Household M O L DHow To: Identify It, Eradicate it, And Prevent It....
Let's face it, as busy and hectic as our lives are who has time to scrub every inch of the shower every day? So chances are at some point while in said shower you have just happened to glance down and seen it. . standing out starkly on your white tile, black,ominous and sinister looking....and said; (out loud) "ewe gross! What is that?" That is the dreaded black mold, more specifically or in scientific terms as quoted by the: Air and Respirator Health Branch National Center for Environmental Health Centers for Disease Control and Prevention- "Molds are microscopic fungi that live on plant or animal matter. No one knows how many species of fungi exist but estimates range from tens of thousands to perhaps three hundred thousand or more. Most are filamentous (thread like) organisms and the production of spores is characteristic of fungi in general. These spores can be air, water, or insect borne." Oooookay. You say. " In the mean time how do I get rid of this icky black stuff that's morphing in my shower?! "
First of all you should know what conditions are needed in order for this vile stuff to survive. Then you eliminate them. (Or at least greatly reduce them). There are three things needed in order for mold to survive and they are;
- Moisture - 70% humidity or above
- Warm ambient temperature
- Food - any organic substrate such as tile, grout, or sheet rock, even
To eliminate moisture in bathrooms and kitchens you should have an exhaust fan running, both while in the shower, (and leave it on for fifteen minutes after your shower) and in the kitchen when cooking on the stove. If there isn't one installed, install one. And in the meantime open a window to create some ventilation and this might also help bring the temperature down as well. In addition to this if you have a vinyl shower curtain pull it closed so it can air out and dry and try to get into the habit of keeping a squeegee in the shower and squeegeeing the shower walls and glass doors if you have them. (This also keeps glass free of hard water spots). After you've done this you then; for non-porous substrates such as tile attack them by spraying with a solution of 1/24 bleach to water (or one cup per two gallons water) allowing solution to sit for about fifteen minutes, spraying more if needed then scrubbing off the offender with a stiff brush, finish by rinsing and wiping dry. Tip: keep a spray bottle of bleach solution handy in the bathroom and/or kitchen and wipe down all non-porous surfaces regularly. It not only kills mold but it disinfects and kills any bacteria or other organic material the mold can feed on, thus preventing it from coming back. Now while discovering this in your shower (as yucky as that is) is one thing- discovering it on your walls, particularly in a room other than the bathroom or even your kitchen for that matter, is another thing entirely. Since you now know that mold is a type of fungi that thrives in areas where it is warm and humid such as bathrooms and kitchens, and therefore those are the areas you would expect to find it growing- yes, growing, then should you happen to discover it growing elsewhere, say.. like for instance... in your living room, then you may have a more serious problem such as a water leak from faulty plumbing. It's suggested that you seek the services of a professional mold abatement company if you see signs of or suspect any mold growing in areas that are inaccessible such as in between your walls, on your carpet, or in particular anywhere within your heating duct system. Rest assured however that whatever the cause and wherever you find it, it's not just going to go away on it's own. It's alive like a plant, and like a plant as long as the conditions are right it will continue to grow. So it's highly recommended you take immediate steps to remove it right away because while it doesn't pose an immediate health risk, it certainly can over time and this is particularly true for people who are allergic to mold or who have any type of respiratory ailments. They should avoid all contact and should not be exposed at all. So to sum it up; a little know how, a little diligence and a little bleach go a long way in fighting against....
'The Dreaded Black MOLD'.