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What Is Pink Mold?

Thursday, January 21st, 2021
pink mold

Two fast facts to know about pink mold:

1. It’s often not pink.
2. It’s not really mold.

What is generally known as “pink mold” is a slimy, oozy biofilm that appears in enclosed areas where condensation and high humidity are common. In most homes, that’s the bathroom. Pink mold—its formal designation is Serratia marcescens—is actually a form of bacteria, not a fungus. Therefore, it’s not officially classified as a mold.

Serratia marcescens can range from pink to dark purple to shades of bright orange. As an airborne bacterial species, pink mold feeds on moisture and soapy scum often present on hard surfaces like shower stalls and bathtubs. It may also infect shower curtains and toilet bowls or grow on hard wooden bathroom surfaces like windowsills or moulding.The appearance of this slimy film does not enhance household aesthetics. 

DIY Treatment

Pink mold is resistant to standard household cleaning methods and typically requires special attention to eliminate it. Local occurrence of pink mold totaling less than three square feet can usually be treated by the homeowner with these steps:

  • Mix up a thick solution of water, a cup of baking soda, and a few teaspoons of liquid soap.
  • Use this solution with a soft brush to scrub pink mold contamination and loosen it from the surface.
  • Rinse away the residue with water.
  • After visible growth is removed, the surface must be sterilized to kill residual bacteria. Make a 50/50 mix of warm water and household bleach in a spray bottle and spray all affected surfaces. Allow the mixture to remain for 10 minutes, then scrub lightly with a brush.
  • Wash away the residue with water and dry with a clean towel.

Is Professional Remediation Required?

Where Serratia marcescens bacterial contamination exceeds three square feet, contact a qualified mold remediation specialist about professional treatment to remove this more advanced and extensive growth. 

What Is Aspergillus Mold?

Thursday, January 14th, 2021
Aspergillus Mold

Aspergillus mold is the most common type of fungus on earth that grows both outdoors and indoors. First identified in 1729, there are now more than 200 confirmed species of Aspergillus mold. However, only three of those species known to thrive in indoor environments like homes and commercial buildings: Aspergillus niger, Aspergillus flavus, and Aspergillus fumigatus.

Where Does It Grow?

Aspergillus mold is a resilient fungus that grows in temperature ranging from 68 degrees up to over 100 degrees, well within the residential range. Moisture from routine indoor sources such as elevated humidity and minor household leaks—or incidents like water damage—plus a food supply such as paper, fabric, or wood building materials, create optimum conditions that support Aspergillus mold growth.

How Does It Spread?

Within 48 hours after contact with water, active mold growth begins releasing microscopic airborne reproductive spores. These spores are carried by air currents throughout the house, spreading contamination to multiple areas inside the structure. Prompt application of professional preventive methods following water damage is critical to prevent widespread mold infection. 

What Does It Look Like?

Contamination may appear as the “black mold” type, or it may look blue-green, gray, or tan, resembling other fungus varieties. This variation in color is a good reason why all mold contamination inside a home needs to be examined and tested by qualified mold remediation specialists.

What To Do About It?

Aspergillus mold requires professional mold remediation. This includes identifying the exact type with air sampling and tracking contamination within the house. All growth must be physically removed, followed by sterilization of surfaces where it was present with EPA-approved biocides.

Chronic moisture conditions inside the house that triggered the growth of mold must be identified and corrected. After the remediation procedure, follow-up air samples are utilized to verify that contamination has been  eliminated.

How to Choose a Mold Remediation Company

Tuesday, January 12th, 2021
Mold Remediation Company

Because effective mold remediation is critical to the home environment, choosing the right remediation company is vital. The consequences of unprofessional, second-rate work may have long-lasting impact on the health of your family. It’s also an economic issue as the expense of additional, more comprehensive treatment in the future is inevitable if the job isn’t performed professionally the first time.

Removal Vs. Remediation

Mold removal isn’t remediation. Simply moving conspicuous indoor mold growth out of the house isn’t enough. Mold contamination requires professional remediation, a multi-faceted process.

  • Most remediation includes pre-testing to determine the exact type of mold as well as quantify the extent of contamination inside the house.
  • Remediation means utilizing specialized equipment and expertise to track down and properly remove every incidence of mold inside the house, then properly treat each affected location with EPA-approved anti-micorbial agents. 
  • Remediation also includes correcting conditions that triggered active mold contamination including sources of indoor moisture like leaks and even simply excessive indoor humidity.

