What is black mold?
Microscopic spores of Stachybotrys chartarun and Stachybotrys astra are the main black mold organisms. The mold may be green or black, dry and powdery, or it could be slimy. It usually occurs in a spotty pattern and smells musty. Disturbing it releases mycotoxins into the air, resulting in a more widespread problem.
How does mold get into my home?
Mold spores can enter your home anywhere the air gets in – through windows, doors, or heating or cooling systems. Undetected by the human eye, mold spores may come in through open doors or windows with the general air flow, or attach themselves to people or pets. Even the act of bringing the mail in can result in mold spores entering the home.
Why is black mold dangerous?
Mold loves cardboard, wood, wallpaper, paint, drywall, fabric, carpet – the damper the better! It will grow anywhere there is moisture, humidity, or condensation. Perfect conditions for mold growth are:
- steamy environments, such as the bathroom or kitchen,
- anywhere the rain gets in
- around leaky pipes
People with allergies are more sensitive to fungal infections, as are those who have compromised immune systems. It is not uncommon for mold exposure to cause respiratory issues such as asthma or bronchitis. It can also cause cold-like symptoms – stuffy nose, wheezing, watery eyes – or even skin irritation. More serious fungal infections may occur in people with low immunity.
How can I safely get rid of it?
If you have a heavy infestation or an area of black mold that is more than 10 square feet, I would not hesitate to call in professionals to treat the problem. But if you’re just starting to see mold accumulate, there is a safe and effective way to get rid of it without compromising your health or using harsh chemicals.
You will need:
- a face mask (disturbing mold causes it to release spores into the air and you don’t want to breathe them in.)
- a spray bottle
- white vinegar
- Melaleuca essential oil
Fill the spray bottle with white vinegar. Add a teaspoon of Melaleuca (tea tree) essential oil and give it a gentle shake to mix. Spray this mixture onto the moldy area, and wipe with an old cloth, or paper towel. The vinegar smell may be strong at first, but it won’t take long to dissipate.
Can I prevent it from coming back?
You can use a dehumidifier in humid areas of your home and use an air purifier to clean the air. Ventilate your home well – opening the windows on a breezy day is perfect! And keep that spray bottle handy to knock out any new mold growth a soon as you see it.