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


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.


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
Jasper, IN

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.

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.

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

man almost on the water

Top 3 Sources of Water Damage and Tips to Avoid Them

Mold Thrives with Moisture

In order to grow and thrive, mold needs moisture. This creates a problem for homeowners that don’t want to share their space with mold. The trick, is getting ahead of mold.

That means knowing where to look and then learning how to prevent the growth of mold in those areas.

The top three sources that can attain water damage, and thus a mold problem are :

  • Washing Machine Hoses
  • Shower Tile Grout
  • Water Heaters

How to Avoid These Mold Invitations

One of the most important things to do in order to avoid mold growth in any of these areas, is to maintain a regular “check-up system” in your home.

Ignorance can lead to bigger problems, so be sure to know if there is a chance of mold growth.

Washing Machine Hoses

According to Vicki Lankarge, author of What Every Homeowner Needs to Know About Mold (And What to Do About It), washing machine valves should be turned off after each use to prevent bursting and leakage.

Shower Tile Grout

It is very important to make sure tile grout is applied properly, especially in showers or other water present areas. If the grout you already have is not up to par, replacement could be your best option.

To do this :

  • Remove old grout with a grout saw
  • Clean the surface of the tiles
  • Mix grout according to the instructions on the package
  • Apply grout to the surface with a grout float, spreading in a diagonal direction
  • Allow the grout to sit for 10 minutes or according to directions
  • Wipe the surface of the tile with a damp sponge to remove any excess grout
  • Allow to dry for another 10 minutes until you see a white haze, wipe this haze with the sponge

Water Heaters

When dealing with water heaters, it is important to know how much water is in your heater. Every 6 months, it would be wise to completely drain your water heater.

Here’s How:

  • Turn off the electricity or gas supply
  • Attach a hose to the drain valve at the base of the heater, and the other end to a drainage bucket
  • Allow the water to drain until it becomes clear
  • Close the drain valve and and open the cold water valve to refill the tank
  • Restore electricity or gas

Regular Maintenance

Remember to check each of these items in your home as well as other water related appliances. Regular maintenance is the key ingredient to keeping your home safe and free of mold.

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

Information Source : What Every Home Owner Needs to Know About Mold (And What to Do About It)
by Vicki Lankarge Pages 39-43.


Find Mold, Stop Mold, Prevent Mold!

Mold Remediation in Florida

Janie Porter, a reporter from Tampa Bay 10 News, writes about a specific local mold remediation problem:

Visit Mold in Your Home to read the local story.

How to Find, Stop, and Prevent Mold

She also offers a list of steps to find mold, and then remove and prevent further growth.

Read the following:

  • Finding Mold

1. Mold is usually associated with a musty smell in the house.

2. Small surface patches of mold on bath tiles or around the shower usually aren’t a problem, unless the mold has reached the wallboard underneath.

3. To find mold, check beneath carpets and around windows. Also, check water hoses on appliances like refrigerators, water heaters and laundry machines.

Source: Consumer Reports

  • Stopping Mold

1. Use plastic sheeting to contain and prevent mold spores from spreading.

2. If the mold covers less than 10 square feet, you may be able to take care of the problem yourself.

3. Begin by protecting yourself with an N-95 disposable respirator approved by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health; goggles; and heavy-duty rubber, neoprene, or PVC gloves. Packages of N-95 respirators cost about $12 to $25 and are available in hardware and building-supply stores, by mail, and online.

4. Bag and discard any carpet, ceiling tiles, wallboard, paper, insulation, or other porous materials that have been wet for 48 hours or more.

5. Scrub other materials with a strong solution of detergent and water or 1 cup of chlorine bleach per 5 gallons of water.

6. Wood studs and exposed joists may have to be wire-scrubbed with bleach, sanded, and dried out before reinstalling wallboard and flooring.

7. If the mold covers more than 10 square feet, you’ll need to hire a professional mold remediator.

Source: Consumer Reports

  • Preventing Mold

1. Check water hoses on things like refrigerators and water heaters once a month.

2. Don’t use wallpaper or carpets in bathrooms and other damp areas.

3. Repair leaky roofs, poor or missing chimney and window flashing, missing or damaged shingles or siding, and leaky pipes.

