How to Identify Black Mold: 7 Tips to Spot It, Clean It, and Prevent It

Yes, mold is a natural element. It can be good for things like penicillin or blue cheese, but black mold is hazardous to your health. Exposure to this toxic mold can be extremely harmful to someone with allergies and asthma -- possibly fatal.

Mold spores spread easily and are hard to get rid of completely. Mold can also grow just about anywhere including walls, carpets, inside walls, around pipes -- you get the picture. Basically, it grows anywhere that gets damp.

Want to know if your home has toxic black mold? Read this guide on how to identify black mold, clean it up and prevent it from coming back.

What is Black Mold?

Black mold is a common indoor mold. You can find black mold in dark, humid, damp areas. This mold is dangerous because it releases spores in the air, which is harmful to humans because it irritates the respiratory system.

How to Identify Black Mold

macro view of black mold

Mold likes to grow in damp spots. It's important to regularly check your bathrooms, basement, and attics. Here are some signs to check for when looking for black mold.

1. Musty Smell

Mold has a strong, unpleasant smell that can be earthy or musty. If you can't see it, you may be able to smell it. You may have to look behind walls, floors, wallpaper, or walls if you can't see anything with your eyes.

2. Respiratory Issues

If you develop a cough, itchy skin, watery eyes, or sneezing, these could be early symptoms of black mold. Make sure you inspect your home immediately if you think there may be mold and you have any of these symptoms without explanation.

3. Water Damage

As stated above, mold likes damp spots. If you have had water damage before, be sure to inspect that area regularly. Mold could reappear if you don't stay on top of it.

4. Colors

Black mold is typically a dark black like the name implies. Other molds are gray or green. If you see any spots that are dark black, it's time to inspect.

5. Condensation

Condensation in your home is a sign you have moisture in your home. This could also mean you have a mold problem to go with it. Check out pipes and windows to make sure you don't see condensation.

Condensation can also mean you have high humidity in your house. Mold also likes high humidity, so you could have a potential mold issue if you don't lower that humidity level.

6. Deformed Floors

When floors warp, there is usually a water issue. You guessed it -- where there's water, you can find mold. Be sure to check any changes in flooring to make sure you don't have any water issues.

7. Bubbling Wallpaper or Paint

This is another sign of water damage. Check behind wallpaper and paint that does not adhere like it used to. There may be water and mold.

How Do You Clean It?

a professional removing black mold

You can choose to clean the mold yourself or hire a professional. Hiring a professional can be expensive. The average cost of mold remediation ranges from $500 to $6,000.

Hiring a professional is the best way to solve your mold problem if it keeps coming back. If you need help paying for this service, you can consider same day loans to get the money you need quickly.

For early stages of mold, you can make a solution with any of these seven solutions. Before you begin cleaning, you should close off all the areas and vents. Then you should clean the area with a scrub brush and soap.

You should then apply one of the seven disinfectants below. Keep that area ventilated. Use one of these for your cleaning solution:

  1. Ammonia

  2. Bleach

  3. Vinegar

  4. Tea Tree Oil

  5. Grapefruit Seed Extract

  6. Hydrogen Peroxide

  7. Borax

All of these solutions should be diluted. Be careful with bleach because it does burn human skin. These are all antifungals to stop the growth of mold. Let these solutions dry completely.

How Do You Prevent It?

The key to stopping mold is to get rid of any moisture. You also need to check areas regularly. Once you have had mold, it could make it's way back.

Here are some tips to prevent mold from coming back.

1. Dry Wet Areas

If something is wet, it needs to be dried immediately. Mold can grow in as little as two days.

2. Proper Ventilation

Make sure you have proper ventilation in your home to keep your home dry and prevent mold spores from traveling in the air. Your vents should all run outside and not into your attic. If it gets steamy when you do regular activities, open a window, run a dehumidifier, or run an exhaust fan.

3. Run Exhaust Fans

Be sure you run your exhaust fan during and after showers. Mold can grow in areas you can't see.

4. Dehumidifiers

Check the humidity in your home. The humidity should be around 30-50 percent in your home, and not higher than 60. If your humidity is higher, you should run a dehumidifier.

5. Increase Air Flow in Your Home

The air helps keep your home dry. Make sure your air runs properly through your home by moving furniture away from vents. You should also leave closet doors open.

6. Clean Your Gutters

Make sure water is not running toward your foundation. This means making sure your gutters are regularly cleaned to prevent blockage.

7. Address Leaks Immediately

If you have a leaky pipe, be sure to get it fixed immediately. Have the pipe inspected to make sure that there are not other leaky areas you may not be able to see.

Keeping Your Home Safe from Mold

Having mold in your home is no joke. Being a homeowner comes with a lot of responsibility. Now you know how to identify black mold, and you can take the steps needed to remove it or prevent it.

Stay up to date on other home maintenance like preparing your home for winter. With proper care and attention, your home can stay comfortable and safe for years to come. Be sure to check our blog regularly for other home tips like maintenance, renovation ideas, and home decor.

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