This summer has been a rainy one here in Florida. All the moisture has created perfect conditions for mold. But have you ever wondered what is mold and how does it get inside your house?
Mold is a type of fungi that occurs outdoors and indoors. It reproduces and spreads through spores. Mold spores are tiny particles that can become airborne. Because they can become airborne they can enter your home through open doorways, windows, and potentially through your AC. Spores also can attach to clothing, shoes, pets, and other items. There are four types of molds that are frequently found indoors: Cladosporium, Penicillium, Aspergillus, and Alternaria.
For mold to grow it needs two things: moisture and food. Inside your home there are many sources of moisture including leaks, plants, and plumbing pipes. While building materials such as drywall, carpet, and insulation and organic materials such as food crumbs, paper, and leather provide suitable nutrients for mold. Therefore, mold will grow just about anywhere indoors if moisture is available.
It is impossible to prevent mold from getting into your home. So efforts should be focused on preventing water or moisture from entering. Inspecting your home annually for leaks and correcting issues will help prevent mold from growing. Keeping doors and windows closed and the air conditioner running when the nighttime temperatures are above 55°F is also recommend. This is because the soft items in your home such as furniture and carpet will absorb water when the humidity levels are high. If flooding has occurred, drying out flood damaged items and cleaning walls quickly will help prevent mold growth.
The good news is, you can clean mold up in your home. For hard surfaces, clean with soap and water or a bleach solution. The bleach solution should be 1 cup of bleach to 1 gallon of water. If using bleach be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and never mix bleach with any other household cleaners. Absorbent or porous surfaces, such as drywall or carpet, may need to be removed and thrown out if they become moldy. If the area to be cleaned is larger than ten square feet consult the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings.