Finding & Cleaning Out Black Mold

Black mold is popularly believed to be the most dangerous type. Not only can this substance be harmful to one’s health, but it can also destroy a home or business’s structure if left untreated.

While skilled property owners can handle the substances themselves, these organisms are a hassle to eradicate, which makes it more worthwhile to outsource them to licensed professionals like us, The Fire Restoration Team (TFRT). Here at TFRT, we will create a guide that explains how to detect it before calling a contractor to inspect your home.

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Fire damage cleanup and restoration

What is Black Mold?

Every type can lead to allergic reactions, but black mold is a more pertinent topic to discuss because it is one of the more common problems. It can come in clusters.

Not only does black mold have a pungent smell, but that odor has many toxins. There is no doubt within the science community that the fungus can be linked to severe health complications and is especially problematic when a comorbidity is present.

Let’s not forget that this organism is a type of fungus. It is abundant, including in the air people breathe. Generally speaking, people who are not immunodeficient should be able to intake the amounts in the environment without posing a health risk.

Let’s Debunk the Myth

Let’s reiterate that there is NOT one specific type out there called “black mold.” They are a group of fungi only labeled that way by their appearance. However, what people often refer to more commonly as “black mold” is through a remediating or scientific lens, which is the Stachybot fungi.

Even though there is no concrete evidence, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that exposure to this organic substance is more dangerous than exposure to any other type.

However, keep in mind that everybody reacts differently to fungus exposure. For some, having a spore rub against their skin may be the end, while for others, they feel asymptomatic due to the side effects that come with it. One thing is for sure, and that is that no one is immune completely to all spores. Don’t forget there are thousands of types.

Therefore, homeowners and other property owners should take all precautionary steps necessary to prevent the worsening of the respiratory system or any issues affected by this organic compound in an indoor or outdoor setting. Be proactive and call an agent or team like TFRT to prevent it from returning.

Now, let’s look at some facts and myths surrounding black mold exposure. We also describe ways to remove molds of all sorts since these organisms share some common traits.

How to Identify It

Molds are a natural part of Earth’s ecosystem. They are an essential “eukaryotic” organism that is a part of the cycle of life as they break down nutrients in soil. Inside, this fungi can be hazardous to one’s health as the concentration it builds up from a nonventilated setting only exacerbates the issue. Since black mold is one to definitely watch out for, it may not come as a surprise that it is commonly thought to be deadly when inhaled or ingested; however, it is no more dangerous than other types.

If you notice any signs, understanding the species may be the least of your concerns. On the other hand, if you want to handle the issue with an exact solution that doesn’t jeopardize your health nor cost you a fortune, there a few hacks that will allow you to resolve on your own. To begin, monitor the area of interest and look in all areas prone to grow this contaminant like gypsum board or paper. Next, have a IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification) licensed contractor comb through and identify whether it is black mold or not as that answer will affect the way the remediation procedure is done.

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Notice The Mold

  • Be on the alert for any pungent odor detected in your building. Black mold is typically characterized by its musty smell. Follow the source of the smell. If you cannot see the substance, it may be behind a wall or in another well-covered space.
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Check Mold Color

  • If possible, observe the color of the mold. The names Stachybotrys chartarum or Stachybotrys atra (a black mold that comes in greener pigment) are harder word to label than its namesake. Unlike other organism labels that are often times misnomers, the color matches its name. As stated earlier, the only nuance is that there is no specific one that is called black mold. Instead, there are many fungi that have this dark pigment. It should also be mentioned that dangerous fungi can come in other colors such as white, green, & yellow.
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Note Texture Without Touching

  • Black mold can be slimy and wet when touched. However, there are others that have different textures like fuzz or light-weight. Sometimes, you can detect texture through observance alone. However, it may be the case where one would need to have a professional come to remediate the issue by wiping the contaminant with a material or towel. Do NOT use your bare hand ever to detect the texture or clean the exposed surfaces.
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Standing Water

  • Just like mosquitoes, these organisms also spawns and multiplies in this breeding ground.
  • Double-check that you do not have any puddles or excess water accumulated on surfaces such as sinks and flooring.
  • Check your plumbing as leaky pipes are a common spot for mold to spores to form.

