Mold is a bane in many households and, although it is generally quite easy to get rid of, it is usually much harder to stop it from coming back. While mold plays an essential part in the ecosystem, it is not something that anyone wants in their house. It is unsightly, it causes damage, it can smell terrible and it can be harmful to your health. The following advice will help you to clear up mold in your home and prevent it from constantly coming back, which it usually does.
What Causes Household Mold?
The most common causes of household mold are water damage and humidity. In the right conditions, mold can grow within as little as two days. If you have water damage inside your home, either due to things like rising damp or a leaking roof or plumbing fixture, there is already likely to be a perfect environment for mold to start forming. Rising damp most often appears in basements, but it can also appear in any ground floor area where there is inadequate insulation between the floor and the earth beneath.
Mold is also a major problem in unventilated areas. Ventilation and fresh air are essential for keeping your home safer and more comfortable, particularly when it comes to preventing mold. High humidity, often caused by a lack of ventilation, presents a perfect habitat for mold. This is why it is most common in bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms where people often dry clothes.
Mold also commonly occurs in places which have cold winters where it is not practical to have windows open to promote ventilation. This is caused by condensation. With a high ambient temperature inside and low temperatures outside, condensation will form around window sills and poorly insulated walls, paving the way for a mold invasion.
How to Get Rid of Mold
Getting rid of mold is usually quite easy and there are various effective chemicals and natural remedies. One surefire way of immediately killing off mold is to use a chlorine bleach-based mold killer. You should be able to find this in your local supermarket. Other effective chemicals to use include ammonia and borax. Some natural remedies include vinegar and tea tree oil, but their effectiveness varies.
Mold should not merely be scraped off a surface, since all this will do is distribute the mold spores into the air. This is bad for health and quite counter-productive anyway. Instead, spray the chlorine bleach or other mold-killing chemical onto the surface. Effective mold killers should kill off the mold almost immediately. If using strong chemicals, it is very important to ensure that the room is very well ventilated. You may also want to wear a dust mask and goggles. Once you have killed off the mold, put on some latex gloves and wipe away the surface with a dry cloth or scrape away the paint entirely if it has been damaged by the mold.
The above method will get rid of the mold, but the most important step is to prevent it from coming back.
How to Prevent Mold
Mold will always come back if the conditions are right and having to get rid of it every few days or weeks is hardly convenient. Stopping it from coming back can be expensive and complicated, but there are possibilities. If you have a room in your home or an outbuilding which is constantly plagued by mold, you can try using a dehumidifier. These devices suck in water vapor from the air and turn it into water. They need to be emptied once the water is full.
If the mold is occurring in a cupboard, a wardrobe or a walk-in closet, then it is most likely caused by a lack of ventilation. Fixing such a problem is generally just a matter of drilling some large ventilation holes in the bottom of the cupboard. This will allow fresher air to circulate into the cupboard, usually preventing mold entirely.
Things like leaking roofs and plumbing not only cause water damage; they also cause mold. If you have any damage to your roof or plumbing fixtures, deal with it immediately. Leaving it can accentuate the problem immeasurably.
Fresh air is the key to any healthy home environment and it also helps to prevent mold. Having windows open when the weather is warm enough is important. However, mold can also occur due to condensation when the outside temperature is much lower than it is inside. In this case, it might not be practical to open the windows. If this is the case, you should have a ventilator built into the room to prevent it from becoming overly humid.
In cases where mold is caused by rising damp, the only practical long-term option is to install a damp course. This can involve a great deal of work, since any wooden fixtures and plasterwork in the way will need to be removed. A silicone-based sealant is then injected into the brickwork. This acts as a waterproofing layer between the brickwork and the plaster or wood.