mold-remediation

A Complete Guide to Mold Remediation for Commercial Building Owners and Property Managers

The buildup of mold within your property can be a huge problem. Excessive mold damage in your home or commercial property can cause issues for the property itself and can also cause health problems for those living or spending lots of time in the property.

However, there is a difference between the terms “mold removal” and “mold remediation.” Complete mold removal is not a real thing. Mold spores and particles exist everywhere, and entirely clearing a property of mold spores is simply impossible.

On the other hand, mold remediation (remediation being defined as “the action of remedying something, in particular of reversing or stopping environmental damage”) is the process of getting rid of excessive mold growth and lowering the amount of mold to normal, non-harmful levels.

Mold and moisture problems are serious business, which is why HL Restoration has created this extensive guide about the dangers of excessive exposure to mold, the different types of mold, and the steps that can be taken to remediate the mold growing in your property.

The Dangers of Mold and the Importance of Getting Rid of It

There are many different health concerns associated with mold exposure, and these health issues can range from moderate to severe. Asthma attacks, eye and skin irritation, and allergic reactions are some of the most common negative health effects brought on by mold exposure. In addition, people with weakened immune systems, like the elderly, can also suffer from mold-related infections.

If you discover mold growing in certain areas of your property, or if you have reason to believe that you have a mold problem, it is imperative that you have it dealt with immediately. Mold is often well-hidden and growing in areas that typically go unnoticed, which makes it especially dangerous.

It is not terribly uncommon for people to be suffering from serious health issues and have no idea what the cause is, only for mold to be discovered in their homes much later. Mold primarily thrives in damp, humid areas, such as the bathroom, garage, basement, and areas surrounding HVAC systems. It can also be found underneath carpets and in ventilation and air ducts.

How Many Different Types of Mold Are There?

Mold is a type of fungus, and it grows virtually everywhere around the globe. Experts believe that there are anywhere between tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of varieties of mold. However, many of these types of molds are not detrimental to human health.

Harmful varieties of molds are usually categorized into one of the following terms.

Allergenic molds can lead to allergic reactions like asthma and asthma attacks. Pathogenic molds cause problems for people who are suffering from some sort of acute illness. Toxigenic molds produce toxic substances that lead to dangerous, and even potentially deadly, health conditions.

worker-performing-mold-remediation

The following types of molds are some of the most common harmful varieties of mold in the world and can be found in homes and commercial buildings, as well as other types of properties.

Acremonium

Acremonium is one of the most common varieties of toxigenic molds. Its appearance evolves as it grows older and older. What starts out as a small moist mold eventually morphs into a powdery substance. It is traditionally orange, pink, grey, or white in color, and it often grows nearby humidifiers, drain pans, cooling coils, and window sealants.

Acremonium is carcinogenic, meaning it has the potential to cause cancer, and can lead to impaired brain function and disease in your bone marrow and other organs.

Alternaria

Alternaria is the most common variety of allergenic mold in the world. It is a velvet-textured mold that often has hairs growing out of it. Because it is an allergenic mold, it can cause asthma and other respiratory problems. Alternaria typically grows nearby showers, baths, and other damp areas, such as underneath leaky sinks.

Aspergillus

Aspergillus is a very common variety of mold that often manifests itself as large splotches of mold growth that overtake walls and other surfaces. Aspergillus is an allergenic-type mold, but it can also become toxigenic depending on the conditions of the environment it is growing in. If this happens, then it can produce aflatoxins, which are a known carcinogen.

Chaetomium

Chaetomium is a mold that commonly grows in water-damaged homes and buildings. Chaetomium has a cotton-esque texture and is characterized by its musty odor. It can cause skin and nail infections, and it also can produce mycotoxins that are especially dangerous for those with compromised immune systems.

Fusarium

Fusarium has the unfortunate characteristic of being able to spread in cold temperatures. It is both an allergenic and toxigenic type of mold that grows in properties that have suffered from water damage. Prolonged exposure to Fusarium can cause sore throats, running noses, and itchiness, as well as more dangerous conditions like bone infections or brain abscess. Fusarium grows in carpeting, wallpaper, fabrics, compost, and food products.

