Mold removal products are important to protect your family's health when there is a mold problem in your home. How do you prevent mold? How do you remove it? How do you choose the right product to get the job done? Learn all of this and more in the following interview.
Interview with Mary Findley
Recently, Love To Know Cleaning was able to speak with Mary Findley, author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Cleaning and The Complete Idiot's Guide to Green Cleaning, about mold removal products as well as the problems of mold in your home.
Problems with Mold
How big of a problem is mold in homes?
Mold contamination depends a great deal on where you live. Dry climates such as the Southwest rarely have mold issues unless it floods. Mold requires moisture to grow and is found in humid areas of the country or spots that receive a lot of rain like part of Washington State.
The mold problem in humid or wet areas is a constant battle and the home owner must be diligent with their mold remediation treatments.
What are the dangers of mold in the home?
There are several dangers that result from mold, especially if left untreated:
- Mold can be found growing on wallboards, structural beams and in flooring, especially carpeting. Mold remediation can be costly as can the repair of structural damage.
- Allergies; sinus infections; eye, nose and lung infections; problems concentrating; dizziness; nausea; diarrhea; headaches and even kidney problems have all been linked to mold contamination.
- Left untreated, mold spreads rapidly and is carried from room to room of the home on shoes and clothing.
- Some mold is toxic and and has been known to cause hospitalization, serious illness and even death.
Where is mold most commonly found?
Mold is commonly found in yards, especially those with heavy clay soil, which have poor drainage. It is also found on the sides of homes where bushes and plants butt against the home, and on sidewalks, driveways and patios and under the home. In past years, mold was found growing in the siding of some homes.
Shoes and clothing are common carriers of mold spores into the home where it infects carpeting, fabric furniture and closets where shoes are stored. Mold that grows along the outside walls of a home eventually finds its way into the structure of the home and along the base of the walls and wallboard.
Getting Rid of Mold
What are the best ways to prevent mold in the first place?
There are several steps that must be taken to prevent mold infestation:
- Remove shrubbery or plants growing within a foot of the home.
- Kick your shoes off at the door to prevent bringing mold into the home.
- When working in the yard, remove clothing in the garage and wash all clothing immediately. Never place clothing you have worn to work in the yard into the hamper or toss it on the floor.
- Check the home twice a year for visual signs of mold growth and treat it immediately.
- Pressure wash driveways, sidewalks and patios once a year, then treat with a mold retardant.
How is mold best removed?
Before you treat the mold, you must find the source of the moisture. This can range from leaky pipes, toilets or humid or wet conditions. In areas of high humidity, a dehumidifier inside the home is necessary to prevent mold and mildew.
The question of how to remove the mold depends on the severity of the mold and possible type of mold. If mold is growing along the baseboards of the outermost walls of the home or on the wallboard, or if you have noticed headaches or other ailments call a remediation specialist and have the mold tested and the home inspected. Mold of this type can be toxic. Mold growing on wallboard may indicate internal structural contamination. Never attempt to self-treat this type of mold.
If the mold contamination is contained to a small area, food grade distilled white vinegar can kill the mold. Carpeting must be pulled so the backing of the carpet can be treated.
Local janitorial supply stores are well informed and can advise on other non-toxic chemicals to kill mold.
Outside the home, pressure wash driveways, sidewalks and patios then treat the lawn with a mold retardant. Install drainage pipes underground to aid in moving water away from the surface of the lawn.
Mold Removal Products
What types of mold removal products are available?
This is a difficult question to answer because the product used depends on the type of mold and each individual circumstance. Generally, food grade distilled white vinegar is effective both inside and outside the home, under some circumstances. Mold retardants are a must have for lawns and janitorial supply stores also carry industrial grade mold products. These products are constantly changing so call a few janitorial supply stores first to discuss your individual issues.
What should consumers look for in mold removal products?
Definitely look for seals of approval like the EPA seal or Green Seal on a product. Check a home and garden center known for carrying earth friendly products for a lawn retardant. Definitely look for a mold product that continues killing mold spores for a week or longer.
What should be avoided?
Avoid spraying mold removal products inside the home. Droplets from any spray linger in the air for a few days, so you continue to inhale the droplets, which is not healthy. Wipe on the mold removal product rather than spraying it onto the surface.
Avoid any product with MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) ratings of 2 or higher. These ratings range from 0 or non-toxic to 4 which is highly toxic. Look on the Internet for the MSDS sheet for the product you are considering using. Type "MSDS sheet for 'Name of product' " into your browser. The sheet will display. Read it and look for hazardous substances.
What tips can you share on cleaning mold?
When cleaning mold, always wear protective clothing, mask and rubber gloves and shoes. If you must kneel or sit while treating mold, put disposable plastic down first to prevent mold spores from spreading. Do not touch anything unless you have washed your hands first.
Remove clothing in the garage and launder in hot water, detergent and a cup of food grade distilled white vinegar immediately. Fill the washer, let the clothing soak for 30 minutes, then continue laundering. Wash any cloths or towels you have touched.
What else would you like to add? Precaution is always wise when working with mold. If you have experienced any illnesses or headaches or dizziness that does not go away in a reasonable period of time, call in a professional. Never take a chance on your health to save a few dollars.
Love To Know Cleaning would like to thank Mary Findley for sharing her expertise. For more information on cleaning, visit Mary's website, GoClean.com.