Mold and mildew in the home may be a small, localized problem, easily taken care of, or a large problem that require extensive home clean-up. Whenever possible, its best to approach a mold or mildew problem as soon as possible, before it gets out of hand and causes more serious problems. There are a few symptoms you should look for, especially if your home has had leaks, flooding or any other kind of moisture problem–including a damp basement.
Mold and mildew create a distinctive musty smell. This may be slight or strong, depending on how much mold or mildew there is and where it is. For example, if it is beneath a carpet or behind a wall, it may be not as noticeable as if it were on a wall surface or growing on damp clothing in an uncovered box. The odor is a good indication you have mold or mildew growing in your home–even if you don’t see it.
Mold and mildew can be black, grey, white, green, blue or even red. Colors you are most likely to encounter are white or black mold and green, blue or black mildew.
The bathroom and kitchen are the most common areas to find mildew–check around tile, especially in the grout, for discoloration. The basement is a common place for mold–there you may find it on the walls, the floor, or even on the ceiling.
Any area warm and damp is a prime environment for mold and mildew growth. Although dampness is a cause, rather than a symptom, if you suspect you have a mold problem, you should check these areas first.
Mold can cause serious health problems in some people. Wear rubber gloves, a respirator and protective eyewear when cleaning mold-contaminated areas.
It isn’t enough to pour a bleach and water solution on mold–this kills the spores but does not remove them. People allergic to mold may still react to dead spores–remove the spores by scrubbing the moldy surfaces.
If you discover you have a mold problem, one of the first steps you should take is controlling humidity in the home. This can be done several ways: buy a good dehumidifier–these draw moisture from the air. Ventilate the home and use fans to further aid in drying permanent fixtures, such as walls and floors. Remove moldy items, that you are unable to clean or wash effectively–these include moldy cardboard boxes and paper. Mold spores travel and spread–any moldy item left in the home, without being treated and cleaned, will likely cause another mold problem. After you’ve cleaned the home, prevent future mold problems by keeping moisture levels down.