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What can I do to remove and prevent mold in a home halfway below ground?

Question


I live in a basement flat built in about 1910, with no central heating system. Half my flat is below ground and I was told that the damp coursing had been completed. My main problem is in hidden and now open areas all over my flat I have black mould growing and a damp smell through the flat. I regularly wash the walls in bleach to inhibit it but always find more, the paint is peeling off my walls in the worse affected areas. My shoes I don’t regularly use, which I stored at the end of my hall all have white mould growing on tham and smell damp and now my Sofa and curtains smell damp too. I have a dehumidifer and try to ventilate, but I am aware that ventilation is not too good due to window placement. What else can I do to inhibit this or stop it? I spend most of my time at home sniffing trying to find the next patch.

Answer


You’re definitely in a difficult situation. To begin, I’d like to recommend you read the following post that I did regarding mold remediation and prevention:

You’ve done well in trying to increase ventilation. Your most difficult problem is that half the flat is underground, which makes sunlight and airflow extremely difficult or impossible to get down there. If there is anything you can do, even if that means putting more windows in, to create better airflow or increased sunlight – definitely do it. You could also try putting an industrial strength fan in to aid in overall ventilation. The dehumidifier that you’re using is good as well.

Bleach is a good “extra” additive to do when trying to perform home mold remediation, but should not be used as the sole fighting ingredient. I would recommend getting a product that specifically deals with mold removal, like Concrobium, etc.

Another option you might want to look into is hiring a professional mold remediator. Also try to figure out the reason for mold growth. Is it the overall weather in your area? Is it because of a chronic leak? Or is it because the house is underground and away from immediate sunlight?

Depending on the reason, remediation can cost a significant amount of money to complete. Have you considered moving? Is that even possible? You need to evaluate your overall health and well-being as well as prioritize your options.

If you have any questions about what I’ve said, feel free to e-mail me back.

I wish you the best as you fight your personal battle with mold.

Joslyn Wold
MoldBlogger.com
Jasper, IN

Stachybotrys Found In Apartment, Now What?

Editors Note: Names removed to provide anonymity. 

Question


We found stacc. in our apartment 3 months ago. For a week or two before I found the mold I had started feeling generally yuchy and as soon as we moved I felt better. My 1 yr old and my husband showed no symptoms.

We stayed with friends while we looked for another place. We found another apartment and had it mold tested. The test results were good and we moved in. We had lived there for 10 days when we found a black spot behind the paint in the bathroom.It turned out to be stacc. too and we moved back in with friends.

We have been living with friends for 2 months straight now while we look for a new place to live. We have toured dozens of places and they all had obvious mold somewhere. One place didn’t and we had it tested and they found 1 stacc. spore. We had two more places tested this week and they came back o.k., but while we were waiting for the test results the landlord rented the place to someone else.

We are just at our wits end. We will have to put our stuff in storage, find someone to care for our dog, and move to another friend’s house in a week if we don’t have our own place. What should we do?!? We are tempted to just do a careful visual inspection of an apartment, buy a high quality air filter and call it good. What do you think? Is that reasonably safe or would we be taking too big of a risk with a toddler in the house? We are just ready to have our own place to call home.

Answer


It sounds as if you’re between a rock and a hard place. As you have checked various houses, its possible that its the area in which you live that’s causing the severe mold growth. Severe weather changes, lots of humidity, etc can cause mold to grow.

You were right to get out of your apartment when you did.

My best advice to you would be to, as you said, do a visual check on the home you’re looking at renting, and of course in many cases there will be a noticeable smell as well. By filtering the air, as well as looking into a dehumidifier you will be able to atleast minimize the chances of mold growth.

I wish you the best, and hope you find the mold free home you are looking for.

Joslyn Wold
MoldBlogger.com

mold on books

How to Remove Mold From Books

Books are an optimal place for mold growth as they can get damp easily, and then sit boxed for months at a time. Unfortunately though, because book pages are so thin and easily ruined, and because they can’t be put in the washing machine, it can be very difficult to get mold out of books.

Book Covers and Spines

If mold has grown on the spine of a book it may be much easier to salvage versus mold growth on the inside pages, etc. There are a few things you can do in this instance:

  • If the book is heavily molded,

1. Remove the book spine and outer covering so that only the pages remain. 2. Be sure to check and make sure there is no growth in the pages of the book as well. 3. Depending on how special the book is to you, make a paper bag outer covering or have it professionally re-spined and bound.

  • If the book is lightly molded,

1. Brush any topical mold off the spine or covering. 2. Dampen a sponge or washcloth with a detergent/bleach/water mixture and very lightly brush over the mold contaminated area. Be careful not to wet the book too much as this could cause worse mold growth in the future. 3. Set the book out in the sun to dry, as the sun can kill many types of mold spores. 4. Repeat the procedure as necessary.

Mold on the Pages of Books

What can you do about mold growth on the inside of a book? This is a more difficult task as the pages of books are so delicate. Follow the given steps below as a best effort to salvage your book:

  • Brush any topical mold off the pages.
  • Dampen a sponge or washcloth with a detergent/bleach/water mixture and very lightly brush over the mold contaminated areas. Be careful not to soak through the pages as they will dry and stick together permanently.
  • Open the books and set them in the sun to dry, as the sun can kill many types of mold spores. If the breeze is able to blow through the book it will help the pages to dry quicker as well.
  • Repeat the procedure as necessary.

Best Wishes as you battle the fight against mold and salvage your books!

Further Recommended Reading:

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger team

When Mold Attacks Your Rice Cooker

It’d been one of those busy weeks in the Wold family. Between work and school, Joslyn and I hadn’t had much time to clean up our kitchen. The small gang of fruit flies looking a little too much at home in our kitchen was a sure sign that it was time to clean.

We went through a bunch of dishes and made excellent progress. Down near the end of the line, I reached for another dish and stopped immediately as my nose caught a strong wift of unpleasantness. I looked through the dishes, trying to figure out what it was. Then I saw it.

The Rice Cooker.

Some good friends of ours had given us a beautiful rice cooker as a wedding gift and it had served us well. 15-20 minutes and fresh, perfectly cooked rice is served.

The past weekend, Joslyn had cooked rice to take on a Church outing and we’d forgotten to empty the leftovers when we returned home.

Our beautiful rice cooker was in trouble. As I opened the container my gag reflex kicked in and I braced myself to help dinner stay down.

It stank bad.

Here are some photos of the mold for your viewing pleasure. To ensure safety (and because of technical limitations), the smell has not been added.

Naturally, we weren’t about to lose such a nice rice cooker. We took the following action:

  1. Initial Cleaning – After washing the rice down the drain (thank you, insink disposal), soap and water took up a thorough attack, cleaning the rice cooker well, inside and out.
  2. Secondary Cleaning – For good measure, I went at it with soap and water again, noticing that the smell was still lingering around.
  3. Smell Elimination – I took a bottle of “Veggie Wash” (an organic mix, made up of citrus and coconut extracts) and sprayed the container generously. The citrus kicks in almost immediately and, in addition to helping with the smell, sends the citrusy goodness to fight any last lingering bacteria.Tip: You can pick up a fruit & veggie wash at your local grocery store in the produce section. A fresh lemon, cut, squeezed, and rubbed over the affected areas would do the job as well.

And voila! Our rice cooker is back.

Another fight against mold (albeit a small one) successfully won.

Jonathan Wold
MoldBlogger.com

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