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How do you remove mold from a life jacket?

There are 5 steps that can be followed to remove mold from hats:

  1. Depending on the material, first scrape the mold from the jacket outside to prevent mold spores spreading in your home.
  2. Allow the jacket to sun dry for a while preferrably on the clothes line so the jacket receives sunlight evenly. Many mold spores can be killed just by direct sunlight.
  3. Soak the jacket in cold water possibly with bleach if you want, (color safe for colors) and then machine wash in warm water with detergent.
  4. Lemon juice and salt in cold water has also been used with colored fabrics, as well as a vinegar solution to aid in smell removal.
  5. Allow the jacket to sun dry.

The jacket may or may not still have stains but the mold and dangerous spores will be gone. If stains persist, try washing the garment again.

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger team

Flooded Oklahoma Town Facing Mold Problems

Excerpt:

An Oklahoma town that was the scene of severe flooding earlier this month is now having problems with mold.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said the mold problems in some parts of Blackwell could be hazardous to the health of the residents there.

Comments:

With Hurricane season in full swing, this story is a good sample of what many other towns will be facing as they deal with an explosion in mold growth within the affected areas.

Further Recommended Reading:

Source: KOCO News 5

Where can I purchase “mildicides”?

Question:

Where can I purchase “mildicides”? I need a fogger type substance for my closets/furniture. Also, does charcoal work as a molder smell reducer?

Answer:

You can find basic mildicides at walmart, home depot, or other such department stores. Charcoal, in theory, may work for reducing smell if you are looking for something natural like that, though I would think baking soda would work better.

For those interested in biodegradable mildicides, until a vendor comes forward and takes the step towards being green or we’re able to find an available product (whichever comes first), we encourage you to keep on looking.

I wish you the best,

Joslyn Wold
The MoldBlogger Team

green molds

Top 3 Things Mold Needs to Grow

What Does Mold Need to Grow?

According to Michael Pugliese, author of The Homeowner’s Guide to Mold, there are three main necessities that mold spores need to grow and thrive:

  • Moisture

Mold spores need moist or damp areas to grow and reproduce. Watch for flooding, leaky pipes or windows, etc. Also excess moisture in the bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms are prime areas for mold growth.

  • Food

Mold spores need food – in the literal sense as well as other materials (i.e. cotton, leather, wood, paper products and others). The most dangerous materials mold loves to grow on, are porous materials (beds, couches etc). Its often impossible to remove mold growth from these items.

  • Optimum Temperatures

Mold spores thrive in temperatures 32 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures from about 70 – 90 degrees are the most conducive for mold growth. Chances of mold growth are heightened greatly between those temperatures. You may be wondering why mold can grow in your freezer. Mold doesn’t die when temperatures drop below 32 degrees, they lay dormant until temperatures raise, or they are set out to warm up.

Favorable Conditions for Mold

Michael Pugliese, author of the same book previously mentioned, also offers 5 tips describing favorable or unfavorable conditions for mold growth:

  • A relative Humidity of roughly 50% or higher

A good preventative measure would be to purchase a hygrometer to measure humidity levels in your home.

  • Damp or Dusty Conditions

Avoid developing piles of rags, clothing or other mold food sources.

  • Stagnant air

This explains why overly “tight” homes designed for energy efficiency can have mold problems.

Unfavorable Conditions for Mold

  • Ventilation

Good circulation throughout the home is important to eliminate dampness or potential moisture; especially in attics, basements, crawlspaces, laundry rooms.

  • Dry Air Indoors

Make sure to keep your home’s relative humidity down below 50%.

Further Recommended Reading:

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

Source: Pugliese, Michael. “The Homeowner’s Guide to Mold.” 4-5.

Results of Mold Exposure

A reader asked,

Question :

My wife, 7 month old son, and I moved into a rent house in October of 2007. By January, my son had developed congestion that just would not go away. In early February, my son had a febrile seizure and kept the congestion throughout the month. We saw multiple doctors and specialists, but none could seem to pinpoint a diagnosis.

