How To Get Rid Of Mildew Smell

How To Get Rid Of Mildew Smell

What is Mildew?

Mildew is a multinucleate fungus with a fuzzy, powdery, downy appearance. It is closely related to mold but with a more distinctive white, blue, green, or yellow patches that will turn into darker tones over time. Mildew has a flat grow pattern and will not penetrate deep into porous material. Common mildew growing spots include laundry room, bathroom, clothes, upholstery, leather, closet, and food. Mildew has a milder musty smell than mold and it is less harmful to humans. The fungus thrives on high humidity (above 50%) and dark environment with little sunshine. Learn more about the differences between mildew and mold here.

How Do I Get Rid Of a Musty Mildew Smell In My House?

Pungent odors be gone! Rather than relying on artificial air fresheners or chemicals like bleach to mask the musty odor, there are other safer ways to consider. You do not have to follow every steps below, just pick the one that is most convenient to your situation.

  1. Locate where does the mildew comes from – Before we begin the cleaning process, we need to sniff around where is the source of the musty smell. If the smell is originated from the laundry room, it might have to do with the excessive moisture from the wet clothes. If the mildew smell is coming from the basement, it may have to do with poor airflow circulation with limited ventilation. You’ll get the picture.
  2. Air it out – Arguably the easiest way to remove mildew smell from your air space. You just need to open more windows, doors or exhaust fan to let the smelly air out and fresh air in. Turn on a ceiling fan or ventilation to improve airflow circulation and move the stagnant odor out. For places with limited windows e.g. attic, crawlspace, basement, air purifier + dehumidifier is your best friend.
  3. Scrub the mildew area with white vinegar – Our favorite non-toxic solution that is safe and effective. For this method, you will need distilled white vinegar for the best result. Then mix 2 parts of vinegar and 4 parts of water. Spray or pour the mixture on the mildew affected area and let it soak for 10-20 minutes. Finally, scrub it thoroughly with a cloth and make sure it is completely free from mildew. Ideal to use on the wall, furniture, ceiling, and even tiles. You can also apply the vinegar mixture on clothes with mildew and don’t worry about the vinegar smell. It will go away together with the musty odor.
  4. Essential oil, tea tree oil, or grapefruit seed, or vodka – Ideal for those that prefer not to use vinegar due to the vinegary smell. Get a small bowl of water, mix a few drops of essential oil, tea tree oil, or grapefruit seed depending on the concentration level. Then spray the mixture onto the mildew spot and let the solution soak in for 10-20 minutes. Once the mildew is isolated, wash everything away with hot water and leave it air dry. Not only the musty smell will go away, but the essential oil will leave a pleasant, relaxing scent in the room.
  5. Use baking soda – Another popular kitchen item to remove mildew smell and it is children and pet friendly. Just sprinkle a fair amount of baking soda on mildew affected area and leave it overnight. It will work as an antimicrobial while absorbing the musty smell released by mildew. Wash off the powder with the mildew the next day.
  6. Wash it away – Mildew smell coming out of clothes, towel, bedsheet, mat, or carpet? Toss it inside a washing machine and wash out the stinky mildew. We recommend using normal detergents but homemade remedies liquid could work as well. As long as the item is small enough and washing machine friendly, just toss it inside. For large items like carpet or rug that will not fit into a standard washing machine, just send it to a dry cleaner.
  7. Get an air purifier – There are 2 things an air purifier could achieve. First, it can swiftly remove musty smell from mildew via its activated carbon filter. All nearby odors will be absorbed into the filtration leaving only clean air out. Second, an air purifier with a HEPA filter can capture airborne mildew and other fungi. This reduces the chances of mildew spreading its territory and diseases.
  8. Get a dehumidifier – Mildew prospers on high dampness environment and we need to counter that. A good dehumidifier can reduce the room humidity level by taking in excess moisture. Perfect for laundry room, basement or crawlspace use. With less mildew sticking around, there will be less odor released into the air. A dehumidifier may not be the most economical way, it is still the best way to remove mildew smell for good.
  9. Odor Absorbers – A poorer substitute to a dehumidifier. For those that need a cheap odor eliminator that has limited capacity. Most of the odor absorbers in the market are made with either zeolite, charcoal, baking soda or renewable desiccant. They have a relatively short lifespan and it’s used to capture close-range moisture like shoe rack, bathroom or closet. Keep in mind that odor cleaners will temporarily remove the musty smell, but it will not stop the mildew from dishing out more.
  10. Replace or toss it away – There are times when cleaning is not worth the effort anymore. Let say you have a cabinet that is beyond rotten with mildew growing on it, why bother cleaning it when you can’t salvage the damage parts. Get a new one but make sure the cause of the mildew infestation is rectified. The same goes for furniture, cabinet, wallpaper, or even small items like a leather bag, books, toys. Unless it is an attic or something memorable, don’t risk your health inhaling to the mildew odor over an item.

Why Does My House Smell Musty And How To Get Rid Of It?

Why Does My House Smell Musty And How To Get Rid Of It?

How To Get Rid Of Musty Smell And Prevent It From Coming Back

Your house can start smelling fresh again in no time. Before you start making all the small changes, you will first need to locate the source of the musty smell. Like a hound, start sniffing around the house and track which room has the strongest stench. If is coming from the kitchen, it is likely due to pipe clogging or leakage. If the smell is coming from a basement, it is likely due to poor ventilation. If is coming from a laundry room, it is likely due to excessive moisture trapped in a small room. You’ll get the drift.

  1. Open windows and doors, and ventilation – Yup is that simple. Let some fresh air while airing out the stinky smell. Turn on the ventilation, exhaust, or ceiling fan and leave it running will also help improve airflow circulation. While you’re at it, open cabinet, drawers, or wardrobe to let fresh air in and flush out all the bad smell.
  2. Let sunshine in – Opening windows will also bring in ultraviolet light that kills germs, mold, and mildew. Sunlight comprises of UV light that is a good natural disinfectant. Many studies had shown fungus and bacteria will be killed or inactive when they are exposed to enough sunlight. Remember, when it is bright and sunny outside, don’t waste out on the ray of sunshine.
  3. Use natural air freshener – None of those chemical air fresheners that only mask away from the smell with artificial fragrance. We are referring to those that use zeolite, charcoal, citrus peels or renewable desiccant dehumidifier. It will absorb impurities along with the bad odors. If you are into aroma essential scent, you can use a candle scent or essential oil diffusers that will remove or mask away the smell. Keep in mind that natural air freshener is less effective than an air purifier. It will not remove settled mold or mildew.
  4. Vacuum away the dustA dusty home equals a musty home. Think about dust as a transporter, it will accumulate an amalgam of odors and help spread it across the room via airborne. Places like top shelf, behind cabinet, underneath bed, are filled with dust that has not been clean for ages. So start using a vacuum cleaner and perform a deep clean regularly especially on the carpet. For hard to reach places, use a damp cloth and wipe out all the settled dust. Make sure furnace, HVAC, air ducts, and air conditioner filter are clean routinely. Duster is not recommended as it only moves dust from one spot to another.
  5. HEPA air purifier with carbon filter – The often underrated device in removing contaminants and odor. The absorption material used in the carbon filter will absorb the surrounding musty smell with relative ease. Then HEPA filter will focus on trapping airborne mold, mildew, and allergens to prevent it from spreading more toxic odors. Not all air purifiers are created equal though. You will need a genuine mechanical air purifier with a reputable track record in order for it to work. Also, the bigger space the air purifier can cover, the faster and more odors it can remove.
  6. Get a standalone dehumidifierIt will help reduce humidity to an ideal level. Without the high moisture environment, there will be less mold, mildew in the air. When there is less airborne fungus spreading, the air quality will improve and the mustiness smell will slowly go away. You will also breathe much easier and have fewer allergies to deal with. The perfect compliment to an air purifier.
  7. Fix leaky pipes – There’s nothing more reek than a puddle of water that has been left days or month under a sink. Leaky pipes are habitual of mold infestation. It has the condition, the humidity, and will be left untouched for growth. If you notice there are strong, musty odor underneath the basin, check for dripping or mold patches. Once found, either you fix it yourself or hire a plumber to do it. If there is none yet the unpleasant smell is still flowing out, there might some clogging inside the pipe. Unclog it so water and waste can be flush down to the drain.
  8. Protect your wall (and ceiling) – Wall, particleboard, and wood are porous materials. Therefore, they are prone to mold and mildew infestation. The quickest way is to spray your wall with mold prevention spray and prevent the fungus from spreading inside. If you notice there are already fungus growing in the wall, a simple mixture of water and baking soda/ vinegar should be able to remove the fungus. Even after you have removed the mold patches and there are still musty smell lingering, the mold may already be inside the wall. Hiring certified mold remediation may be the only way to go.
  9. Homemade natural odor neutralizer – Forget about using chemical bleach, detergent to remove mold. There are plenty of cleaner and safer methods to remove the musty smell. You could use tea tree oil, essential oil, lemon juice, grapefruit seed extract, and even vodka. Our favorite has to be the non-toxic deodorizer vinegar or baking soda that will neutralize the smell rather than just mask it away.
    • Distilled white vinegar – a common, eco-friendly, and cheap solution that can be found in every household kitchen. Pour 2 parts white vinegar and 4 parts of water in a bowl and mix it evenly. Soak or spray it gently on clothes, carpet, floors, or furniture for around 10-20 minutes. Once the mold or mildew started to loosen, scrub it with a damp cloth or wash it away with some hot water. Leave it air dry and the vinegar smell will slowly dissipate together with the moldy smell.
    • Baking soda – Another cheap and chemical-free powder that can be found in most households. Simply sprinkle some baking soda on mold/ mildew patches and leave it overnight. The baking soda will absorb the moisture, odor, and act as antimicrobial protection. Perfect if you have toddlers, children or pets at home. Wipe or vacuum out the next day and voila, you’re done.

