If you’ve noticed a dark mold spot on your walls or in the corners of your home, you’ve probably tried to clean it. Mold is notorious for coming back to the same area over and over again, even after you clean it up. This is especially common if you’ve had water damage recently at your property. And sometimes, it might seem like no matter what you do or what cleaner you use, it keeps on coming back. How can that be? Isn’t bleach strong enough to kill anything? Mold is an unusual organism with special characteristics. And it’s these properties that make lasting mold removal very difficult–but not impossible!
Spills and stains like wine and mud can be wiped up and forgotten about. But mold is different. As a living organism, mold grows on things and in places. This means it should be approached differently than cleaning up your typical messes.
To be able to combat mold effectively, it’s important to know what it is and how it behaves. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), molds are fungi. Fungi are unique in that they reproduce by spreading spores.These spores are a survival mechanism to make sure that the species survive, and they can withstand harsh surroundings. Spores can be ejected over great distances and develop when they find the right conditions. In environments prime for growth, such as homes after a water damage event, these spores grow and create more mold cells, and the cycle continues.
Individual mold cells and their spores are microscopic, meaning that they are often around favorable environments even when you can’t see any. This also means that individual spores can get into places that are inaccessible and that your spray cleaner can’t reach. This is one of the reasons why mold comes back. Some spores can survive in places that are hard to get to, and once the cleaning agent wears off, the mold is free to spread back to the same area again.
As a microscopic organism, many kinds of mold are present in the air all around us. Fortunately, most of them aren’t harmful, and some molds can actually be helpful! While there are hundreds of different kinds mold, many don’t accumulate in large amounts and most aren’t toxic. Some types of black mold, however, such as Stachybotrys chartarum, are not only unsightly, but toxic as well. Molds like these produce mycotoxins which can be harmful to the health of humans, plants, and animals.
While most people correctly think that large buildups of black mold are a cause for concern, they may not know that buildups can happen in places they can’t see. Water damage or problems with plumbing systems in the walls can create high levels of moisture you might not know about. This can create a substantial build up of mold with toxins going through the vents in your home and causing health problems. If you’re suspicious about mold in places you can’t see, especially after flooding or another water-related event, you should have your home inspected for mold to be sure.
Mold is tough to eliminate, but it’s not unkillable. If you start to see large buildups and can’t seem to get them to stay away, it’s probably a good idea to call a professional. But if your property hasn’t yet got to that point, there are some things you can do to inhibit growth and fight small patches before they grow.
While water damage restoration is the safest route for a substantial event, for the everyday wet environment of the Pacific Northwest, there are a couple of things you can do to prevent mold buildups.
Many household cleaners aren’t built to fight things like mold. While bleach is an option for attacking mold (and everything else!) there are natural alternatives that can safely exterminate mold without added health risks to you and your family. Using a cleaner designed specifically for mold helps, but the problem of spores getting in places you can’t reach can still be a problem. Try to thoroughly spray around the area. One advantage to high-quality natural cleaners is that you can spray an area and forget it instead of wiping it away, meaning that it’s more likely to be effective and stop the return of the microbe.
Mold is easier to clean off of some materials than others. Shower doors, for example, are designed so that you can spray a cleaner on them and quickly wipe it up. The same isn’t true for wood. Wood is tough to clean, and without using a professional service, you may need to throw away some items made from wood and difficult to wash fabric to fix the problem.
Sometimes, mold persists despite your best efforts. Often, this is due to inaccessibility or difficulty stopping a source of moisture. For these cases, or to make sure the job will be done right, you can always call a professional mold remediation team. A top-quality restoration company will not only treat the current problem, but provide ongoing protection against future buildups as well. They’ll know the best way to defeat mold once and for all–by knowing all its secrets!