Finally, my wife took our son to Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, Texas. Our previous Pediatrician diagnosed my son with Pneumonia. After a 10 day supply of Suprax, is congestion showed no signs of altering. My son also had extreme diahrrea, and terrible diaper rash for which we took him to yet another doctor, and he diagnosed it as a fungus.

He perscribed a steriod/fungal fighting cream. That following day, we went out of town and the cream seemed to work tremendously and his diahrrea stopped. When we came back to the house, his symptoms re-occured. I decided to do a home mold test in his room, and the results were positive.

I immediately checked my family into a hotel and my son seemed to get better after a couple of days. A certified inspector came out and took an air sample from outside, the living room, and my son’s room. The results showed an elevated mold condition in my son’s room (200 outside, and 880 in room) for Penicillium and Aspergillus.

An allergist told me that it’s probably not allergies since he is only 1 year old and his immune system isn’t stablized enough yet to even have allergies. Can these symptoms be tied to the elevated mold problem?

Answer :

Without actually being there, from what you’re described, your son’s situation definitely seems to be a result of mold exposure – ESPECIALLY if he gets better in a different environment.

My advice would be to move your son as soon as you possibly can. In many situations it may be best to talk to your landlord and try to fix the problem by removing the mold and preventing further growth. However, because your son is so young and is experience pretty severe symptoms, it would be in his and your best interest to get out of that building – now.

You have the evidence by having such a high mold count in his room, and he is symptomatic – mold definitely looks like it’s the culprit.

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger team

Mold on Cups

Question :

A reader asked the following question through our “Ask a Mold Question” section of our site :

Can mold grow on plastic cups that have been washed and stacked together but not dried completely?

As long as either food or juice particles are not left in the cups, mold should not grow in the stacked cups.

However, it does start to smell if left stuck together like that for a while – mostly because the water gets stagnant, heats, and grows bacteria.

So even though it is not probable that mold will grow, stacking wet cups together creates the perfect habitat for bad bacterias.

And it warps plastic cups!

So overall, its best to stay away from stacking wet cups =]!

Answer :

How about mold growth when putting the flow control of a childrens sippy cup together when it comes out of the dish washer and it’s not completely dry? Would the same concerns follow it as well as the cups? I just wonder that since it makes a tighter seal if there is more concern of mold growth. I like to put them together when they come out of the dish washer so I don’t lose them. Thanks for your help!

Sippy cup pieces, you have to be really careful with.

The same thing applies as far as mold growth goes, though the chances that the inside of the piece will grow mold is much higher only because its a smaller area and juices etc go through the holes.

Watch for “souring” of the pieces, and make sure that all particles of juice or anything else are thoroughly cleansed.

A good idea would be to run one of those wirebrushes through each hole if its possible.

As far as drying it – as long as the pieces are not smelling “sour” or changing colors – they’re probably just fine. Just use your best judgement! =]

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger team

Book Review: “What Every Home Owner Needs to Know About Mold..”

If you have existing problems with mold in your home, or if you suspect possible contamination – or just need to know how to prevent mold from growing in your home, Vicki Lankarge’s book “What Every Home Owner Needs to Know About Mold & What to Do About It” contains the information you need to get rid of mold and keep it out!

She also provides good quality prevention methods to keep homes free of mold growth and contamination as well as remediation ideas for different parts of the home.

She begins by giving an informative background of mold, an a story which demonstrates – Anyone’s home can become contaminated with black mold – so don’t feel bad!

She gives important lessons on how to deal with water damage, moisture prevention, common places to look for mold, as well as legal damage claims to name a few.

I would advise anyone dealing with mold problems to read her book. Its short, its easy, and you can learn alot! I know I did.

Over the past several weeks and months we have featured some of the main topics discussed in her book. I’ve listed them below – take a look, and read Vicki Lankarge’s “What Every Home Owner Needs to Know about Mold and What to Do About It” to find out more!!