Making The Right Choice

Some things that a professional remediation company is not:  It’s not a home improvement contractor or remodeling company. It’s not a carpet cleaner. It’s not a carpenter or painter who occasionally moonlights on mold jobs. It’s not a freelance jack-of-all-trades, nor your brother-in-law who has lots of spare time on weekends. Recognizing professionals in this industry means looking for specific characteristrics:

  • The company is IICRC-certified. As the primary certifying body for the mold remediation industry, the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) publishes the official standards for remediating mold that are universally recognized throughout the industry.
  • IICRC certification also means that company employees receive specialized training and testing at all levels of mold remediation.
  • Remediation professionals have an established presence and reputation in the community, as well as business licenses and references that can be verified.
  • A professional remediation company has invested in specialized technology to locate, identify and eliminate mold contamination inside a structure. Every remediation project begins with scientific testing and the work isn’t concluded until follow-up tests verify successful decontamination.
  • Some states may also require a state mold remediators license to be held in order to offer remediation services. Be sure to check with your state to confirm licensing requirements.  

Avoiding Cross Contamination During Mold Remediation

Thursday, November 12th, 2020
Mold Remediation

Inside a mold-contaminated home, microscopic mold spores are often concentrated in the immediate vicinity of contamination. However, efforts to remove that mold runs the risk of dispersing spores more widely. Known as cross-contamination, the process of removing active mold growth may potentially spread contamination to parts of the house not previously infected by mold.

Professional mold remediation services utilize a variety of tactics and equipment to ensure that cross-contamination doesn’t disseminate mold more extensively inside a home during the procedure. Here are some of the methods commonly employed:

  • Preliminary air sampling. Air sampling for spores provides important information about which areas of the home are contaminated versus those that are not. This allows mold remediation technicians to isolate particular target areas while preventing spread to areas that aren’t contaminated.
  • Sealing the area. If the contaminated area is more than 30 square feet, specific techniques are utilized to isolate the area from the remainder of the house. The work area will be air-sealed with sheets of 6 mil plastic barrier, including an air lock to enter and exit the area. HVAC vents in the affected area will also be sealed.
  • Preventing spore spread. To further ensure that airborne spores do not migrate into uncontaminated areas, a negative air machine will be installed to reduce air pressure in the infected area. This device, which includes high-efficiency HEPA filtration, continuously reduces air pressure in the infected area to retain airborne spores.
  • Restricting access. Only individuals who are trained and have proper mold remediation credentials, as well as equipped with proper personal protection equipment (PPE), should be allowed in the contaminated area while mold remediation procedures are underway.  
  • Final procedures. After active mold growth and any infected materials have been removed, and before the containment area is unsealed, the entire area is vacuumed with HEPA-filtered equipment. All surfaces inside the area will be wiped down with an antimicrobial cleaner. HVAC vents are unsealed.
  • Post-remediation air sampling. To verify that mold has been removed from the affected area and all other parts of the house remain uncontaminated, air samples will be taken throughout the home. 

How to Prevent Carpet Mold

Tuesday, October 13th, 2020

After a home water damage incident, the steps to prevent carpet mold take high priority. The deep pile in carpets harbors dormant mold spores accumulated over time along with microscopic organic material that serves as mold nourishment—skin cells, tiny food bits, hair, insect parts, and even common dust. At this point, all that’s missing is the presence of moisture to activate dormant spores. A carpet saturated during water damage rapidly converts into a highly efficient mold-breeding ecosystem, continuously releasing toxic airborne reproductive spores, spreading contamination throughout the house, and producing allergic symptoms to susceptible occupants.

To Prevent Carpet Mold or Not

The deciding factor in the effort to prevent carpet mold after water damage is time. From the moment water soaks a carpet, a race against the clock begins. Within 24 hours, dormant spores begin converting into active mold growth. Once 48 to 72 hours have elapsed without professional intervention, a wet carpet and the padding beneath it must be considered presumptively contaminated by mold. 

If the window of opportunity to prevent carpet mold elapses without professional remediation, according to the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC) guidelines, the affected carpet and padding should be removed from the house ASAP and discarded. The hard floor underneath the carpet can be cleaned and disinfected. New carpet and padding may then be reinstalled.

What Can Be Done to Prevent Carpet Mold?

However, if the water damage was Type 1 or Type 2 from non-toxic sources like a pipe rupture or appliance overflow, and if professional water damage treatment methods are applied before the critical time frame elapses, wet carpets may be saved. Here’s a typical sequence of events utilized to successfully prevent carpet mold:

  • Removing the saturated padding beneath the carpet may be required.
  • Powerful water extractors pull all water from the carpet fibers.
  • Steam cleaners inject anti-microbial solutions and deodorants to kill residual mold.
  • Industrial-grade dehumidifiers and high-volume air movers speed drying.
  • After the floor beneath is disinfected, new padding is installed and the cleaned carpet is replaced.

