How Can I Spot and Identify Basement Mold and Mildew?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mold can cause young children to develop asthma and other health difficulties. They carry some of those afflictions wherever they go, even when mold is no longer in their environment. At the same time, people of all ages can suffer from living in a home with mold inside of it.
It’s important for all responsible homeowners to familiarize themselves with the basics of mold care at some point in their lives. Learning about the dangers of basement mold, as well as how to detect and prevent it, can help keep you and your family safe.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about keeping your home free of mold!
Dangers of Mold
As we mentioned before, the consequences of mold in basements or other areas of the home can be unfortunately permanent. Especially the young are at risk for developing a lifelong case of asthma after growing up with mold. Even healthy adults may be able to develop asthma, though.
As for anyone who has asthma, whether because of mold or another reason, being around mold can cause asthma attacks and otherwise worsen your condition.
Mold can also cause allergies to flare up. The spores that mold sends into the air are very tiny and can end up in your lungs. Common symptoms include red eyes, congestion, and itchy eyes.
Even if you don’t have asthma or allergies and never develop them, mold can make healthy adults cough or wheeze.
Keeping a Lookout for Mold
When you check for mold, the first thing to know is where it’s most likely to be. The basement is the number one place to look at, as moldy basements are quite common.
In general, though, any damp, dark places can be prime real estate for mold to grow. This can include under sinks, or in bathrooms that stay damp after showers.
Once you know where to look, the question is, what do you look for? Mold can be identified by its appearance, as well as by its smell.
Mold often appears as a collection of black or green spots. Of course, it often looks a lot like dirt, so just finding dark spots doesn’t mean you necessarily have mold on basement walls or anywhere else.
Then again, if you find the spots in a damp area that’s often dark, that’s a clue that the spots are more likely to be mold than dirt.
Mold also has a distinct smell. If you ever smelled it growing up, you can probably remember it and find mold by smell. If you don’t know what mold smells like, just keep a nose out for any unusual smells.
Once again, if you find that the strange smell is coming from a dark, wet place that could easily grow mold, that’s your hint that the smell is caused by mold.
Testing for Mold
Mold or mildew in dark basements can often be difficult to find by sight. Not all mold smells, and besides, the smell test is far from foolproof. So what can you do if you want to know for sure if you have mold?
Professional mold testers can do an impressive job at finding any mold around your home. On the other hand, they can be expensive.
If you find some dark spots that you suspect of being mold, there’s an easy test you can perform at home to tell the difference between them and dirt. Dirt reacts differently to bleach than mold does.
If using bleach on your dark spots causes them to quickly lighten, that’s a strong signal that you’re dealing with mold. Alternatively, if a spot keeps coming back no matter how many times you clean it, it could also be mold.
How to Eliminate Mold
Once you’ve found mold, it’s fortunately quite easy to get rid of. Basic soap and water are suitable for eliminating most mold. In more difficult cases, you can resort to bleach.
Either way, most mold can be eliminated easily. If your home is afflicted to an unusual degree, you can always call some experts to restore your home to its former mold-free glory.
Avoiding Future Mold
While mold is easy to clean, it’s not as easy to keep from coming back. The circumstances that facilitate mold growth will still be there after you apply soap and water. Mold grows in damp, dark places, and your basement’s humidity and darkness won’t change because of a cleaning.
If you have leaking pipes, repairing them can be a quick way to take away the resources mold needs to grow. The same is true of bathrooms. If your bathroom stays wet long after use, keep an extra towel handy and make sure to dry everything after use.
But what if your basement gets its humidity straight from the air? That’s not so easily repaired.
Fortunately, with the help of skilled professionals, you can waterproof your basement. Humidity is the biggest contributor to mold growth, so once your basement is waterproof, you can easily control mold in your home.
Once your basement is waterproof, you can give it a quick cleaning. Disinfectant applied after your cleaning can be a way to make sure the basement is really clear of spores. After that, you can sit back and enjoy a home well-protected from humidity and mold.
On top of that, your basement will enjoy improved resistance to floods, and superior insulation. That means less flood damage and lower energy bills for you!
Make Sure Your Home Is Free From Basement Mold
We hope that this brief article has helped you to learn something helpful about basement mold and what you can do about it if it’s in your home. To learn more about the benefits of waterproofing your home and how to find quality technicians who can get it done right, get in touch with us here.