8 Posts Featuring Content from the Book

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger team

Mold Closes Elementary School in CT

Mold Thrives in Schools

Parents of children who attended an elementary school in Greenwhich are questioning their child’s health and safety when it comes to putting their child back in school. The walls of Greenwhich elementary school’s modular classrooms were founded infested with mold.

The rates of mold growth are rising across the country, especially in public schools. What can be done?

On Saturday, the Greenwich Board of Education closed down Hamilton Avenue Elementary after mold was discovered in the ceilings. Environmental crews in protective suits have been working to rid the building of the potential health hazard.

The school is actually a temporary facility, a modular unit built three years ago to house 370 students while a brand new school is under construction.

To read the rest of this story and other interesting twists, visit ABC 7 News, Mold Closes CT School

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger team

Source: ABC 7 News

Best of MoldBlogger Remodeled – Past 2 Years

MoldBlogger’s 2 Year Anniversary – Remodeled!

The Newly Remodeled Site is finally up and with that, we at MoldBlogger have decided to create a helpful post combining the exciting things that have happened over the past 2 years.

Why?

October of last year, 2007, marked MoldBlogger’s Second Annual Anniversary.

In celebration of the past 2 years and in light of the exciting new things we have planned for the new year at hand, we’re putting a close on the past and opening the way for the future by highlighting some of the very best of MoldBlogger.

MoldBlogger has 16 separate categories containing 184 informative posts as of February 17th, 2008, on various topics regarding mold.

Out of these 16 categories, we have carefully chosen 45 of the best, most informative posts we have here at MoldBlogger.

We hope you enjoy them and gather the information that you need.

Let us know if you have any questions and we’ll be happy to answer them!

The Best of MoldBlogger by Category :

Mold Testing :

Black Mold :

Mold Allergies :

Mold Information :

Mold Inspectors :

Mold Legal Information :

Mold News :

Mold Prevention :

Mold Removal :

Mold Stories :

Mold: Questions and Answers :

Toxic Mold :

Most Recent Miscellaneous

We hope our selected posts have been helpful and we wish you a Wonderful Year!

Jonathan & Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

Does Your Home Have Mold?

How to Know if Your Home has Mold

Are you a present homeowner, or considering buying your first home? Because buying a home is one of the most important investments you will make in your lifetime, it is just as important to make sure you’re making a GOOD investment without having to deal with mold problems in the future.

So how can you tell your home, or prospective home is contaminated with mold?

According to Michael Pugliese, author of “The Homeowner’s Guide to Mold,” there are 2 general indicators that a home may be mold infested :

  • A Musty Smell (Approximately 90 % of homes with mold have this)
  • Evidence of a water leak or condensation

What Kinds of Questions Should I Ask?

When buying a home, it is important to find out from the previous owner or realtor if there has ever been moisture or mold problems. Know this kind of information before signing any contracts or paying for your home.

Pugliese in his same book, also lists 16 questions that can guide the conversation with your realtor to get all of the important information :

  • What is the condition of the home’s roof? How old is it? Has it ever been replaced or patched? If the roof was replaced because of leaking, how long had it leaked?
  • Have you had a chimney, dormer, vent pipe, or other flashing repairs done?
  • Have you had window casings or trim replaced?
  • Have you had any repairs made to your siding?
  • Have you ever replaced the hot water heater? When? Was it due to leaks?
  • How is your air conditioning unit functioning? Have you ever had any condensation line or pump back up?
  • Is the heating and/or central air conditioning system in the crawlspace or attic? If so, has it ever leaked?
  • Has the dishwasher ever overflowed?
  • Have any of the sinks or toilets leaked?
  • Has the refrigerator or icemaker ever leaked water?
  • Has the washing machine ever leaked, backed up, or overflowed?
  • Have you ever had sewage back up?
  • Have you ever had a broken pipe anywhere in the house?
  • Have you ever had flooding throughout the home?
  • Have you had any problems with moisture in your crawlspace?
  • Have you replaced the shower unit or tile? (Shower leaks share top billing for causes of water damage)

Already a Homeowner?

