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mold expert

MoldBlogger Interview: Lisa and Ron Beres

Q. Being advocates for healthy homes, how often do you get contacted concerning black mold and how to remove it?

Lisa: We get contacted quite often for mold inquiries from people all across the country, but most people are unaware if they actually have mold, the scope of the problem or how to properly remove it. Many people will experience hay fever like symptoms, but if they can’t see visible mold, they tend to think it doesn’t exist or isn’t a real threat.

Ron: We always start by advising the person test, not guess. Too many people unknowingly put themselves and/or their loved ones in danger by ignoring the visible signs of moisture or water damage and/or a musty smell. They assume it will go away on its own. Many people wait too long before addressing the root cause of the issue – typically a leaky water source.
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black mold symptoms

4 Black Mold Poisoning Symptoms

Toxic Black Mold

Usually associated with the nasty back and green patches on the walls, mold is the non- scientific term for a wide variety of fungi. These organisms thrive in damp, warm and humid environment and can evolve both indoors and outdoors. Mold is not only unsightly and smelly, but it is also potentially dangerous for human health.

Toxic black mold in particular can be quite hazardous and can trigger an array of symptoms. Also known as Stachybotrys chartarum, these fungi feed on organic materials such as carpet, insulation and drywall, while releasing spores. These spores are then inhaled or ingested, causing a range of unpleasant and sometimes severe health issues.
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mold on wood furniture

5 Ways to Remove Mold on Furniture

An Uncomfortable Situation

Black mold is absolutely horrible and can do more than simply ruin the way your furniture looks. The stuff can cause serious health problems if you don’t deal with it right away and clean your furniture thoroughly. The most common household product used to get rid of this nasty mold is bleach, but even that could be toxic and do more harm than good.
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mold on carpet

The Easiest Ways to Detect and Prevent Carpet Mold

Hidden Mold

Mold is a serious problem. It is known to cause respiratory problems and other health issues. Detecting and removing mold is difficult because it tends to show up anywhere that water does. Carpet mold is very serious. It often develops beneath the carpet fibers. This makes it hard to detect. A leak in one part of a house can trickle into another. This leads to nearly invisible carpet mold.

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black mold guide

Black Mold: The Definitive Guide

Black Mold Is Scary!

Hearing about mold can be scary, especially if it’s in your home or business and it’s making you and other people sick. It can poison your family, your co-workers, your friends, and even your pets. Most people think green when they think of mold, but black mold, or Stachybotrys, is actually a very common problem in damp or water-damaged areas (Stop mold after water damage) and it can be very dangerous. (7 ways to know if a mold is dangerous).
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cloves

Fighting Mold with Clove Essential Oil

Mold is everywhere, and toxic molds often take root within homes and other buildings. Water leaks and damp environments fuel the fugal growth and the proliferation of mold spores in the environment. Once mold is discovered, a safe and effective treatment is necessary to prevent further damage to building structure and the health of those who are exposed. One common cleaning method, chlorine bleach, is neither a safe nor often a effective solution. However, essential oils are becoming known as a harmless and potent method to fight molds.

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beautiful house

Why Would I Need a Mold Inspection?

If you are in the process of purchasing a home, then you are probably aware of the myriad of steps that you must go through before reaching the day you close. Your broker or realtor may have already informed you of the necessity for a pre purchase inspection. The purpose of a pre purchase inspection is to identify any potential serious defects in the home. The possible defects could range from roof damage, plumbing issues, or even electrical problems. At this point in the home purchasing process, you could still choose another home in the unlikely event that a major problem with your original choice was detected during inspection. One issue that you will definitely want to have your inspector perform is a mold inspection.
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black mold infestation

Signs You’ve Been Exposed to Mold

Although mold can be found in almost any environment, there are certain types and quantities that can put your health at risk. Mold is a fungi that thrives off warmth and moisture, quickly reproducing by sending spores that travel through the air until they find a surface where they can grow. There are thousands of different types of mold but only a few types that are commonly found indoors; some of these being especially toxic to many people. If you have signs of mold exposure, it is important to seek medical attention and have the mold removed from your environment.
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bleach to clean mold

5 Misconceptions About Mold That Could Change Your Life (Part 2 of 5)

Under many common conditions mold can be serious, and given time could possibly lead to severe health complications. In this five part series I hope to tackle and explain some of the biggest misconceptions about mold.

