Whether it’s a speck of black mold on the wall or an outbreak in the kitchen, household mold is a problem that people across the country know all too well. In this article, we’ll talk about what mold is, why you need to get rid of it, and how you can remove it from your South Florida investment property.
What is Mold?
Mold is a microscopic organism that is part of the fungi family. There are thousands of kinds of mold that come in colors like black and white, but what’s universal among them is that they thrive in moist environments. Mold’s purpose is to “eat” organic matter, so it isn’t entirely bad. Without mold, the decaying matter wouldn’t be able to decompose.
The problem starts when mold eats the matter it isn’t meant to.
What Causes Mold, Anyway?
Mold can grow in a clean home. Since mold survives in moist environments, even a little ‘leftover’ water from your shower is enough to get it growing. Mold thrives in moisture, but to live, it needs to eat. So, it eats organic material and there’s plenty of it in your house, from your floors to your walls. In other words, mold can grow anywhere.
Why Do You Need to Get Rid of Mold?
While mold won’t cause your home to fall apart, it will make it look (and smell) unpleasant. If left untreated, the mold will spread, causing havoc to your house. For starters, mold will cause your basement staircase to become slippery, as well as latch on to your carpet and wallpaper. This can speed up the decaying process of your furniture and your house’s structure.
Exposure to mold is another problem that can cause extreme health issues. Most people don’t suffer from serious effects due to mold exposure, however, those with existing conditions such as asthma, cystic fibrosis, and tuberculosis are in danger of a lung infection.
What are the Signs of Mold?
Mold is sneaky, growing in places where you likely won’t look. Here are a few ways to tell if your house has been infested with mold:
#1 Peeling Wallpaper
Is your wallpaper peeling? That indicates moisture within the wall, and there’s a good chance that mold has already started to grow. If your wallpaper looks cracked or warped, ask your property management company to take a look at it.
#2 Feeling Fluish
Are you always suffering from flu that’s not going away? Mold might be to blame. If you notice that your symptoms (e.g. coughing and runny nose) get worse when you enter certain rooms such as the basement, hire a home inspector ASAP.
#3 Musty Smell
A common indicator of mold is its musty smell. If you’ve vacuumed your house, cleaned the carpets, etc. and the smell persists, chances are that mold is the culprit. If you’re unsure, hire a property management company that specializes in house cleaning and organizing – they’ve been trained to clean every inch of the house, so if the smell is still there, it’s probably due to mold.
#4 Spots on the Wall
This is a sure sign that your home has mold. Sometimes, mold can come out as a spot or splotch, while other times, it can appear ‘powdery’. If you’re not sure if the spot really is mold, smell it – if it’s musty, it’s mold.
A property management company can pinpoint signs of mold during regular property inspections. Consider getting in touch with a local property manager to discover their property maintenance services. That’s one way to stop second-guessing whether or not mold is present in your property.
What’s the Best Way to Get Rid of Mold?
How to get rid of the mold depends on the surface that it latched on to. Below, we’ll cover the various ways to remove mold in your home.
But, wait! Before getting rid of the mold, be sure to wear protective gear including gloves, safety goggles, and an N95. Don’t wear a short-sleeved shirt to avoid getting the mold on your arms. Make sure that the work area is well-ventilated yet still closed-off from the rest of the house.
Furthermore, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), you shouldn’t attempt to remove mold if covers an area of at least 10 sq. ft. If it’s any larger than that, leave it to your property management company to hire a mold removal service. Either way your home insurance policy covers mold damage on a case-by-case basis.
How to Get Rid of Mold From Grout and Tile
To remove mold from grout or tile, you can use a cleaner or the alternative – bleach. Combine the bleach with water and apply it to the grout or tile. Let the solution stay for around 15 minutes before scrubbing, and finally, rinsing with water.
How to Get Rid of Mold From Walls and Floors
If mold is in your drywall, use detergent to get rid of it. Add the detergent to bleach and water, and apply it to the affected area using a sponge. Do not rise – allow it to dry on its own.
If mold has crept onto your carpet, you need to get rid of the carpet entirely. Cut the carpet into sections and then put it in a tightly sealed bag, ready for the garbage bin. Clean the area underneath the carpet and allow it to air-dry.
How to Get Rid of Mold From Appliances
Appliances that use water need to be cleaned constantly. To clean a clothes washer, run a hot water cycle with chlorine bleach once a month. For refrigerators and coffee makers, white vinegar can get rid of pesky mold.
How to Get Rid of Mold From Fabric
The mold that has latched onto the fabric on your curtains, sofa covers, etc. can be brushed or scraped off, but be sure to do it outdoors so the spores don’t end up all over your house. Then, soak the fabric in warm water, or if the pesky mold persists, soak it in a solution of bleach and water.
Generally, homeowners can get rid of mold growth on their own. However, when the mold infestation is too severe, homeowners need to hire a mold removal service. This can cost thousands of dollars, which is why you should invest in preventive maintenance. One way to do this is to hire a property management company that conducts routine inspections to ensure that your home is free from the mold at all times.