Our homes are susceptible to mold growth for a variety of reasons. Mold needs moisture to grow and survive, so any type of flooding or water leaks that aren’t completely and quickly remediated can lead to the growth of mold within 24-48 hours.
Mold’s tiny reproductive cells, called spores, are easily released into the air. Mold growth speeds up when it’s indoors because an enclosed space amplifies the spores’ ability to make contact with one another. Mold is more than a cosmetic problem; it can damage your home and contribute to health issues.
What Is Mold?
Molds are organisms that grow indoors as well as outdoors. As part of the fungi family, mold releases tiny spores that float through the air. Outside, they’re an important part of the ecosystem. Indoors, they can be problematic. You’re likely to find mold growing in the darkest, dampest spaces such as:
- sinks, bathtubs, and showers
- near leaky pipes
- around windows
- basements, crawl spaces, and attics
Mold starts as a little spot but expands quickly. You’ll usually notice it early on unless it’s in a location that’s not easily visible. It can be black, white, green, spotted, or just about any color, and may appear powdery or velvety in texture.
Inside your home, mold spores can’t grow unless there is moisture present. However, once the mold starts to grow, removing the moisture won’t remove the mold as well. It must be specifically removed. The spores can latch on to a variety of materials, including fabrics, carpet, paper, and wood.
Health Effects Caused by Mold Exposure
Mold spores that land on a wet or damp spot and begin growing can produce allergens, irritants, and potentially toxic substances. The most commonly reported health problems from mold exposure are respiratory. Touching or inhaling mold spores can cause allergy-type symptoms.
1. Respiratory Symptoms
Mold growth affects the health of your family and pets living in the home. Continuous exposure to a moldy environment can cause or worsen pre-existing health problems. Seemingly healthy people can also suffer from being in a home with high levels of mold. Health issues related to mold exposure can include:
- eye irritation
- sore throat
- skin rash
- lung irritation
Those with asthma could experience worsened asthmatic symptoms over time due to exposure to mold spores. An allergic reaction to mold can trigger an attack where the need for inhalers are required to manage and alleviate symptoms.
People who are allergic to mold or who have any pre-existing health issues could get serious infections in their lungs that can spread. You may be at a higher risk for complications like an infection if you have conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), a compromised immune system, or cystic fibrosis.
Ways to Prevent the Spread of Mold
Mold can be a health and safety issue if it is present in your home, so avoid the issue by taking steps to prevent its growth.
- Fix water leaks immediately. Clean up excess water and use fans to dry the area.
- Repair or replace windows that leak, as moisture may collect on the frame and sill.
- Keep your home well ventilated. When possible, exhaust fans should vent outside. Use exhaust fans or open windows when showering or bathing.
- Use cleaning products that kill mold. Wipe down tiles and allow shower curtains to dry.
- Don’t leave wet towels or clothes in a pile or sitting in a laundry hamper.
- Use dehumidifiers when the weather is humid.
In some cases, you can get rid of small amounts of household mold yourself. Mold can be removed with commercial products, soap and water, or a bleach solution. Use a brush to scrub mold off surfaces. Porous materials, such as carpeting, furniture, and ceiling tiles, may have to be discarded or professionally cleaned.
If you have a larger mold growth presence it’s best to seek a professional mold remediation contractor. They have the necessary experience and equipment in the safe removal of mold. You should especially consult them if:
- There’s a large amount of mold or it’s hard to reach.
- You’ve had severe water damage from a flood or natural disaster.
- You’re at high risk of symptoms from mold spores.
Let the Pros Do the Job
Professional cleaners have the skills and equipment to remove water, moisture, and mold from your home. At St. Louis Cleaning and Restoration, we respond immediately to mold-related exposures to ensure your home and family are healthy and safe.
If you need mold removed or your home back to normal after water damage, contact us right away.