Mold VS Mildew: What Is the Difference?

Mold VS Mildew

What Is the Difference between Mold and Mildew?

There are subtle differences between mold VS mildew from the appearance (texture, color), stages of growth, and health risks. First off, mold is fuzzy, slimy multiple nuclei (Multinucleate) that grow in black or green patches with a hint of brown, white and yellow colors. Mildew is a multicellular, fuzzy, powdery look in black, white, grey, blue, green, or yellow patches. Mold can penetrate beneath porous materials while mildew has a flat growth and will remain on the surface of the material. Mold will literally grow on anything both indoor and outdoor. Common places include food (bread, meat, cheese), wall, ceiling, bathroom, garage, kitchen, basement, crawl space or boat. Mildew will also grow in places mold resides, but it will likely grow on objects that are exposed to wetness such as fabric, paper, and leather goods. Both mold and mildew have a distinct musty smell but thankfully mildew has a milder, less invasive odor.

The Differences Between Humidifier and Dehumidifier

Mold

Mildew

Appearance
Fuzzy, slimy in black and green patches.Fuzzy, powdery in black, blue, green, white, grey, yellow patches.
Common places
Food, wall, ceiling, bathroom, garage, basement.Cloth, paper, leather good.
Smells
Strong musty odor.Mild musty odor.
Harmfulness
Dangerous.Less dangerous.
Adaptation
Hard to remove.Easy to remove.

What Are The Effects Of Mildew VS Mold?

You can get sick from mildew or mold. In general, mildew is less harmful than mold other than impacting plants, crops, and minor allergic reactions. You will experience allergic reactions like runny nose, cough, red eyes, sore throat, dry skin, or headache. Once mildew has been removed from the surface, all your health symptoms will be gone with the wind. Mold is much more dangerous as it can cause irreversible damage to our health, food, and building structure. Other than the same eyes, ears, nose, and throat symptoms as mildew, mold is not particularly kind to an asthmatic person. It can aggravate asthma conditions with children and elderly the higher risk group. If you are unfortunate to encounter the toxigenic black mold, you are at risk of the following diseases: hallucinations, respiratory tract damage, heart inflammation, rheumatoid arthritis, infertility, impotence, lung cancer, or liver failure. Removing mold can be tricky as they may have penetrated been within the wall, ceiling or floor. Symptoms may recur from time to time until the room is completely mold-free. Seek medical advice or treatment immediately if one is experiencing mildew or mold poisoning.

How Hard Is It To Remove Mildew VS Mold

You can easily remove mildew with some soap, vinegar, baking soda, essential oil and give it a good scrub. On the other hand, mold requires additional efforts and stronger mold remover tools to eradicate the fungus for good. If there are too many deposits hidden inside porous materials like dry wall, you may need to seek mold removal expert.

In short, mildew easy, mold hard. If you see tell-tale signs that the fungus is expanding on your ceiling or wall, it’s time to take some actions. The helpful tips below will work on mold and mildew.

  • Mix water with either detergent, bleach, ammonia, or talcum powder and apply it on the affected area. Scrub thoroughly and wash it away with water.
  • A better alternative is to mix water with non-toxic solutions such as vinegar, baking soda, essential oil, or tea tree oil. Apply on the infested patches and start scrubbing until the fungus has been removed.
  • If mold has eaten into your wall, building structure, hire a licensed professional to perform full mold remediation. The mold removal expert will evaluate your home condition, perform testing, and begin the removal process. It is expensive, time consuming, and may involve some hacking and renovating, but that is the only way to go.

Other preventative measures to consider:

  • Get a dehumidifier and ensure the home relative humidity level does not go beyond 50%.
  • Get a HEPA air purifier to capture airborne mold and mildew before they settled on your home.
  • Apply insulation and protective coating on the wall that inhibit mold and mildew growth.
  • Remove any mildew-affected plants or mold-infested items to stop it from spreading further damage.
  • Change or wash air filters regularly to prevent clogging.
  • Inspect and maintain your HVAC system regularly to ensure no mold or mildew is growing and circulating in the air ducts.
  • Buy mold and mildew protection sprays. Apply accordingly.

Humidifier Cause Mold? Symptoms and Prevention

Humidifier Cause Mold? Symptoms and Prevention

Mold in Humidifier: Real or Myth?

Mold in a humidifier can make you sick. A dirty humidifier (cool-mist or warm-mist) will have mold growing it that can become airborne contaminants during humidification. As warned by Consumer Product Safety Commission and EPA, a humidifier that contains mold will actually do more harm to our health particularly for people suffering from asthma. Most mold and bacteria patches can be spotted in the water tank. However, mold and bacteria accumulation can also happen on the ventilation, filter or fan blades that are hidden inside. If your humidifier is part of a HVAC system, checking on mold infestation can be tricky without professional help.

What Happens If You Don’t Clean Your Humidifier?

If you continue using a dirty humidifier, you’re at risk of falling sick from exposing to mold, bacteria, or germs. White dust, fungi, and germs will be released into the air together with the mist. When we inhaled the allergens into our body, the harmful microbes will begin infecting our nose, lungs, and respiratory system. At this point, one may experience allergy reactions from the common flu, cough to the more severe hallucination, and heart failure.

Mold in Humidifier Symptoms

  • Stuffy nose with flu
  • Postnasal drip cough/ Wheezing
  • Bloodshot/ dry eyes
  • Itchiness on throat, skin, and eyes
  • Rashness/ Eczema
  • Chest tightness
  • Breathing Difficulty
  • Headache, Dizziness
  • Forgetfulness
  • Constant joint pain

Can a Humidifier Cause Mold In a Room?

If a humidifier continues to supply moisture to a room with excessive wetness, it can cause mold to build up rapidly. Mold flourishes in a high humidity environment and will start spreading on porous objects. From wall, ceiling, windows, windowsills, bathroom, door, to wooden furniture, nothing is spare. So do not operate a humidifier if the room dampness level is high and make sure the humidifier is clean.

