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summertime mold

Your Summertime Guide to Mold

The days are long, the sun is out and the beaches are having their moment; summer is well and truly here. Hooray! Yet, as the saying goes, there’s no such thing as a free, er, BBQ. For with all the fun of the summer comes the added risk of mold.

Yup, that pesky fungal growth really knows how to get everywhere, doesn’t it? Especially at this time of year. This is down to several factors, which we shall now explore:
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mold on baby clothes

How to Prevent and Remove Mold on Baby Clothes

How do I Remove Mold on My Baby’s Clothes?

A Mold Blogger reader asked the following question:

Question

I have a 3 month old who spits up a lot and as often as I change her clothes or put bibs on her etc, she is constantly wet by her neck and chest.

I let her clothes air dry after removing them from her but before putting therm in the hamper. Recently, however, her clothing started to get moldy up by the neck.

I now have one cotton, one terry and one velor stretchy of hers that is no longer wearable. I tried soaking these outfits in vinegar before washing but saw no difference.

I also tried rubbing some oxy-clean solution on before washing but that did not do it either. Any suggestions? I am looking forward to a response on how to best remove this mold (and how to prevent mold from growing on other outfits.) Thanks.
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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.

Can mold grow on brick and hardwood floors?

Q. Hi, I recently moved into an old building in eastern TN built around 1890. Since moving in, my asthma has flared significantly, and is worse when I spend a few hours or more in the building. I have been tested positive for moldallergy, however I cannot find any mold. The building was renovated 4 years ago and everything, except the brick walls (now exposed), and hardwood floors and beams were replaced. I haven’t been able to find any mold. Can it grow on brick? If so, what should I look for? How about hardwood floors? There are no apparent water leaks. Thank you very Much.

A. Hi Eastern TN, It sounds like you may have a humidity problem. Yes mold needs Water, Heat and a food source but the water does not have to be in the form of running water as like a burst pipe. High humidity, above 60%, will be sufficient to allow Mold to grow. Mold can grow on any organic material. We all have dust around the house and most of the dust we find in homes is organic. This dust settles on everything thus making it possible for Mold to grow on all surfaces. Remember stop the water stop the Mold.

Mold Question answered by Jim Thomas of MouldOff.com. Jim 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.

Can mold grow on plastic and, if so, is there a way to clean it?

Question: We recently bought a used plastic outdoor toy set for our children. We had planned to clean it up and put it inside in our basement. While we were able to disinfect and clean the outside of the toy with a detergent, I am concerned that there may be mold inside the toy in areas I can not reach or scrub. When held to light we can see “spots” through the plastic. We cannot tell if it is mold or dirt. Can mold grow on plastic like this and is there a way to clean it? If not should we not bring it inside our home and just leave it as an outdoor toy? Thank you for your help!

Answer: Mold can definitely grow on plastic. If there is moisture and humidity and a way for the spores to gain access, mold start to grow. Cleaning will depend on the type of toy and your ability to access and disinfect the area. If you are unable to thoroughly remove the potential mold growth then, being better safe and sorry, I would suggest you clean it as best you can and leave it as an outside toy.

Thanks for stopping by! Feel free to leave a comment if you have any further questions.

Jonathan Wold
MoldBlogger.com

Can outdoor hot tubs and jacuzzi’s grow mold?

Question: 

I’m wondering if HOT tubs or Jacuzzi’s outdoors can fester with mold underneath a deck or foundation…? I smell a musty smell even tho it’s outside… Thanks.

Answer:

In our experience, any environment where humidity is present and moisture can sneak in will lend itself to mold growth. The heat generated from the unit can cause condensation which, in your case, may be leading to mold growth under the deck or foundation.

Jonathan Wold
MoldBlogger.com

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

How to remove mold stains?

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

  1. First take the item outside, so as not to spread mold spores indoors, and brush as much of the mold off as you can.
  2. Allow the item to dry in the sun for awhile, as direct sunlight can often kill many different types of mold spores.
  3. After plenty of sunlight has been distributed evenly over the item, presoak it in cold water possibly with a bleach solution, color safe if it has colors in it, and then machine wash it with warm water and 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. Hang the item in the sun again to dry.

