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What Should I Do if I Find Mold in My Home?

Black Mold on Wall

Seeing unsightly mold splotches, smelling mold’s musty odors, or experiencing the symptoms of mold allergies are nothing a homeowner wants to face. However, mold is pervasive and can find its way into a home. When mold grows in the home, the homeowner is advised to remove it immediately.

What is mold?

Mold is a type of fungus, one that is abundant in the natural world. Outdoors, mold thrives on decaying organic matter, like dead trees or fallen leaves. Indoors, mold flourishes in dark, damp spaces. Whether indoors or outdoors, mold grows in all climates and during all seasons.

Three food sources are required to nourish mold: moisture, organic materials, and darkness. A constant supply of moisture, such as from leaky plumbing, will feed mold colonies. Organic materials, like drywall, offer nutrients. Sunlight kills mold spores, so darkness is essential for growth.

Residential homes and commercial properties contain an abundance of the nourishments that mold needs to survive. It is not uncommon for homeowners and business owners to come across a mold infestation. However, not all mold is visible to the untrained eye.

Mold colonies can spread rapidly in concealed places where moisture is readily available, like beneath wallpaper, under carpeting, or behind drywall. Damp clothes tossed into the back of a closet can begin to develop mold quickly. Damp basements, attics, and crawl spaces are perfect breeding grounds for mold.

What are steps to take upon discovering mold in my home?

Stumbling upon mold in a home is not unusual. A homeowner who finds mold should act quickly to eliminate the growth. A DIY mold removal project can be done on moldy areas less than ten square feet. Larger mold infestations should be handled by licensed and experienced mold remediation experts.

  1. Test for mold

Testing for mold is the first step a homeowner should take when mold growth is seen, smelled, or otherwise suspected. Test results can indicate what species of mold the homeowner is dealing with as well as the extent of the mold growth.

Since mold grows in hidden places, a seemingly minor infestation can be a part of a bigger problem. Mold testing procedures involve using moisture meters, infrared cameras, and air sampling tools to accurately determine the extent and locations of mold growth.

  1. Identify and repair the moisture source

A mold problem will not be resolved until the source of the moisture is repaired. If a leaky faucet caused mold to develop under the kitchen sink, it is imperative to fix the leak promptly—otherwise the moisture will cause the mold spores to continue to multiply.

  1. Seal off affected areas

Mold removal is a complex process, one that can go awry if handled improperly. In fact, homeowners can inadvertently spread mold if they fail to take proper precautions and secure the contaminated areas. Airborne mold spores will contaminate other rooms if affected areas are not sealed off.

  1. Wear protective equipment

The homeowner should also wear protective gear to prevent inhaling the mold spores and experiencing unwanted reactions. Rubber gloves, eye protection, work clothes, and a mask to filter out mold spores are necessary. Also needed are bleach, vinegar, a bucket, rags, a garbage bag, and a dehumidifier.

  1. Prepare a solution to kill mold

Prepare an antimicrobial: Mix equal parts water with hydrogen peroxide. Alternately, pour undiluted white vinegar into a spray bottle, which can be used to spray moldy surfaces and kill mold spores. Two tablespoons baking soda and two cups water in a spray bottle does the job equally well.

Bleach, too, kills mold, but only on nonporous surfaces, such as tiles and bathroom countertops. Bleach has no effect on mold growing on drywall, wood, or other porous surfaces. Mix one cup bleach and one gallon water to produce an effective mold-killing solution for nonporous areas.

  1. Remove the mold from surfaces

Spray the prepared antimicrobial solution onto the areas affected by mold. Whether using hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, baking soda, or bleach, allow the solution to sit on the moldy surfaces and kill the mold. Next, use a scrub brush or disposable rag to scrub away the mold spores.

  1. Dry the area completely

Upon removing the mold with the solution, thoroughly rinse the area with clean water. When using bleach, it may be necessary to repeat the steps until all the mold is gone. Run the dehumidifier and fans to completely eliminate all excess moisture—otherwise, the mold will return.

  1. Retest the air

Once the visible mold is removed, it is important to retest the air for mold. Testing after eliminating the mold will reveal whether or not the levels of mold inside the home are acceptable. Be aware that removing all traces of mold, a naturally occurring fungus, is impossible.

When to seek help:

Mold growth should be dealt with swiftly. Health problems and structural damages are inevitable when mold is left unaddressed. When you face a mold infestation of any size, contact the mold removal professionals at ServiceMaster of Lancaster County. We’ll rid your property of mold fast.

Our mold remediation services are highly effective. Crews inspect the property and assess the size of the mold growth. We secure the affected areas to ensure airborne mold spores do not contaminate other rooms inside the building. We clean all moldy surfaces, structural materials, and furnishings.

Our mold cleanup equipment and procedures are among the most advanced in the industry. Technicians are skilled in using infrared technology to locate all traces of hidden and visible mold growth. Powerful chemicals are applied to kill mold and prevent the spores from returning.

ServiceMaster of Lancaster County’s mold removal services are customized. In all cases, our specialists prepare an inspection report and submit it to the property owner’s insurance company. Our mold cleanup services include reconstructing building materials damaged by the mold infestation.

Mold damage is an emergency scenario, one that requires the immediate attention of the experts at ServiceMaster of Lancaster County. Our professional mold cleanup crews stand by 24/7 to respond to calls from home and business owners in Lincoln, Nebraska. Call today for a free mold removal estimate.