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Hurricane Survivor: Should I be concerned about mold from water leaks?

Question: We recently went through Hurricane Gustav and Hurricane Ike. We lost most of our metal roof on our home during Gustav and when Ike came we realized we had a leak and it started dripping through our ceiling. We were able to stop the leak by putting a tarp on our roof but not before it started leaking. Should I be concerned about mold? If so how should I tend to the area to make sure there is no mold and if there is how can I get rid of it? I do have a 10 month old baby that I am most concerned about.

Answer: Hi Concerned, You should always be concerned about Mold once you have had a water leak.  Mold is a known health hazard. The most important thing you need to  do is repair the water damaged area of the ceiling.  Once this is completed if you are still concerned you can wash down the walls and ceiling with unscented soap and water. This should look after any surface Mold that may be present.  Mold is only a concern when it grows in our living spaces.  Control Mould in your living spaces live a healthier life.

Jim Thomas, of MouldOff.com, is a Master Carpenter and C.I.E. (Certified Indoor Environmentalist) with 35+ years of experience in the restoration industrial including a specialization in mold remediation.

Washing Dishes – Are Those Sponges and Cloths Harboring Mold?

Are my dish towels dangerous? 

Have you ever picked up your dish sponge or dish cloth and realized that it had an odd, musty smell to it? That’s mold. A lot of people don’t think about it. They just assume it’s a normal part of using a sponge or cloth, and they don’t realize that they might be putting their family’s health at risk because they’re using something that could be harboring dangerous mold. More and more people are using dishwashers so that they don’t have to worry so much about the cleanliness of their dishes, but for those who don’t want to use a dishwasher or just don’t have one, keeping dish cloths and sponges clean should be a top priority.

If dish washing sponges are contaminated with mold, what can I do about it? 

Each time you use your dish sponge or dish cloth you should wring it out thoroughly and let it dry completely. You should also make sure that there aren’t any food particles stuck in the material, because they can help mold and other unpleasant substances start growing. If you want to make sure your sponge is even cleaner you should get it thoroughly wet and put it in the microwave for one to two minutes, or allow it to run through a full wash and dry cycle in your dishwasher.

Two full minutes of microwaving a wet sponge or one dishwasher cycle can kill ninety-nine percent of the living organisms in it, and that includes mold spores. Make sure that you let the sponge cool before you remove it from a microwave because it will be very hot, and never microwave a dry sponge because it could catch fire. Not everyone has a microwave, either, and if you’re one of the people who doesn’t you can make up a bleach and water solution and soak sponges and dish clothes in it. However, it won’t do as good of a job as the microwave or dishwasher when it comes to killing mold.

Is my family in danger? 

Most people don’t get sick from washing dishes with sponges or dish cloths that smell musty, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t happen to you, and getting sick from mold is very unpleasant. Even if you don’t encounter major problems from it, you and your family will still have an increased chance of allergies and other common sicknesses because you’re being exposed to mold spores each day. Taking the time to make sure that sponges and dish cloths, as well as other dish items like bottle brushes, dry thoroughly is an important step toward keeping your family healthy.

Any time there are items in your home that stay damp for any length of time mold growth is encouraged, so add bathroom towels and clothing to the list of items that you’ll need to keep dry. Kitchens and bathrooms are the worst places in a home for acquiring mold because they are the places where water is most often used and where the humidity is the highest. While you can’t possibly keep everything in your home completely dry all the time, ensuring that any damp or wet items can dry quickly and thoroughly is the key to preventing mold growth.

The MoldBlogger Team

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