4. Repair or replace damaged gutters and leaders.

5. Keep humidity levels in the house between 30 and 50 percent by running the air conditioner and installing outside-venting fans in bathrooms. Also, invest in a dehumidifier. For tips on buying a dehumidifier, click here.

6. To grow, mold needs about 65 percent relative humidity for three to six days. You can measure relative humidity using a hygrometer.

Source: Consumer Reports

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the Moldblogger Team

Source: Janie Porter from Tampa Bay 10 News

Manage Mold for Good Health

Mold Spores are Everywhere

According to Phoebe Yin, mold spores are everywhere, floating in and out of our homes. These spores reproduce in moisture which is why limiting moisture in our homes is so imperative for mold prevention.

Besides from just seeing the red, green, and black colors of mold, it also gives off a musty smell and causes asthma like symptoms.

She says there are six main ways of preventing moisture build up:

  • Run a fan or open a window for 20 minutes after showering or bathing.
  • Make sure to ventilate whenever doing laundry.
  • Wash your bathtub or shower as well as the toilet with borax as often as possible. Borax kills mold.
  • Use a Dehumidifier.
  • Once a week, wash windows with a solution of 20% white vinegar.
  • Every once in a while sprinkle baking soda on basement carpets followed by a good vacuuming. (Or remove the carpet all together)

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

Source: Phoebe Yin, ND

10 EPA Mold Prevention Tips

10 Approved Tips to Prevent Mold :

The following 10 tips are EPA approved and will help you prevent any mold contamination before the spores even think to settle and spread through your home!

1] As soon as a liquid is spilled, no matter the surface, make sure to clean up immediately. Mold most likely will not grow within the first 24-48 hours if moisture is removed.

2] Surround pipes and other cold surfaces with insulation.

3] When looking for a home or to build one, make sure the ground slopes away from the base house to avoid moisture collecting at the foundation.

4] Make sure air conditioning drains are kept clean and flowing properly.

Keep humidity levels in homes below 60%, preferably between 30% and 50%.

6] Store appliances like stoves and dryers outside where they get plenty of airflow, and vent moisture from collecting inside.

Be watching for moisture collection. This includes on appliances, windows or any furniture piece.

Periodically open doors and windows to increase airflow through your home.

9] When showering or bathing be sure to open a window or turn a bathroom fan on.

Clean and repair roof gutters as often as possible.

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

Source: Mary Beth Almond

Popular Mold Prevention Products

What is the Best Way to Treat Household Mold?

The best way to treat household mold is through prevention. Once mold has taken up residence in your home, you may find that you are fighting an uphill battle.

If instead you find a way to prevent mold from occurring in the first place you’ll never have to face the task of removing it.

Many popular products on the market are designed to prevent mold.

Each claims to have the best approach, but it’s ultimately up to the homeowner to decide which is for them.

However, there are other products that you may not think to consider when it comes to preventing mold:

  • A humidity meter (hygrometer): Although this may not seem like something that can work to prevent mold that is exactly what it does.A relative humidity meter measures the moisture within your home.Moisture is mold’s best friend and is the cause for a large majority of the mold spores that are found within homes.

    The meter should be read regularly and if the homeowner notices an increase in moisture, they need to find the cause and treat it.

  • New roof gutters: Roof gutters helps keep the rain flowing away from your home.If the gutters are old and rusting, they can spring leaks. This results in water falling close to the foundation of the home.Water can seep in through basement windows or cracks in the foundation causing the growth of mold.
  • New plumbing: If you live in an older home you may notice a tiny leak in a pipe from time to time.This is inevitable but it’s important to consider the fact that a pipe may spring a leak while you are at work during the day, or away on vacation.The resulting leak can cause moisture damage which then becomes a ripe area for mold growth. If the plumbing in your home is beginning to show signs of wear, consider slowly replacing it.
  • New ceiling tiles: If any of the ceiling tiles in your basement are showing signs of water damage, they need to be replaced as soon as possible.Even though they may appear to be dry, they still can retain some moisture from the initial incident. By replacing the tiles with fresh ones, you will be throwing out any chance of mold developing in your ceiling.

