Mold and mildew are natural byproducts of summer. That doesn’t mean that you want to share your house with the spores, however. Rather than turning to harsh chemicals, such as bleach or borax, to banish mold, there are eco-friendly, natural ways to kill mold at home that won’t hurt your family, pets or the environment.
Black mold is most likely to appear in areas of the home that are particularly warm, humid and damp. Basements or crawlspaces that may have leaks or other sources of moisture are often susceptible to toxic black mold growth. Black mold is readily identifiable by its color. Whereas most other molds are green or gray in color, toxic black mold is a dark black.
If you have over 10 square feet of mold growth the EPA and the American Industrial Hygiene Association recommend you contact a professional. Most industry standards recommend, and some states mandate, you obtain an independent evaluation from a Qualified Indoor Environmental Professional (IEP) or Industrial Hygienist prior to having professional mold remediation performed. This will protect you, as the consumer, from being taken advantage of. Having a remediation company assess whether there is a problem, determine the severity of the problem, determine the steps needed to remedy, and bid the project presents a serious conflict of interest. Get an independent evaluation from an IEP and then have several remediation companies bid on the protocol supplied by the IEP. Also, I would suggest having the IEP return after the remediation and perform both a visual inspection and sampling to ensure the work has been completed satisfactorily. This is going to cost a little extra, but is definitely money well spent to ensure the mold is gone.
Karvonen AM, Hyvärinen A, Roponen M, Hoffmann M, Korppi M, Remes S, von Mutius E, Nevalainen A, Pekkanen J. Confirmed moisture damage at home, respiratory symptoms and atopy in early life: a birth-cohort study. Pediatrics. 2009;124;e329.
I intend to store a counter-top humidifier for the off-season and have never reopened the unit for use and found mold, despite wrapping it in plastic in its original packing over the off-season. I clean it with Clorox clean-up spray and rinse it well during use, and often (weekly to every other week!), and cleaned it the same way before I intend to re-pack/store it, and I let it dry out completely. Is there ANY safe, proper, natural mold-preventative method to put in the box/unit whilst storing it, please? Thanks. JJ
Few topics get us more upset than seeing all the misinformation publicized about Black Mold (and mold in general) by unscrupulous companies and the zealous media who are more interested in sensationalism than fact reporting.
Clean the entire area with a disinfectant to kill the remaining mold spores. Clean areas that had visible mold, along with all other areas. Mold spores are very small and may not be seen but can remain on surfaces for months or years. Disinfectants for use on mold can be found in hardware stores. You may use bleach, but be make sure it won’t discolor the material or surface.
Step 2: Contain the effected area. To do this, use duct tape and a plastic sheet to seal off vents or openings where air might flow in or out. You might place a small fan in an open window to direct the mold spores outdoors. Remember, mold can easily be transported to different areas in your house on pets or on the soles of shoes.
We also had some of the bales wick moisture up from the bottom when we had a wet spell (before we had the roof on we had plastic over the walls), they are sitting up on a stone rubble bed but they still sucked up some water. They seem to have dried out well but wondering if you have any ideas.
Reality: Not so, says the U.S. Department of Energy: “Vapor barriers only retard moisture due to diffusion, while most moisture enters walls either through fluid capillary action or as water vapor through air leaks.” There is a lot of confusion among homeowners and contractors about vapor barriers (a layer with a permeability rating of 0.1 perm or less) and vapor retarders (a layer with permeability greater than 0.1 perm but less than or equal to 1 perm). Both slow the transmission of vapor through a building assembly, but their effectiveness depends a lot on your climate zone. The prime consideration for homeowners is the structure’s ability to dry out, which leads many experts to question whether vapor barriers are necessary at all.
Open nearby windows or doors to get a cross flow of air to dissipate any fumes generated by your cleaning (small mold cleanup projects – large jobs will require negative air pressure and sealing off area to prevent mold spores from escaping throughout residence)
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler’s educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Kill mold with borax. Borax is an inexpensive product you can buy in the laundry aisle at most supermarkets. It works on nonporous surfaces such as tile and glass and also on wood and other porous surfaces (as long as they won’t be damaged by excessive moisture). Start by vacuuming up any lose mold with a HEPA filtered vacuum so the spores don’t get spread throughout the room. Next, clean up the mold by following these steps:
I would avoid spraying anything on a patch of visible mold. Instead put the cleaning solution (vinegar or other) on a clean towel and then wipe and turn to a clean side repeatedly until no more color transfer. Mold spores, especially when dormant, are naturally coated in an oily substance. When you spray any liquid directly on mold growth you will likely cause two things to happen: spores to become airborne as the oily substance repels the water in your cleaning solution; and a possible release of mycotoxins as the mold colony tries to defend itself from what it perceives as an attack. Also, if you kill but don’t completely remove the mold, you can cause a worse situation than you had to begin with. This is due to the fact that as mold is damaged or dies the cell wall breaks down. This can cause an increased release of mycotoxins from within the mold cells which can cause allergies and illness. This is similar to the die off effect that people describe when they are treating internal fungal conditions like Candida overgrowth in the bowel. They will feel worse shortly after the fungi start to die because toxins are being released in larger quantities from the damaged mold cells.