You should know most if not all of these questions. Ask yourself each question, and if any of the above have been a problem it may be a good idea to test and think about remediation procedures.

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

Source: Pugliese, Michael. “The Homeowner’s Guide to Mold.” 15-17.

11 Ways to Know You Have the Wrong Mold Remediator

Mold Remediators Gone Wrong

Are you having trouble choosing a mold remediator for your home? Doctors James Schaller and Gary Rosen have put together in their book “Mold Illness & Mold Remediation Made Simple,” a list of humerous ways to know if you have a “bad” mold remediator :

You Know You Have the Wrong Remediator When..

  • He laughs when you ask if he has a contractor’s license or a mold remediator certification or license.
  • You ask if he has at least one million dollars in contruction or mold insurance, and he falls on the ground convulsing with laughter. Take him out in a wheel barrow and dump the clown =).
  • He has no clue or concern about fixing the source of the moisure. He does not realize ignoring the source of the moisture problem will mean the mold can always come back.
  • He has no plan to put up temporary walls with plastic wall sheeting to prevent mold dust and mold toxins from going all over your home.
  • The remediator wears no protective mask or gloves.
  • He has no plan to channel moldy dust from the work area outside through a window or external door.
  • The remediator plans to carry unsealed material through your home.
  • You ask him who will do the “post remediation mold testing” and he looks at you like you have 10 heads.
  • He does not use a HEPA vacuum to clean up after himself.
  • He does not seal off your air conditioning ducts to prevent mold spores and dust from going all over your home during the remediation work.
  • He is foggy from his past jobs. He does not know how to contain mold dust, since he is shoing signs of mold exposure. So do not expect him to know how to prevent the release of moldy dust throughout your home.

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

Source: Schaller, James and Rosen, Gary. “Mold Illness & Mold Remediation Made Simple.” 75.

How to Handle Mold & Water Damage Claims

Home Insurance Policies

As many of you may already know, mold damage is specifically excluded from all home insurance companies. According to Vicki Lankarge in her book “What Every Home Owner Needs to Know About Mold & What to Do About It,” she lists 4 damages resulting in exclusion from home insurance policies:

  • Normal wear and tear
  • Poor maintenance (you should have replaced the shower grout, but didn’t)
  • Standing or surface water (unles it’s floodwater and you purchased separate flood insurance)
  • Construction mistakes or defects (nails accidentally driven into water pipes or faulty home design)

Note : It is important to understand and be knowledgeable about what your insurance policy covers and what it does not.

Mold & Water Damage Claims

Again, Vicki Lankarge in her words of the same book, lists 14 steps to follow after your water damage claim has been identified :

    • Stop the water leak or flow of water.
    • Notify your insurer immediately. If you let any damage fester and don’t report it immediately, our claim may be denied. Remember, sudden leaks are covered, but chronic leaks are not.
    • Ask what is required of you. Your duties, as outlined in most home insurance policies, may include:

1. Giving prompt written notice to your insurer of the facts surrounding your claim.

2. Protect your property from further damage.

3. Performing reasonable and necessary repairs to protect your property.

4. Keeping an accurate record of your repair expenses.

  • Make a list of your damaged property and photograph or videotape the damage before making repairs.
  • Don’t make large structural or permanent repairs to protect your home and belongings until your insurer has the opportunity to inspect the damage and gives you authorization to make permanent repairs.The insurance company may deny your claim if you amke permanent repairs before it inspects the damage.
  • Remove standing water and begin drying the area.
  • Remove water-soaked materials.
  • Keep removed materials and move them to a secure, dry, and well-ventilated area, or outdoors.
  • Protect repairable and undamaged items from further damage.
  • Keep an activity log, including a record of all contact with your insurance company. This is extremely important.A log not only helps you stay focused and organized, it may play a key part in negotiations with your insurer should you encounter problems with your claim later on.
  • Keep all receipts. For personal property claims, you must proved evidence that you bought the replacement items. If you bought materials for temporary repairs, receipts will help you get reimbursed.
  • Don’t throw away removed or damaged materials until instructed by your insurance company.
  • Don’t jeopardize your safety.
  • Don’t exceed your personal financial or physical capabilites.