Humidifier Mold Prevention Tips

If you notice your humidifier is starting to give in to mold, it’s time to perform some cleaning. In general, cool mist humidifier (evaporative or ultrasonic) requires maintenance every 3-7 days. On the other hand, warm mist humidifier would require less maintenance due to the nature of its heating elements. If you decided to keep the humidifier back to storage for future use, make sure the unit is thoroughly clean and dry especially in the reservoir. Store it in a dry location to prevent mold infestation.

Below are the steps to get mold out of a humidifier without any fuss.

How to Clean Humidifier Mold

  • First thing first, unplug your humidifier before proceeding with the cleaning. Wear rubber gloves to avoid direct contact with mold.
  • If the water bucket is full, empty out the remaining water in the reservoir.
  • Apply a few drops of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide or white distilled vinegar and mix it up with water. Pour the natural solution into the bucket and let it soak about 10-20 minutes. Empty out the remainder solutions.
  • Use either a toothbrush, sponge or scrubber and scrub all the surfaces with mineral build-up. Once the mold and mineral patches fall off, rinse the bucket and flush out the remaining residues.
  • Repeat the mixing and scrubbing process if there are still leftover residues.
  • Use a dry cloth and start wiping both inside and outside of the water bucket. After that, let it air-dry before refilling the bucket with only distilled water.
  • Resume back the humidifier operation and let it run for at least 10-30 minutes.

Will a Dehumidifier Kill Mold?

Will a Dehumidifier Kill Mold

Will a Dehumidifier Get Rid of Damp?

Dehumidifier is a simple device that will reduce dampness in its surroundings. It will pull in moisture from the air via condensation and release out dry air. The collected water will either be in a reservoir or clear out through a drainage pump. Ideally, the humidity level would fall between 30 – 50 percent that is easy to breathe and will not encourage mold growth.

Will a Dehumidifier Kill Mold?

Dehumidifier does not kill mold but rather stop them from growth by draining the moisture in the air. Mold needs water to grow and a damp room (> 55% humidity) is the perfect environment for them to thrive. With the dehumidifier actively reducing the humidity level in a room, existing mold will fail to grow and expand its territory. As a result, it will indirectly stop future mold and mildew from infesting your home.

To further compliment a dehumidifier work, an air purifier would be perfect to work alongside it. Utilizing a HEPA filter, the air cleaner will capture all the airborne mold that otherwise will be left untouched. This will effectively reduce any inflowing mold and other allergens from continue growing in your home.

How to Choose a Dehumidifier?

Too much moisture can be damaging to your house and health. It will make your home a breeding spot for mold and mildew. Not to mention the awful, musty smell especially in an enclosed area. You will face endless repair costs on building structure that could easily be prevented with a dehumidifier. However, not all dehumidifiers are created equal. some might be extremely capable but expensive while some are just too small, to begin with. If you are hunting for one, please compare each model’s specifications before placing your hard-earned money.

First thing first, the physical size of a dehumidifier is very important in determining the usability of the unit. If you have very limited space e.g. studio room, it is virtually impossible to place a bulky in the center of the room. Next is the dehumidifier performance AKA pint size. A 70-pint will take in more moisture per day than a 30-pint dehumidifier. However, energy consumption will be much higher on a capacity unit. The drainage options are also equally important as well. All dehumidifier comes with a bucket but premium models come with a built-in pump and gravity drainage. Having the later 2 will save you a lot of trips back and forth in emptying the bucket. Finally, make sure the dehumidifier can operate at a low temperature to prevent the compressor from malfunction.

As for functionality, humidity display, timer, auto restart are some of the must-have features. A washable filter with change indicator button is good to have, while multiple fan speed is very helpful if you plan to reduce the operation noise. This plays a significant part if you plan to run a dehumidifier in a bedroom.

Do Air Purifiers Work for Mold?

Do Air Purifiers Work for Mold

Removing Mold With Air Purifiers

Air purifier does work with mold even though it can only target microbes that are airborne. When the airborne mold spores are drawn into the filtration, the HEPA filter will capture the microbes from proceeding. All the incoming allergens will be safety trapped inside the fibers and the air purifier will only release purified air out. If the air purifier comes with UV-light, it can destroy the microorganisms permanently.

With less mold spore in the air, there is less chance the mold would be able to spread across the room and grow. You will see less mold infestation on the wall, ceiling, shelf, and even settle on the floor. Your mold symptoms will also gradually go away as the exposure is lessened.

Air Purifiers Limitation

An air purifier can get rid of airborne mold but it cannot touch any mold or microbes that are settled on the ground. This includes mold that is stuck on the wall, wood, upholstery or ceiling board. When the environment is damp enough for mold to thrive, it will continue to do so and the spreading never ends. To address the root cause, you will need a dehumidifier to remove the moisture in a room. Without the ideal humidity level, the mold will not survive let alone grow. You can learn more about the differences between air purifier and dehumidifier here.

Another common air purifier problem is mold reproduction in the filter. Mold and other microbes that are trapped in the filter will reproduce if the humidity is just right. When the “new” spores are ready to spread, the air purifier will unintentionally help circulate the mold across the room. This is the reverse effect on what an air purifier suppose to do. To counter this problem, make sure the HEPA filter comes with an antimicrobial treatment that will halt any trapped mold from growth.

What Air Purifier Is Best For Mold?

Air purifiers are good at removing airborne microbes. That is what it is meant to do. After some intensive comparison between many excellent HEPA air purifiers, we handpicked the best of the best.

  1. Rabbit Air MinusA2
  2. IQAir HealthPro Plus
  3. Winix HR1000
  4. Honeywell HPA300
  5. Airmega 400

All of the above air purifiers used a genuine HEPA filter with at least 99.97% filtration efficiency. Airflow performance must be decent to cover the entire room from the airborne mold. Few of them even have an antimicrobial coating that prevents microbes from growth. To learn more on the above picks, visit our best air purifier for mold page.

13 Types of Mold in Homes that You Probably Unaware Of

13 Types of Mold in Homes that You Probably Unaware Of
Alternaria
Image by Wikipedia

1. Alternaria

  • Rarity  (Very common)
  • Typically found – Shower, bathtub, sink, leaky pipes, plant soil, wet object
  • Health risks – Allergic reaction, hay fever, respiratory infection
  • Harmful level  (Low – Hazard Class B)

Arguably the most common bathroom mold types. Alternaria is often seen underneath a sink, wall, shower curtain, or bathtub. It can also grow on damp objects like carpet, boots, ventilation or windows frame. You can identify the mold with its gray-green and black color patch.

Not all species of Alternaria are harmful, some would only cause mild irritation. When we inhaled Alternaria mold, the fungus will deposit inside our nose, mouth or upper respiratory tract. This can trigger allergic reactions like cough, sinus to the more severe asthma, hay fever. People with immunocompromised (impaired immune system) like AIDS patients are more prone to the mold attack.

Now you know: Alternaria has an ovoid tapering, club-shaped that is only viewable under a microscope.

Aspergillus
Image by Aspergillus Web

2. Aspergillus

  • Rarity (Very common)
  • Typically found – House dust, air conditioning, heating ducts, insulation, bathroom, basement, food
  • Health risks – Respiratory infection, aspergillosis, allergic reaction
  • Harmful level  (Medium – Hazard Class A)

Aspergillus is a tough allergenic mold. It can survive on outdoor (decaying leaves, compost piles, house dust) and indoor (air condition, heating ducts, insulation). There are around 200 species of Aspergillus and only 40 of them are harmful to human. Depending on the species, Aspergillus shape varies from spore, flask, to dome structure. Colors can be yellow-green, purple-olive or even grayish-blue.

Aspergillus is not particularly harmful and rarely cause any infections to those with a strong immune system. For those with a weakened immune system like an asthmatic person, it can trigger an asthma attack. On a bad run, it can lead to respiratory problems plus infamous cancer-linked Aspergillosis. Aspergillosis is a potentially fatal fungal infection that grows inside the lungs. The fungal spread across the brain, heart or kidneys via the bloodstream.

Now you know: Aspergillus niger, Aspergillus terreus, Aspergillus flavus is the more common species of the genus Aspergillus.

