Diagnosing Your Mold Problem – How Mold Removal Works, Part 1

Finding Mold – Where To Look?

Where To Find Mold? Most To Least Obvious Places To Look


Outside of residences, mold can be found everywhere from dead leaves, branches, and almost every other organic substance. The role of different molds in an ecosystem is to feed on and decompose dead organisms. This is also mostly true for other members of the fungi kingdom, and it’s called saprotrophic nutrition. This is why these organisms are also abundant in plant soil, especially damp forest floors.

Some molds are useful, being used in cheese-making, but more famously in the production of pharmaceuticals. Penicillium is the mold used for the production of the antibiotic penicillin. But other types of mold can be very harmful to humans and our pets if the mold is ingested or its spores find their way into our lungs.

Surfaces, Areas, Materials, and Susceptible Devices


Within residences, mold can be found “eating away” at any material that satisfies all of its nutritional requirements, as long as there is enough moisture.

Materials and places to check:

  • Timber construction – especially structurally important timber like trusses
  • Drywall – look for signs of moisture
  • Cardboard – check boxes sitting in the basement or the attic
  • Plywood and OSB panels
  • Mortar in broken or cracked walls
  • Certain types of paint can be more likely to grow mold (oil-based paints have more organic matter)
  • Even PVC, polypropylene and other tubing or piping can provide a home to mold if situated in a moist place or if leaks occur.

Check under your kitchen sink for leaks and signs of mold. Do the same for bathroom pipes – check the drain pipe that leads from the toilet tank to the bowl from all sides, and also regularly clean the tank itself.

Other common places with enough moisture and suitable growth substrate include cabinets and carpets. In fact, moisture and dust are enough for mold to grow on practically any surface in your home.

Also, your air conditioning system collects all sorts of nasty stuff that provides fertile ground for mold growth, and air humidifiers are especially susceptible if not maintained properly.

It can often happen that residents don’t even know about mold growth until the mold spores become airborne and respiratory symptoms arise: cough, sneezing, scratchy throat or eyes, and even more serious allergic reactions.

Any surface, furniture piece or device that has the potential to collect significant amounts of dust must be cleaned regularly with anti-microbial protection in order to prevent mold growth, but also other microbes and even insects from gathering.

When Dust Enters The Equation


It’s important to remind that dust is a very heterogeneous mixture, but quite complete if looking at the variety of organic and mineral components that mold can feed upon.

Dust carries everything from dead skin and animal dander, to flour used in the kitchen, insect waste, and of course regular dirt coming from outside. In short, dust is usually the depositor of the organic part of the substrate where mold thrives.

But all of these components aren’t enough to promote a thriving patch of mold. This is where moisture comes into play.

Watch out For Moisture!


Water is the key! In fact, moisture is the first thing that should activate a rotating red light in your head, as it’s a prerequisite for any type of mold growth. This is why bathrooms, kitchens, humid basements and closets are so susceptible to mold growth.

Other sources of moisture could be a crack on the roof or a wall where the rain can splash and settle in, and of course, leaking pipes (both open and walled). Once water finds its way in or onto a surface, that surface is susceptible to mold growth, especially if it hardly ever gets to dry out completely.

Poor indoor ventilation is a boosting factor for mold growth as stale humid air will inhibit or slow down the process of drying. Bathrooms are especially susceptible to this, which is why they usually have pre-built ventilation systems. Unfortunately, ventilation shafts and ducts require maintenance, otherwise, the same vents can be responsible for spreading all sorts of allergens.

Be aware that mold can also grow under a surface, so it might remain hidden after an initial visual inspection. So if you see paint peeling off a wall, first ask yourself if it’s peeling because of moisture, and if there’s bad stuff underneath, invisible to the naked eye.

An Introduction to Mold Removal Procedures


The goal of mold remediation is not only to remove the mold-infested areas but fix the issues that led to mold buildup in the first place and outline a set of suggestions and actions to be taken in order to prevent the mold from reappearing.

The basic procedure of mold remediation consists of the following:

  1. Identifying the extent of the infestation
  2. Isolating the affected area
  3. Removal and cleanup of furniture and items
  4. Dust cleansing with a HEPA vacuum
  5. Anti-microbial remediation
  6. Prevention treatment

This is a basic overview of the whole procedure. The details of each step and preceding conditions are described in part 2 of this guide.

