Inside or out, mold can be found pretty much anywhere on earth. From cheese to medicine, some mold is good while others are not so good. Indeed, mold plays an essential role in breaking down organic matter and without it the world would be covered in dead plants and creatures.
That’s not to say you’re likely to be too keen on having a lot of it around your home! If we look hard, most of us can find at least a little mold in our homes; and if you spot it while you’re house hunting, it’s definitely a problem that should raise some red flags. But as long as we stay on top of it, this shouldn’t be a big issue. However, out of control mold can be scarier than you thought, and it’s worth getting rid of it asap! Here are three reasons why.
Mold is Bad for Your Health
They say that too much of anything will make you sick, and this is particularly true of mold. There’s strong evidence to suggest that otherwise healthy people can suffer a number of ill effects from overexposure to mold in their home. Symptoms include coughing, sneezing, wheezing, itchy eyes and irritated skin. Some people are more sensitive to mold than others, and these symptoms can worsen over time, with those allergic to the airborne spores potentially experiencing breathing difficulties.
Those with respiratory illnesses can find their condition exacerbated due to mold, with asthma being a classic example. Research suggests that prolonged exposure to mold can even cause asthma in children and some adults. Even more worryingly, immune-compromised people or those with chronic pulmonary disorders can suffer from lung infections caused by breathing in mold spores.
Mold produces airborne spores, with some species being toxic, e.g. black mold. These toxic molds can in some cases cause more severe symptoms. They emit neurotoxins that can attach to brain neurons, potentially leading to mood swings, depression and tremors, on top of the usual physical symptoms. In extreme cases, such spores can damage the organs and brain, and may even lead to death.
Mold is Ultra Mobile
From a health perspective, it’s definitely not good to be exposed to too much mold. Unfortunately, mold is incredibly mobile and can spread like wildfire in your home. Thousands of different species can enter your home in a myriad of ways. They may be blown into your home on the breeze, through open doors or windows or even air con vents.
Mold spores easily attach to your shoes, clothes or pets after you’ve been outside, and can be living on almost anything you might bring in from the outside, such as damp wood. Once in your home, they will soon find a moist area to nest up in and it won’t be long until they’ve spread out.
Mold Can Survive on Any Moist Surface
Mold loves damp areas and can survive on pretty much any surface as long as it’s moist. It comes as no surprise that the bathroom is a hotbed for mold, growing on tile grout, sponges and any surface within your shower or bathtub. You might have seen orange gunk around your bathtub—well, that’s mold!
Outside of the bathroom, mold loves to seek out leaks. Leaky pipes, roofs, windows or doors are all seventh heaven for mold, and it will soon spread out. If you have poor insulation, a leaky roof or window frame, or a recently flooded area, you might be in danger of having mold growing within the ceiling, wall or floor cavities.
You won’t be able to see this, but as it grows, you’ll certainly be able to smell it—a musty, earthy smell. When you can smell it, you’re more likely to start developing some of the symptoms listed above.
Getting Rid Of Mold
Now that we’ve scared you, here’s a little bit of hope! Fortunately, mold is easily removed in most cases. The best cure as always is prevention, and this can be done by minimizing damp areas of the home. Wipe down the bathroom walls and surfaces after use, wring out sponges, and repair any leaks or damp spots. Use a dehumidifier in areas that are particularly prone to dampness.
But no matter how on top of cleaning you are, sometimes mold is beyond your control. Perhaps you’ve just bought a new house and there’s a build-up left by the old owners. Luckily, we have a few remedies to remove even the most stubborn mold, using basic household items.
Bleach is quick, easy and effective; simply spray, leave for 10 minutes and wipe clean. If you prefer to avoid bleach and would much rather use more environmentally-friendly solutions, vinegar works just as well. Use a strong, undiluted vinegar, spray the affected area and leave for 30 minutes before scrubbing down, rinsing and spraying once more to prevent regrowth. A mix of 100 ml each of tea tree oil and vinegar, diluted with 500 ml of warm water, will also work very well when sprayed and scrubbed as before.