by Gwen Bailey
Mold can be a truly annoying occurrence in our homes, be it in bathrooms or basements and sometimes even a dangerous, toxic one too like Stachybotrys, commonly known as black mold. For that very reason it is imperative to rid ourselves of our mold problem as soon as possible.
Black mold is a very dangerous substance and should NOT be disturbed unless you hire a specialist in its removal since its spores contain mycotoxins and their effects are very detrimental to your health. Use extreme caution if you recognize something like this in your home. Black mold can be identified by the greenish-black color it has and the slimy-looking layer on top. If the moisture in the surroundings has dissipated the mold can survive even in powdery form and still retain its toxic capabilities. Whatever you do don’t disturb the black mold as its spores are capable of easy dispersal and are easy to inhale.
Keep in mind there are several types of mold which look like black mold but aren’t really anything like it. If you have any doubts about it you should call a specialist to verify if the type of mold present. Symptoms of black mold most commonly are respiratory problems, inflammation of the skin, irritation off the mucous membranes (the nose mostly) and in the worst cases hemorrhaging, damage to your internal organs, a suppressed immune system and mental impairment. As you can see this is a serious danger so if you have any doubts and any of those symptoms are present at the time you discover mold in your home you should contact a specialist.
Luckily most types of mold are nothing like it, so they can be cleaned with rather mundane chemicals by following these guidelines:
- Bleach can be a wonderful way to rid yourself of mold in your bathroom or kitchen since it kills pretty much any spores it comes in contact with and it sanitizes the area to a point where future growth in the same spot is suppressed. Use a ratio of 1/10th bleach and water and keep in mind it produces dangerous fumes so keep the area well ventilated and also wear gloves to protect your hands from the chemicals. The downside of bleach is that it can’t reach into porous surfaces like drywall so its virtually useless outside of treating non-porous surfaces. Bleach is a corrosive substance which poses dangers if its not applied properly so take heed and don’t overdo it.
- Borax is another way to deal with mold, avoiding the corrosive aspects of it. Its a high pH substance mineral powder used in cleaning which has no toxic qualities and when mixed with water in about the same ratio as bleach it is the natural enemy of mold. Apart from eliminating it its application serves in prevention of future growth.
- Vinegar is another great natural way to deal with the majority of common molds. It has a very high kill rate and the added bonus of being non-toxic to humans. Spraying it with a spray bottle on spots of mold and leaving it there for about an hour will do it, after which you’ll be able to wipe it off. Repeated applications will keep the area mold-free.
- Ammonia is another way to destroy mold, but it is also a highly toxic and harsh chemical with qualities close to those of bleach. Whatever you do NEVER mix bleach and ammonia together as this will create a toxic gas.
- Other substances you can use are hydrogen peroxide, laundry detergent and water, baking soda, tea tree oil and grapefruit seed extract. For the most part borax is the best choice and also vinegar if you want to avoid toxic fumes buildup by using one toxic substance to destroy another.
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