There are different scenarios in which a mold inspection and remediation can occur. It’s one thing to think about mold when you’ve found it in your own home, but what if you’re in the process of moving and buying property for yourself or to host your company?

Read on to find out more.


Brown Mold in Seattle?

What Do You Know About Brown Mold?

BrownMold-MoldSolutionsNWThere is a lot of discussion about black mold and its dangers, but there isn’t a lot said about brown mold, and although it’s a fairly common type of mold many people may not have even heard the term.

Brown hairy mold, or Stemonitis, is called that because it has a brown furry appearance. Although it’s not typically as toxic as black mold, it can still affect the health of people who have weak immune systems, respiratory problems and allergies. Its existence should not be ignored.

Where is Brown Mold Found?

WetnessFromLeaks-MoldSolutions NWLike other molds, brown mold thrives in damp dark places. Wherever there’s a leak or repeated wetness that seldom dries out, that’s where you’ll find it.

A common place for growth can be found in one of the wettest places in our homes – the bathroom. Water gets under the floor tiles, where it remains damp, and before you know it you have mold growth. By the time you see it on the tiles, there is probably a lot of damage done to the sub-flooring. This is one very good reason why carpeting in bathrooms is not a good idea.

Kitchens are another common breeding place for brown mold. If your refrigerator or your dishwasher has a leak that goes unnoticed, mold growth will begin.

One family had a dishwasher that had an undetected leak. Brown spots began appearing from the underside of the linoleum tiles before the homeowners knew there was a problem. Once the dishwasher was removed and the tile lifted, they were able to see the sub-floor was full of mold, rotted and needed to be replaced.

Signs of Mold Growth

Being able to see the growth is not the only way to detect a mold problem.

  • Mold gives off a musty odor – you may be able to smell it whenever you are in the area of the growth.
  • If you ever see mushrooms growing on the inside of your home, it’s pretty certain that you have hidden mold and very likely damage from rot and insects.

If you have found, or even think you have mold growing in your home or business, it’s important to have it removed correctly and thoroughly. Don’t take a chance of spreading the spores by trying to remove it yourself…call an expert to remediate the problem.

Contact us – Mold isn’t always easy to see, but we know what to look for, where to find it, and what to do when its found.

 

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Is Mold Exposure Dangerous to People With Weakened Immune Systems?

Weakened Immune Systems and Mold

MoldandHealth-MoldSolutionsNWThe answer to that question is a resounding “yes”!

Although continuous exposure to mold growth is hazardous to everyone, the level of risk for people with weakened immune systems is definitely higher than for those who are healthier.

By inhaling or simply touching mold or its spores, allergic reaction may be experienced, and for those who suffer with asthma, mold can increase the asthma attacks. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, those who have weakened immune systems are more likely to get mold infections, which could lead to hospitalization or even death.

Who is at a higher risk of mold infection?

  • People who have cancer.
    • People undergoing chemotherapy.
  • People who have had organ transplants and are on medication that typically weakens the immune system.
    • People who are on antibiotics.
  • People who have aids.
  • People born with weakened immune system issues.

Because mold is a fungus, and reproduces by emitting its tiny spores into the air, another term for mold infection is fungal infection. As the spores are inhaled, they make their way into your lungs which is where most fungal infections begin.

Protecting Yourself From Mold Infection

Obviously, mold exposure can be a real health hazard and is a situation that should not be ignored. There are signs of mold growth that you can recognize:

  • Black Mold - Mold Solutions NWBlack or white spots growing on walls, ceilings, under wall paper or on furniture.
  • A dank musty smell – you can’t always see mold…it can be found lurking under counters, behind furniture, inside the walls, but you can often smell it in areas that it’s growing.
  • Mold can grow just about anywhere there is a lot of moisture or humidity, a nice warm temperature and little sunlight. Some of the most common places it’s located are bathrooms, laundry rooms, kitchens and basements.

You can control mold in your home by:

  • Making sure you have good ventilation and air flow.
  • Repair leaking plumbing right away.
  • Don’t let condensation from your windows build up on your windowsills…dry them off right away.
  • Keep furniture a few inches away from the walls to encourage good airflow.
  • Always run the exhaust fans in your bathrooms, kitchen and laundry room.
  • If there has been flooding, even minor flooding, be sure it is dried thoroughly immediately…mold can begin to grow in about 24-48 hrs.