Penicillin

You’ve probably heard of this one before, huh? Although Penicillin is responsible for important antibiotics and food processing methods, it is also a dangerous type of mold that can cause respiratory problems if it grows indoors. Penicillin is easily recognizable by its distinctive blue or green-colored surface and velvety texture.

Stachybotrys

Stachybotrys (more commonly known as “black mold”) is a toxigenic type of mold that thrives in damp areas with high humidity. Stachybotrys is characterized by its dark green or black color and its slimy texture. The harmful health effects caused by black mold are numerous and include the following.

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Sinusitis
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Aches and pains in the mucous membranes
  • Headaches
  • Fever
  • Nose bleeds
  • Burning in the airways

If you discover black mold in your home or building, then make sure you hire a professional mold remediation company, like HL Restoration, to come and deal with the mold immediately.

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Step-By-Step Guide on How to Remove Mold From Your Property

Mold cleanup is not an easy task, and certain steps must be taken if you are going to kill the mold efficiently and effectively. More than likely, mold remediation should be left to the professionals, but if you would prefer to do it yourself, then make sure you do so carefully and by sticking to the following steps.

Step One – Take Proper Precautions

First and foremost, if you have any sort of respiratory problems, like asthma, or a weakened immune system, then you should not be handling the mold remediation process. Secondly, children and the elderly should not take part in mold cleanup.

Before you clean up the mold, make sure you are wearing proper protection for your mouth, nose, skin, and eyes. If you plan on spending a large amount of time removing moldy objects, then you need to wear at least an N-95 respirator (one that covers your full face is ideal). 

Wear gloves and make sure no mold comes into contact with your skin. If you are not wearing a full face mask, then at least make sure you wear goggles, so that mold spores do not get into your exposed eyes. Safety glasses or vented goggles will not provide adequate protection, so make sure you choose goggles that provide complete protection.

Step Two – Eliminate Moisture

Once you are properly suited-up, you can now begin to clean up the mold. The first thing you should do is remove any standing water and wet materials using a wet vacuum. A wet vacuum will enable you to remove water from the floors, carpet, and other hard surfaces.

You will want to dry everything in your property as quickly as you can (in no more than forty-eight hours if you can handle it). Opening all the doors and windows on the property and letting fresh air flow into the interior will help with this. On top of this, open up all cabinets, drawers, and even the entrance to your addict to allow air to flow to these remote areas. 

If it is safe to use electricity, then situate fans and dehumidifiers around the interior of the property. This will help get air flowing all throughout the property and remove any moisture.

Step Three – Kill the Mold

Using water, a detergent, and a sponge, clean and remove all the mold that you can see. After you clean an area, dry it right away. The following products are very effective at killing mold.

  • Bleach
  • Borax
  • Vinegar
  • Ammonia
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Detergent
  • Baking soda
  • Tea tree oil
  • Grapefruit seed extract

Do not mix any cleaning products together. Mixing bleach and ammonia can create toxic vapors.

For more detailed information about how each of these products can be used, visit this guide about utilizing each of these products to clean up mold. If you still smell mold after you have finished cleaning, then that means you have missed some. It is probably worth it to call a professional cleaning service to come and verify whether the mold is gone.

Take Preventative Action with These Steps

Of course, mold growth can be prevented by taking proper precautions. Every so often, inspect high-risk areas of your property to ensure that no mold is growing there. These include the basement, bathrooms, areas nearby toilets, showers, and baths, and underneath sinks. Keep an eye out for any leaks and water damage and make sure to poke around in hard-to-reach cracks and crevices.

By controlling humidity levels, properly fixing leaks as soon as they are discovered, thoroughly cleaning and drying your property if a flood has occurred, and properly ventilating bathrooms, laundry rooms, and cooking areas, you can ensure that your property is inhospitable for mold growth.

Avoid using carpet in areas where lots of moisture is present, use an air conditioner and dehumidifier during humid times of the year, and keep your humidity levels between 30 and 50% at all times to avoid excess mold accumulation in your property.

If you would like to have your house or commercial property inspected for mold growth, or if you have harmful mold that needs to be removed, then contact HL Restoration. We have years of experience in the property restoration industry, and our mold remediation services will ensure that your property is suitable for living once again.