Unfortunately, mold does leave stains but by using the previous solution and washing materials in this manner, you have rid the items of mold and most likely the musty smell as well, however removing mold stains is an entirely different matter.

Note Also:

Here are a couple of ideas that I haven’t prove my self, but that may be worth trying.

  • X-14 Mildew Stain Remover with Bleach will often remove the stains.
  • Try mixing 2 cap fulls of Milton baby sterilizing fluid with 3-4 liters of water and soak the item over night.

Further Recommended Reading:

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger team

How do you remove mold from hats?

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

  1. First take the hat outside, so as not to spread mold spores indoors, and brush as much of the mold off as you can.
  2. Allow your hat to dry in the sun for awhile, as direct sunlight can often kill many different types of mold spores.
  3. After plenty of sunlight has been distributed evenly over your hat, presoak it in cold water possibly with a bleach solution (color safe if your hat has colors in it) and then machine wash it with warm water and 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. Hang your hat in the sun again to dry.

The hat 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

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

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

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

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

Q & A: Should These Molds be Allowed in an Endoscopy Clinic?

Mold Types in Health Facilities

A reader asked the following question on November 10, 2007 :

Question:
I completed a swab test kit from IMS Laboratory on a ceiling tile in an endoscopy department and the lab results showed too numerous to count Acremonium sp., Alternaria sp., Aspergillus sp., Cladosporium sp. and Epicoccum ingrum.

How big of a concern should this be. My understanding of the report is that these are common molds found everywhere outside. Should these molds be showing up in a health care facility, endoscopy clinic?

Answer:

Mold Spores

Each of these molds give off spores that float through the air, looking for the ‘perfect’ place to attach, and then reproduce and thrive. Yes, these types of mold are everywhere – outside.

They need to stay outside. They have their specific place in nature, however you don’t want them in your home, your business, and especially not your health care facility.

Acremonium sp. & Alternaria sp.

Both of these though not considered the most dangerous types of mold do give off toxins that cause ill health effects or allergies in people. Also note that Acremonium sp. is found growing very closely with stachybrotys mold – the most dangerous type of mold found so far.

Asthma is a big problem these types of mold can cause and the best way to prevent is to remove the mold entirely. If people were to come to an endoscopy clinic, and then leave feeling sick with symptoms of mold exposure, the clinic would have a fairly large problem on their hands.

The employees will begin to have symptoms of “hay fever” and an ongoing cold – which just doesn’t look good to a patient walking in to be taken care of.

Aspergillus sp.

Studies show this specie of mold is the second most dangerous mold type next to stachybotrys. It carries harmful mycotoxins that cause severe illness in humans.

This is one mold type you definitely do not want growing in your health care facility.

Mold Spreads Quickly

Also remember that mold spreads – quickly. The best time to take care of a mold problem is immediately after finding. The longer remediation is put off, the more mold will grow – the bigger the job of removing mold.

Also, even if there is just a slight trace of one toxic mold type, and a large amount of a not so dangerous mold – each give off spores and both reproduce at a fast pace. It won’t be long before the area is over run with toxic mold and looking for a new area to permeate.

Mold in Health Care Facilities

When ingested, breathed in, or even taken in through the skin, mold spores attack the immune system. These mycotoxins that certain breeds carry and give off make people sick and weaken the area that fights infection. People in health care facilities are generally not in top condition anyway.

Mold exposure affects these people harder because their ability to fight off sickness is not as strong as a healthy, young immune system. When dealing with mold in a health care facility extra precaution should be taken to keep the facility clean and free of growing mold spores.

I would also recommend you read the following informative posts :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

Q & A: Mold on Food

On November 6, 2007, a reader requested the following:

Question I need to know about mold on food!

Is it safe to cut off mold from food and continue to eat it?

