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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

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

Mold On Clothes

What Happens When Mold Gets on Clothing?

Jacole, 11, from Oklahoma, shares her experience and some advice in dealing with mold:

Hi! My name is Jacole. My experience with mold happened with my favorite pair of pants. They were verrry comfortable.

They were in the laundry basket waiting to be washed, but they were in there sooo long (because I forgot about them in my room) that they got mold on the legs!

My mom washed them with bleach, but they were stained anyways.

A little advice :

If mold gets on clothes – IT STAINS!

Jacole – Guest Writer from the MoldBlogger Team

Further Recommended Reading :

A Personal Mold Story

The Effects of Mold

Here’s an exerpt from an interesting story of a man named Wayne. Its his personal story and battle with mold.

My trouble started in childhood with my eyes.

They were always itching, especially when I tried to sleep. After a while I developed a nevus on my eye — a hardened blister formation on the white part.

It did not interfere with my vision, but it wasn’t pretty. Eventually I had the nevus surgically removed. I vividly remember the whole procedure. My eyes were wide open.

That night, I went out on my first date with Cynthia, the woman who would later become my wife. During the date, I remember making Cynthia sit on the side of the theater (instead of in the middle seats), so I could turn my eyes and still see the movie, thus relieving the discomfort of having the suture in the corner of my eye.

To read the rest of Wayne’s story visit Dr. Greene.Com

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

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