Water Damage: How to Prevent Mold on Clothes

Thursday, October 1st, 2020
prevent mold on clothes

Since mold is a frequent side-effect of home water damage, considering ways to prevent mold on clothes is a worthwhile preventive measure. Mold grows indoors when moisture and dormant mold spores come together. Fabrics including clothing—especially those made of natural fibers—support mold growth following water damage. Either direct contact with released water, or the unusually high humidity typically present inside a water-damaged house, may be sufficient to trigger mold growth on clothing.  

How Mold Affects Clothing

  • Staining. Mold contamination may discolor fabrics with dark or purple-colored stains.
  • Odors. Clothing contaminated by mold will have a persistent pungent smell very noticeable to the person wearing the clothes as well as others nearby.
  • Physical symptoms. Individuals with a sensitivity to certain types of mold may experience allergic reactions such as respiratory symptoms or skin rash due to inhaling mold spores from contaminated clothing.

Ways To Prevent Mold On Clothes

  • Clothing affected by water damage should be machine-washed ASAP with laundry soap and bleach at the hottest water setting the fabric is suitable for. Run clothes through two full washing cycles.
  • If clothes cannot be exposed to bleach, add a cup of vinegar to the first wash cycle, instead. Vinegar has anti-microbial properties that help prevent mold on clothes. In the second wash cycle, add half a cup of baking soda to neutralize odors associated with mold.
  • Air-dry outdoors in sunlight, if possible, to prevent mold on clothes. Ultraviolet rays present in sunlight destroy mold.
  • If certain fabrics must be dry cleaned instead of washed, place the clothes in a plastic bag and seal it. Inform the dry cleaner that mold is an issue and point out any specific mold stains you are aware of.  
  • To prevent mold on clothes in seasonal storage, consider the potential for water damage and/or chronic moisture. Certain areas such as the basement or attic may be at greater risk for water damage and/or are chronically damp and contaminated with mold spores. Store clothes in a location with favorable air circulation and relative humidity no higher than 60%.  

Can You Kill Mold By Drying It Out?

Tuesday, July 7th, 2020
mold issues

No moisture, no mold. It sounds like a simple solution to mold issues in a home. Since mold is a fungus that requires moisture to grow, just drying out mold growth ought to eradicate it in short order. Right?

Like many easy answers to complex problems, it ain’t necessarily so. While moisture is the key factor that triggers the active growth mode that causes mold issues, ironically, the absence of moisture alone doesn’t make mold go away. Here are two reasons why:

  • Mold can exist in more than one living state. Active or viable mold triggered by moisture grows and releases microscopic airborne reproductive spores that spread that growth to other locations in the house. These spores contain mycotoxins that cause allergic reactions or other symptoms when inhaled by certain individuals.
  • In the inactive state, an absence of moisture causes mold to be dormant and cease growth—yet not be technically dead. Inert spores from dormant, dried-up mold can be just as allergenic as active spores from living growth if inhaled. Moreover, moisture from any source such as water damage or leakage—or even simply sustained high humidity—quickly reactivates dry, dormant mold growth and triggers the release of reproductive spores once again. Mold issues then recur throughout the house.

Successful mold remediation isn’t a one-step solution. It requires multi-faceted treatment to ensure comprehensive decontamination.  

  • All mold growth must be tracked down and physically removed from wherever it exists in the house. No existing mold—active or inactive—can be left behind, as any remaining growth may likely reactivate at some later point under certain conditions.
  • After removal, areas of contamination must be directly treated with EPA-approved fungicides to sterilize surfaces and prevent regrowth.  
  • The source of water which triggered active mold growth must be identified and permanently eliminated.
  • If mold growth occurs as a result of a water damage incident, prompt professional water damage remediation includes standardized mold prevention methods like air sampling to detect the presence of spores and proven techniques to locate and remove mold growth and sterilize affected surfaces. 

Is Indoor Mold Causing Your Allergy Symptoms?

Thursday, June 11th, 2020
allergy symptoms

What are the facts about the connection between indoor mold growth and allergy symptoms? Mold and the microscopic airborne spores it releases are ubiquitous on planet Earth. In fact, you’re probably inhaling mold spores at this moment. Of the nearly 100,000 mold species in nature, however, only about 12 types are typically found inside houses.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, health issues due to mold growth are primarily related to:

  • The extent of exposure. The concentration of mold spores in outdoor air is very dilute. However, airborne spores released by active, growing mold inside the enclosed environment of a house may accumulate to very high levels. This elevated daily exposure may cause allergy symptoms in susceptible persons.  
  • Mold type. Individual sensitivity to mold varies widely, as do potential symptoms. Spores released by certain mold types such as Stachybotrys chartarum carry mycotoxins which may trigger allergic reactions in some individuals. However, a specific person may be uniquely sensitive to spores from any particular type of mold—or experience no reaction at all.

