Mold is an essential part of nature, helping with everything from decomposition to the production of cheese, bread and even beer. But when this essential substance enters the home, it can quickly spell disaster. Fortunately, even with black mold, there’s a way to fight back.
What is Black Mold?
Black mold is one of the most common types of mold that attacks the indoors. Unfortunately, it's also one of the most dangerous. Evolved to aid in the decomposition of trees, leaves and other compost, it's perfectly suited to grow in the dark, damp corners of our homes. Remember, these corners are often made of wood – its favorite energy source. But it’s not the mold itself that’s dangerous to humans. This culprit would be the mycotoxins
that the mold spores release into the air.
Although not alive themselves, mycotoxins are some of nature’s most toxic substances. These tiny “packets” of chemicals can wreak havoc on the human body. Never shrug off a small amount of mold, as it may be evidence of a larger problem. Even a quick glance at some of the many symptoms of a black mold infestation is scary enough to make you want to take extra precautionary measures for keeping it out of your home.
Remember what we said about black mold being one of the most toxic substances in existence? Yeah, we weren’t joking. This is why you should NEVER ignore what may be a black mold problem. If you do have something you suspect as black mold, how can you know for sure? Well, let’s take a look.
Identifying Black Mold
While mold and mildew can come in all types of colors and textures, knowing what to look for is crucial when it comes to keeping you and your family safe. Black mold is best described as a “slimy, greenish-black colored, gelatinous mold substance with a wet layer on top.” When this water source dries out, the black mold appears more dry and powdery but with the same greenish-black color. In both states, it's extremely dangerous to humans.
How to Get Rid of Black Mold
Depending on how extensive your black mold issue is, you may have some options on how to handle it.
9 DIY Methods to Removing Black Mold:
If the affected area is less than 10 square feet, you should be able to do the cleanup yourself. This could save you a lot of money over contacting a mold remediation service, which is best for when mold has begun taking over other areas of the home. Keep in mind, however, that black mold can be extremely dangerous, and you must wear a respiratory mask, eye protection and gloves before getting started. It may also be a good idea to contact your insurance company to see if any of the damage may be covered at their cost.
1: Remove any objects from around the affected area, and cover the rest of the room with plastic sheets to prevent the spores from spreading further.
2: Seal any moldy items that cannot be saved in a plastic bag and remove them from your home.
3: Use a stiff brush to loosen and remove as much of the mold as possible, making sure to not spread the spores to the other parts of the home.
4: Use a mold spray designed to permanently remove black mold, rather than simple bleach, to clean the affected area. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions listed on the bottle.
5: Rinse the affected area and repeat if stains refuse to disappear.
6: Seal and discard any items used in the cleaning process in a plastic garbage bag.
7: Locate and repair any leaks that lead to the mold problem in the first place. Depending on the extent of this repair, you may need to contact a professional.
8: Repair any necessary damage and dry out the area using several fans/ a dehumidifier.
9: Once complete, be sure to keep a look out to make sure the mold doesn’t reappear. This could mean that a leak or other problem was overlooked. If that happens, be sure to take action immediately.
Professional Mold Remediation Services:
If mold has taken over more than 10 square feet of your home, you may need to contact a professional mold remediation service. But make sure to do your research. This service can get expensive quickly, and you don’t want to end up having to do a second removal in the future. Ask for referrals, check with the Better Business Bureau, and look up reviews online. We suggest Servicemaster Restore, a cleaning and disaster restoration service that’s been in business for over 50 years and has over 4,500 franchises around the world.
How to prevent it from coming back:
When it comes to keeping black mold at bay, the best defense is making an environment inhospitable to its growth. This can be as simple as purchasing a decent dehumidifier, regularly checking for leaky pipes, avoiding puddled water in bathrooms and maintaining good indoor ventilation through fans, open doors and air conditioning. There are even some interior paints that are specifically designed to prevent the growth of mold.
Common Symptoms of a Black Mold Infestation:
• Brain fog
• Shortened attention span
• Slowed reflexes
• Memory loss
• Impaired learning ability
• Personality changes
• Shortness of breath
• Pulmonary edema - swelling of the lungs
• Pulmonary hemorrhage - bleeding in the lungs
• Sore throat
• Burning sensation in the mouth
• Bleeding gums
• Runny nose
• Itchy nose
• Stuffy nose
• Nose bleeds
• Irregular heartbeat
• Heart damage and inflammation
• Low blood pressure
• Bone marrow disruption
• Blood not clotting properly
• Internal bleeding
• Vomiting blood
• Bleeding in the brain and in other organs
• Inflamed and bloodshot eyes
• Vision damage
• Jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin)
• Crawling skin
• Dermatitis - skin inflammation, rash, blisters, itchiness
• Effectiveness of the Immune System
• Reoccurring Infections
• Fetal developmental problems
• Chronic fatigue
• Aches and pains
• Muscle pain
• Chest pain
• Abdominal pain
• Joint pain
• Malaise - general discomfort
• Cold or flu type symptoms or recurring colds
• Hair loss
• Weight loss, anorexia
• Hearing loss
• Liver disease
With your newfound understanding of black mold, the dangers it poses and how to handle them, you’re well on your way to a happy and healthy future. Remember, this is a fight you can win. And with the right approach, you will.