Archive for January 14th, 2010



January 14, 2010


By Lorraine Cyr

Do I have a mold problem?

There are many types of mold and not all molds have an effect on everyone in the same way.  Mold can lead to colds, respiratory issues, nasal problems and it can also cause sore throats and skin problems.  Mold is also a known cause of allergies. Having said all of that mold is everywhere.  It can be found in the air from hay and grass.  It can also be found in a lot of places in our homes.  Mold spores need moisture to grow and any wet, dark place is perfect for mold.

Mold can be in the water tray under the refrigerator, under the kitchen sink and even in the living room. Once you find the mold in your home you have to decide how to get rid of it.  When removing mold your safety should come first.  Most professionals recommend the use of a face mask to prevent mold spores from getting into your lungs. The masks are a little heavier than the kind you find at the doctor’s office and can be found at Home Depot and Lowes. Safety glasses and rubber gloves are also a good idea.  However if you are like me and have no allergies, and the amount of mold is very little, just make sure the room is well ventilated while you clean.  The key is to stop its growth early.

Before you begin to clean the area, spray the mold with a spray bottle of water and bleach (1 to 5% of bleach in the water should be enough) to keep the mold spores from becoming airborne.  You can use white vinegar, detergent or soap to clean hard surfaces like counter tops and bath room tiles.  NEVER MIX AMMONIA WITH BLEACH the fumes are toxic.

There are some items that you can’t remove the mold from and these items need to be thrown away if possible. Examples of these are carpet, cloth and papers.  If the papers have to be saved it is best to separate the pages let them dry and then make a photocopy.

If the mold is on the wall and you know that the source of wetness was an open window then you can spray the mold with a water bleach mixture, let sit for 15 minutes or use a commercial mold removing cleaner.  Scrub area to clean, rinse often, after you have cleaned area let dry before painting with kiltz’s stain covering base paint and then paint with regular paint.  If you are unsure of the source of wetness you can try this method first but if the mold returns you may have to open the wall to find the source.

In the bathroom, mold will stain the caulk around your tub and must be removed and re-caulked. (This is a yearly task mold or no mold).  Shower curtains can be washed either in the tub or washing machine with either a water/bleach solution or mouthwash. Tub tiles and grout can be cleaned with a commercial mold remover or bleach and water (remember not to mix the two).

Kitchen mold can be found under the refrigerator in the drip pan which should be removed and cleaned several times a year.  The other big area where mold is found is under and around the sink. If you have a problem with a dripping pipe, leaky garbage disposal you need to fix the leak first.  Then replace the damaged wood or clean the mold from the area.  It is important that you check under your sink for leaks to prevent mold.

Other areas of the house where mold can be found are outside walls and closets. Mold will build up on these walls if they were not properly insulated. Unheated closets on outside walls tend to be the biggest problem and you should check behind your stored clothes to watch for signs of mold.

If you can spot mold when it is a little problem half of your problem is solved.

If you did not find the mold early and you have a large area to deal with, or you have an allergy play it safe and call in the professionals.  Mold is usually excluded from your  insurance policies but ask your agent to find out for sure.