September is officially Mold Awareness Month, sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA states that mold creates “toxins that cause asthma, respiratory infections and chronic sinus problems.”
Mold grows in wet or damp areas, but it doesn’t take as long for mold to start growing as you may think—in as little as 24-hours, mold can begin to grow, and the longer an area remains wet, the more toxic the mold can be. Symptoms of exposure to mold can vary, depending on the allergic reaction of the individual. For someone who is severely allergic, exposure to mold can cause sneezing, a runny nose, red eyes and a skin rash. For someone who isn’t allergic, prolonged exposure can cause irritation to the eyes, skin, nose, throat and lungs.
To prevent instances of mold you may want to consider to following options: invest in a dehumidifier for damp areas, fix leaks and address plumbing issues, clean up spills immediately, let in fresh air and sunlight, open doors and windows to promote circulation, keep clothes and other fabrics dry and replace mildewed shower curtains.
If you suspect that you have mold in your home, minor cases (experts say this is an area of less than 10 square feet) can be taken care of directly. If you find a damp or wet area of your home before mold begins growing, you need to dry out the area immediately and fix the source of the water problem. If mold has already started to grow, you need to clean up the mold completely and still fix the source of the water problem.
Although bleach is traditionally stated as the best remedy for getting rid of mold, you don’t have to use harsh chemical cleaners to rid your home of mold. Many experts swear by vinegar, tea tree oil and even vodka to remove small areas of mold.
However, if you have a larger mold problem (larger than 10 square feet) it truly is best to call in a professional. Likewise, if you suspect that there is mold present in your ceiling, walls or heating/cooling ducts, a professional is most likely to be able to properly assess your mold issue.
When it comes down to it, you want to make sure that any mold issues in your home are taken care of fully and quickly. Do you have any tips and tricks for preventing and/or removing mold? Let us know in the comments!