Life would be a struggle for those of us who reside in spaces where exposure to air is zilch but moisture content is high. A good example would be a basement or any area where it is dark, deprived of air and with high moisture content.
Mold feeds on objects with a high cellulose and low nitrogen content, like paper, wood, gypsum board, and fiberboard. Since a basement is habitually more ignored than any other part of the house, it eventually becomes a breeding ground for molds to develop and grow unnoticed. Mold is harmful to health and can affect people who are sensitive to it. Also, mold spores can aggravate the eyes, infect nose, skin and airways.
So, what causes molds to grow in basements?
In cases of flooding, one thing you need to understand is where the water is coming from and what allows it to enter the basement. Moisture has three origins — liquid water from rain or ground-water, interior moisture coming from humidifiers, unvented clothes dryers, lavatories and kitchen, the moisture from concrete materials after construction, and exterior humid air that penetrates the basement and packs into cooler exteriors.
Occasionally, the problem is traced to poor construction with splintering, settling groundwork. However, in several instances, houses and basements may be structurally well-built but are often not appropriately designed to deal with water drainage.
How can molds be detected?
To catch mold-related problems in their early phases, you need to be alert for these signs – black spots on walls, stale, earthy smells, water blemishes, yellowing of walls, floorboards or ceilings, flaking, bubbling, or splitting of paint or wallpaper, condensation on windows, walls or pipes, and decaying.
Can molds be prevented?
Yes, of course! You just need to religiously do the following:
Maneuver water away from your house. If the ground around your home is not adequately inclined away from its base, water can accumulate and seep into your basement.
Have a good supply of products resistant to molds. If you are constructing a new house or renovating your old home, use mold resistant items such as drywall, Sheetrock, or paint with mold inhibitors. These products are designed to prevent moisture absorption, thus preventing mold growth.
Improve air flow. Based on EPA literature, as temperatures plunge, the air is able to hold less moisture. When airflow is not good, surplus moisture can appear on partitions, windowpanes, and floorboards. To boost circulation, open entrances between spaces and position furniture away from walls.
Keep an eye on humidity. EPA strongly advises keeping indoor humidity from 30% to 60%. High humidity can be detected and telltale signs can be noted from its concentration on portholes, pipelines, and walls. Moreover, if condensation occurs, immediately dehydrate the surface and deal with the origin of the moisture, for instance, and shut down the humidifier if water emerges on the insides of window panes nearby. Use dehumidifiers to reduce and regulate humidity level, thus creating an environment less hospitable to mold.
Clean/repair roof gutters. Mold growth might boil down to a simple matter of a roof that is leaking because of full or damaged roof gutters. Clean them regularly and inspect them for damage. Fix them as needed, while keeping an eye out for signs of water stains after storms that may indicate a leak.
Are there natural ways of killing mold?
Again, YES! Among these methods include the use of:
Dilute vinegar with water for it to reduce its overpowering scent. Spray it directly to the affected area and leave for some hours. Brush the mold. According to studies, white vinegar can kill 82% of viruses, bacteria, and even mold spores.
Water and citrus seed extract
The extract of citrus seed does not emit any odor, unlike that of tea tree oil and vinegar. Dilute some 20 drops of extract with water (two cups), combine in a spray bottle and squirt on the mold. Do not sponge down, just like the other solutions.
Tea tree oil solution
This oil solution is more costly than the other remedies but effective as a natural mold remover. Spray this solution on the spores; however, do not rinse. Tea tree oil possesses such a strong aroma but will dissolve after some days.
Baking soda, a natural antiseptic, is so mild that this solution can remove mold even without a trace of odor. With water and vinegar or just water, it can be one of your best allies when eliminating mold. The baking soda must be dissolved in water or vinegar solution, then sprayed on the surface. Leave it then wipe with some moist fabric.
The next time you see molds in your house or in your basement, don’t fret. There are ways to eliminate it forever!
About the Author:
Megan Jones is a writer and home improvement expert who works with b-air.com. Having huge experience in home remodeling and cleanup, Megan has gained some valuable knowledge, which she is now actively promoting.