When you notice dirt or grime in your home—whether it’s on the walls, floors, furniture, or anywhere else—your first instinct is to clean it. You’re not about to sit down with a pad and paper, open your laptop and carefully formulate a plan of attack. It’s a simple problem, and you deal with it using simple methods.
It’s a common mistake to think that mold falls into the same category. After all, it’s basically just another type of grime, right?
Mold is much more hazardous than dirt, grime, or even mildew. It’s also tougher to eradicate. There are a number of reasons for this. First, mold is toxic to other forms of life—namely humans and pets. The list of health problems related to mold exposure is long and unpleasant, including respiratory illness and even brain damage with prolonged or acute exposure.
Second, mold is an effective colonizer. Its aim is to grow and expand the colony, and it does this by growing in places that are hard to reach or even invisible to the naked eye. When you discover a patch of mold on your bathroom tile, for example—or on the ceiling of a bedroom, or in the basement—chances are your mold problem is not limited to that area. Mold is resilient and resourceful. It uses anything it can to expand and flourish.
Once you understand why mold is so different from other common household nuisances, it’s easy to see where mold removal can (and often does) go wrong.
“I used the wrong product.”
Many homeowners notice mold and run for the utility closet. They grab the first bottle of cleaning solution they can find, grab a rag or brush, and go to work removing the mold. They scrub and scrub until all visible signs of mold are gone, then breath a sign of relief.
A few days later, the mold has returned with vengeance. They can even see how their scrubbing actually spread the mold across the wall, rather than eliminating it. This happened because most ordinary cleaning solutions don’t work on mold. They may give the illusion of scrubbing the problem away, but the spores are anything but eliminated.
“I didn’t protect myself.”
There’s a good reason why professional mold removal specialists use special protective gear when they deal with mold. When you attempt to remove any type of mold, you are putting yourself in a position of direct and immediate exposure. Without the proper protection, you could end up sick as a result of breathing in and being exposed to mold spores. For very mild cases in which DIY mold removal is appropriate, the minimum protective requirements should include a face mask, goggles, and gloves. For more serious mold infestations, professionals will use full body hazmat suits to protect themselves from mold spores.
“I didn’t find the source of the problem.”
Cleaning up visible mold can be a satisfying feeling, but your efforts will effectively be wasted if you don’t get to the root of the problem. Most infestations extend well beyond what’s visible to the naked eye. Mold can take hold behind walls, under floorboards, and in basements and attics. As long as those parts of the colony remain intact, removing the visible mold is only a temporary setback and does not change the fact that mold spores are drifting through the air.
What’s the answer?
Consulting a qualified professional for a mold inspection is perhaps the single best way to get an accurate read on your mold problem. If you’re absolutely certain the problem is contained to one small area, and you wish to go the DIY route, make sure you use protective gear and use an established DIY mold removal method.
Good luck keeping your home free and clear of mold! We hope you’ve found this blog post useful, and look forward to your comments.