September is Mold Awareness Month. Are you aware of how to identify mold? How to clean mold? Health impairments due to mold? Molds produce spores that reproduce and grow. Let us learn a few basic facts about mold.
Mold Awareness Facts- Identification
“Mold is a microscopic fungus that releases spores into the air,” explains Lois Smith, University of Illinois Extension consumer and family economics educator. “The spores settle on surfaces and grow, sometimes producing a musty smell. Mold can appear as a discoloration of white, orange, green, brown, or black growth. Mildew is a common mold.”
Molds most commonly are located on exterior wall surfaces. However; molds can also grow in your interior basement walls, showers, and even refrigerators. Environmental conditions that molds like (support mold growth) are warm temperatures, moisture, and oxygen. The higher the humidity, the greater opportunity there is for molds to grow and populate your home. Molds love natural materials such as cottons, woods, paper and leather. Surfaces where even microscopic amounts of food, grease or soil are located are also friends to molds.
Mold Awareness Facts- Elimination
It would be impractical to attempt to eliminate all molds from the average home, but there are ways to clean and prevent molds. The number one way to control mold build up is to control moisture. Eliminate the moisture source and the mold will have fewer friends and places to hang out and multiply.
Vent bathrooms, dryers, and other moisture creating sources to the outside. Older homes have washer/dryer connections in the garage and are vented outside. Newer homes have washer /dryer connections located in more convenient areas inside the home.
Have a water leak? Fix it. Whenever you are cooking, cleaning or dishwashing, use exhaust fans to eliminate moisture from being trapped inside the home.
Live where is rains a lot (at present that has been Texas!), clean and dry any building materials that have been rained on within forty-eight hours. Do not allow that moisture to accumulate and become a breeding ground for molds.
Clean, clean, clean (your mother will be so proud). Clean the mold off area surfaces with water and detergent. Follow that up with a bleach and water solution for further mold busting properties. In addition, by adding insulation, you can reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces, thereby reducing the chance for molds to become a problem. Wipe down shower walls after each use. (My parents ingrained that into our brains when we were growing up!)
Mold Awareness Facts- Health Impairments
People can be allergic to molds. Symptoms may include nasal congestion, eye and skin irritations, and even wheezing. Additional symptoms can include fevers, chronic lung illnesses agitated by mold infections in their lungs. Talk with your primary care physician to determine if your symptoms are mold related and what are the best options viable for your family.
Be aware and take care!