Black mold (Stachybotrys chartarum) is a slow-growing and toxic mold variant constituting various microfungus. Black mold thrives outdoors (soil & grain) and indoors (cellulose-rich materials). While it rarely thrives in the natural environment, black mold has better chances of thriving in areas close to human habitation. Cellulose, temperature fluctuation, absence of other mold types, amble humidity, and crawl spaces are the best conditions for black mold growth.
How dangerous can it be to your health?
Even though black mold has been linked to chronic health concerns like cancer and lung diseases, we still have no solid proof to confirm the direct association of black mold with these chronic diseases.
Some strains of Stachybotrys chartarum produces mycotoxins that can trigger physical symptoms in individuals sensitive to this toxin type. However, the severity of such symptoms depends on other factors such as the duration of exposure and the contamination’s extent.
As per the Florida Department of Health, exposure to black mold can trigger the following health problems:
- Dry cough
- Sore throat
- Blurry vision
- Itchy eyes
Can bleach kill black mold?
Using bleach does not kill the mold. The bleach’s chemical composition takes away the mold’s color and creates an illusion of a mold-free surface. The fungi present can continue damaging your property.
Furthermore, the overuse of bleach can also cause permanent damage to residential possessions like furniture or marble.
Trying out DIY black mold removal might turn out to be a temporary solution unless you find the root cause and ensure that all the contributing factors, including temperature, humidity, cellulose, and light, are addressed.
Is black mold always black?
No black mold can also appear as dark green or gray. On the flip side, not all mold types appearing black are black mold.
How do I remove black mold?
There are several chemical and natural products that can be used to remove black mold. Chemical such as Borax is commonly recommended, and white vinegar is a rated natural solution to remove black mold. However, it is mandatory to consider the following to ensure that you obliterate black mold and prevent any chance of reoccurrence:
- Identify and remove the source of moisture which could be a leaky pipe, roof, or air conditioning
- Complete sweep to detect mold colonies that could be thriving in hidden areas within your house
- Using industry-grade equipment including HEPA vacuum, air scrubber, manometer, infrared cameras, and Thermo hygrometer
What causes black mold?
Black mold growth is usually supported by different factors that eventually link back to
- Food source (wood, drywall, etc.)
Some of the common causes of residential mold include:
- Leaking pipes
- Faulty air conditioning system
- Poor ventilation
- Wet laundry or clothes
- Poor Maintenance
- Roof leaks
How can I prevent black mold?
As touched on above, the main contributors to mold growth are moisture and humidity level. Ensure that you keep a constant eye on the humidity level within your house or work area. A humidity level below 50% throughout the day is ideal when considering a mold-free environment. Use dehumidifiers to regulate the humidity levels, especially during humid months.
Other initiatives to prevent black mold include:
- Addressing the aftermath of flood promptly
- Regular maintenance and mold inspections, especially crawlspaces
- Avoid using carpets and rugs in the kitchen
- Regular cleaning of bathroom and cupboards close to water sources
- Disposing of any water-damaged belongings, including carpets and furniture
How do I test for black mold?
You can look for the obvious signs of black mold, such as musty smell, discoloration, and water damage spots. Another option is to rely on DIY black mold testing kits. When choosing DIY mold testing kits, make sure that you buy a kit that can give you the spore count and comparison to the outdoor air. DIY black mold testing kits usually help you identify the strain of mold that you are dealing with, which essentially sets up a foundation for your mold removal efforts.
What should I do if I see black mold?
If you notice a patch of black mold growth within your house, restrain yourself from touching or distributing the patch as you risk releasing the spores in doing so. Containing the patch with a plastic sheet or drop cloth is the best option. Turn off any HVAC or air condition systems that connect the room in question to other rooms to prevent cross-contamination. Opening the windows and doors will help you to clear any black mold spores that are already airborne.
How can black mold get inside a house?
Black mold spores can piggyback on several carriers, including pet fur, clothes, and contaminated breeze. Once the spores are inside your house, they usually end up settling on dark and damp areas to thrive.
Black mold, like any other mold type, if not dealt with promptly, can inflict serious damage to your health, your pet’s health, and even the property structure. Consulting a mold removal specialist is possibly the best move to prevent reoccurrence and complete removal.