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

Source: Lankarge, Vicki. “What Every Homeowner Needs to Know About Mold & What to Do About It.” 60-65.

Moldy Ceiling

5 Levels of Mold Remediation

What are the 5 levels of Mold Remediation?

According to Vicki Lankarge in her book “What Every Home Owner Needs to Know About Mold & What to Do About It,” mold remediation can be broken up into 5 levels: level one being the least contamination, level four being the most, and level five HVAC and air conditioning systems.

When dealing with mold contamination in your home it can be difficult to decide when a mold remediator is needed or what you can take care of yourself.

In the following 5 levels, you will have a guideline to go by when removing mold from your home :

5 Levels of Mold Remediation

  • Level I (10 square feet or less)

Smaller infestations categorized in level I is mostly found on ceilings or baseboards. Level I mold contamination may be cleaned without hiring a mold remediator, but there are several important safety precautions that you need to know :

1. Do not attempt cleaning mold if you suffer from asthma, allergies, or immune disorders

2. Wear gloves, eye protection, and an N95 disposable respirator

3. Vacate from your work area any infants less than 12 months old, individuals recovering from recent surgery, anyone with a suppressed immune system, or people with chronic lung diseases such as asthma, sever allergies, emphysema, etc.

4. Contaminated materials that cannot be cleaned should be removed from your home in a sealed plastic bag to prevent an infestation in another part of your home.

5. Clean your work area when you’re done with a damp cloth or mop.

6. Make sure all areas are left dry and visibly free of mold contamination.

  • Level II (10-30 square feet)

To remove mold from an area category the size of level II (probably one wall panel), the same precautions used in level I should be taken as well as the following :

1. Moldy materials should be covered with plastic sheets and sealed with tape before any handling or removal of materials. This will contain dust and debris. It may be wise to double wrap in plastic before escorting the moldy material from your home.

2. WHen the mold removal is finished, vacuum the work area with a HEPA vacujum. Clean the area with a damp cloth or mop.

  • Level III (30-100 square feet)

Mold contamination this size (patches of mold on several wall panels), should still be handled with the same precautions as level I and II as well as the following added measures :

1. Seal ventilation ducts/grills in the work area and areas directly adjacent with plastic sheeting.

2. Vacate everyone from your work area until work is completed. Further vacate adjacent work areas of any infants less than 12 months old, individuals recovering from recent surgery, anyone with a suppressed immune system, or people with chronic lung diseases such as astma, sever allergies, emphysema, etc.

  • Level IV (greater than 100 square feet)

An infestation depending on how much greater than 100 square feet may require the assistance of a mold remediator. If not, the same requirements should be followed as were needed in levels I, II, and III along with the following :

1. Every worker must be trained in the handling of hazardous materials and equipped with full face respirators with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) cartridges, with disposable protective clothing covering both head and shoes.

2. Make sure workers completely isolate hteir work area from the rest of your home with sheeting sealed with duct tape, including ventilation ducts/grills, fixtures, and any other openings.

3. Make sure workers set up and use a “decontamination room,” or a chamber taped off with plastic sheeting. The outside of sealed bags containing contaminated material should be wiped down with a damp cloth or HEPA vacuumed in the decontamination chamber prior to their removal.

4. Air monitoring should be conducted prior to moving back into your home to determine if it is fit to reoccupy.

  • Level V (Air Conditioners and HVAC Systems)

If there is a small area of mold growth beneath your air conditioning system it would be safe to apply precautions from levels I and II to remediate the mold contamination. However, all remediation procedures for air conditioning units and HVAC systems should be left to professionals. Procedures for level V remediation for areas larger than 10 square feet are the same for all previous levels with the following precautionary measures added :

1. Shut down the HVAC system prior to remediation.

2. Growth-supporting materials that are contaminated, such as the patper on the insulation of interior lined ducts and filters, should be removed and sealed in plastic bags.