3. Cladosporium

  • Rarity (Very common)
  • Typically found – Fabric, upholstery, carpet, cupboard, cabinet, floorboard, bathroom
  • Health risks – Skin allergies, eczema, respiratory infection
  • Harmful level  (Low – Hazard Class B)

Cladosporium is also a common outdoor mold found in fall leaves or dead herbaceous. The fungus can travel and grows inside your home through HVAC system or open windows. The allergenic mold has a pigmented color from pale olive-green yellow to light brown. Another characteristic of Cladosporium is it can thrive in warm and cold conditions. This makes it perfect for sofa upholstery and wood furniture with heat retention.

Most species of Cladosporium mold has little health risks to human. Exposing and breathing to Cladosporium may cause skin allergies like rashness or dermatitis. In rare cases or people with a weakened immune system, it can aggravate respiratory diseases. Regularly clean HVAC system, aircon is the best way of reducing the allergenic mold in your home.

Now you know: One of the larger genus of fungi, most Cladosporium species has an ellipsoidal to cylindrical shield-like shape.

4. Penicillium

  • Rarity (Very common)
  • Typically found – High dampness area including food, wallpaper, insulation
  • Health risks – Respiratory infection, allergic reaction
  • Harmful level  (Low to high Hazard Class B)

Penicillium is one of the easier molds to spot due to its association with a damp environment. Often grows with other types of mold, it can be found in wallpaper, adhesive, duct insulation, or upholstery. Penicillium has a spore shape with brush-like top. Most species carrying a greenish, bluish or somewhat yellowish color.

Not all Penicillin is dangerous to our health. Only a handful of toxigenic mold species carrying mycotoxins substances. The chances of breathing to the toxigenic type are much higher as the spores can easily become airborne. Asthmatic person, infant or elderly are on a higher risk group of receiving the infection. A HEPA air purifier can capture the airborne toxic before anyone else.

Now you know: Penicillium Chrysogenum fungus extract is used to made antibiotic penicillin. Penicillium is also used to create blue cheese.

Stachybotrys Chartarum (Black Mold)
Image by Kristopha Hohn

5. Stachybotrys Chartarum (Black Mold)

  • Rarity (Common)
  • Typically found – High dampness area including wall, ceiling, wood, basement
  • Health risks – Respiratory infection, allergic reaction, skin allergies, vision impair, physical and mental problems, reproductive system troubles, circulatory and neurological problems
  • Harmful level  (High – Hazard Class A)

Stachybotrys Chartarum is the scientific name but most people will refer to it as BLACK MOLD. It is the most notorious types of mold found in home that should be dealt with immediately. This slimy, greenish-black mold is hard to miss as it grows in patches. You can often spot the black mold in the basement, drywall, ceiling, shower or underneath a sink.

Black mold produce mycotoxins chemical that is harmful to our body. On short exposure, you might experience symptoms like stuffy nose, cough, watery eyes, skin rash or headache. Temporary health effects include memory loss, fatigue, mood swing or depression. Prolong exposure will lead to lung inflammation, liver damage, infertility (women), and death. Other black mold health effects include abdominal pain, eye damage, or hearing loss.

Now you know: The most common species from its genus is Stachybotrys chartarum or Stachybotrys atra, Stachybotrys alternans, and Stilbospora chartarum.

Acremonium

6. Acremonium

  • Rarity (Common)
  • Typically found – Drywall, insulation, draining pipes, HVAC system
  • Health risks – Respiratory infection, allergic reaction, skin allergies, vision impair, physical and mental problems, reproductive system troubles, circulatory and neurological problems
  • Harmful level  (High)

Acremonium is a pungent smelling, toxigenic mold that evolves from small moist to a powdery texture. It is either colorless or light in gray, pink or whitish color. Often found in hard to locate places like drywall, insulation, air conditioning pipes or HVAC system. Is not easy to identify Acremonium due to its small size and can grow alongside other types of mold.

What makes Acremonium harmful is the release of mycotoxins toxic. A carcinogen substance capable of causing cancer in living tissue. The toxic will also cause many other side effects mirror to black mold. Worst case scenario: autoimmune disease, pulmonary edema, abnormal liver, or neurological damage.

Now you know: Despite close to 100 different species, Acremonium mold is even more uncommon than Stachybotrys.

7. Aureobasidium (Pink Mold)

  • Rarity (Common)
  • Typically found – Behind wallpaper, wall paint, wooden surface, windows frame
  • Health risks – Skin allergies, allergic reaction, eyes infection
  • Harmful level  (Low – Hazard Class B)

Aureobasidium is a ubiquitous, slimy indoor mold that can be found everywhere. It started as a creamy, pink color before turning into darkish, dark brown similar to black mold. Thrive on damp places, you will find Aureobasidium behind wallpaper, wall paint or underneath wooden furniture.

Aureobasidium is less hazardous and poses little threat to humans other than allergic reactions mainly to skin or eyes. Still, never have direct contact with the mold without wearing a mask or gloves. Hire cleaning professionals if you are too afraid to deal with it.

Now you know: Aureobasidium pullulans are the most known type within its approximately 14 genus species.

Chaetomium
Image by Wikipedia

8. Chaetomium

  • Rarity (Common)
  • Typically found – High dampness area including wall, wood items, cupboard, basement, food
  • Health risks – Skin allergies, allergic reaction
  • Harmful level  (Low – Hazard Class C)

A notorious and common indoor mold that is known for its ability to destroy items. Chaetomium is actually more damaging to household materials than causing infection to humans. The strong musky odor will definitely alert you of its presence. Typically found in water-damaged materials from flood or leaky pipe. It can also grow rapidly in drywall, plywood, concrete, or basement. Fortunately for us, Chaetomium needs chronic moisture condition to grow. If you see patches of mold that smells and overtime change its color from whitish gray to brown-black, it’s Chaetomium.

Chaetomium pose little health risk if is in low concentration level and airborne form. In some cases, it may cause a skin rash, watery eyes or itchiness that will eventually go away once you solve the indoor moisture issue. Start checking the HVAC system or piping on any leakage as those places are popular breeding ground.

Now you know: Chaetomium has a perithecia (flask-shaped) body that is only viewable through a microscope.

Fusarium
Image by AgriLife

9. Fusarium

  • Rarity (Common)
  • Typically found – Soil, plant, wallpaper, drywall, carpet, upholstery, wood flooring
  • Health risks – Skin allergies, allergic reaction, nail infection
  • Harmful level  (Low to high – Hazard Class A)

Fusarium is a ubiquitous species that can be allergenic or toxigenic mold. You can differentiate it from other molds by its unique pinkish/ red, and white patchy colors. Like Cladosporium, Fusarium can survive and even grow at cold temperature. Children, asthmatic or recovering person are advised to stay far away from the mold.

The allergenic Fusarium species post little health effect other than allergic reactions. Expect rashness on the skin, running nose, cough to bloodshot eyes. The few toxigenic species that are harmful to human can bring lung diseases like Pulmonary edema or Pneumonitis. Discard food, objects that are infested with mold is the quickest and the best course of action.

Good to know: In the agriculture world, Fusarium is becoming a nuisance that often grows in soil or plants and damages the crops.

Mucor
Image by WiseGEEK

10. Mucor

  • Rarity (Common)
  • Typically found – Soil, plant, HVAC systems, air conditioning, carpet, decaying food
  • Health risks – Allergic reaction, mucormycosis
  • Harmful level  (Low to high – Hazard Class A)

Mucor can be seen settling down on soil, plant, decaying leaves. Through the power of wind, the mold will flow into our home and landed on high condensation places like air vent. It’s hard to separate Mucor from other types of mold even though it has a unique white, grayish color and apical shape with soft fluffy texture.

Mucor is known for its fast-growing pace which can be nasty if you have unattended leakage. With around 50 types of species, most are harmless other than triggering mild allergies. In rare cases, it can lead to serious infection call Mucormycosis. A fungal disease that can spread across the whole body via inhaling or skin cuts. Depending on the types of disease you have been infected, Disseminated Mucormycosis is the most critical of them all. It can resulted in fever, mental disorder and life-threatening situation.