I just had one of my cats urine tested for mycotoxins from real time labs and it came back as Gliotoxin and it’s a very nasty one. When I looked it up it said that these toxins can’t ever be pulled out of tissue and will remain imbedded because they have especially sharp hooks. They cause DNA/RNA damage as well. I want to cry. I probably have them too. Now I’m crying. This sucks.
Replacing water damaged drywall is not very tough for the experienced DIY’er . However, if this is your first go at it – then it would probably be a good idea to call a professional to take care of it for you.
If you suspect you have toxic black mold in your home, you should have an inspection performed. Some reasons to think that you might have toxic black mold include you are suffering toxic symptoms, you have had bad water damage or you have already found a toxic black mold colony and think there could be more. When having an inspection you should not only try to find the mold colony but also the water problem which caused it.
In particularly severe cases of prolonged exposure, black mold health effects can be more dangerous. Often compounded by allergic reaction to the black mold spores, these symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, and bleeding in the lungs and nose.
One of the best clues you could have toxic black mold is if you are suffering toxic symptoms. The symptoms from toxic black mold are much more severe than the allergic reactions caused by common non-toxic mold. You can see a list of toxic symptoms at the Toxic Black Mold Symptoms page.
2. Soft furnishings are problematic. After I moved and felt significantly better – though I’ve still got a long way to go – I recognized that I still felt sedated/off/lethargic when I sat on a particular sofa and on the two chairs in my living room. That was tough, because they were really good pieces of leather furniture that I’d bought in the last couple of years as real “adult” furniture. I thought leather might be more impervious than fabric, but moisture & mold spores can still get in. So, I got rid of soft furnishings and bought new sofa & chairs.
If you just can’t handle the smell of vinegar (even short term), then there is another option that is odorless. I’m talking about grapefruit seed extract, which is an excellent antifungal both internally and externally. To use it on a moldy area in your home, simply combine 20 drops of grapefruit seed extract with two cups of water in a spray bottle. Shake the mixture and spray it directly on the mold and do not rinse. (11)
Robbie, there currently is no Dr.’s in Louisville that can competently treat for mold toxicity. I had to go to Chicago to see one. After the first visit, they can do appointments over the phone. However, lately there may be a few Dr.’s that are closer, that may possibly treat mold toxicity/CIRS. Send me your contact info and I can send their names/numbers to you. None of them likely take insurance, it’s usually an out of pocket expense.
Stachybotrys chartarum is the type of mold often called “black mold” or “toxic mold”. Sensational news reports warn about the dangers of black mold and these stories can be alarming and confusing. Any mold in your home should be treated with caution – stay out of affected areas and don’t touch or disturb the mold.
When Mrs Clean is not busy managing her house cleaning company or running her kids back and forth to their events, she enjoys experimenting with natural and non-toxic cleaners and learning new techniques to remove stains.
Fungi comprise a vast world of organisms, perhaps as many as 300,000 species. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines funguses, or fungi, as “types of plants that have no leaves, flowers or roots.”3 Fungi include such seemingly unrelated substances as poisonous and non-poisonous mushrooms; organisms that can cause athlete’s foot, fingernail infections, and some types of pneumonia; molds found in cheese, peanut butter, mulch, hay, grains, and spoiled foods; and the black material growing in bathroom grout.
How do we find a certified specialist to come inspect for mold once we have done the HERMI test? I’ve spend hundreds of dollars on inspectors, but they don’t understand CIRS patients. I live in a small county in Missouri so I don’t have allot of options locally. Kansas City is the nearest big city to me. I hope you can help! Thanks
If you have a suspended type ceiling and see small dimples take shape around the fasteners, then your ceiling is giving way to gravity and ready to collapse. And, if you see any bubbles appearing in the drywall, then you may have pooled water on the other side (you can punch a nail through the drywall to allow the standing water to drain into a container).
Using a machine equipped with a HEPA filter, vacuum the affected area of wood to remove any loose mold spores (along with any other accumulated dirt and debris). Once finished, empty the vacuum bag or canister into a plastic bag outside the house. Tightly seal the bag and dispose of it.
Spray a small amount of the solution onto the mold. Do not drench the area, since additional moisture can actually increase the mold problem rather than getting rid of it. Spray to mold once or twice over, making sure that each area has been covered with the solution but without using so much solution that it begins dripping off.