Misconception 2 of 5 – If you have a mold problem bleach will get rid of it, always and forever.

I hear this one a lot. If a mold problem develops, many will grab some bleach, pour it on, and think they’ve kissed their mold problems good bye. If this is the typical scenario, their battle with mold has only just begun.

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black mold cleaning

Black Mold Cleaning Tips

If you happen to spot any black mold in your home, you must do everything you can to remove it as soon as possible before the infestation spreads throughout your home. Black mold is very toxic to humans and animals, being the source of serious health issues. There is a bit you must know about the mold itself before you try to focus on cleaning it. We still recommend you look for professional help when you’re handling things as this is a dangerous task. The following tips will give you some idea about what you can expect:
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How to Get Rid of Mold

Understanding how to get rid of mold is something that all homeowners should know. Even if you don’t see mold in your home right now, that doesn’t mean you won’t have to battle with it later. You may also have mold growing in areas where you don’t commonly look – like under the sinks, for example, where it can be very damp and small leaks can go unnoticed. Most homeowners don’t think about checking there.

How to get rid of mold, though, depends on the extent of the problem that you have with it. Some mold issues are very easy to handle, and others, like a black mold infestation, require a professional mold remediator (we have some tips on choosing the right one) to deal with them because of their size and/or severity.

“So, How Do I Get Rid of Mold?”

Knowing how to get rid of mold on your own is a great way to keep costs down and protect your family and pets from the sicknesses that can come from mold exposure. Of course, some removal jobs are too big to tackle on your own. Knowing when to get a professional is important.

For small infestations, cleaning them thoroughly is usually all you need to do. Use a cleaner that’s specifically for mold and mildew, use a bleach solution, or simply use soap and warm water. If you’re cleaning sheetrock or drywall, don’t soak it heavily. That can keep it from drying properly and cause more growth later. Cleaning the moldy area won’t solve the entire problem, though, because you have to stop the spores from coming back.

Fixing Mold Problems Yourself

To do that, you need to find the source of the problem. It could be a leaking pipe, it could be from flood damage or another type of water damage, or it could be just a buildup of moisture in a kitchen or bathroom where there’s a problem with proper ventilation. Finding the problem and fixing it has to be done – and you might need to get a professional to fix it for you.

Simple things like tightening a loose pipe fitting are easy for a homeowner to handle, but if you have more serious issues or you need an exhaust vent put in so you can get the moisture out of your bathroom or kitchen, it’s best to call in a professional. That way, you’ll know the job is done right.

Calling a Mold Remediator

Sometimes mold removal is too big of a job for a homeowner to handle. If that’s the case for you, you can call a mold remediator. They know how to get rid of mold, and they can help you by making sure mold is removed from your house and the problem that caused it is taken care of. It’s a great way to get larger infestations removed and keep them from coming back in the future.

Black Mold Symptoms – Know The Enemy

symptomsBlack mold symptoms are nothing to play around with. Black mold can be extremely dangerous, and it can cause a wide range of symptoms, varying in severity. Some are easy to deal with and more of an annoyance than anything else. Others can be debilitating and potentially life-threatening. If you think your home or business may have a black mold problem but can’t locate the source of it, you should consult a professional mold remediator about finding the mold problem and eradicating it.

“What are some of the symptoms?”

Until the mold is cleared up, there’s a lot of potential for symptoms. Most people only have mild symptoms like a runny nose, itchy eyes, and a cough. Some people get much sicker, though, and even the mild signs can be annoying and debilitating after a while. Because they’re so persistent, black mold symptoms sometimes turn into more chronic respiratory problems that can cause missed days at school and work, as well as other health problems.

Those With Respiratory Problems Beware

People who have allergies to black mold or who are already dealing with chronic respiratory problems like asthma or emphysema can be at serious risk when it comes to mold, and they have to be more careful than the general population. That’s a very important thing to remember if you fall into one of those groups or know someone who does.

Treating The Symptoms

Black mold symptoms should be treated by a doctor or healthcare professional, and the source of the problem should be located and eliminated. That will make sure the person who has sickened by the mold has the best chance to recover, and it will also help to ensure that the mold doesn’t keep coming back, poisoning other people.