Good to know: Cutaneous Mucormycosis is the scientific name for skin inflammation. Rhinocerebral for eyes, nose or brain damage. Renal for kidney failure, Gastrointestinal Mucormycosis for abdominal pain, and Pulmonary for lung infection.

Trichoderma
Image by Reddit

11. Trichoderma

  • Rarity (Common)
  • Typically found – High dampness area including wall, gypsum board, wood products, carpet
  • Health risks – Allergic reaction, respiratory infection
  • Harmful level  (Low to high)

A very common outdoor mold and equally common in-home mold. Trichoderma is a non-pathogenic mold that can be seen in green color patches with other types of mold. You will often find Trichoderma in damp area e.g. wall, gypsum board, wood cabinet, or carpet. Trichoderma is also known for its anti-fungal ability where the residues would protect plants from other fungal diseases.

Most Trichoderma are on the mild side other than causing mold allergic reactions. The one you have to fret is the Trichoderma aggressivum/ harzianum species. It is toxigenic thus it will produce the poisonous mycotoxins chemicals. Health hazard includes heart inflammation, pulmonary edema to abnormal liver.

Good to know: There are 5 types of Trichoderma genus (Pachybasium, Longibrachiatum, Trichoderma Saturnisporum, Hypocreanum) and approximately 89 recognized species.


Image by assuredbio

12. Ulocladium

  • Rarity (Common)
  • Typically found – Water-damaged items including gypsum board, wallpaper, wood material, tapestries, other upholstery
  • Health risks – Allergic reaction, skin allergies, hay fever
  • Harmful level  (Low – Hazard Class C)

Ulocladium is ubiquitous, in house mold that often grows together with other molds. It characteristics include dark grayish, black color and medium to fast growth rate. Ulocladium has a very high water requirement than other strains of molds. It will thrive after a flood where many household items would receive a sustainable amount of water damage. You will typically find the fungus in gypsum board, wall, basement, or upholstery.

Ulocladium might not have the devastation power of black mold, it can still trigger symptoms from cough, running nose to the more severe hay fever. People with impaired immune system stand a higher risk of subcutaneous tissue infections.

Good to know: The genus Ulocladium has two active species; Ulocladium chartarum and Ulocladium botrytis. There are approximately 20 species of reported.

Serpula lacrymans
Image by constantinedd

13. Serpula lacrymans

  • Rarity (Uncommon)
  • Typically found – Water-damaged items including gypsum board, floorboard, wallpaper, wood material, tapestries, upholstery
  • Health risks – Allergic reaction
  • Harmful level  (Low)

Serpula lacrymans aka building cancer is the usual in-home mold you would encounter. It is infamous for its building destructiveness than its toxicity to human. It can damage wood items known as dry rot (wood decay) to the extent of masonry materials. When you spotted the distinguish red, brown, gray or black patches of mold, very likely the damage is done and is irreversible.

As we mentioned earlier, one should not be too alarmed when spotted Serpula lacrymans. Only children, elderly and sick person stand a higher risk of mold-related illness. Mold contaminated items that are beyond repair should be clear out before the fungal start spreading. Hire a renovator or carpenter to remove and replace the damaged part.

Good to know: Serpula lacrymans is a basidiomycete in the order Boletales.

20 Ways on How To Get Rid of Mold In House Effectively or Naturally

20 Ways on How To Get Rid of Mold In House Effectively or Naturally
1

Dispose mold contaminated items

  • Effectiveness  (Simple but very effective)
  • Cost  (Free)
  • Best used in – Non sentimental value, non-redeemable items e.g. paper box, wooden floorboard, gypsum board

A no-brainer solution in getting rid of mold. It doesn’t take long before mold start spreading his colony where the whole conquering process could take up to 12 days. Most species of mold grow within 24 to 48 hours and usually it’s already too late when you spotted the moldy patch. Disposing or throwing away a mold damaged item like paper container, plastic chair, soft toy is a quick and easy way to stop mold from spreading. There is also no cleaning process or the reliance on chemical detergent that could leave toxic residues or harmful gases. If is an unwanted item that is beyond redeemable, it will also not cost you much other than the sentimental value of the item. The downside of this solution is obviously when the item is still cleanable/ repairable, there is no point of tossing the item away where you could actually spend some time in clearing the mold out with any of the solutions below.

  • The quickest and simplest way to get rid of mold and stop the microorganism from spreading.
  • Does not cost you a dime other than the value of the item.
  • No toxic residue or dangerous fumes created in the entire process.
  • Certain items like floorboard is time consuming to remove and requires some handyman skill.
  • Instead of disposing, there are items that is easily redeemable or cleanable with vinegar, baking soda or hydrogen peroxide.
2

Vacuum with HEPA vacuum cleaner

  • Effectiveness  (Partially effective)
  • Cost  (+- $60 – 400 for vacuum cleaner and +- $6 for vacuum bag)
  • Best used in – Floorboard, floor carpet, porcelain tiles, wall

Not just any vacuum, HEPA vacuum cleaner that comes with HEPA filter bag to trap mold and other small particles contaminants. As human eyes cannot see anything smaller than 40 microns size, mold size can vary between 1 to 100 microns compare with human hair that has average of 50 microns size. A HEPA vacuum cleaner can quickly trap 99.97% of tiny particles as small as 0.3 micron size that in theory would cover all indoor mold species. With less microorganisms being stirred up into the air, there are less likelihood of mold spreading and growing to other places through airborne. Vacuuming with HEPA vacuum cleaner also significantly reduce allergy reactions like asthma from being triggered by mold and other microscopic particles.

Solely relying on HEPA vacuum cleaner is not enough has it cannot remove strong, resilient mold that has penetrated beneath porous materials. Whether is in handheld form or canister form, HEPA vacuum is more expensive than standard vacuum cleaner and the HEPA vacuum bag is also costlier to maintain. Only consider HEPA vacuum cleaner as a preventive measure or pre-cleaning compliment/ addon to your other cleaning solutions.

  • Takes little time to clear out large chunk of moldy spot on hard surfaces.
  • Eco-friendly method and can be reuse over and over again.
  • Also get rid of other allergies triggering microorganisms at one go.
  • Can only target surface mold that is not absorbed beneath porous materials e.g. insulation wall, wood furniture.
  • Costly as HEPA vacuum cleaner and its replacement HEPA bag will cost more than non-HEPA vacuum cleaner.
3

Killing mold with Detergent and Water

  • Effectiveness  (Partially effective)
  • Cost  (+- $10)
  • Best used in – Non-porous materials e.g. wall tiles, basin, windows metal frame, plastic

A quick, simple solution that only requires laundry detergent and warm water. How laundry detergent or washing powder works is the surfactants compound attract impurities i.e. dirt, grease and combines them into more soluble, washable form. Most modern detergent is also an oxidizer that can oxidize substances like black mold and other microorganisms so it could be easily scrub away with the above mixture. Regardless of the brand, choose from either powder or liquid detergent but preferable not pacs/ tablets as you only need a low concentration level.

As with most non-homemade household cleaners, detergent will leave little chemical residues here and there even though it does not share the same toxicity level as bleach. It is also not a particularly effective mold eliminator as the chemicals would only wash away mold on hard surfaces.

  • Easily clear away mold and other microorganism that grows on non-porous surface.
  • Specific detergent that is oxygen based (oxidizing agent) can help destain and brighten mold spot.
  • Available in most household thereby extra purchasing is not necessarily.
  • While detergent with warm water can penetrate porous items to remove dirt, it can only target mold patches at surface level.
  • While not as toxic as chlorine bleach, leftover detergent residues are harmful to our body especially if you have children hanging around.
4

Killing Mold with Chlorine Bleach

  • Effectiveness  (Partially effective)
  • Cost  (+- $10)
  • Best used in – Non-porous materials e.g. tiles, bathtubs, glass, countertops

An effective mold eliminator but not without its controversy. Chlorine bleach can kill off virtually any species of mold particularly the notorious Stachybotrys AKA black mold plus other fungi that grows with it. The sodium hypochlorite ingredient in chlorine bleach would denatures the protein in mold thereby destroying the microorganism. Chlorine bleach can also act as an antimicrobial pesticide that prevent mold and other fungi from growth. Let’s not forget that Chlorine bleach is still a household product that it is cheap and available everywhere.

