Mold is hardy and can grow anywhere that moisture, oxygen and organic material are present, so it is frequently found in homes. Spores float in the air and land on surfaces, including some areas that are moist and hospitable to the growth of the mold. Common mold-friendly areas include basements, bathrooms and kitchens, but mold can be found in many areas of the home.
Effects of Mold
Incidental mold exposure often causes coughing, fatigue, headaches and nosebleeds, as well as more serious symptoms such as blindness, bleeding lungs and cancer. Mold testing must be done regularly in areas where water and water damage occurs, such as basements and around foundations. While mold prevention sprays are available on the market, they're only effective if used along with removing water damage quickly, and keeping damp areas ventilated and dry.
Researching the types of mold prevention solutions is imperative for treating a problem area. Mold prevention solutions can be applied to hard surfaces but are often not effective on more porous surfaces like drywall, carpet or unsealed concrete.
Repair and cleaning of moldy areas can cause extended exposure and must be performed when using a respirator or mask rated for work with mold spores. Cover arms, legs and hands to prevent an allergic reaction. Remove materials that test positive for mold. Tear out building materials such as drywall and subflooring, as cleaning these materials is not possible.
Natural Prevention Methods
Apply vinegar one to two times a week to prevent the future growth of mold. For smaller mold problems, such as in bathroom showers, thorough cleaning in partnership with regular spraying of the area with vinegar is an excellent low-chemical prevention method. Vinegar makes the environment too acidic for molds to grow in showers and in sinks, and can prevent moldy buildup.
A regular scrub of the area with a solution of borax and water will prevent mold growth and is an effective treatment for an existing mold problem. Follow the manufacturer's directions for the mixture ratio for cleaning solutions.
Commercial Mold Treaments
Research commercial mold prevention sprays, as they often contain bleach or ammonia. Both solutions are effective at preventing mold buildup but can cause damage to surrounding areas. Use bleach or ammonia solutions only after removing moldy debris and materials from the area. Be careful to fully ventilate the surrounding room.
Use only solutions formulated for use on washable fabrics on drapes and removable rugs. Dispose of carpet and upholstery as these items cannot be washed of mold spores and must be replaced.
Using Mold Prevention Products
Spray mold prevention products and allow to dry on subflooring before laying floor covering in problematic areas such as a roughed in bathroom, or in basements. Areas must receive repeated treatment per directions on the packaging; do repeated spraying to ensure that the areas remain mold free. While these products reduce the likelihood of mold infestation, no solution is completely permanent or failsafe.
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