possible, are essential accessories. The effects of mold can result in allergies and breathing problems - typically in babies, seniors, and those with fragile immune systems.
The rarer cases of toxic molds are from the occurrence of strains that include stachybotrys and the production of micotoxins, which is a chemical reaction. These require serious attention and usually the services of a professional. This particular strain has been known to remain active for at least twelve months after eradication. The unseen spores can cling to porous materials and continue to create a health risk.
Regular home or office inspections are critical to the prevention of molds. Cleaning with soap and water, followed by a bleach and water solution may help. Drying thoroughly will eliminate most molds. If in doubt about the toxic levels of any mold, a skilled professional should make the inspection and perform the cleanup.
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