Mold is everywhere, we can all find a bit of mold in our homes from time to time. The tendency is to spray it with a bit of bleach and move on, confident in the fact we have just eradicated the little buggers. Then it comes back again, we do the same thing. Must just be conditions are right for it to grow, right? Wrong, read on…
I have run across more than my fair share of mold in homes lately. I have also learned that I am ultra sensitive to certain mold spores, twice I have been in a home with mold, twice I developed what I thought was a cold within a few days of my exposure. Twice my cold turned into a massive sinus infection and more, and was 6 weeks of intense illness. To add insult to injury I have developed a reaction to certain antibiotics from this. I have been involved in a mold remediation at one of my listings which showed me just how serious mold can become. What you can see is often the tip of the iceberg. Then there is what you can’t see…
I had the very distinct pleasure of working with Lesley Burton-Dallas and Matthew Snow from Turtle Clan Environmental Testing recently. They are full of information and approach their testing with an eye to prevention and protecting the environment. Lesley explained to me that spraying mold with any bleach product is a waste of time. Mold reacts in a negative way to being sprayed with bleach. It actually will spew its toxins when hit with the bleach. And it will continue to live, now spreading to places it wasn’t before. The better thing to use (which is also a much safer option) is Murphy’s Oil Soap and a stiff brush. The detergent in the soap will do the job, and as I understand, thicker is better, so don’t dilute the soap when you are attacking the mold. Lesley, otherwise known as Miss Mold, has a blog on ActiveRain which is full of information, I suggest you check her out!
If you find mold in locations such as an attic or the basement or crawl space you may have a much larger problem. I urge you not to spray the mold with bleach and paint over it, that just won’t work. Plus, trying to wash off rough wood is just not an easy thing to do! And you want to know what type of mold you are dealing with. I have been in contact with “black mold” or “toxic black mold” as we lay people refer to it, or by its real name, stachybotrys. This is a very dangerous type of mold, and you really won’t be able to tell just by looking at it.
Mold exposure symptoms can vary from person to person, depending on their sensitivity. I now know that I am very sensitive, and am rethinking how to show certain properties. I was given a mask by the remediation company, the strongly urged me to buy more and to give them to my clients as we view foreclosed properties. This is no joke, I can’t tell you how sick I was. And this is something new for me!
If your house is on the market and you find mold, please to not just take matters into your own hands. You may be playing with fire, you may stir up the mold and create problems for anyone coming to look at your home that is sensitive. Make sure you know what you are doing, and if the mold problem is significant call an expert like Turtle Clan Environmental Testing to test the mold and advise you on what your options are.
And please, make sure you disclose the fact that there was/is mold in the home. You just don’t know how someone will react to the mold!
These lovely mold photos are courtesy of Russel Ray, thank you Russel!
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