Housecleaning Tips : How to Identify Black Mold
How to Identify Black Mold
Molds are commonly found in nature and help to break down the nutrients in soil. Inside, molds are potentially hazardous to your health. One common mold is stachybotrys atra, or black mold. This mold is commonly thought to be toxic when ingested or inhaled; however, it is no more dangerous than other types of mold. If you notice any signs mold, it is not necessary to identify the species, but if you do want to identify the mold, there are a few ways to go about it. First, do a sweep of your building to look in all mold prone areas to find any mold. Next, have a professional inspection done to identify black mold.
Noticing Black Mold
Pay attention to any smells in your building.Black mold has a mildew or musty smell. If your building smells like this, try to follow the smell to the source of the mold. If you cannot see the mold, it may be behind a wall or in another well covered space.
Observe the color of the mold.Black mold is, well, black. Other molds are often white, green, yellow, or any number of colors, and they can be dangerous, too. Also note that black mold commonly refers to stachybotrys atra, but there are other molds that are black in color.
- Stachybotrys atra can also be found in colors other than black.
Note the texture of the mold.Black mold will have a wet, slimy texture. Other molds can have a light, fuzzy texture. Avoid touching the mold with your bare hand. Observe the texture by wiping the mold with a towel or other material.
Looking in Mold-Prone Areas
Seek out naturally damp areas.Mold typically grows in well-saturated areas. Basements, bathrooms, kitchens, and garages are commonly invaded by black mold. If you suspect mold in your building, start looking in the rooms that hold the most water.
Inspect any leaks.Even if an area is not normally water-prone, a leak can lead to mold. Leaky water pipes are often culprits, but you can have other sources of water, too. If your air conditioner is not properly drained and insulated, it can leak water. This can result in black mold around the leak.
Look at joints.Porous materials such as grout are often used to join two slabs or panels. For example, kitchen and bathroom tiles often have grout between them. If water frequently gets into the pores in the grout, black mold can grow there.
Check any seals.Sealants can also be prone to growing black mold. Sealants are often used in high moisture areas (e.g. around your shower). Because of this, black mold can set up and grown on a sealant, such as calk.
Watch materials high in cellulose.Black mold naturally grows on materials containing cellulose. These are plant based materials such as paper, cardboard, and wood. Keep a close eye on any paneling or file cabinets that get wet. Any wood, drywall, carpet, or cloth can easily grow black mold under moist conditions.
Involving a Professional
Have an inspection done.Call a local business that offers mold removal services. Many professionals will do a mold inspection for free. If no mold is found, there is no cost to you. If the inspector finds mold, they can help you remove it.
Hire a professional for mold removal.Large amounts of black mold may be difficult for an untrained person to remove. If any area is missed, the mold spores can recolonize and the mold will grow back quickly. A trained professional will ensure that the entire area is mold-free.
Stay safe around black mold.Mold spores can be dangerous if inhaled or ingested, but this varies person to person. Allergies are typically responsible for a person’s reaction to mold. To be on the safe side, wear a mask and gloves. Be sure that you clean the entire area to get rid of any microscopic spores that could start a new colony of mold.
Video: How To Identify Mold Found In Your Home: Tape Lift Sample.
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