written by American HouseCleaning
As a house cleaning company in Redwood City, our customers often ask us about the dangers of mold and ways to remove it safely. Mold infestations are very common. In fact, there are about 1000 documented species of house mold.
Mold is a fungus. It reproduces through tiny ‘seeds’ called spores that are light enough to be carried by air currents. Spores can enter your home through an open window, by arriving on packaging materials such as cardboard, or you might even unknowingly carry them inside on your clothes. This is why almost all houses have developed or will develop mold at some point in time.
Mold loves dark and humid environments, which is why you might not even be aware of its presence for a long time. It can grow on any surface like wood, tile, in air vents, under carpets, or even within walls. Mold colonies can have varied colors, such as white, green, yellow, orange or black, and have a fuzzy texture.
Mold poses great health risks. Black mold produces toxic substances called mycotoxins, which can cause serious health problems to humans and pets alike. It is believed that prolonged exposure can worsen existing respiratory problems, but it can also make otherwise healthy people more likely to become ill.
All types of mold can cause allergic reactions in the human body including symptoms such as a sore throat, rashes, difficulty breathing, eye irritation, etc. Some allergic reactions can be more severe than others. So, it is important that any mold identified in a household should be immediately removed, especially if anyone in the household suffers from allergy symptoms.
Mold is extremely invasive; it exponentially spreads throughout a home by releasing its spores. It can be very difficult and costly to remove if it is identified too late. This is why many insurance policies only offer limited coverage for mold damage, if any at all.
It is therefore vital that you identify mold before the colony becomes too large. While difficult to spot, mold announces its presence through a heavy, damp, distinctive smell. If you identify such a smell, then you should carefully inspect the room until you find the source.
The Environmental Protection Agency recommends professional mold removal services for surfaces of 10 square feet and more, as it is difficult for a person without proper training to clean such a large area while limiting the amount of spores released. In such a circumstances you may want to seek help from a professional house cleaning company in Redwood City.
For surfaces of less than 10 square feet it may be possible for you to remove mold yourself with adequate precautions such as turning off your HVAC unit, wearing a breathing mask, and wearing rubber gloves. While there are many chemical products available on the market for killing mold, we think its best to use natural, eco-friendly solutions that are not likely to affect the health of your family in any way.
Here are three easy tricks to treat mold in a non-toxic way:
Vinegar can kill over 80% of all mold species. The best kind to use is white, distilled vinegar. Spray the undiluted vinegar from a spray bottle over the entire surface affected by mold, and wait for about an hour before wiping the surface clean with a wet cloth in order to remove any traces of mold.
2. Baking Soda
Baking soda can be found in most kitchens, but is also a powerful cleaning agent with anti-fungi and antibacterial properties. It is affordable, easy to find, and safe to use around people and pets.
Add half a tablespoon of baking soda to 1L of water and mix together until the baking soda dissolves. Spray this solution over the affected area and then, after a few minutes, scrub away the mold. Then wipe the area using a sponge, using plenty of water to remove any spores that might still be on the surface. For future protection against mold, spray the area again with the baking soda solution. After it dries, the baking soda will help absorb moisture, keeping the mold from reappearing.
3. Hydrogen Peroxide
Easy to find at any local drugstore or pharmacy, hydrogen peroxide is a powerful disinfectant. It can kill bacteria, viruses and fungi – including mold. Use a low concentration (3%) hydrogen peroxide solution for mold removal. Simply spray the moldy areas thoroughly and wait for 10-15 minutes before scrubbing away the mold. When you are done, wipe the surface again just to make sure you removed every trace of this pesky fungus.
These are three tricks which we, as a house cleaning company in Redwood City, feel that any home owner should utilize. They provide a natural, non-toxic alternative to chemical mold removal products on the market.
Remember that it is easier to prevent than to cure. You can make your house a less hospitable home for mold by keeping the humidity levels at a comfortable 30-50%. Ventilate your entire house regularly, particularly areas such as the bathroom and kitchen; steam and condensation often provide mold with the condition it needs to thrive.
If you locate a mold infestation, remember that a mold colony needs humidity to survive. Identify the elements which have allowed mold to thrive in that location and take corrective steps in order to ensure that mold growth conditions will not be met in the future. It is advisable to ask for professional advice if you feel that a mold problem was caused by water infiltration due to a leaky roof or pipes. Even if you fix any leaky pipes, mold will not go away on it’s own. Our AmericanHouseCleaning.com staff could offer you the insight you need in order to select the best permanent solution for mold. Contact us today to inquire about our professionals cleaning services.