Yes, you know mold—the bluish-green color growing on the side of your cheese. You may have heard of the black mold infestation in Cleveland during the 90s. And, most likely, you’ve seen some hiding out behind your toilet or in the grout in your shower. While not all mold is toxigenic, it still can cause mold-related conditions such as allergies and asthma. So, if you do spot mold, it’s best that you call professionals to inspect it for you. While a lot of this is common knowledge, we’d love to give you some mold inspection stats that may not be so well known.
These stats include:
- How to clean it (if you must—we don’t recommend you do it personally)
- Mold levels during the seasons
- What to do if furniture has been wet for 2 days or more
- Does mold really every go away
- And more…
Read on to expand your mold knowledge!
1. Throw Wet Materials Out After 2 Days
That’s right. Even if you don’t see any mold growing on it (or smell it!). The reality is, after 2 days (or more) materials— such as sofas, chairs, clothes, etc—have mold on them even if you don’t see it.
Especially if the material is organic, it may be best to throw it out. And replace it. You don’t want to risk exposing your house to a mold epidemic.
2. Bleach Doesn’t Mix Well
Let’s say you have to clean the mold—again, we don’t recommend that you go near it or interact with it. If the mold isn’t black, it may not be black mold.
(Surprisingly, some stereotypical black molds aren’t black at all. To learn more about black mold, check out one of our articles, Black Mold Remediation Colorado Springs Company Gives You: The Surprising Truth About Black Mold.)
Why is this important? Even the strongest bleach may not be able to get rid of black mold.
Ok, so you’ve decided to get the bleach and clean the mold up, don’t— we repeat— do not mix it with ammonia or any other cleaner for that matter.
Why? Put it this way. Bleach is a chemical; ammonia is another chemical. Mixing two chemicals together other than in a lab with hazardous waste suits is a recipe for disaster.
The scientific explanation though is that bleach is made up of sodium hypochlorite. Ammonia, well, is ammonia (NH3). When these two chemicals react, they make chloramine vapor—a toxic gas.
What else should you do if you decide to clean the mold?
When you are using bleach, make sure you are wearing rubber boots and gloves, goggles, and an N-95 mask. (Think of a scientist in a sci-fi movie going through quarantine.) Remember, you’re trying to limit yourself to mold as much as possible.
The CDC recommends keeping the house or apartment as ventilated as possible. That means opening up windows—even doors. Interacting with the mold may cause more mold spores to be released; you don’t want them trapped in your living room or bathroom. Again, it’s all about containment.
Fill a bucket of bleach and water. The ratio should be 1 cup of bleach for every gallon of water—essentially, you’re diluting the bleach.
Dip a stiff brush in the bleach-water mixture, and scrub the mold.
The CDC recommends that you then rinse the area with regular water and let it dry. Should you smell a rank smell or still see mold in that area, you definitely should call mold professionals.
3. Mold Levels in Cities Vary Depending on The Season
According to a study, mold levels aren’t the same for every season in cities. Actually, St. Louis has been shown to have mold levels in the 30,000s (spores per cubic meters) during the summer. And as high as 75,000 spores per cubic meters.
Some experts recommend leaving indoor areas should the mold levels raise to 1,000 to 5,000 spores per cubic meters.
Even if they’re below that, you should monitor mold-related symptoms such as feeling ill, nausea, and asthma.
(For more information about mold symptoms you may experience during a mold epidemic, check out What You Need to Know About Mold: From Mold Inspection to Mold Prevention.)
If you notice these symptoms occurring, you should evacuate—especially if there are young children and/or elderly adults in your house.
4. Mold Goes Away?
This answer is tricky but surprisingly straightforward. The simple answer: no, mold is never fully gone. In fact, you’re probably inhaling mold spores now.
The reality is, mold isn’t a bad thing. Just like chocolate chip cookies or ice cream sundaes. It’s just sugar in access is a recipe for cavities.
Much like too much mold leads to a mold infestation, which can have detrimental effects on your health.
Yes, just like you can eat a cookie or two once in a while, a couple mold spores won’t hurt you.
5. The Main Source of Mold Associated with Building-Related Illnesses…
…Is when water seeps into buildings that are either damaged, poorly build and/or maintained. Remember, mold loves feasting on organic materials, with wood and insulation being great hosts.
Relating it back to mold inspection stat #1, you should leave the building if water leaks in and has been in the building for 2 days or more. Again, even if you don’t smell it, it’s there. At this point, it’s time to call the professionals.
6. Mold Goes Away on Its Own?
Again, simple answer: unlikely. Mold is a survivor. Some molds can survive the harshest of weathers. Some molds can even withstand freezing temperatures.
Yes, mold may not multiply as quickly in those temperatures. But that doesn’t mean it’s long and gone.
So, turning down your temperature and putting fans on the mold infested material won’t solve the problem. It needs to be physically removed and inspected before and after to ensure it isn’t still in the living space.
7. Should You Be Scared of Mold?
While you’ve probably heard many stories about mold-infected homes and have seen gross pictures of the fungi, we don’t want you to be scared of mold. Yes, be proactive. Scared? No.
If you do suspect you or someone in your family is suffering from mold-related symptoms, yes, a doctor should check out you and them out.
And, yes, you should leave the living area, call the professionals, and not mess with it if you do suspect you have a mold infestation.
But, mold is a naturally occurring fungus. Its job is to decompose organic materials. It’s all about wiping out the infestation and making sure mold spores stay at low levels.
8. Getting Sick from Mold Shouldn’t Be Chronic
So, you do have mold in your house and you noticed you have a sinus infection and have been suffering from asthma attacks.
The doctor checks you out and rules that it’s probably from the mold. Are you doomed forever?
No. Usually, when the mold has been removed from your house and your symptoms have been treated, the mold-related illness is gone.
9. There is a Connection Between Mold and Depression
Much to the surprise of scientists, there’s a link between mold exposure and depression. Even when they removed factors such as crowding and not feeling in control of one’s environment, it was still present.
What the findings showed was that 40% of people living in damp, moldy environments ran a higher risk for depression than those who didn’t live in this type of environment.
Also, the research raises an interesting point. Depression could set in because a person lives in a moldy area and no matter what they do it doesn’t go away. This creates a loss of control, and there you go.
Miss anything? Here’s a summary:
- Cleaning mold is not recommended
- But if you do decide to do it, wear rubber gloves and booties, as well as goggles.
- Make sure that you use a bleach to water ratio of 1 cup of bleach to every gallon of water
- Do not—DO NOT— mix bleach with ammonia or any other cleaning chemicals for that matter
- If mixed, bleach and ammonia will turn into chloroform—a toxic gas
- Materials that have been damp for at least 2 days or more should be discarded; even if you can’t see it, there’s mold growth
- Mold levels in the city vary during the seasons, with summers being potentially high
- Mold does not go away on its own and you breathe a little of it in daily; like ice cream, it needs to be in moderation
- You should not be scared of mold, but you should be proactive about it
- Getting from mold should not be chronic; speak with your doctor about ways to ensure your mold-related illness is cured
- Surprisingly, there is a relationship between mold and depression
Questions and Comments
Want some more mold inspection tips, insights, and stats? Check out our blog! Have a question or comment? Leave it in our comment section below!
 CDC: Get Rid of Mold
 CDC: Get Rid of Mold
 NCBI: Mental Health: Molding a Link to Depression