3. A variety of biocides – broad spectrum antimicrobial agents designed to prevent the growth of microorganisms – are recommended by HVAC manufacturers for use with HVAC components, such as cooling coils and condensation pans. HVAC manufacturers should be consulted for the prodcuts they recommend for use in their systems.

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger team

Source: Lankarge, Vicki. “What Every Home Owner Needs to Know About Mold & What to Do About It.” 52-58.

walking on the streets

Impact of Mold on Thoughts, Emotion, & Personality

How Mold Affects the Body

We know that mold affects health. Mold exposure can cause sickness, allergy symptoms, blurred vision, nausea, etc etc. But did you know, that by being exposed to mold, your emotional and cognitive sides are also affected? According to James Schaller, M.D., CMR and Gary Rosen, PhD, CIE, in the book Mold Illness and Mold Remediation Made Simple , Mold chemicals can affect cognition, emotions, and personality! They’ve made a list of all the different affects mold can have:

Mold Affects Emotions, Cognition, & Personality

  • mood swings
  • mania
  • irritability
  • impulsivity
  • increased risk taking
  • decreased speech smoothness
  • poor stress coping
  • increased verbal fighting
  • lateness
  • poor empathy
  • poor boundary awareness
  • immaturity
  • spacey
  • rigidity
  • poor insight
  • decreased productivity
  • unable to process trauma or pain
  • increased narcissism
  • forgetfulness
  • poorly or obsessively organized
  • dead creativity
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • panic attacks
  • decreased attention
  • eccentric personality
  • delay in child develpment
  • increased drug or alcohol consumption

Mold Illness

Of course mold is not the only cause of these mental issues, but it can be a direct source as well as worsen the prognosis further.

Further Recommended Reading:

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

Source: Schaller, James and Rosen, Gary. “Mold Illness and Mold Remediation Made Simple.” 30.

12 Tips to Prevent Moisture & Mold

Moisture : Key Ingredient for Mold to Grow

One of the most important necessities mold needs to grow, is water.

It does not take a whole lot of water, just a small amount of condensation or moisture will do the trick.

The conclusion then, is that if moisture is prevented or eliminated, the chances of mold growth decrease greatly.

In Vicki Lankarge’s book “What Every Home Owner Needs to Know About Mold & What to Do About It”, she gives 12 tips that can prevent the collection of moisture from a few different sources.

12 Moisture Prevention Tips

  • Vent bathrooms, dryers, and other moisture generating sources to the outside.
  • Use air conditioners and dehumidifiers.
  • Increase ventilation throughout the home.
  • Use exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing, and cleaning.
  • Fix plumbing leaks immediately.
  • Keep your home’s exterior painted.
  • Keep flower beds away from exterior walls so the soil doesn’t touch your home’s siding
  • Don’t wet walls with lawn sprinklers for a long period of time. This can allow the fungus to from rhizomorphs, so even when the sprinklers are off, the decay continues.
  • Make sure the grade of your lawn slopes away from your home and there is adequate drainage. You don’t want water form sprinklers or heavy rain to pool around your home.
  • Don’t pile wood or other debris in crawl spaces or against the side of your house.
  • Further inspect your home if you see evidence of bugs such as roaches or termites. Remember where you have bugs, you have water.
  • Further inspect your home if you see evidence of the fungus. Remember: The fungi can be tricky. The place where you see the fungus may not be the point of origin.

Moisture -> Mold’s Best Friend

If you fall these 12 simple tips, the chances of mold growth in your home will be severely minimized.

Prevention is always the best answer. If a problem is prevented, you will never have to deal with the consequences.

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

Source: Lankarge, Vicki. “What Every Home Owner Needs to Know About Mold & What to Do About It.” 37-38.