Check Humid Areas

  • Mold grows in humid areas. Moisture is the key to it spreading throughout your property. This can range from kitchens to bathrooms, or even areas that are hard to reach like the plumbing system within the walls of a house. Black mold is the most common type because it is one the easier types to spot. Therefore, more reports are recorded. However, keep in mind, that there are many others that are no see easy to notice. There are cases where homeowners lived for decades without reporting growth that takes months or years to reach those levels of severity. If you suspect your building of mildews too, start looking in the rooms that hold the most water.

Check Leaks

  • No place is mold-proof. All there needs to be is a little bit of moisture in the air or surface of an area that is not considered water-prone, and, boom, there is a black mold problem. Although leaky pipes are the main culprits, there are other sources of water that are more subtle such as air conditioning units that aren’t insulated or drained properly after use.

Look at Crevices

  • Materials that have porous characteristics can create the perfect environment for this organic compound to grow because of a lack of sunlight. One common example is grout. Bathroom tiles and kitchen floor panels have slabs that have crevices in them. If mold grows without detection, there could be dozens of bathroom tiles that often have grout between them. If water frequently gets into the pores in the grout, it can spread faster than wildfire.

Check Seals

  • Make sure seals are mold-free. Since sealants are commonly used in areas that also happen to be moist/humid, it’s no wonder that black mold growth can only accelerate on sealants like calk.

Is This Fungi Dangerous?

By now, it is more than clear that black mold is not something you want as it only can cause negative consequences to oneself and one’s property, but exactly what makes it hazardous?

We know that it causes all sorts of complications. These can range from allergies that involve sinuses, itchy eyes,  and even secondary effects like pneumonia. In light recent pandemics such as COVID-19, black mold can only make matters worse as both cause similar health complications in the respiratory and, to a lesser extent, the cardiovascular system.

Keep in mind that other types can do the same effects as well, hence circling back to our previous statement that this fungus has no solid basis of being the worse group of fungi out there. Following the mantra that “no mold period” is the guaranteed way of avoiding everything that can go wrong with this complication.

What Does This Substance Do to You?

There is no question that this organic compound can be nothing but harmful to anyone, especially people with pre-existing medical issues. Make sure to keep people who have asthma or have had breathing problems away from such environments.

Can It Kill You?

That question is a little nuanced. Black mold can’t really kill someone on its own. It takes all sort of reactions to line up in a way where exposure to it sequentially complicates minor issues such as bronchitis. The negative factors are blown out of proportion. What is known for sure in the medical community is it causes severe allergies in certain people who are sensitive.

How Do I Get Rid of It?

Mold is arguably the most expensive property damage many throughout America face. Any minute, this problem has the potential to strike and grow to the point of causing permanent damage to a home or business. Even worse, it can lead to health consequences as well. At The Fire Restoration Team, we keep these in consideration as we remember & apply these critical steps for every call:

Our modulus operandi includes doing the abatement right the first time and making sure we remediate it IMMEDIATELY.

We ensure that we follow protocols to the letter such as the Environmental Protection Agency when it comes to restoring your humble abode or commercial property.

Here are the steps we lay out in order to eliminate black mold and keep you and your loved ones healthy and happy:

Wear and Use Protective Equipment

  • Masks (N95s)
  • Gloves
  • Goggles or other protective eyewear
  • Make sure no skin makes contact to black mold nor chemical cleaning agents

Cordon Off the Area

  • It can be hazardous to anyone who isn’t protected or, at the minimum, develop complications that steam from an asymptomatic exposure to the fungi.

Use Solute to Treat Areas

  • Baking soda mixed with distilled water and vinegar is the natural way to go
  • For more effective ways, go with bleach, cleaner agents that cover all surfaces, and even dish soap
  • Mildew and mold removal

Scrub & Let Agent Do Its Work

  • Let it sit and dry engulf the black mold for at least half an hour

Rinse and Repeat Until Gone

  • If it still doesn’t go away, let TFRT handle it with our state of the art chemical agents and equipment
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