The controversy part: It cannot eliminate mold that has penetrated inside porous materials like wood and drywall. The hidden mold would continue to grow underneath the surface on matter how many layer of bleach you applied on. While chlorine bleach can help destain any moldy area or non-porous materials, overusing it would have a reverse effect that could cause permanent discolorization on the tiles. There is also the “small matter” of dangerous fumes released from chlorine bleach that can cause many respiratory side effects in long-run.

  • Not just mold, bleach is strong enough to eliminate any species of fungi on the surface including mildew and spores.
  • Creates a layer resistant of surface that inhibit mold from further growth.
  • Destain any blacken spot or stain caused by mold.
  • Common and affordable household product.
  • Can only eliminate surface mold. Any mold or fungi that has absorbed into porous materials like wood, drywall will remain untouched.
  • Overuse of bleach would have a reverse effect where it discolor your tiles or countertops.
  • Emit little but toxic fumes that could aggravate asthma and other respiratory problems.
5

Killing Mold with Hydrogen Peroxide

  • Effectiveness  (Effective)
  • Cost  (+- $5)
  • Best used in – Porous and non-porous materials e.g. tiles, bathtubs, clothes, carpet, wall

Perhaps the better alternative to bleach, Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) is a chemical compound that appears in pale blue liquid with slightly more viscosity than water. Known for its powerful oxidizing ability, Hydrogen peroxide is effective in decomposing surface and hidden mold through the rapid release of oxygen. Applying a thin layer of Hydrogen peroxide will also help create an anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial protection that inhibit mold and other microorganism from multiplying. Another advantage Hydrogen Peroxide has over bleach is the usability in porous and non-porous materials like tiles, carpet or fabric and as an added bonus point, Hydrogen Peroxide can also work as a bleaching agent where any blacken spot will be clear off and brighten.

The downside? Hydrogen Peroxide does not possess the same removal strength as chlorine bleach. Over spraying of Hydrogen Peroxide might causes discolorization on upholstery and fabric. Other than that, there is very little reason not to go with Hydrogen peroxide. Available as a concentrated bottle or antispectic spray, a 3% Hydrogen peroxide cost only few dollars at most and is available at most drug stores.

  • Comprehensive removal that covers both surface and hidden mold that has penetrated inside porous materials.
  • Also works as an anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial agent.
  • Safe for user and environment as Hydrogen Peroxide does not leave any toxic residue.
  • Gentle bleaching effect that can brighten or lighten the applied area.
  • Very cheap and easily purchasable online and most drug store.
  • Not as strong as bleach in removing highly corroded mold patches.
  • Excessive concentration level of Hydrogen Peroxide can cause damage to your fabric, carpet.
6

Killing Mold with Ammonia

  • Effectiveness  (Partially effective)
  • Cost  (+- $6 – 15)
  • Best used in – Non-porous materials e.g. tiles, bathtubs, windows metal frame, glass, countertops

Like chlorine beach, Ammonia is an inorganic cleaning product used to remove blacken spot, dirt, grime, stains and of course mold. Essentially a compound of nitrogen and hydrogen with the formula NH3, Ammonia is not as common as it used to be due to the toxicity and pungent smell it carries when in gas form. Still, a good mold remover that can clear away almost all types of microorganism on non-porous materials, we do not endorse the use of ammonia as there is much better and safer natural alternatives.

Ammonia is used in the making of plastics, dyes, pesticides and explosives. An indicationof how strong its chemical compound is yet frustratingly, it can only remove mold and other fungi that grows on the surface. Ammonia is ineffective against non-porous items like drywall or wood that can be penetrated by mold, resulted a never ending growing cycle if is not dealt with. Again we have to emphasis, ammonia and bleach does not goes well together. Mixing the 2 up can lead to high dangerous, toxic vapors that can be deadly when inhaled.

  • The combination strength of nitrogen and hydrogen can wipe off any species of fungi including mold at surface level.
  • Break down strong resistant grime and stains at the same time.
  • Like chlorine bleach, ammonia can only break down mold that grows on the surface making it ineffective on porous materials like drywall.
  • Highly toxic that can cause irritation and damage to skin, eyes, respiratory system. NEVER mix ammonia with chlorine bleach!
7

Killing Mold with Talcum powder

  • Effectiveness  (Partially effective)
  • Cost  (+- $5 – 11)
  • Best used in – Shoes, clothes, hat, leather goods, coats

If you are not familiar with talcum powder, it is the equivalent of baby powder used to absorb excess moisture and help cut down on friction. Mold needs high humidity environment for growth and the lack of moisture will effectively cut off their main source of survival. Most talcum powder can provide mild deodorization whether is through its own scent overlapping or odor dispersion. Pricing wise is also on the low side with plenty of varieties to choose from. In spite all of that, we would not recommend talcum powder as your main mold removal option as it is not very effective against surface area mold let alone mold that has penetrated inside porous materials like wood. Because talcum powder is made from talc, a natural mineral that may contain deposits of asbestos, and we all know asbestos is a known carcinogen (cancer linked substance in living tissue). A very bad substitute against mold.

  • Drain all moisture needed for mold while deodorize at the same time.
  • Works nicely with other mold remover like baking soda, vinegar or hydrogen peroxide.
  • Inexpensive and can use straight out of box.
  • One of the least effective method in removing mold patches. Long-exposure to talc is known to cause cancer.
  • Poor against porous items like drywall where mold and other fungi can reproduce inside.
8

Killing Mold with Borax

  • Effectiveness  (Highly effective)
  • Cost  (+- $12)
  • Best used in – Porous and non-porous materials e.g. tiles, wood, vinyl, drywall

Often considered a borderline between natural and chemical pesticides. Borax is a white, odorless naturally occurring mineral that is available for purchase in crystalline powder or liquid spray form. Not to be confused with boric acid (hydrogen borate), Borax is sodium tetraborate or sodium borate boron compounds with alkaline of about pH 9.3. Well known as an alternative, natural homemade detergent, the very high alkaline of Borax creates an unsustainable environment for mold that usually thrive between the range of pH 3 to 7, thus effectively killing them off with zero chances of further growth. Ideal for porous and non-porous materials that will not cause any discoloration, the biggest advantage of Borax over the other mold eliminator like Chlorine Bleach is it will not emit any toxic fumes that could trigger asthma or other respiratory issues. Other highlights of Borax include the disinfectant, deodorization attribute and easily accessible price tag. As a safety reminder, keep Borax out of children reach especially when you leave the powder leftover exposed.

  • High in alkaline which makes it very effective on porous and non-porous materials e.g. tiles, wood, wall.
  • Does not cause any stain or discolorization on the applied material.
  • Leftover Borax on the surface will work as a disinfectant and deodorization.
  • Both Powder and Spray based Borax that does not release any dangerous fumes or chemicals when in use.
  • Cheap household product that cost no more than $13.
  • Not safe with toddler as the risk of ingestion is higher.
9

Killing Mold with Vinegar

  • Effectiveness  (Effective)
  • Cost  (+- $4 – 10)
  • Best used in – Porous and non-porous materials (sparingly)

Vinegar is a natural, good alternative to your typical mold removal detergent that can be found in most household kitchen. There are many different types of vinegar from the popular apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar, balsamic vinegar to the less common beer vinegar, coconut vinegar and raisin vinegar. The one we are looking for is distilled white vinegar that is made of acetic acid (5 – 10 %) and water (90 – 95%). The purest, low acidic pH of 2.5 form that would effectively denatures protein in mold resulting the entire structure deform. Other benefits of using vinegar over chemicals detergent is the non-toxic, asthma and child-friendly liquid would not leave any stains so you could apply it on any type of surfaces without wearing gloves and mask.