7 Warning Signs for Mold Contamination

How Can You Tell if Mold is Growing in Your Home?

Sometimes mold can be very sneaky.

Generally though, not including physical ailments, mold gives obvious warning signs in your home, to if and where it is growing.

Vicki Lankarge, in her book “What Every Home Owner Needs to Know About Mold & What to Do About It”, gives us 7 warning signs for mold contamination.

7 Warning Signs

  • Sunken areas in baseboards or trim. These indentations appear when mold has consumed the wood behind the paint. The paint itself is often cracked and peeling.
  • Separation of the baseboard from the wall or floor
  • Whitish mats under carpet, linoleum, in cabinets, or even behind furniture.
  • “Fruiting bodies,” or mushroomlike growths on rotten wood on the underside of flooring or a cabinet. Fruiting bodies are flat, up to a half-inch thick, and a pale olive, gray, brown, or black.
  • Staining, swelling, or crumbling of plaster or sheetrock.
  • Discoloration (blackish staining) around air conditioning vents.
  • Vinelike branches from the soil to the foundation, framing, or underside of flooring. Vines are typically white, brown, or black and are called rhizomorphs. The fungus forms these vines that connect the soil to the wood.

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

8 Most Common Places to Look for Mold

Where Should I Look For Mold?

You know that mold is bad, ugly, and that it can be dangerous. You also know, of course, that it is something that needs to be removed immediately from your home if found growing there.

You even know that you should try a do-it-yourself mold kit if mold contamination is even suspected.

You know how to look for mold, and maybe even what to look for.

But do you know where to look for mold growth?

According to Vicki Lankarge in her book, “What Ever Home Owner Needs to Know About Mold & What to Do About It”, she tells us that there are 8 places where mold growth is most common.

8 Most Common Places for Mold Growth

  • Basements or cellars that have been flooded
  • Underneath kitchen and bathroom sinks
  • Underneath or behind refrigerators
  • Behind walls that also house plumbing
  • Stacks of damp or wet newspaper or cardboard boxes
  • Around air-conditioning units
  • Wallboard or around windows that leak
  • Under carpeting that may have become wet

Mold Growth: Moisture & Cellulose

Mold growth is of course not limited to these 8 places, however there is a common principle that links all of these common mold environments together: moisture and cellulose – not to be confused with cellulite.

“Cellulose is mold’s favorite food source” says Vicki Lankarge in her book.

Along with moisture, anywhere there is cellulose, there could be mold growth.

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

5 Simple Tips for Cleaning a Small Mold Infestation

Mold has been found. Now what?!

Don’t panic! The first thing that needs to be determined is whether or not the infestation is large or small.

Ask yourself, is the area affected with mold small and contained? How much mold can be seen and how much more may be unseen?

If the answer is only small amounts and the area is indeed contained, there are 5 easy tips tips according to Vicki Lankarge in her book “What Every Home Owner Needs to Know About Mold & What to Do About It” that can help you to rid yourself of any further mold problems:

5 Easy Tips for Small Area Mold Remediation

  • Make sure you’re free of allergy symptoms and/or asthma
  • Wear a mask and rubber gloves during clean up
  • Using water and detergent, scrub mold off nonporous surfaces and dry completely. (Perhaps a little bleach wouldn’t hurt as well)
  • Absorbent materials may have to be discarded if they are moldy. It is likely that hidden mold lurks beneath the surface and will grow back and fill in the crevices
  • Dispose of any sponges or rags used to clean the mold (It is best to double bag any mold contaminated items and remove them from the home entirely)

When do I need a mold professional?

If the area is small enough, there won’t be any need for professional help as it can be taken care of with do-it-yourself methods.

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

Source: Lankarge, Vicki. “What Every Home Owner Needs to Know about Mold & What to Do About It.” 50-53.

Q & A: Molds that Grow on Food

What types of Mold Grows on Food?