Mold growth stems from roots that grow deep into the material they choose to thrive on. Out of these roots, grows stalks that usually tower above whatever the mold is growing on and form spores.

Mold is not only growing on the surface of food, but all the way through it, often times permeating toxicity that will make people sick. Even if the visible mold is cut off, many times the roots as well as bacteria and toxic mycotoxins will still be left growing in the food.

Trust me, you don’t want to eat toxic mold roots.

Is Mushroom Poisoning because of Mold?

Mushroom’s are a fungus and many kinds release their own type of poison causing sickness in humans.

Though some of the symptoms are the same, fungus is only a type of mold and not the same thing.

Some Molds are Good to Eat

Not all molds are poisonous and release the mycotoxins that make people sick.

Many of these types of molds are what can be used to make certain types of cheeses, and flavoring in wine.

Softer, richer cheeses, like Brie and Gorgonzola, even have a layer of white mold coating.

Mold Grows in the Refrigerator, How Can This be Minimized?

Molds grow in the refrigerator because they can deal with salty, sugary foods like bacon or jam better than other toxic invaders.

According to the USDA, there are 3 main things you can do to minimize mold growth in the refrigerator:

3 Ways to Minimize Growth in Your Refrigerator

  • Clean the refrigerator every few months with a baking soda/water solvent making sure to scrub any visible mold growth with a bleach/water mixture
  • Keep all sponges, dishtowels, mops, and cloths clean and free of a musty, dirty smell
  • Make sure the level of humidity in your home is below 40% [this is good anyway to prevent mold all throughout your home]


Don’t Buy Moldy Food from the Store

Another good tip is to never buy moldy foods from the store. Make sure you check all of your breads, cheeses, and vegetables as well as any other easily molded foods before you bring them home.

This will prevent the embarrassing event of taking the moldy food back to the store for exchange as well as saving you and your family time and possible sickness!

The USDA also advises 4 ways of handling food already contaminated with mold :

4 Ways to Remove Moldy Foods

  • Never try to smell the moldy foods, this is bad for your respiratory system
  • If you see food is contaminated with mold, put it in a bag and throw it away where the it is out of reach from children and animals.Also recommended : Do not throw the contaminated food away in your house trash can; take it outside to the dumpster, preventing unseen spores from contaminating your home.
  • Clean the refrigerator or pantry where the moldy item was kept.
  • Check the nearby items for mold in case of cross contamination

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

Source : USDA: Mold on Food Facts

Q & A: 5 Easy Steps to Remove Mold from Furniture

On October 8, 2007, a reader asked the following question:

Question

I have had a chase lounger in storage only now to find mold on the bottom skirt. How do I remove it? Thanks

Answer

How to Remove Mold from Furniture

Removing mold from furniture is probably one of the more harder tasks. You can’t exactly place your sofa in the washing machine. Not all furniture is saveable either.

If you suspect mold growth inside your chair or sofa, disposing of the piece entirely would be the safest action.

If mold growth is only in one specific area and does not smell:

  • 1. Rent a HEPA certified vacuum and clean the area affected.
  • 2. Then use a detergent/water mixture (add bleach if detergent does not contain ammonia)
  • 3. Scrub the area well.
  • 4. Rinse the fabric thoroughly.
  • 5. Set the piece in a highly ventilated area where it can dry quickly within the first 24 hours to prevent mold regrowth.

Be sure to watch and make sure the mold does not come back.

For more information on removing furniture and mold visit Remove Mold from Furniture

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

Q & A: Dealing with Mold Exposure

On October 14, 2007, a reader asked the following question:

Question: “I breathed in some mold… what should I do?”

Answer:

When dealing with mold remediation or clean up, personal protection and safety are extremely important.

Mold exposure can cause severe illness depending upon the amount of mold and time exposed.

Are you experiencing any side affects such as difficulty breathing, skin rash, or trouble seeing?

If so, definitely make an appointment with your doctor asap.

Depending upon the amount of exposure experienced, you might want to ask your doctor’s advice in any case. Remember for future reference to always wear Personal Protective Equipment.

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

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