Black mold can be harmful to your health and dangerous for your family. Here's how to identify it and get rid of it.
Some varieties of fungus increase, especially those that feed on cellulosic materials such as paper and wood. These fungi are often called "black mold" because of their dark coloration. They may also be known as "toxic mold," "mycotoxin-producing molds," or "fungal toxins." Toxic mold produces mycotoxins (poisonous substances) which are poisonous to humans and animals. Mycotoxins are produced by certain species of fungi, including Penicillium, Aspergillus, Fusarium, Cladosporium, Alternaria, Trichoderma, and others.
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Before You Begin…
Black mold can cause serious health issues. It's essential to get rid of black mold at once. However, it's not always easy to identify and remove black mold. If you want to know how to safely identify and remove black molds, it's best to contact a professional.
Black mold has been linked to health issues ranging from respiratory illnesses to skin conditions.
Black mold isn't necessarily harmful to you; however, it's not usually the most toxic kind of mold either. White, yellow, or even grey molds are more dangerous than black molds.
Still, black mold is no laughing matter, especially for those with an allergy or weak immune system. Stachybotrys Chartaruma is a toxigenic fungus, meaning it can produce toxins in the right environment if left unchecked. SporesSpores carrying these toxins get released into the air whenever the mold is disturbed. "Toxic mold tends to be toxic to people irrespective of any underlining health conditions," says Harley. Extended contact with toxic black mold can lead to respiratory problems, skin rash, sinus inflammation, fever, and more.
If you're having trouble identifying black mold in your house, here are some tips to help you out.
- Black mold thrives on cellulosic material and typically grows on or near building materials like drywall and wood.
- Black mold grows best in wet environments.
- Black mold usually starts growing inside walls first, so people can often smell it before they notice it.
- Mold can be found anywhere; however, it usually grows where there's water and moisture.
- Black mold can grow on sealant and grouting in moist areas such as the bathroom. It's crucial to inspect these materials for signs of decay carefully.
- Wear protective gear when identifying, handling, and cleaning molds, including disposable coveralls, a protective face shield, airtight safety glasses, and rubber gloves.
- Once the mold has been assessed, clean and sanitizes any equipment used to evaluate the mold, mold can remain dormant on surfaces and grow new colonies if contaminated surfaces are not adequately cleaned.
- If large amounts of mold are present upon an initial visual examination, then contact professional mold removers immediately. If homeowners try to remove the mold themselves, they may leave mold spores re-colonize, re-colonize the space, leading to further health issues.
Step one: Inspect the color.
Black mold looks like black, but it might be colored in shades of grey or brown before turning black.
Mistaking black mold for dirt or debris is easy because it looks similar. Black mold usually has smaller spore groups and is condensed to a specific location. However, if it's been growing in damp environments, it may spread throughout the walls or room.
Black molds can appear in various colors, including white, yellow, and green. However, if they look like black molds, they will likely be Stachybotrys chartarum.
Step two: Find out where the musty smell is coming from.
Homeowners might need to use their noses to detect the source of the black mold. Black mold may not have a strong scent if it's only beginning to grow. Once it matures, black mold will have an overpowering smell, similar to soil or decaying leaves. Established black mold has a more intense aroma than other kinds of home molds.
If you want to start looking for black mold, first look at areas wwitha a lot of humidity, including showers, bathrooms, kitchens, and basement areas. Black mold likes porous surfaces like carpets or drywall, so look for signs of decay in these areas.
If it looks wet and slimy, then it probably has mold.
Black molds often have a fuzzy, light-textured appearance, but some varieties can be slimy or wet. They usually have a powdery feel and can sometimes look like dust. It's important to avoid touching them because they're easily spread by hand contact. You can use a damp cloth to wipe away any visible dirt, but wearing protective clothing is essential.
Homeowners must avoid touching black mold with their bare skin or touching their faces with anything that has felt the mold. If so, they should immediately rinse themselves off with hot water and then cleanse their bodies with soap.
STEP 4: Use a mold testing kit to verify any black mold present.
Mold tests can be performed by homeowners who purchase a mold testing kit at a local hardware store or online retailer for less than $20. Advanced kits cost $50 to $100, but basic kits start at just $10.
A "black" or "white" mold kit is used to detect both types of molds. However, they do not distinguish between them, so if one is found, it does not necessarily mean that the other is also present. In addition, these kits cannot tell whether the mold is growing inside the house or outside. For this reason, it is recommended that homeowners get professional advice about treating the specific kind of mold they find.
Homeowners should not attempt to perform a home inspection themselves. They must contact an inspector who specializes in testing for moisture damage. A homeowner's inspection could last anywhere from one day to two weeks depending upon the severity of the situation. In addition, if they suspect that water damage is present, they should call a certified water restoration company immediately.
STEP 5: Cleaning and remove the black mold from the affected surface.
Black molds usually start as specks that grow into large colonies if left untreated. To prevent them from spreading, homeowners need to take action immediately by cleaning up any visible signs of black molds. They can then treat the affected areas with a fungicide such as potassium metabisulfite, baking soda, or hydrogen peroxide.
If the black mold infestations are extensive or in a difficult-to-reach place, or if the homeowner has concerns about health hazards, the most experienced black mold removers will be able to clean black mold effectively without causing harm to anyone.
STEP 6: Remove any sources of moisture from your house.
After removing the affected area, it's understandable why the homeowner wants to put the issue behind them and move on. However, if the conditions that led to the presence of black mold in the first place are left unchecked, then the homeowner will likely be dealing with black mold again sooner rather than later. It's essential for people who live in houses with black mold to get help from professionals so they can learn how to kill black mold in their homes once and forever.
"It's important to know why the mold was there in the first place so you can prevent its recurrence." Poor ventilation, leaking pipes, or condensation may have been the cause of the mold problem.
If you keep the house clean, you can prevent future molds from growing. According to Harley, "Molds need three things to grow: food, consistent temperatures, and moisture. Too much moisture causes molds to grow."
If you're unsure whether to spend money on professional services, consider hiring professionals to inspect your property first. They'll be able to tell if there are any signs of water damage, indicating that you need to repair the problem before it gets worse.