No matter where you live, or how much you clean, there is a good chance that you will have to deal with mold sooner or later. Molds are living organisms that are somewhat contradictory - they can be found indoors and outdoors, they can be medicinal or poisonous, they can be helpful or harmful, and they can live in cold as well as warm weather. One thing that all strains of mold seem to have in common, however, is an affinity for moist, humid air. Once mold finds a suitable environment, it starts growing and doesn't stop until someone stops it.
When faced with mold infestation in the home, it's important to take action. Common household mold will almost certainly cause respiratory tract irritations, especially for people with allergies and asthma.
Home mold infestation can appear anywhere, but it usually starts in basements, kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms and attics, in and under cabinets, closets and drawers - in short, the dampest, moistest areas of the home. External walls or walls with plumbing pipes and windowed walls are also susceptible to humidity, and should be inspected regularly for mold growth.
The best way to treat mold is to do your best to avoid it. Encourage airflow in humid rooms by opening windows whenever possible, and by running fans and air dehumidifiers. Dry off kitchen and bathroom countertops after use. In the bathroom, wipe down the shower stall and tub, too. Take care of cracked walls, leaking roofs and window seals.
Mold can also appear in furniture and rugs - usually as a result of improper cleaning. When cleaning upholstery and carpets, make sure not to use too much water. This will hinder the drying process, turning your household furnishings into mold incubators.
You know you have mold when you see black spots or other discoloration on the walls, ceilings, grout or furniture in your home. Mold also has a peculiar musty, sometimes sweet smell. If you feel the symptoms of a cold or allergy, if you are unexplainably nauseated or feel fatigue, mold might be to blame.
If you suspect mold infestation, don't wait. Take action and start mold cleaning right away, before it gets out of hand. For small, localized mold infestations, you can probably do the job yourself. There are many mold cleaning products available, or you can use a homemade solution of diluted bleach or diluted vinegar. Just make sure that you spot test homemade and commercial cleaning products before you unintentionally damage the finish on what you are cleaning, and take the proper health precautions - once cleaning begins mold spores are released into the air, and you don't want to inadvertently breathe them in. Wear a mask that covers your nose and your mouth, and wear gloves, too.
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