Doing routine maintenance on your home will help to prevent mold from growing. If you notice any water-damaged areas consider replacing the material if at all possible.

Another area that you’ll need to address is flooring. Mold can grow beneath carpeting and that is why it is advisable to replace carpeting in damp areas with flooring.

Having bathroom carpeting may provide for a cozier feeling, but it also encourages mold growth. The same can be said for carpeting found in the kitchen.

Flooring is a much better and healthier choice in these areas.

Preparing your home through prevention will result in a decreased risk of mold.

Keep areas clean, dry, and thoroughly clean, or replace any water-damaged surfaces as soon as possible.

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

Three Ways to Decrease Mold in the Home

Mold Growth in the Home

Mold growth can be a serious problem when it happens in the home. Mold in a home can cause serious health problems for the people that live there; mainly pulmonary and respiratory problems.

This can be especially dangerous for infants and young children, although it can affect people of all ages. If you notice that there is mold in various places in your home, there are certain things that you can do to decrease the mold and prevent any further spreading.

What Can I Do to Prevent the Mold from Spreading?

  • Mold thrives in a warm, humid climate During the hot summer months, be sure to use a dehumidifier or air conditioner to keep the humidity level in your home at a minimum. Air conditioner and dehumidifier filters should be changed frequently.If mold is already present in your home, then be sure to change the filters more often than is recommended by the manufacturer. You want to make sure that these appliances are working at maximum efficiency.Be sure to buy and use the right size air conditioner or dehumidifier for the size of your home – the right investment now can mean much less trouble in the future.
  • 2 Rooms Containing the Most HumidityThe two rooms in your home that tend to have the most humidity are the kitchen and the bathroom. It is important that these rooms be well ventilated as often as possible.On cooler days when you will not be using your air conditioner, keep windows open in these rooms to let the cooler air in. In addition, if your air conditioner or dehumidifier is located far away from the kitchen or bathroom, you may want to consider installing extra units nearer to these rooms.
  • Kitchens and bathrooms Should be cleaned regularly and thoroughly with a solution of one cup of bleach to one gallon of water.Make sure that there is no standing water in either room for long periods of time, especially during the hot summer months when standing water can evaporate and cause humidity levels to rise.After baths and showers, wipe down all wet surfaces, and spray with the bleach solution, or a commercially prepared solution that is designed to inhibit the growth of mold.

    If there are any other rooms in your home or yard that may experience higher than normal humidity, such as a pool changing room, sunroom, or greenhouse, take the same measures and precautions with these rooms as you would with your kitchen and bathrooms.

What should I do If Mold Contamination is Increasing?

If you find that the mold in your home is increasing even with all of the precautions you have taken, you can call your local state Health Board and ask them to recommend the services of professionals who specialize in the removal of mold in the home.

You may have to start out by having your home professionally inspected for mold. Professional inspectors may find mold in your home that you have not yet discovered, and it is important to know where all the mold is so it can be successfully and completed eradicated.

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

Home Construction Prevents Mold

What is The Best Mold Prevention Method?

Moisture control is the number one preventative for stopping mold growth, and during new home construction is the easiest and earliest way to take measures to prevent future mold outbreaks.

Homebuilders are using a number of new ideas and products to help keep homeowners mold-free, because they know prevention is the least expensive way to deal with mold.

Some steps being undertaken by contractors during new home construction include:

Proper site selection:

The first and most important step in building a home is choosing its site. If a home is built on a site with a high water table, future moisture problems are greatly reduced.

In addition, the proper site will eliminate any extra landscaping or grading that will need to be done to prevent moisture from entering the home or foundation.

Land drainage and grading:

The site a house is built on should be graded, or sloped, so that rain and melted snow flow away from the foundation. In areas where this is not possible, special landscaping and drainage can be installed to redirect the water away from the house.