Don’t Let Symptoms Escalate

If the mold isn’t removed, there are more serious black mold symptoms that can develop. Many people become nauseated and fatigued when they live with a mold problem. Those kinds of problems persist, and they can take a toll on the body. It’s difficult to get anything done when you’re tired all the time. Being nauseated is a problem, as well, because it’s difficult to eat and can lead to poor nutrition.

“What are the most dangerous symptoms?”

In rare and extreme cases, some of the most dangerous black mold symptoms are bleeding from the nose and lungs. Thankfully, this is uncommon. When it does occur, though, it can be life-threatening. The best choice is not to allow mold to get to the point where it causes those kinds of symptoms. Black mold symptoms should always be treated properly and quickly and the source of the black mold removed. If you’re unsure how to do it the right way, you can get a professional to help you.

“When do I need to call in the professionals?”

A mold removal service run by professional mold remediators may be needed if the job is a large one, you have trouble finding the source of the problem, or you think you’ve removed the mold but you’re still battling black mold symptoms. Don’t be afraid to consult a professional if you need one. Most of them are very reasonable in cost and can take care of the problem quickly. Your health and the health of your friends and family members is too important to compromise.

Black Mold Removal – Where To Begin

Screen shot 2010-03-21 at 6.22.59 PMBlack mold removal can be a real trial, and it’s best left to professionals if it’s a large area. There’s no reason to risk harm to your health and potential damage to your home when you can get professionals to handle the issue for you. For small areas, though, you may be able to remove black mold yourself.

Understand The Process

Whether you try to do it yourself or hire a company it’s a good idea to know how the black mold removal process is handled. That way, you’ll be prepared for any issues that might come up and you’ll be knowledgeable enough to make sure the job’s being done right – no matter who’s doing the work.

Identify The Source

The first thing you should do with black mold removal is identify the source of the moisture problem. If you don’t know where the moisture (and, therefore, the mold) is coming from, you won’t get it stopped and the mold will continue coming back. Flooding, water leaks – including slow ones, and even high humidity can all contribute to the growth and recurrence of black mold.

Stop The Leak

Stopping the moisture or the leak from causing further damage is the first step with black mold removal. From that point, the cleanup needs to begin. Black mold isn’t something you can just spray with an antibacterial spray like Lysol and forget about.

Contain The Spores

If the area is a small one and you’re going to handle the cleaning of it yourself, you should first seal off the room so that mold spores don’t drift around. They can easily get into the air, mix in with dust and dirt, and get carried throughout the house. By isolating them to one room and not letting them get into the rest of the house, you’ll be better off and healthier. The cleanup will be easier, as well.

Avoid Further Contamination

Even for a small area, it’s important to seal off the room so you don’t risk any further contamination in the rest of the house. Once you’ve sealed the room, make sure the moldy area is damp. If it’s dry, mist it lightly. Dry mold spores are very quickly airborne. Keeping them damp is another way to help cut down on contamination.

Use Air Power

If the room you’re working in has a window, it’s a good idea to open it and place an exhaust fan in it, because any mold spores that do get airborne will be drawn that way and removed from the house. If you don’t have a window in the room, don’t just run a fan – you’ll just blow the black mold spores around and risk inhaling more of them.

Don’t Miss A Spot!

When you clean the area – which should be done with soap and a sponge – make sure you clean the moldy area first, and then expand your work to clean the entire room. Mold spores are tiny, and you want to make sure you get all of them so they don’t try to cause you health problems in the future. If you’re unsure about your ability manage the black mold removal from your home, do the safe thing and hire a professional to handle the job for you.

Bathroom Mold – How To Remove & Prevent Regrowth

Mold can grow anywhere in a home or business, but one of the most common places to see it is in the bathroom. Bathroom mold is more common due to the higher humidity levels you’ll find there, and the fact that the area doesn’t always get the chance to dry out properly. If a lot of people use the bathroom or if there’s no vent fan running when a person is using the shower – and for a little while afterward – it’s much more likely that dampness will accumulate and can cause water damage to your home.

Suspect a leak?

