Moulds are fungi that can be found everywhere in nature, both indoors and outdoors. You will generally see them where it is warm, moist and humid. But moulds are resilient. They can thrive even in dry conditions and other harsh environmental conditions that don’t normally support their growth.
Moulds reproduce by producing spores. When spread by winds and air currents, spores can easily enter the interior of a home. Currents are created in a home by such simple actions as using the vacuum cleaner, opening and closing the door, etc.
Common moulds found in homes
There are various types of moulds found indoors. Here are some of the common types:
Cladosporium: This genus of fungi is characterised by olive-green to brown or black colonies and appear as dark-pigmented conidia in simple or branching chains. You will find these in living and dead plant material. Cladosporium is plentiful in air as it is easily spread by wind. The indoors species can be found in surfaces that are constantly damp.
Penicillium: This genus of ascomycetous fungi is used as an important ingredient in the manufacture of food and pharmaceuticals. However, some species of this type of mould can also damage the machinery and the materials used to process them. It is present in the air as well as indoors such as residential properties and public buildings. Penicillium can grow indoors even if the level of humidity is low, provided there is enough moisture.
Alternaria: This genus of ascomycete fungi are major plant pathogens and are common allergens that causes hay fever and hypersensitivity reactions in humans. They are found everywhere – air, soil and water – even indoors and on objects. Alternaria has club-liked spores and grows in colonies that appear green, black or gray.
Aspergillus: This is a type of deuteromycetes fungi and is closely related to the Ascomycota fungi. They can grow on carbon-rich substances as well as in environments that are lacking in nutrients. A good example for the latter is niger, which can grow on wet walls, which can promote the growth of mildew. There are some species of this type that can cause major diseases in humans and animals.
Damage to health and property
Moulds attack both the property and the health of the people living there.
Moulds destroy surfaces where they grow as it is their nature to decompose matter. When construction materials such as wood are steadily exposed to moisture from outside, moisture will penetrate the interior walls, creating the right conditions for mould growth. Don’t let moulds linger because the longer it is left alone the more damage it causes.
A house with mould issues would be a lot harder to sell because of the stigma attached to mould. The home may be thought of as having a lower value. Potential buyers would hesitate to make an offer as the repair cost would be at the back of their mind.
In addition to property damage, mould poses health risks to humans, especially for those who have sensitivity to them. Some of the reactions that these people could experience due to exposure to mould include: nasal stuffiness, coughing or wheezing, throat irritation, eye irritation, and even skin irritation. People with mould allergies can experience more extreme reactions.
Sick people with compromised immunity like those suffering from lung diseases or infections are advised to keep away from areas that may have mould such as cut grass, wooded areas and compost piles.
How to prevent moulds
Being proactive is the key to preventing mould infestation. Here are some ways you can control mould inside your home:
Control humidity levels
Fix leaky roof, windows and pipes immediately
If you’re home becomes flooded, clean and dry the affected areas thoroughly
Ventilate the shower, laundry and cooking areas
If you suspect that you have a mould issue, don’t delay in addressing it. Don’t commit the mistake a lot of people make: thinking that only obvious moulds are the problem or that moulds only grow in wet or humid climates.
How to get rid of moulds
Mould is a nuisance and a danger. It can ruin not only the appearance, but also the very foundation of your home if left unchecked.
But before attempting to clean up mould, be aware that you may be putting your health at risk.
Mould spores cannot be totally eradicated. But you can use a natural mould spray to at least reduce the volume of spores floating in the air.
To avoid exposure from moulds in the air, use an N95 particulate respirator, also called TC-21C particulate respirator. Also, wear rubber gloves, eye protection and clothes that can easily be laundered or discarded afterward.
Here are some tips to help you clean up your mould problem at home:
Repair all water leaks immediately and make sure all items are totally dry.
Use detergent and water to scrub mould from hard surfaces. Dry completely.
Carpets and other absorbent items should be disposed if they have mould as it is impossible to completely rid these materials of mould.
Mouldy surfaces must not be painted or caulked. The surfaces must be cleaned of mould and dried before painting them. Paint on mouldy surfaces is not likely to last.
If you’re not confident of cleaning mould off an item or surface, consider calling in the specialists. It’s easy to search online for specialists on furniture repair and restoration, carpet cleaning, art restoration and conservation, plumbing repair, and so on.
Make sure to hire the right specialist by asking for and checking their references. Go for specialists who are connected with professional associations.