Symptoms of fungal or mold infection may include: headaches,  difficulty breathing, coughing, fever, skin rashes and congestion. Unfortunately these are symptoms for many other conditions, so oftentimes they get ignored because “they’ll go away soon”. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, especially if you have a weakened immune system, you may want to consider the idea of mold exposure, especially if there have been signs of mold growth in the home.

The first thing you should do is have trained professionals inspect your home for mold, and get their recommendations on how to remediate it. Removing the problem in your home may not be the only solution to get rid of our symptoms, consult with your doctor who may have anti-fungal medication.

If you think you have a mold problem:

Contact us  – Mold isn’t always easy to see, but we know what to look for, where to find it, and what to do when its found.


What Happens When Mold Spores Enter the Body?

Black Mold in the Body

Is it really a problem if you are exposed to black mold spores?

MoldSporeExposure-MoldSolutionsNWThe answer to that is definitely yes! Mold not only grows on surfaces inside and outside of your home, but if it is inhaled, it can continue its growth inside your body.

I remember as a child being told that if I swallowed watermelon seeds, they would begin growing in my stomach. That was a pretty frightening thought…

But the idea that mold can grow inside your body is a pretty disgusting thought, but it’s a reality.

Once it begins growing there, it will produce toxins that can make you very ill, from simple things such as sneezing and watery eyes to more severe problems such as breathing disorders, vomiting and neurological disorders.

Mold Diagnosis

Mold exposure problems are very difficult to diagnose…in fact they are probably the most misdiagnosed symptoms and illnesses in the country, often confused with other illnesses, so diagnosing it correctly can be nearly impossible.

Watch this short little video which will help you understand how mold can enter your body and what it can do once it is there.


If you think you have a mold issue in your home, don’t wait until it affects yours and your family’s health…Contact us right away!


Can You Get Mold Out of Clothes?

Mold in Clothes

MoldyClothes-MoldSolutionsNWDealing with moldy clothes isn’t typically what we do, but it’s an issue for many people, and can be a sign of further problems.

Just like organic materials around your home, ie. walls, carpets, flooring or ceilings; if conditions are just right, mold can begin growing on your clothing and shoes, especially if they are made of of organic materials such as cotton or cotton blends. If there is too much moisture in your home, if clothing is left sitting while wet, (swimsuits and towels, or sweaty clothes from a workout), or if they aren’t thoroughly dried after washing, your clothing becomes a breeding place for mold spores. They just need the right conditions, (moisture, warmth and a little darkness), and within a few hours mold will begin to grow.

How do you know if your clothes are moldy? They will be discolored, black or green and will have a distinct musty smell.

Because of too much moisture…

If you find mold growing on your clothing, shoes or bags in your home, you can be pretty certain you have a moisture problem in your home. You can try to clean your clothes or throw them away, but unless you deal with the excess moisture, mold will continue to grow.

Places where mold can be a problem is in dark, damp basements, in closets and under sinks.

One young woman was constantly getting migraine headaches and couldn’t understand why. One day while looking through her bedroom closet she discovered black mold growing on the walls and floor, and it had spread to some of her clothing. After checking a little further, she discovered that her closet, which was on an outside wall of her home had a leak. Once she had the leak repaired and the mold properly removed, her headaches went away.

Can you clean mold from your clothes?

Mold is basically digesting your clothing if it has begun to grow on it, and it leaves a stain where it has been, so the longer it grows the larger the stain, the less you’ll want to use the clothing and the harder it will be to remove the stain and the smell.

If the mold hasn’t been growing too long, there are some products that will help remove it from your clothing:

  • BleachMoldyClothes-MoldSolutionsNWWashing them in a detergent that is designed to kill mold
  • Baking Soda
  • Bleach – can help lighten stains
  • Vinegar – helps remove the smell of mold
  • Borax – doesn’t emit toxic fumes

Be sure to wash the items in hot water and run through 2 complete wash cycles. A great way to make sure the mold has been killed is to line dry the clothing in the sun, where the sun’s ultraviolet rays will not only help to fade the stains, but will work to kill the mold as well.

If you have mold growing on your clothing, your home might have a mold problem, if you do…

 Contact us  – Mold isn’t always easy to see, but we know what to look for, where to find it, and what to do when its found.