Black mold has a distinctive greenish black color in comparison to other molds and mildew which are greener. There could also be stains on the ceilings or walls. Watch for slight signs of darker colors among the yellow stains. You might also notice a heavy odor of mildew or must in the area. There are several types of black mold that you should know about.
Mycotoxins are harmful spores that are in the air. Stachybotrys can grow in hard to find places such as celling’s and behind walls. Memnoniella is usually found with Stachybotrys. Aspergillus has more than 160 varieties and tends to grow in decomposing matter. Cladosporium and Fusarium grows on natural surfaces, including food, plants and soil.
Keeping the humidity down with a dehumidifier and making sure that high moisture areas (such as the bathroom and kitchen) are well ventilated are some good preventative measures to think about. You can also try putting mold inhibitors in new paint for any infected areas or high moisture areas of the home. Do not put carpeting in high moisture rooms.
Protection is key to staying healthy. Remember to always wear gloves, a respiratory mask, protection for your eyes and clothing to cover the skin when dealing with mold. The first step to treatment is finding the cause. The cause could be something as simple as high moisture in the air, a slight drip from a water pipe that has gone unnoticed or a major flood. Once you find the cause of the moisture in the area get it repaired.
Most contaminated areas are small and can be disinfected with bleach. A mixture of 1 cup bleach to a gallon of water is recommended. You can also add some dish soap to the mixture which will help release any dirt or grease from the area as well. Leave the mixture sit on the infected area for 15 minutes before clean up. Do not scrape or scratch at the mold to remove it as that will only release the spores into the air causing further contamination and possible respiratory problems.
If the problem is in carpet or insulation you will have to remove the contaminated area and replace it. This might be a little more costly, but it should only take a few hours and well worth the effort and money to remove it completely.
Lastly if the contaminated area is larger than a 2 foot square it is considered heavily infested and calling in professional help is highly recommended. This is the most expensive way to go, but the safest for all concerned. They are trained in dealing with black mold removal correctly. You and your family’s health should not be taken lightly.