Should I use bleach to clean mold?
No. Bleach should never be used to clean mold on any porous surface such as drywall or wood. Bleach is 90% water and because of its ionic structure, bleach cannot soak into substances which are porous. The chlorine stays above the surface, while the water soaks into the material. You may wipe if from the surface, but the mold’s roots are left alive and this can lead to mold soon growing back. Therefore, you can end up in a cycle of continually trying to bleach mold, only to have it constantly return.
*Chlorine Bleach is NOT registered with the EPA as a disinfectant to kill mold.
Does the EPA have regulations in regard to mold spore levels?
No. The EPA does not regulate mold spore levels.
How many species of mold are there?
There are from 70,000 to 100,000 described species of fungi, including molds, mushrooms, and yeasts. It is estimated that there are 100,000–300,000 species that have yet to be classified. At least 1,000 varieties are common in the United States.
How small are mold spores?
Mold spores are microscopic and cannot be seen by the naked eye. You can fit 250,000 mold spores on the head of a pin.
When I see mold should I be concerned?
Yes. What you are seeing is called a “colony.” The colony emits the mold spores into the air which can cause a variety of health problems.
What should I do if I see mold growing?
Anytime you see mold growth, you should have a mold inspection immediately. What you see may only be the “tip of the iceberg” and left unattended could lead to further problems.
Should I clean up mold by myself, even if it’s just a small amount?
No. Not knowing the specific type of mold see growing could cause health concerns if not properly cleaned and remediated by a professional.
Is all mold black?
No. Mold comes in many different shapes, sizes, and colors. These variations are dependent upon the species of mold, the nutrient source and the conditions under which it formed.
Is black mold the most dangerous?
When you hear the words “black mold” the majority of the time the black mold is Stachybotrys. Stachybotrys is one of the most toxic molds found.
Is all mold dangerous?
Depending on the airborne mold spore levels present, the type of mold spores present in the air, and an individual’s immune system; Yes…all molds have the potential to cause health concerns.
I have a musty smell or musty odor. What is that smell?
Some compounds produced by molds have strong smells, are volatile and quickly release into the air. These compounds are known as microbial volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Because VOCs often have strong or unpleasant odors, they can be the source of the “moldy odor” or musty smell frequently associated with mold growth. A moldy odor suggests that mold is growing in a structure.
How does mold enter a body?
Mold spores can enter the human body either by breathing in airborne mold spores or by touching moldy surfaces.
How long does it take for mold to grow?
In ideal conditions, mold can complete its growth process in as little as 24 to 48 hours.
Can I just paint over mold to get rid of it?
No. Painting over mold is only a temporary fix to an ongoing problem. The mold will continue to live and spread beneath the paint, and the mold will eventually just bleed through. Some paints are formulated with mildew inhibitors (such as biocide barium metaborate), but these simply inhibit the growth of new mildew. They do nothing to destroy the existing mold.
What are some of the symptoms of mold exposure?
The most common symptoms of mold exposure are a runny nose, eye irritation, cough, congestion, and aggravation of asthma. Mold in homes may also cause or exacerbate symptoms of allergies (such as wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, nasal congestion, and eye irritation), especially in persons who have a history of allergic diseases (such as asthma and rhinitis).
What should the humidity level be in my basement?
To prevent mold growth, control moisture and maintain an interior humidity level of between 30 to 40%.
What are the most common molds?
The five most prevalent species of mold are:
- Alternaria mold is commonly found in your nose, mouth and upper respiratory tract and can cause allergic responses.
- Aspergillus mold is usually found in warm, extremely damp climates and a common occupant of house dust. This mold produces mycotoxins which are a poisonous chemical compound. This mold variety can cause lung infections including aspergillosis.
- Cladosporium mold is a very common outdoor fungus that can find its way indoors and grow on textiles, wood and other damp, porous materials. This mold triggers hay fever and asthma symptoms.
- Penicillium mold is a very common species found on wallpaper, decaying fabrics, carpet, and fiberglass duct insulation. It is known for causing allergies and asthma. Some species produce mycotoxins, one being the common antibiotic penicillin.
- Stachybotrys mold is extremely toxic “black mold” that produces mycotoxins that can cause serious breathing difficulties. This mold can be found on wood or paper.