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Killing Mold and Keeping It At Bay

Mold Clean-up Tips

Even if the mold in your home is not toxic mold, it can still be a problem, because mold growing on organic materials will in time destroy them. Too much mold of any type smells bad and degrades air quality.

Be on the lookout for the damp, humid conditions where mold thrives:

  • Bathrooms with poor ventilation. Install an exhaust fan if possible.
  • Leaky water pipes. Repair them immediately.
  • Roof leaks. Repair them right away.
  • Flood cleanup should be handled as soon as possible. The EPA offers a handbook to help.
  • Clothes dryers and exhaust fans should always vent to the outside, never under the house or back into a room.

Other solutions:

  • Consider installing a dehumidifier in chronically moist rooms.
  • Don't carpet damp areas. It's the perfect breeding ground for mold.
  • Insulate pipes and other cold surfaces to discourage condensation.
  • Install storm windows to eliminate condensation on glass.
  • Make sure the crawlspace under your house is well ventilated. Cover crawlspace dirt with plastic.
  • Porous materials, such as ceiling tiles, may have to be replaced, but replacing them won't solve the problem if the source of moisture is not eliminated.

Cleaning Mold
Make sure the room is well ventilated before you begin. Clean visible mold with detergent and water. Allow to dry, then apply a solution of 1/2 cup bleach per gallon of water to help kill the remaining spores. Remember that the mold will very likely return unless you elminate the underlying problems that caused it.

Never combine bleach and ammonia because the mixture produces a toxic gas.

Before You Buy a Home
Some home buyers test air quality before closing on a home. In the past air quality testing was ordered primarily to detect radon gas, but mold tests are becoming more common. Your home inspector may not perform mold tests, but can probably help you find someone who does. In my area that type of test costs between $300-$500 dollars.

If you are concerned about toxic mold an air test might help you feel better about your new home. Talk to your real estate agent or your attorney to determine if a special contingency should be inserted in the contract that will allow you to back out of the deal if toxic mold is detected and cannot be thoroughly eliminated.

Page 1, Molds, Affecting Your Health and Home

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