If you or any in your household suddenly suffers persistent respiratory problems with no apparent cause, it is high time you suspect if mold is present in your home. Nasal congestion, coughing, and sneezing are the common symptoms of an allergy reaction to mold. Continued exposure to this can even lead to chronic lung problems, so it is best that you inspect your home interiors and remove any traces of this fungus. However, before you do that, you need to identify it first.
Black mold is the most common type of mold present in homes. It thrives in moist places, so expect it to develop if you have any water leaks, condensation, flooding, or if the weather suddenly becomes very humid. Black mold is easy to identify. It is black and it usually grows on walls, ceilings, under the carpet, on upholstery, and in the bathroom. Black mold also love dark places, so take time to inspect areas in your homes that do not get much light, like the basement, attic, and crevices near your refrigerator, under the sink, or behind the toilet bowl.
Once you have located and identified the black mold, it is time to get rid of it. Most homeowners hire a professional to do this, but if the affected area is small and if the mold has not seeped beyond the surface, you can do the task yourself. This is why it is important to regularly inspect your home to stop the mold while it is just beginning to grow and to save you some money too.
Steps in Killing Black Mold
- First and foremost, you should protect yourself. Use a full-face mask and wear a pair of gloves. This will protect you from inhaling any mold spores and any vapors from the cleaning solutions.
- Prepare your cleaning solution. You can mix twenty parts water, five parts bleach, and one part detergent and place the solution in a spray bottle. If the surface that you intend to clean is made of cement or hard surfaces, you can double the amount of bleach in the solution. You can also opt to use any over-the-counter mold and mildew cleaner.
- If you prefer to use less toxic cleaners, there are natural methods to kill molds. You can choose to use white distilled vinegar or hydrogen peroxide with a 3% concentration. You do not need to dilute these anymore, just transfer them to a spray bottle. Baking soda is another alternative. You can dilute it in water and add some vinegar to it. Other alternatives are grapefruit seed extract and tea tree oil. Just mix any of these two with water in the ratio of 1 teaspoon for every cup of water.
- Get a brush, scrub, sponge, or cloth. You will use these to remove the mold. Pick the brush if you are cleaning hard surfaces and the softer material, either the sponge or cloth, if you are cleaning upholstery or other delicate surfaces. You should also have a garbage bag ready by your side.
- Spray some cleaning solution to the affected area. Wetting the surface will prevent any spores from becoming airborne.
- Scrub away any visible mold and make sure that any debris or dust is transferred inside the trash bag immediately so that you can contain the contamination within that small area.
- Make sure that you also scrub on adjacent areas even if there is no visible sign of black mold. The fungi could be starting to grow there too, but you cannot see it yet.
- After you have scrubbed away the mold, spray some cleaning solution over the area again and let it dry.
Now that you have gone about figuring out how to get rid of mold in your home, it is also important that you prevent it from growing back again. You can do this by regularly cleaning your home and airing out objects that are prone to mold growth, like couches and carpets. It would also be helpful to have a dehumidifier and an exhaust fan so that you can control the humidity in your surroundings. Bring some sunlight into your homes by keeping your windows open for several hours each day. Further, check you plumbing and pipe system regularly to catch and fix leaks. Remember that black mold is not only bad for your health, they can also destroy your walls or furniture, so once you have killed it, you should take extra measures to prevent it from coming back.