A perfect all-rounder yet not without its flaw. Vinegar is less effective than a concentrated detergent like Bleach as it can only target 82% of species mold in home due to specific molds have very low pH. Vinegar will also leave a unique smell on the applied area that will take some time to go away.

  • Effective on porous and somewhat effective on non-porous materials with its low acidic pH 2.5.
  • Does not cause any stain or discolorization on the surface.
  • Easy to apply, does not require wash off and can prevent mold and other bacteria growth.
  • Non-toxic, all-natural and safe around children.
  • A very generic, cheap product and usually is already available in every household.
  • Slightly effective on specific species of mold compare with Borax or concentrated detergent.
  • Distinctive vinegar odor smell that will take some time to dissipate especially if is soaked into porous materials like wood, carpet.
10

Killing Mold with Baking Soda

  • Effectiveness  (Effective)
  • Cost  (+- $3 – 10)
  • Best used in – Porous and non-porous materials (sparingly)

The perfect partner to vinegar, baking soda is the all-natural, green-getter favorite home remedy/ cleaning solution that has high alkaline similar to Borax. Comprised of only one ingredient: sodium bicarbonate, baking soda high pH 8.1 create an inhabitable environment for microorganisms including mildew, spore and the infamous black mold. Like most natural made products, baking soda is very cheap (less than few dollars) and harmless therefore it is safe for all including children and pets (it is used in food after all). Compliment well with vinegar, you can mix up both to form the ultimate mold remover that cover virtually all types of mold in home species. Baking soda can also deodorize, suck up moisture on porous items e.g. carpet and act as an antimicrobial agent that stop mold from growing. The one and only reason not to use baking soda to remove mold is you ran out of baking soda.

  • High alkaline based that is effective on porous (wood, plaster) but less effective on non-porous materials (tiles, vinyl).
  • Works best with vinegar for more comprehensive mold elimination.
  • Does not cause any stain regardless of the amount applied.
  • Deodorize, drain moisture on the applicable item and also work as an antimicrobial agent.
  • Non-toxic cleaner that does not release any dangerous fumes or chemicals.
  • Available storewide and cost no more than few dollars (small pack).
  • Less effective compare with commercial mold cleaner products or concentrated detergents.
11

Killing Mold with Grapefruit Seed Extract

  • Effectiveness  (Effective)
  • Cost  (+- $10 – 18)
  • Best used in – Porous and sparingly on non-porous materials e.g. tiles, glass, wood, carpet, metal grill, plastics

Grapefruit seed extract (GSE) or citrus seed extract is a liquid extract derived from the seeds, pulp, and membranes of grapefruit. A natural medicinal that gains a lot of traction particularly in South America and Europe, Grapefruit seed extract is rich in nutrients and phytochemicals (vitamin C, hesperidin, tocopherols, sterols, citrus acid, limonoids). As a result, there are many healing benefits gain from Grapefruit seed extract (look it up) but the one we will be focusing on its citrus acid: the mold killer. Mixing a few drops of this grapefruit seed extract not only get rid of surface and hidden mold plus other harmful microorganisms, it’s odorless, has an antibacterial effect and gentle deodorization as oppose to Tea Tree Oil pungent smell. It’s little bit on the pricey side, but given the little amount needed and its good shelf life record, we highly recommend this miracle baby!

  • Very effective against mold yet without any of the harmful substances like bleach or ammonia.
  • No rinsing needed as the remainder grapefruit seed extract will also work as an antibacterial (disinfect germs) and deodorization.
  • Good shelf-life that opened bottle can last 1- 2 years with unchanged potent.
  • Like grapefruit seed extract, it is slightly pricey for a small 5 oz bottle.
12

Killing Mold with Tea Tree Oil

  • Effectiveness  (Effective)
  • Cost  (+- $11 – 24)
  • Best used in – Porous and sparingly on non-porous materials e.g. tiles, glass, wood, carpet, metal grill, plastics

Probably the most effective amount other natural fungicides, tea tree oil or melaleuca oil is a harmless, toxic-free essential oil derived from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia plant in Australia. Known for its wound healing ability on wounds and the part we will be looking into: its antibacterial properties. Just a few drops or 1 teaspoon of tea tree oil can kill off surface area mold and to a certain extent, other fungi that has penetrated to porous materials e.g. wood, carpet, wall. Like grapefruit seed extract, tea tree oil also comes with antifungal and antibacterial ability that disinfect germs from growing.

There few things you need to know before opting for tea tree oil. Number one is the cost (higher but still within acceptable range), second is the variant (Melaleuca Alternifolia is a must in the bottle ingredient) and third its fresh camphoraceous odor that can nauseating to some but give it an hour or two and the smell will dissipate.

  • A natural fungicide that kills all types of mold without producing any of the toxic residues or fumes.
  • No clean up require as the surplus tea tree oil will work as anti-fungal and antibacterial (inhibit microorganism growth).
  • Reusable with losing its potency on condition that the bottle is kept in cool, dry place.
  • Slightly expensive for a small concentrated bottle compare with other natural cleaners.
  • Distinctive “Tea Tree Oil” smell that might not be everyone cup of tea.
13

Killing Mold with Cinnamon essential oil

  • Effectiveness  (Effective)
  • Cost  (+- $7 – 20)
  • Best used in – Porous and sparingly on non-porous materials
  • Clear out most species of mold while providing an uplifting with hint of spiciness scent.
  • No clean up needed on the residues as it is harmless and has a mild antibacterial effect.
  • Reusable, store well with no sign of lost potency.
  • Costly but overly so for a small 4 oz bottle.
14

Killing Mold with Oregano essential oil

  • Effectiveness  (Effective)
  • Cost  (+- $9 – 22)
  • Best used in – Porous and sparingly on non-porous materials
  • Eliminate mold, mildew other fungi while clovey, spicey, smokey.
  • Additional antimicrobial protection (inhibit microorganism growth) on the applied area.
  • Can be reuse repeatedly without having to worry in lost potency over a period of time.
  • For a small concentrated bottle, oregano essential oil it is comparatively expensive than other kitchen ingredients.
15

Killing Mold with Thyme essential oil

  • Effectiveness  (Effective)
  • Cost  (+- $8 – 22)
  • Best used in – Porous and sparingly on non-porous materials
  • Remove surface’s mold while providing a natural herbaceous with slight balsamic scent.
  • The remainder residues will act as an antiseptic that protects the surface from microorganism’s growth.
  • Good shelf-life and only requires little amount of thyme essential oil.
  • Cost as much as other essential oils listed here.
16

Killing Mold with Clove essential oil

  • Effectiveness  (Effective)
  • Cost  (+- $7 – 20)
  • Best used in – Porous and sparingly on non-porous materials
  • Eradicate mold and other fungi while providing a distinctive sweet and spicy clove aroma.
  • Mild antiseptic effect (prevent the growth of microorganisms) on sprayed area.
  • Opened bottle can be reuse multiple times without have to worry any loss of potency.
  • As with most essential oils, a small concentrated bottle is costly depending on the popularity of the brand.
17

Killing Mold with Lemon Juice

  • Effectiveness  (Partially effective)
  • Cost  (+- $4 – 11)
  • Best used in – Clothes and porous materials e.g. tiles, glass, basin, countertop

A natural all-purpose kitchen cleaner, lemon juice we use in our food and drinks can also be turned into a mold destroyer. Reason for that is the 5% to 6% citric acid juice that contributes to lemon acidic characteristic (around pH 2.2), forcing an inhabitable environment for mold to growth. Lemon juice is also non-intrusive with no strong odor or toxicity fume, you can safety leave the applied area as a natural antimicrobial without rinsing. Diluted or concentrated lemon juice can clear off light mold stains but work best when mixed with other natural cleaner like baking soda without have to worry about chemical reactions. The multi-purpose lemon juice does have its flaws, mainly it can only remove mold on hard surfaces while mold tucked inside porous items is left untouched. Lemon juice is also less effective compare with other natural mold solutions like natural tea tree oil or grapefruit seed extract.

