Jul 16, 2018
by editorial team and Sophia Ruan Gushée
Mold is common in the home. It's tracked in on shoes and clothes from the outdoors, and enters the home when the windows and doors are open. Most of us can tolerate these amounts of mold. But when the roof leaks or plumbing pipes break, there may be larger amounts of mold that accumulate and cause health problems for children and adults.
Mold looks like colored spots or fuzzy growths. Often, we think mold is black. But it can also be yellow, orange, or other colors.
There are many types of mold, but all of them release tiny spores to reproduce. So those spores constantly become airborne.
Mold is caused by excessive moisture. Every month, you should walk around the house to see if the ceiling has signs of water leaks. Check for spotting, or varied colors on the ceiling. These may be mold spots.
To remove mold on a ceiling, first try to identify the source of the mold. Signs of water damage—such as soggy drywall or water rings—on the ceiling, indicate potential leaking in the roof or chimney. Fixing the leak should occur before fighting the mold: A continual leak means continual mold.
Sometimes mold remediation will actually involve demolition of existing building materials and may be the first step in fixing the leak source. Have a mold remediation company or contractor give their advice on how to best proceed in order to keep your kids and family safe from further mold-induced illness.
The safest way to pursue mold remediation is to hire a certified professional mold remediation company. Those folks are certified in mold removal and follow a strict process that ensures the mold spores aren’t spread to another part of the home. They wear special suits, create negative air pressure (so that air and airborne mold spores don’t circulate to the rest of the home), clean flat surfaces post-removal, and take other precautions.
Hard surfaces—such as glass and metal—can typically be cleaned without removal, along with some wood, plaster, and concrete. Porous or absorbent materials that are moldy typically need to be discarded. Examples of this are carpeting, drywall, furniture, and mattresses. (1)
If you decide to clean up the mold yourself, use caution to protect yourself and the spread of mold spores by: (2)
To avoid the allergies, asthma, respiratory infections, and other health effects caused by mold, the mold should be removed or remediated. Check for leaks or sources of moisture and fix those first. If the cause of high moisture is not fixed, the mold problem will continue to come back. Once the source is fixed, contact a mold remediation expert or contractor to lay out a plan for remediating the mold. If you opt to get rid of the mold yourself, be sure to wear protective gear that can be washed or disposed of and to contain dust and mold that is removed during remediation.
Access Sophia's shopping list for her household staples. They're her favorite low toxic items that she can't live without. Also see which EMF protection products she uses.