Understanding Mold Outbreaks and Clean-Up

By: Ben Anton

Indoor mold outbreaks can cause wall, furniture, carpet, drapery, book, and important paper document damage. Molds can also cause allergic reactions such as bronchial irritation and asthma attacks. The common molds seen in most home and work environments can actually become a major issue if not addressed quickly.

There are a few steps you can take to help reduce the chances of a mold outbreak happening in your home or business. However, if you have found extensive mold growth already, contact a professional mold remediation company right away to get started on clean-up.

The most important tool you can have in your arsenal against mold growth is knowledge. What is mold? In what types of environments does mold thrive? How can mold colonies be safely removed? Knowing what you’re up against will make it that much easier to prevent and treat mold colonies.

!b>What is Mold?
Molds are microscopic fungi that grow in humid environments. Unlike plants that require photosynthesis to thrive, molds survive by secreting enzymes onto the organic matter they are inhabiting and then absorbing the degraded remains of that matter. Because molds don’t require a high level of nutrients to survive they can grow on nearly any organic matter, from food products to paper products.

Why Should It Be Removed?
Many people will develop allergic reaction to the spores put off by large mold colonies. If a person touches a mold colony in anyway, there is the chance they could develop a form of dermatophytes, like athlete’s foot or jock itch. Mycotoxins are liquid or gaseous compounds secreted by most mold colonies and are considered some of the most toxic chemicals on the planet. If this is ingested, both humans as well as animals can get seriously ill. This is why prompt attention and mold clean-up is necessary.

How Can I Prevent Mold?
To reduce the risk of developing a mold problem, lower the humidity levels in your home or office. Mold spores can live on most any organic matter but they will not survive in dry climates. If you discover a water leak, get it fixed right away. If floods have damaged your home or office, dry the affected area as soon as possible. Every day that goes by in which a mold outbreak is not treated is property lost.

How Can I Tell If I Have a Mold Outbreak?
A professional mold detection service can help you determine if mold has taken up residence in your home or office. However, professional help is not always necessary. Mold spores are easily spotted, even in smaller colonies, and sometimes put off a musky, earthy smell. If parts of your building are cool, dark, and humid, you can be pretty sure you have mold growing there.

Can I Clean It Myself?
If your mold outbreak is fairly small and contained, you may want to try removing the mold yourself. Wet vacuum cleaners can help remove water from floors and carpets quickly, helping to eliminate the chances of a mold outbreak. Once the carpet or upholstery has been cleaned, however, you must also clean the vacuum itself, as mold can accumulate inside the tank and hose. Damp removal, such as scrubbing the affected areas with water and detergent, is simple and easy but not always effective for established mold colonies.

If you do take on mold yourself, be sure to wear protective rubber gloves and a facemask. Also make sure the cleaned area dries quickly to prevent new mold colonies from developing.

When Should I Call a Mold Professional?
If you are uncomfortable with or unsure how to properly treat a mold problem you should hire a mold remediation services. Professionals use advanced mold detection and cleaning technologies to safely clean-up a mold outbreak and restore materials and structures. Once problem areas are detected, trained mold removal experts are able to use advanced HEPA vacuums and chemical treatments to fully rid the area of spores. Some remediation services will even offer to install special dehumidifying systems after the clean up is complete.

If you are experiencing mold problems that go beyond your abilities to handle, research your mold removal options online or contact a professional remediation service.

~Ben Anton, 2008

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