Black mold can be a nasty problem…and where one appears, they usually come in a cluster. Mold knows no bounds, but don’t let that scare or discourage you (you’re not alone). So, what can you do to get rid of black mold? To begin with, read on.
What is black mold?
Black mold, or Stachybotrys chartarum, is a common name for a species of mold (a type of fungus) that can grow indoors. While black mold usually grows on damp surfaces, it can also be spread through the air. This is because mold spores are microscopic and easily get picked up by air currents.
Black mold can usually be identified by their colour, which ranges from greenish black to jet black. While there are many types of toxic mold, black mold is certainly one of the more notorious ones and should be removed immediately if found in your home.
What are the health risks of black mold?
Black mold is especially dangerous because it produces mycotoxins that can make people sick. While the symptoms of black mold depend on each individual and their own sensitivity to molds, mycotoxins are known to cause a wide range of health problems.
This type of mold can cause symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, and watery eyes. Some people may also experience severe reactions, including fever or shortness of breath. People with asthma or who are sensitive to mold may find that their symptoms get worse after being exposed to black mold.
Where to find it
Because it grows on damp or moist surfaces, black mold is commonly found in basements, bathrooms, kitchens, and other areas where water leaks occur. Black mold spores are also airborne and can enter your home through windows, vents, and air conditioning systems.
If you see a patch of something that looks like soot or dirt on the walls or ceiling, it may be black mold. Wipe the spot with a damp cloth to see if it smudges. If it does smudge, you’ll want to confirm whether it’s actually black mold or just another type of fungus. One way is by taking a sample to a professional lab for testing. You can also purchase a testing kit at most hardware stores.
How to remove it
Before you get started, make sure you’re wearing protective gear, including a good face mask, goggles, and gloves. If you have an open wound or sensitive skin, consider hiring a professional to do your black mold removal.
Here’s how to remove the black mold:
Ventilate the area – Open windows and doors so that you have plenty of fresh air when removing black mold.
Seal off the area – You don’t want to spread the spores around your house or apartment as you remove it. Seal off the area with plastic sheeting secured with duct tape. Turn off your HVAC system, including any fans in the room.
Cover furniture – If necessary, move furniture away from the wall so that you have room to work. Make sure to cover furniture with plastic sheeting before moving it.
Use an anti-fungal cleanser – You can kill black mold by wiping or spraying with an anti-fungal cleanser, or you can remove black mold by scrubbing with detergent and water. If you’re removing black mold from a small area, it might be best to use a bleach solution to kill black mold. However, bleach won’t penetrate porous surfaces — for that you’ll need borax or vinegar. You can also use white distilled vinegar to kill black mold spores.
Who can you call to get rid of it?
Mold can be tricky to remove because it often grows in hard-to-reach spots, such as behind drywall or in the attic. You can’t just spray some bleach on a wall and expect that to kill mold.
While you can find products online claiming to remove mold, they may not work as well as they say they do. If you want to get rid of black mold, contact a professional who has the skills and expertise to eliminate the problem once and for all.
Black mold in a home can be a scary situation, especially if you have children or pets. In addition to the fear of what it may be doing to your family’s health, there’s the worry that removing black mold could be expensive. But the good news is that with diligence, the right products, or the help from a remediation specialist, you can get rid of black mold and keep it from coming back.