Damp-proofing is when a special coating is applied on the foundation wall that sits below grade. Make sure your builder uses a durable waterproofing material, as the coating can be damaged during the construction of the home. A high-quality material is essential.

Elimination of Fake Stucco:

When fake stucco is not applied properly, it becomes a breeding ground for mold.

Many builders are encouraging homeowners wary of mold to forgo it altogether, as the application of fake stucco needs to be 100% properly and accurately installed to avoid excess moisture between the surface of the material and the walls.

Positive ventilation:

When the air pressure inside is higher than the air pressure outside, this is known as positive ventilation. Adjusting the HVAC system so that the air is positive will force allergens and mold spores outside the home.

Negative air will bring the air in from the outside, which is not good for those suffering from allergies. The air should not be set too positively though, or else moisture will be forced into the walls and other small cracks and surfaces.

Whole-house air purifiers:

Primarily used in homes which house individuals with suppressed immune systems, these air purifiers can be rather expensive.

However, if you deal with allergies quite frequently, a whole-house air purifier is an excellent way to prevent allergens, dust mites, and mold spores from entering the home and making their stay known.

Futher Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

The Economical Changes you Can Make to Prevent Mold

How Can I Benefit the Economy & Prevent Mold Growth?

There are so many ways to prevent mold in your home and your business. What about mold prevention that benefits the economy?

Taking care of the economy is a responsibility all of us carry; why not prevent mold and benefit the economy at the same time?

Here are a few economical changes that YOU can make, to prevent the growth of mold in your home :

    • Ventilate with hosing and exhaust fans:

Moisture from appliances needs to be properly directed to the outdoors, including clothes dryers and oven exhaust fans. Old ventilation should be checked regularly to ensure there are no leaks allowing moisture to remain trapped indoors.

Installing exhaust fans in the bathroom, kitchen, or laundry room is an quick and efficient way to eliminate excess moisture from any room. This is especially important in rooms without windows.

    • Install appropriate drainage:

All appliances and fixtures that use plumbing will need to be checked for appropriate drainage, including the dishwasher, toilets, sinks, and washing machines. In the absence of reliable drainage, hosing will need to be installed to keep the moisture out of the air and draining properly.

Appropriate drainage also needs to be installed on gutters as well, as an overgrowth of outdoor mold can mean problems indoors.

    • Replace outdated HVAC systems:

Old HVAC systems may have leakages and dirty or wet drip pans. They may be beyond a little repair and replacing outdated systems will more efficiently heat and cool your home, as well as reduce the allergens and mold spores that are introduced into your home.

By doing a thorough check of the HVAC system, homeowners can prepare for a humid summer (and increase in mold) by replacing that inefficient system with a clean and moisture-free one.

    • Keep landscaping tidy and properly graded:

Mold spores that develop into unsightly mold come from the outdoors. By keeping landscaping in order, homeowners can greatly reduce the mold growing outside there home, which in turns greatly decreases the mold spores that reach the indoors.

Cleaning out gutters, properly grading the land, and checking regularly for proper drainage of water will reduce the chances of outdoor mold, as well as water problems on the foundation or roof, which can lead to indoor mold.

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the Moldblogger Team

Tips: Control Moisture – Control Mold

How Do I Control Moisture to Prevent Mold from Growing?

Here are some tips for controlling moisture indoors where mold is a problem:

  • Maintain humidity levels at 30-50%:
    Controlling humidity levels will greatly reduce the presence of mold, as well as dust mites and other microbes.Humidity levels can be measured with a simple tool called a hygrometer, which can be purchased at home improvement warehouses and hardware stores.Besides weather in the southern part of the U.S., humidity can be caused by dishwashers, especially the heated drying cycle.Another common source of humidity is trapped bathroom steam from showers, and the escaping air from the clothes dryer.By checking the humidity with a hygrometer, one can know when steps to reduce moisture are required.
  • Reduce the moisture in the air:
    Air conditioners and humidifiers are both excellent ways to reduce moisture in the air if proper ventilation is not possible.In addition, in the case of humid weather, when ventilation will not make must of a difference, running the air conditioner or humidifier will help greatly.Mold will begin to grow rapidly as the humidity reaches 50%, and especially so during the summer months, so check the levels often with a hygrometer.Be sure to have your air conditioner or humidifier cleaned each year before use, as a dirty filter can make mold and allergies much worse by exposing your home or business to even more mold spores.
  • Keep air flowing:
    Ventilation, when possible, is the best defense against mold. Whether there has been a previous infestation of mold or not, it will continue to grow wherever there is a lack of proper air flow.Increase ventilation by leaving doors between rooms and closets open.Make sure the clothes dryer is vented to the outside, and that there are no leaks in the ventilation hosing. A very important place to monitor ventilation is in the bathroom.Most will have a small window for air flow, but that is not always enough. Frequently use the vent fan, and in the absence of one, use a portable fan to clear out steam after showers and baths.Doing so will greatly reduce the chance of mold on the walls and shower doors and curtains.

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

mold cleaning solution

How Do I Stop Mold from Spreading?

What About Mold?

Mold is a kind of fungus that grows virtually everywhere. It feeds on plants and fibers and thrives in damp, musty locations such as bathrooms, basements and attics.

Molds multiply by traveling through the air as tiny spores which like to make their home in wet areas, where they will breed. Molds grow on organic materials such as paper, leather, dirt and soap scum.

Mold grows best and multiplies fastest in warm temperatures, between 77 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit, although they can also grow in temperatures between 32 and 95 degrees.

If molds are spotted in the house, it is advised to nip it immediately in the bud before it spreads to other areas. Rampant mold growth can also be a good indication of a moisture problem, which should be dealt with as soon as possible.
Read More

Potential Signs of Mold Contamination

Check Your Home for Mold – What Am I Looking For?

Here are a few Mold signs that you may need to check your house for. It doesn’t matter if your house is brand new, or a hundred years old, you can never be too sure!

Look For :

  • Stained ceiling tiles (you may be very surprised as to what may be growing underneath) or walls.
  • Black, brown, orange, pink, or green speckled walls or around any plumbing grout or tile.
  • Musty, earthy, or urine scented odor.
  • Leaky roof or flashing installed improperly.
  • Flood or hurricane damage.
  • Leaky window or door.

Here are a few from the list of Contributing factors of mold :

Look For :

    • Leaky door or unseated windows that have broken seals.
    • Plumbing leak/inferior plumbing job.

* Lumber is one of the worst problems. That is why the United States is the most insidious in the world on record for mold problems!

For the rest of these helpful tips visit Signs of Mold

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team


How does Mold Get into your Home?

What can Increase the Risk of Mold Growth?

Interestingly enough, the more people in your home, the higher your risks of mold growing there. The reason for this, is because we release a lot of moisture into the air when we breathe.

Also, things such as long hot showers, cooking with uncovered pots, drying clothes on an indoor clothesline, and use of humidifiers, contribute to placing moisture into the air.

Storing wet firewood, watering many plants, and keeping many vegetables like potatoes and squash can create a mold problem too.

What Does Mold Need to Grow?

Not only does Mold need that moisture, but also food sources too. By food sources I mean materials they live on.

Food sources such as drywall, wood, insulation, cardboard and paper, as well as, invisible bio-film on hard surfaces, carpet backing, wallpaper adhesive, many fabrics, leather, and especially house dust are mold havens for such spores.

Can We Live in a Mold Free World?

Mold is ever present, we cannot expect to live in a mold free world. However, mold is not a problem most of the time, until you can see or smell it, or if you are having ill affects that are not normally present in your home.

This is when a call to action is needed. Delay in these matters will worsen the problem at hand.

Always remember, when Mold is an issue.. Deal with it promptly, do not wait.

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

Source : About Mold

Tips to Avoid “Sick-House” Syndrome

What is Sick-House Syndrome?