It really doesn’t take much for mold to start growing. If you see it, especially if it’s black mold, you’ll want to do two things: remove it, and prevent it from coming back. To get rid of the problem, you need to get rid of the source of the moisture. Check carefully for leaks, and for places where moisture and wetness collect. Along the edges of sinks, tubs, and showers are important places to check. You’ll also want to make sure that the pipes under the sink or for the shower or tub aren’t leaking.

If you notice a leak, have it fixed right away. If you don’t have a vent fan in your bathroom – especially one near the shower area – it can be worthwhile to have one installed. If it’s used when the shower is running it’ll take a lot of the moisture out of the bathroom. Just leave it on until you get ready to leave the room, and you should help avoid any mold problems that way. Those kinds of things will help prevent mold from coming back, but they won’t get rid of the issue that you already have. If it’s black mold, it can easily make you sick. Getting rid of it is important.

“What if I only have a small area that needs remediation?”

You can clean small areas of mold with a soap and water solution and a sponge. Make sure to clean the area thoroughly and get all the infestation. It doesn’t take much for mold to return, and even a few spores can start it growing again. If the area isn’t wet when you start to clean it, the spores can get into the air and spread throughout the house. Make sure to dampen the area if the mold is dry. You can also use bleach when cleaning, but you’ll need to be very careful what surfaces you use it on. Bleach can damage a lot of different things.

After you’ve cleaned the black mold, rinse the area thoroughly and make sure it dries completely. You can use a fan or a hair dryer to give yourself some peace of mind. That way, you won’t be risking more mold because you got the area wetter than it was before. Black mold grows quickly, so keep an eye on the area you cleaned for a few days and see if you notice the mold coming back. If you do, it might be time to call in a professional.

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

toxic mold

Understanding the Dangers of Toxic Mold

What Is Toxic Mold?

Stachybotrys is a greenish-black mold that is often known as toxic mold, or black mold. This type of mold is often more dangerous than other white molds, such as food mold.

Highly dangerous toxins are released into the air by Stachybotrys, and breathing anywhere around the infestation of mold can cause serious health risks.

There are also other dangers of living with this toxic mold, including damage to the home that can be costly to its overall value.

What are the Dangers of Toxic Mold?

Since a house doesn’t have to be subject to a natural disaster for Stachybotrys to grow, it is important for all homeowners to know the dangers of this toxic mold, so that if they suspect their house is affected, it can be dealt with immediately. Leaks, high humidity, and poor ventilation are all possible avenues that encourage mold growth.

Preventing mold is the best thing a homeowner can do, and leaving a known patch to grow beyond contamination is only asking for one or more of these dangers to knock on the door of your home.

Further Recommended Reading

Stachybotryotoxicosis

Stachybotryotoxicosis – Black Mold

Symptoms of Stachybotryotoxicosis

In the late 1930s, stachybotryotoxicosis was reported in humans working on farms in Russia. People who were affected are those who handled hay or feed grain infested with S. chartarum.

Some of the individuals who were infected had burned the straw or even slept on straw-filled mattresses that had rampant growth of Stachybotrys chartarum. The infested straw can be described as black in color from growth of the fungus.

Common Symptoms

Common symptoms in humans that have stachybotryotoxicosis are rashes – especially in areas subject to perspiration, dermatitis, pain and inflammation of the mucous membranes of the mouth and throat, conjunctivitis, a burning sensation of the eyes and nasal passages, tightness of the chest, cough, bloody rhinitis, fever, headache, and fatigue.

The workers who were infected developed symptoms within two to three days of exposure to the fungus. Some members of the Russian teams investigating this disease rubbed the fungus onto their skin to determine its direct toxicity.

The fungus induced local and systemic symptoms similar to those observed in naturally occurring cases.

Mold in the Media

It was seen in recent years that a cascade of reports about toxic molds was constantly seen in the national media. The New York Times Magazine, August 12, 2001 issue, ran a front page story on toxic mold.

Television news shows have run entire programs on Stachybotrys contamination of homes to alert the public and educate them on how dangerous these molds can be. Because of the sudden media coverage of this fungus, it has resulted in multimillions of dollars of litigations.

It also caused a lot of problems for homeowners and building managers who must deal with the human issues related to mold.

Further Recommended Reading