How Mold Thrives

Certain conditions must exist for mold growth to gain a foothold and expose residents to possible ill effects:

  • Indoor temperature. The most conducive range for mold growth is 70 degrees to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.  
  • Food supply. Mold growth thrives on cellulose present in wood and building materials like drywall, paper, fabrics, and even household dust.
  • Moisture. Contact with moisture triggers long-dormant spores into an active mode in just 48 hours. Active growth releases airborne microscopic reproductive spores. Inhalation of reproductive spores is a proven cause of allergic symptoms in individuals with a sensitivity to mold mycotoxins.

Moisture = Mold

Moisture is the most critical factor in mold growth, particularly immediately following a water damage incident. Professional mold remediation includes these strategies:

  • Rapid response with research-proven measures to inhibit activation of dormant mold and release of allergenic spores.
  • Where mold is already established inside a house, professional remediation methods include determining the extent of contamination with air samples, tracking locations of active growth, and utilizing proven mold removal and decontamination methods, including EPA-recommended antimicrobial solutions, to permanently eliminate mold.

Selling Your Home? Resolve Mold Issues First

Thursday, May 7th, 2020
mold problems

If you’re considering putting your home on the market and the house has an ongoing mold problem, what’s the preferred strategy? Should you offer the house at a discounted “as is” price—mold contamination included? Or is it a better idea to take control of the issue and get professional mold remediation now, before trying to attract prospective buyers? Here are some facts to take into consideration when you’re selling a house with a mold problem.

  • You can’t keep it secret. A known mold issue—or even knowledge of conditions that would likely trigger contamination such as water damage—are facts that, in most states, must be divulged to prospective buyers in a pre-sale disclosure. If existing mold not mentioned in the disclosure is discovered after the sale, the seller may be liable for civil damages.
  • In the real estate industry today, the presence of mold is considered a substantial liability. Neglected mold contamination is often a deal-breaker or at least a substantial negative impact on market value.
  • Many qualified buyers won’t make an offer on a house with existing mold issues—at any price. There’s simply less risk and headaches by offering fair market value on an uncontaminated property, versus dealing with potential issues that accompany the moldy house down the street.

Before You Sell

Mold issues resolved by a qualified mold remediation service eliminate the stigma that drags down a home’s value. In fact, proof that a house has been certified mold-free by trained professionals is a positive selling point.

  • If you know or even suspect mold contamination, get testing and inspection by an IICRC-certified mold remediation provider. This includes in-depth visual inspection in areas where mold is likely to occur, air samples to detect mold spores, and attention to secondary factors associated with mold, such as ongoing moisture issues or water damage.
  • If the presence of mold is confirmed, have the problem professionally resolved before listing the house for sale. Once the home is declared mold-free, you’ll have written certification to substantiate that fact as an extra inducement to attract qualified buyers and the most favorable offers.

Killing Mold Is Not Enough

Thursday, April 30th, 2020
killing mold

Is simply killing mold an effective quick-fix to decontaminate your home? Since toxic mold is a living fungus, it might seem logical that applying anti-microbial disinfectants to kill visible mold growth would resolve the problem. Indeed, numerous options are available to kill mold, from DIY approaches such as household bleach up to spray application of professional biocides. However, as a comprehensive treatment to eliminate contamination inside a house, here are two reasons why merely killing mold alone falls far short:

  • Topical disinfectants don’t kill all the mold. Studies show that surviving spores remain in the residue of dead mold if treatment is limited to the direct application of disinfectants. Over time, active mold growth will recur at that location and elsewhere and the process of increasing contamination throughout the house will resume.
  • “Dead” mold can be still toxic. Both living and dead mold spores contain mycotoxins proven to trigger allergic responses in certain persons. Dead spores from the residue left behind following application of disinfectants readily circulate in house air currents and may be inhaled by occupants.

For a truly comprehensive treatment and verifiable results, professional mold remediation includes these steps:

  • Take air samples to determine the extent of contamination inside the house.
  • Locate all existing mold—not just the visible, readily accessible contamination. This includes the original focal point of contamination and all secondary sites.
  • Physically remove all mold from surfaces. Where mold growth has penetrated below the surface of certain building materials such as drywall or wooden structure—or deeply infected carpet or insulation— these materials may need to be removed and replaced.
  • After all mold growth and residue is removed from the house, treat affected surfaces and adjoining area with EPA-approved biocides.  
  • Resolve secondary conditions that support mold growth. Since mold spores are ubiquitous in both outdoor and indoor environments, comprehensive remediation must also include identifying and eliminating sources of moisture that are a major factor in activating indoor mold growth.
  • Take follow-up air samples to confirm successful remediation.