Although we all know that fresh air is good for us, we tend to associate it with spending time outdoors. Since many of us spend most of our lives indoors, we should educate ourselves on the danger of what is called “sick-house” syndrome.

This occurs when our homes, offices, etc. are sealed tightly to prevent noise, pollution, or cold air from entering. Unfortunately, this also prevents harmful fumes caused by paints, cleaning products, deodorizers and wood smoke from getting out.

Even our furnishings, carpeting, and clothing can emit dangerous pollutants.

How Can We Prevent the Build up of Dangerous Pollutants?

Studies show that the air in our homes should be changed ten times per day – anything less causes build up of dangerous pollutants.

Below are some tips to help avoid “sick-house” syndrome.

    • Ventilation

First, open the windows (just a crack is sufficient) when possible, and check to make sure that all vents are unblocked.

Another problem that lack of ventilation can cause is mold and mildew. This is found to be a danger not only to your health, but it can also damage the structure of your house.

Especially in rooms such as kitchens and bathrooms, where humidity is likely to be high, proper ventilation is essential. The use of fans in these areas are helpful.

Also, check areas such as the attic, and underneath floors for proper air circulation. If you have a humidity problem upstairs, it probably means that the attic or roof space needs more ventilation. Be aware that some types of flooring can cause structural damage if there is not adequate ventilation beneath it.

    • Pleasant Odors

We all want our homes to smell nice, and a clean, well-ventilated house will. But unpleasant odors happen, and we must not become overzealous in using artificial scents that add more pollutants to the air.

Aerosols, in particular, are not eco-friendly and often contain nasty additives. Do not fall into the trap of trying to create a “fresh smelling” home by adding more chemicals to our already polluted air.

You can easily make your own room deodorizer by sprinkling a few drops of vanilla or essential oil on a cotton ball. Place this in a small open container to prevent the oil or alcohol from damaging your furniture.

Other natural room fresheners to use include baking soda, white vinegar, fresh or dried herbs, or even a bowl of fresh apples.

And, if you like the scent of fresh flowers, treat yourself to the real thing instead of using an artificial spray. Try to keep chemical-laced cleaners, and perfumed products to a minimum, and use natural products as much as possible.

Do You Suffer from Sick-House Syndrome?

If you or your loved ones suffer from unexplained drowsiness, headaches or a general malaise, try getting fresher air through the house. Your family and your home with breath easier and avoid the “sick-house” syndrome.

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

Breathe Easier — Air Purification Solutions to Air Pollution

How Can Air Pollution be Minimized?

In today’s complicated world, we face an almost constant onslaught of pollution – from the air we breathe, the water we drink, the homes we live in, and the vehicles we drive.

There are almost as many types of air pollution as there are potential solutions. No matter what type of air purification system you’re looking for, you should know that there is not one product on the market today that can solve every problem.

The best approach to figuring out what type of air purification solution is going to be best for you, is to first understand the different types of pollution.

5 Types of Air Pollution

For example, these are the five major types of air pollution:

    • Odor Causing Pollution

Odor comes from many different places – food, animals, human bodies, cigarettes, cigars and pipe smoke, sports shoes, clothing and equipment, etc.

Although not necessarily dangerous, if you’ve ever walked into your teenage son’s room after he’s come back from a football game and taken a deep breath – you know it can be very unpleasant!

Recommended Solution: Currently, the best solutions on the market for this type of pollution are odor sponges, ozone and oxidation.

    • Particulate Causing Pollution

Particulates are those little floating things you see when the sun comes shining in through your windows, and include dust, dust mites, dust mite feces, pet dander, skin flakes (what dust mites eat), pollen, smoke particles and allergens.

Recommended Solution: Currently the best solutions on the market for this type of pollution are infiltration and negative ions.

    • Microbial Causing Pollution

Microbials are microscopic bacteria, fungi, mycotoxins created by a fungus, mildew, mold spores and viruses.

They can be as small as .001 microns. Microbials love to live in warm, damp places, or under your carpet, in your walls and in heating and air conditioning ducts.