Molds are very common in buildings and homes and will grow anywhere indoors where there is moisture. The most common indoor molds are Cladosporium, Penicillium, Aspergillus, and Alternaria. We do not have precise information about how often Stachybotrys chartarum is found in buildings and homes. While it is less common than other mold species, it is not rare.
Also, go to the Social Support page to learn how to join our private Facebook group of over 3000 members called “The Toxic Mold Support Group” In this group you can talk with other people going through the same thing you are and get some advice and information as well.
I love this Hub! I am going to try to get rid of the black mold in my bathroom on my own before I call someone in. It’s growing in the grout where the shower wall meets the ceiling and I CAN’T get rid of it…it just smears. Ugh. Thanks 🙂
Health problems from mold exposure are on the increase. One problem with being exposed to mold is that many people suffer with symptoms and they never find out that it’s due to the mold. Even doctors are often unaware of the health implications surrounding mold exposure. Symptoms can range from runny nose, headaches, rashes, fatigue, depression and memory problems to more serious health problems such as respiratory or neurological conditions. Mold exposure has also been found to be associated with cancers. This why it is important to remove mold in your home as soon as possible with any of these suggestions on how to get rid of mold naturally.
The presence of molds or mold metabolites does not necessarily correlate with human illness, though. Tests identify the presence of these substances at a moment in time, and not necessarily the time frame in which individuals are exposed and illness develops. Also, the presence of these substances does not necessarily mean exposure: the fact that they are present doesn’t necessarily mean they were inhaled.5
Another disadvantage of bleach is that it can damage the materials it’s used on as it is a harsh, corrosive chemical. Chlorine bleach also gives off harsh fumes and it even produces toxic gas when mixed with ammonia. There are safer alternatives such as borax or vinegar which don’t produce dangerous fumes or leave behind toxic residue. For these reasons try to avoid using bleach and if you must use it, only use it on non-porous surfaces.
I felt like I was going crazy. People are patronizing me. I’ve been living in this house for 2 years now. My roommate actually has Lyme disease so she’s probably affected as well. She was ill too but “got better” I have Sarcoidosis. We did the Petri dish thing last year where you test for mold in different parts of the home and they all came back positive but we already knew there was water damage. There are leaks everywhere. Water stains in the ceilings etc. There was no follow up or repair after the testing. I don’t own the home so I couldn’t do anything about it. I’m on SSI so it’s difficult to find a place an affordable place to move to. What prompted the testing was me smelling this horrible mildew smell and becoming increasingly sensitive to every smell and my body reacting to the presence of it. I was finally able to attribute my hyperosma to the methotrexate and phentermine I was taking but, those meds only enabled me to smell the mildew that is present not imagine that it was there! I can feel tingling sensations on my skin, my eyes, my tongue even. Now certain things I touch burn my skin. It’s like I can feel these invisible allergens present on surfaces and clothing, burning my skin, causing itching inside my ears, shortness of breath. People keep saying I’m crazy because they can’t see, smell or feel them. I CAN and I’m not crazy! I think I have CIRS. I have increasing joint pain with no inflammation. My eyes are growing ridiculously sensitive to light and they feel dry and burn all the time. I get dehydrated. My potassium is all over the place. My brain feels weird. I can’t sleep or focus. I can’t eat or I’m TOO hungry that it just hurts so bad! My stomach just one way or another hurts. It produces way too much acid or mucus or both. I’m just bleh. I’m so tired. I’m afraid they’re going to be right and I am going crazy. I need someone to help me!
South of Fallujah’s Route Fran were hundreds of insurgents who’d spent months digging trench lines, emplacing roadside bombs, barricading streets, training with their weapons, reading the Koran, and watching videos of suicide bombers to inspire them for the fight to come. North of Route Fran were the roughly 1,000 men of 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, preparing themselves for the assault. Route Fran itself was a wide, four-lane highway. On November 9, 2004, the highway was wet—it’d rained the previous day—and the sky was gray and foreboding.
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an international organization that sets standards for responsible management of the world’s forests. These shelves and cabinet were made from FSC-certified oak plywood with a soy-based adhesive.
Exposure to damp and moldy environments may cause a variety of health effects, or none at all. Some people are sensitive to molds. For these people, molds can cause nasal stuffiness, throat irritation, coughing or wheezing, eye irritation, or, in some cases, skin irritation. People with mold allergies may have more severe reactions. Immune-compromised people and people with chronic lung illnesses, such as obstructive lung disease, may get serious infections in their lungs when they are exposed to mold. These people should stay away from areas that are likely to have mold, such as compost piles, cut grass, and wooded areas.