According to the American Society of Home Inspectors, about 38 percent of homes have a mold or fungus problem. Modern homes have a tighter building envelope, which makes them more susceptible to these problems - although, any home with a leak or moisture problem can be susceptible to mold.
There are many thousand species of mold. Mold spores can spread through the air, forming new colonies. It can grow on any surface including insulation, wood, ceiling tiles, cardboard, paper products, carpet and fabric. As a homeowner, you can find mold in damp areas of the house like crawl spaces, basements, air conditioners, shower stalls, bathrooms generally, clothing closets, humidifiers, houseplants, mattresses and upholstered furniture.
How to Get Rid of Mold in House
The best way to get rid of mold in your house is to control the cause of the mold. Once you can answer questions like "what causes mold on walls?," then you can likely stop mold from forming.
So, what causes mold? In a word: moisture.
By eliminating the source of moisture in your home, you can stop mold from growing and also stop its spread.
- Repair leaks. Find any leaks in the roof, walls or basement of your home.
- Maintain relatively low humidity. Reducing humidity in your home helps prevent condensation on walls and windows. The ideal humidity is 30 to 40 percent. You can measure the humidity in your home with a hygrometer, which is available for sale in hardware stores and home improvement centers.
- Use your air conditioner. Central air conditioning reduces humidity levels throughout your house, because cold air holds less moisture than warm air.
It's also important to minimize the source of dampness in your home. Activities like laundering, bathing and cooking can add as much as 3 gallons of water (per day!) to the air in your home. You can control this moisture by installing (and using) exhaust fans in rooms like the bathroom and kitchen. Be sure that your clothes dryer exhausts to the outside of your house.
Clean Mold Carefully
Mold releases spores in the air when disturbed, so be careful when cleaning mold.
- Discard moldy items. Moldy items can spread mold throughout your house. Discard items that are moldy to prevent the mold spores from wafting on the air to other parts of your home.
- Use chlorine bleach. Use a combination of 1 part bleach to 4 parts water to clean the mold from your home.
Signs Your Home Has Mold and Mildew
You may see mold growing on your walls, in your carpet, on your upholstery or in other parts of your house. Mold can be many colors including brown, black, gray, red or green.
In a home with mold, sometimes the only obvious sign of a problem is the musty odor. This smell is the product of molds eating through organic matter. This smell comes from the carbon dioxide and volatile organic compounds emitted by this process.
You can get rid of this musty smell by scrubbing areas infected with mold with a solution of 1/2 cup of liquid household bleach mixed with one gallon of water. Rinse and wipe dry. Keep windows open until all surfaces have been dried. In your basement, you can get rid of the musty smell by sprinkling chlorinated lime all over the floor and then allowing it to stay until the musty smell disappears. When done, sweep it up.
What to Know Before Removing Mold
Mold vs Black Mold
What's the difference between mold and black mold? Is black mold dangerous? These are common questions.
Standard mold is bad for your health, but some molds, called "black mold" can produce potent toxins that cause serious illnesses. Some of these toxins can even cause cancer. Black molds can be justification for evacuation. They can be gray or green in color (in addition to black), and typically grow in round formations.
If you suspect that you have black mold in your house, you should call your state department of health or consult with professionals to have your home evaluated.
How to Test for Mold
There is not an efficient professional mold testing to find out what type of mold is growing in your home. In addition, it's not clear what level of mold can be hazardous to your health, because exposure guidelines have not been established. Therefore, it's better to get rid of mold no matter what kind it is, rather than spend your time figuring out testing for mold in house.
Risks of Not Removing Mold
Exposure to mold occurs when it is inhaled. Mold spores are so small that they evade the protective mechanisms found in the nose and upper respiratory tract.
Some molds are allergens, and others are not. Those molds that are allergens can cause asthma, especially in children. The incidents of allergies and asthma have doubled in the last decade. This has been linked to an increase in airborne molds in homes with tight building envelopes.
Symptoms of mold sickness:
- Eye irritation
- Nasal stuffiness
- Inability to concentrate
- Flu-like symptoms
- Shortness of breath
- Inability to concentrate
- Respiratory infections
Some molds can affect the central nervous system, while other molds can suppress the immune system.
How long does it take to get sick from mold exposure? The answer to this question depends on the level of exposure, what kind of mold, and how sensitive you are to mold. You may become ill quickly if you are allergic to mold - even if you are only exposed to a very small amount.
When to See a Doctor for Mold Exposure
See a doctor for mold exposure if:
- You believe you've been exposed to black mold
- You're displaying any of the symptoms of mold exposure
- You're having a hard time breathing or your asthma medication is not helping
Why You Don’t Need a Professional to Remove Mold
There are a variety of products available to homeowners - including Endur-O-Seal, bleach and vinegar, that can be used to get rid of mold.
How Much Does it Cost to Get Rid of Mold From Your House
The cost to get rid of mold from your house depends on the method used to remove mold, the type of mold being removed, and how extensive the problem is. The average cost for professional mold removal falls between $1,500 and $3,500. The cost to remove mold yourself may cost far less.
What Is the Best Mold Remover Product
Endur-O-Seal is an effective DIY mold removal product. Endur-O-Seal can get rid of molds, mildew and biological contaminants. Endur-O-Seal deep seals the concrete in your basement or foundation slab, and in doing so, eliminates the largest source of moisture in your home.
How to Stop Mold In Your Basement
Pores in the concrete walls of your basement allow moisture into your home. In fact, a typical basement allows about 18 gallons of moisture into your home each day. That's several more times than your bathroom and kitchen combined.
You can stop this migration of water by deep-sealing the walls with an effective concrete sealer.
You can also stop the development of mold in your basement with a dehumidifier. However, these helpful devices consume a lot of energy by condensing water which is released into the air as heat. Dehumidifiers draw moisture through the concrete, which causes effervescence and contributes to the deterioration of the concrete. You can avoid this problem by deep-sealing the concrete before using the dehumidifier.
Sump pits are also a source of moisture. Caulk their openings and cracks in the concrete.
- Insulate air-conditioning ducts to prevent condensation
- Reduce the amount of water around your foundations by installing and maintaining gutters, downspout extensions
- Grade the soil around your house to reduce water intrusion in your basement
- Cover the soil in your crawl space with heavy polyethylene sheets
- Ventilate your crawl space
- Clean your humidifier, dehumidifier, and air conditioning unit regularly with chlorine bleach
What Additional Steps Can You Take to Keep Mold Out of Your Home? An FAQ
In addition to controlling humidity and moisture in your home, there are several ways that you can keep mold out of your house. Below are some answers to frequently asked questions.
What is the best mold remover product?
The best mold removal products include vinegar and bleach.
Does vinegar kill mold?
Yes, vinegar can be used to kill mold. It's especially helpful cleaning mold with vinegar and baking soda, though you can use vinegar on its own as well.
Does bleach kill mold?
Yes, bleach can kill mold, especially when applied to a moldy area in proportions of 1 parts mold to 4 parts water.
Is bleach or vinegar better to kill mold?
Bleach and vinegar are both effective mold removal products. Vinegar is acidic, so it is said to be better than killing mold in some circumstances.
All in all, the type of mold removal product you choose for your home should depend on the size of the problem, the type of mold being removed and the severity of the problem. Regardless, it's important to remove mold as soon as possible to prevent health problems and structural damage.
Basement Waterproofing Products by ENDUR-O-SEAL® USA
Please consider our basement waterproofing products when you are ready to prevent mold and mildew from growing in your basement. Each one is specially formulated for concrete age, texture, and basement moisture levels. To get help choosing the right products for waterproofing and sealing your basement, call 1-800-259-8855.