Recommended Solution: Currently the best solutions on the market for this type of pollution are those that produce oxidation, which kills microbials.

    • Chemical Fumes and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC)

This type of pollution comes from chemicals like benzene and formaldehyde, the chemical fumes that are constantly seeping from carpets, upholstery, furniture, draperies, household cleaning products, beauty products such as nail polish, removers, etc.

They also come from cigarette, cigar and pipe smoke, building construction, etc. Many of these chemicals have been identified as carcinogens.

Recommended Solution: Currently the best solution on the market for this type of pollution are products that produce catalytic oxidation.

    • Radon Gas Pollution

Radon is a completely odorless, tasteless and colorless gas, and is the heaviest of all known gasses. It is caused by the radioactive breakdown of uranium inside the earth.

When radon is cooled below freezing, it turns a brilliant phosphorescent shade of yellow, which turns orange-red as it gets colder. Radon is also the second leading cause of lung cancer.

Smoking exacerbates the affects of radon. Radon is found all around us, in our homes, our yards and the world around us.

Recommended Solution: The best solution to this form of pollution is to first of all test your home (a simple test is available at most hardware stores) and then to seal all cracks and openings in your home’s foundation.

If the problem merits it, you may need to have a certified contractor install a ventilation system inside your home.

With this basic understanding about pollution you are now ready to make that all important decision about which system is going to be best for you. The choice is yours!

Further Recommended Reading:

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

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6 Easy Mold Prevention Tips

Mold Prevention

Preventing mold is the key way to avoid having to deal with mold at all.

Here are six important tips to help you prevent mold :

    • Dehumidification System

Consider air conditioning possible augmented with a dehumidification system.

These systems pull the moisture from the building thus minimizing growth by depriving mold of one of its nutrients.

    • Use Caution

Use caution when you turning your air conditioning off. In humid climates, extended periods of non-operation of HVAC equipment may allow humidity levels to become quite high in buildings.

These periods can permit mold to gain a foothold in the building and thrive.

    • Installation

Install insulation and vapor barriers to prevent condensation on cold objects such as water pipes,beams,and plumbing fixtures.

    • Avoid Standing Water

Keep sinks, showers, tubs and other wet areas free of standing water.

    • Review Applications

Demand architectural,design,and construction applications that prevent water from entering the interior.

Areas of concern include improperly pitched roofs,poorly designed balconies,win- dows,doors,improperly installed flashing, vapor barriers,and thin stucco.

    • Maintain Structure Regularly

Maintain the integrity of building envelope through regular inspections, caulking,roof flashing,and sealing of the buildings exterior.

Further Recommended Reading:

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

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hidden mold in a home

10 Things You Should Know About Mold

10 Important Things Everyone Should Know About Mold

Don’t go into mold prevention and mold removal unarmed! Here are some tips that will help you fight your battle with mold:

Health Effects

Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposures include allergic reactions, asthma, and other respiratory complaints.

Control Mold Growth

There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.

Eliminate Moisture

If mold is a problem in your home or school, you must clean up the mold and eliminate sources of moisture.

Repair Water Problems

Fix the source of the water problem or leak to prevent mold growth.

Reduce Indoor Humidity

Reduce indoor humidity (to 30-60% ) to decrease mold growth by: venting bathrooms, dryers, and other moisture-generating sources to the outside; using air conditioners and dehumidifiers; increasing ventilation; and using exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing, and cleaning.

Clean and Dry

Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials and furnishings within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.

Use Detergents

Clean mold off hard surfaces with water and detergent, and dry completely. Absorbent materials such as ceiling tiles, that are moldy, may need to be replaced.

Prevent Condensation

Reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces (i.e., windows, piping, exterior walls, roof, or floors) by adding insulation.

Rules for Carpeting

In areas where there is a perpetual moisture problem, do not install carpeting (i.e., by drinking fountains, by classroom sinks, or on concrete floors with leaks or frequent condensation).

Mold is Everywhere

Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any substance, providing moisture is present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods.

Further Recommended Reading:

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

Source: The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) at

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