On December 15, 2007, a reader requested the following:

Informative Request:

I really need to know what type of mold grows on the following food:

Cauliflower
Tomatoes
Raspberries
Lunch Meat (Chicken Breast)
Hotdog
Pita
Yogurt
Mozzarella Cheese

I cant seem to find this info anywhere…so if anyone could help me as soon as possible it would be much appreciated.

Answer:

Different types of mold grow on different types of food.

Some molds cause severe health problems and sickness quickly where as others progressively worsen over time. Molds that contain mycotoxins are the cause of the illness from mold exposure.

Listed in the following are types of mold that typically grow on different foods:

Cauliflower

Cauliflower is susceptible to a type of mold called White Mold or Sclerotinia Sclerotiorum.

This mold causes the vegetable to have to have a dark, green greasy or water soaked appearance.

Tomatoes & Raspberries

Both of these fruits can be assaulted with gray mold, or botrytis blight. Fruits or vegetables affected by this type of mold usually contain a visible grayish fuzz.

Lunch Meat (Chicken Breast)/ Hotdogs

According to the USDA, the following are the most common types of mold that can grow on meats and poultry:

Alternaria, Aspergillus, Botrytis, Cladosporium, Fusarium, Geotrichum, Monilia, Manoscus, Mortierella, Mucor, Neurospora, Oidium, Oosproa, Penicillium, Rhizopus and Thamnidium. They are most certainly not limited to these types however.

I would recommend the following site for more information: USDA Mold Facts

Pita

Pita, because it is a type of bread, will most commonly develop the same forms of mold that other breads do.

Two of the most common are Rhizopus, a blackish fuzzy fungus, and Penicillium, which is a bluish-grayish-greenish fuzzy fungus usually having a white border.

Breads are of course not limited to these two types.

Yogurt/Mozzarella Cheese

As Mozzarella cheese and yogurt are both dairy products, and of course mozzarella is a soft cheese, the most common type of mold that can be grown is Penicillium.

Aspergillus is another common mold that grows on dairy products. Soft dairies such as yogurt, sour cream, and soft cheeses (mozzarella, etc) should be disposed of quickly.

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

green molds on log

Symptoms of Mold Exposure & Who is Most At Risk

Mold affects different types of people in many different ways. Every person comes into contact with some type of mold spore daily, however a majority of people don’t suffer severe side affects. Mold symptoms generally resemble hay fever – rash, fatigue, as well as severe to mild headaches have been reported. Generally speaking, and according to Vicki Lankarge, there are 5 main symptoms that anyone who comes into contact with mold may experience:

5 Symptoms of Exposure to Mold

  • Nasal and Sinus Congestion
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing or difficulty breathing
  • Skin and/or eye irritation
  • Upper respiratory infection including sinus

Mycotoxins

If everyone comes into contact with mold spores daily, why does it only affect some people? In most cases, its not that mold isn’t affecting that individual, its that the mold the individual is taking in, does not carry mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are what cause these symptoms and what are so poisonous to humans.

Who is Most at Risk for Symptoms of Mold Exposure?

Because mold can harm anyone no matter how healthy they are, this is a harder question to answer. According to Vicki Lankarge, there are three ‘types’ of people that are more susceptible to mold exposure problems:

  • Individuals with a respiratory disorder such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Individuals who have an immune system already weakened by cancer or HIV
  • Individuals that are either very old, or very young

Remember, these problems are not limited to these people, because anyone who comes in contact with mold can be harmfully affected.

Do You have Children, specifically Babies?

Young children, especially babies are more susceptible to severe mold problems. Their immune systems are still developing and especially in babies, their lungs are still growing stronger. According to Lankarge, there have been 45 cases since the incident in Ohio. 16 of these infants have died. When, small infants breathe in the mycotoxins, the blood vessels in their lungs are weakened. Repeated exposure to these mycotoxins, causes severe pulmonary hemorrhaging, or bleeding in the lungs.

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

Source: What Every Homeowner Needs to Know About Mold (And What to Do About It) by Vicki Lankarge, Pages 28-31.

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