You might think you can use bleach to get rid of mold in your home but think again. Mold can be extremely hard to get rid of and using the wrong cleaner can make your issue much worse.
What is Mold?
Mold is a type of fungus – its sprouts form tiny spores that float around in the air. The spores like to make their home in moist places.
Mold comes in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. The pictures to the side show black lumber mold that is commonly found on wood sub-flooring in basements as well as mold behind kitchen cabinets and on walls.
Other types of mold are more damaging to a home. If you notice a damp, musty odor in a specific area of your home, you may have mold. Check for damp walls, carpet, flooring and any other moist areas that may be a breeding ground for mold.
How do you clean and remove Mold?
First you need to identify the source of the mold and remove its roots.
Mold roots penetrate porous surfaces. A porous surface has many small holes or pores that allow penetration of water, air and particles. Unvarnished wood, drywall and other building materials are porous.
When you try to clean a porous surface (wood, drywall, etc.) with chlorinebleach, the bleach sits on the outside surface and will not penetrate into the pores. Mold has enzyme roots growing inside the porous material. The water in the bleach actually feeds the mold.
For large areas with mold, you probably need to call in the big guys to ensure further damage is not done to your home. Mold remediation specialists (like Sage Restoration) will inspect ductwork, attic spaces, walls and even crawlspaces. The cost can average anywhere from $400 to $6,000+ depending on the entire scope of the mold infestation.
What can you clean with chlorine bleach?
Chlorine bleach can be used to clean mildew on non-porous surfaces like kitchen and bathroom countertops, bathtubs and shower glass. These are mainly smooth surfaces where the mildew resides on the surface, rather than soaking into the area.
Keep in mind that any potential mold removal power chlorine bleach might have, is diminished significantly as the bleach sits in warehouses, on grocery shelves or inside your home. It loses 50% of its strength in the first 90 days inside a never opened jug or container because the chlorine is constantly escaping through the plastic walls of the container.
OSHA and EPA specifically advise against using chlorine bleach for cleaning and removing mold.
How do you guard against mold in your house?
Household mold primarily thrives in damp, humid areas, such as basements, showers and areas around heating and cooling appliances. Mold in homes can also occur in carpets, ventilation ducts and crawlspaces. The best way to guard against mold is to regularly inspect common areas of your home to ensure there are no active leaks or areas where moisture is collecting regularly.
In addition to being unsightly and causing unpleasant odors, mold can cause health problems. Mold-related symptoms can include sneezing; itching skin; skin irritation; watery, itchy eyes; and headache. If you experience any of these symptoms and suspect they may be related to mold in your home, you should take immediate steps to remove the mold and consult your medical professional.
Who do you call if you find mold? Call Sage Restoration in Overland Park, KS at 913 905 0500. Sage Restoration has trained technicians to remediate your mold asap. One of our Project Managers will inspect specific areas of concern for mold and will prepare a free estimate detailing what it will cost to eliminate the mold. Sage Restoration also performs (for a fee) whole house mold inspections, tape/surface area mold tests and/or air testing to check for elevated levels of mold.