  • Remove mold and other fungi on the surface base through its acidic characteristic.
  • Mix well with other chemical or natural mold cleaner without causing any chemical reactions.
  • Does not require after rinsing and will work as a natural antimicrobial protection.
  • It’s cheap, easily obtainable and you have the option of using fresh or concentrated bottle.
  • Requires more time and effort compare with other natural tea tree oil, vinegar or grapefruit seed extract method.
  • Does not remove mold and other fungi that is hidden inside porous materials like wood.
18

Killing Mold with Vodka

  • Effectiveness  (Partially effective)
  • Cost  (+- $13 – 25)
  • Best used in – Hard surface, non-porous materials

Little do you know that vodka or “Little Water” when directly translated to Russian, can actually eliminate mold, mildew, spore and other fungi. This Russian origin, distilled alcoholic spirit is mainly composed of water and ethanol, the combination used to clean and sterilize items. While like most natural mold removal, vodka will have mild antibacterial effect on applied surfaces, relying solely on vodka is rather impractical given its expensive price tag and the ineffectiveness against porous items. The strong alcohol smell might also lead to minor headache, nausea, nose or throat irritation that can be completely avoided if you use any of the above natural ways. Still, if vodka is your only available option, choose a colorless, straight vodka that has no impurities or flavoring so you have the highest alcohol content.

  • Sterilize mold and provide mild antibacterial effect.
  • Can use straight out of box without any mixture. No clean up afterwards.
  • Ineffective other than against mold on hard surfaces like tiles.
  • Expensive and less accessible compare other everyday home ingredients.
  • The fumes might lead to minor throat and nose irritation or headache, nausea feel.
19

Hire Mold Remediation Specialist or Certified Mold Contractor

  • Effectiveness  (Very effective)
  • Cost  (+- $500 – 8000)
  • Best used when – Mold growth is more than 10 square feet or unmanageable, significant property damage

When mold is starting to eat up your house and you can spot mold patches at every corner, you know this is beyond the realm of your reach. All hope is not lost as you have your final trump card, hiring a certified mold remediation specialist. There are big differences in job scoop between your diy method and hire professional. A licensed mold remediation is a all-in-one contractor that would perform a full inspection on the cause of the mold contamination, inspect the damage and assess time needed to complete the task. With your full consent, only then would they perform the mold cleanup, repair, restoration work and final checkup before passing back the keys to you. This is a long step-by-step process that involves exposing to safety and health risk, requires a lot of effort, patience and experience. There is a lot of peeling, prying and crawling up to tight spaces that cannot be done without the proper training and toolsets.

There are a lot of things to consider when hiring a mold remediation expert, first and utmost is the cost where even a small room would be in the region of $500 or higher. Understandable given it’s a long and tedious job. It is also very inconvenience from a homeowner perspective as a typical mold remediation job would take 1 – 5 days excluding home that is heavily damaged by flood. The best scenario is you only need to shut off part of the HVAC system and leave the contaminated room isolated. Worst scenario is you and your family would have to leave your house until the mold remediation process is completed. Even if your home has been assessed to be mold-free and all mold cause has been rectified, there is no guarantee that the mold problem would not come back again. Still, at the end of the day when you or your family health is at risk and you know this is the only option left, killing off mold once and for all could be your smartest decision ever made.

  • The ultimate answer in removing mold inside and out that is not possible through standard scrubbing method.
  • Guaranteed result will official certification plus pre and post mold damage inspection.
  • All-in-one solution that save you the hassle from dealing with different contractors, carpenter or technician.
  • Save time and money on safety equipment, cleaning supplies, training and research.
  • Free yourself from the health and safety risk during the long process of cleanup and repair.
  • Restore mold contaminated items to the original state that otherwise would have been disposed.
  • The costliest solution where even minor remediation could cost $500 or more.
  • Typical mold remediation job takes 1 – 5 days depending on the level of mold infestation.
  • Walls, carpet and even tiles might need to be take apart and tear down during the remediation process.
  • If there is significantly damage to the home, homeowner is required to isolate the room or temporary move out of the house.
20

Separately hire HVAC technician, carpenter, plumber or painter for specific task

  • Effectiveness  (Very effective)
  • Cost  
  • Best used when – Mold growth is more than 10 square feet or out of your skill set

Like mold remediation, there are mold problems that is not within your expertise and instead of going through a set of frustration figuring out what to do, hiring a specialist (may or may not have the mold certification) would save you significantly in cost, time and even your sanity. A dedicated specialist/ repairman will fully committed on their particular repair works without any concern of derailing. For example, a carpenter would focus on cleaning and removing carpet that has been infested with mold, a plumber would fix any leaky pipes to cut off the mold growth source. The hiring cost is drastically cut down compare with full mold remediation and you will also save up on safety equipment like safety glasses, utility knife, N-95 respirator, window fan, rubber gloves and plastic sheeting. Perhaps most critically, letting other people to do the job means there is no mold exposure health risk involved that could lead to many respiratory problems. There is also practically zero safety risk where you could injure yourself accidentally from falling parts or slipping if everything is self-handled.

There are pros and cons in everything and no exception with this separately hiring method. First there is no final cost planned out so don’t be surprise when the bills start piling up if your mold issue still does not get rectified. Second is the lack of communication or understanding between you and contractors so often there is overlapping or missed work during the mold removing process. Lastly, most of these repairmen does not hold the credibility or certification in mold removal therefore the risk of mold returning is drastically higher. Still, if you are very certain what is the cause of the mold infestation and knew where to tackle them, this method might be worth a shot.

  • Dedicated job that specializes in sorting out issue (including mold) from their respected field.
  • Save time and money from the pre-inspection check and straight to the source of the problem.
  • No additional purchase of safety tools and cleaning equipment for the job.
  • Free from injury or allergic reactions that could happen during the mold cleanup process.
  • Cheaper than mold remediation but cost could stack up even higher when too many parties is involved.
  • Temporary disable of piping and ventilation system, e.g. HVAC, main water tap until the specific task is completed.
  • Inconsistent work quality and there is little to no synchronization between the contractors.
  • Lack in-depth inspection thus there is a higher possibility that the mold problems would return again.

Mold Facts and Statistics that You Should Be Aware Of!

Mold Facts and Statistics that You Should Be Aware Of!

Mold Facts and Statistics

  1. 93% of Chronic sinusitis (inflammation of the air cavities) is linked with mold infection. 1
  2. About 5% of us will experience mold-related allergies such as sneezing, nasal congestion or running nose in our lifetime. 2
  3. A study done in Australia concluded that 50% of the indoor mold concentrations were attributable to outdoor factors. 2
  4. Brown University’s data shows 6,000 European adults concluded with mold has an impact on their mental health and the risk for depression. 5
  5. Mold is a type of fungus that can found literally everywhere and makes up an approximately 25% of the Earth’s biomass. 2
  6. Institute reported that an estimated 10,000 mold-related lawsuits (300% increase) nationwide since 1999 2
  7. Mold related claims also have skyrocketed to over 500% since 2001. 2
  8. In Texas, almost one-third of water damage claims are linked with mold contamination. Repair cost surged from the average $3,000 to an upwards of $90,000. 2
  9. On a similar note, data from Farmers Insurance shows mold damage claims increased 1,100 cases over the past 10 years. 4
  10. 40% of European is likely to have asthma as they are staying in a poor home condition that is either damp home infested with mold. The same report also finds that 2.2 million Europeans have asthma as a result of poor living conditions. 3
  11. A Finland report shows clinical evidence that poor indoor air quality from mold can cause morbidity not link with asthma. 6

33 Black Mold Poisoning Symptoms and Health Effects to Look Out For

Black Mold Poisoning Symptoms and Health Effects to Look Out For
1

Respiratory problems

  • Symptoms – Stuffy/ runny nose, excessive sneezing, dry throat, postnasal drip coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, breathing difficulty
  • Health risks – Asthma exacerbation, chronic coughing and sneezing, epistaxis, sinusitis, sinus headache, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pulmonary edema, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, pulmonary fibrosis, respiratory tract damage

The #1 most common black mold poisoning symptoms is through inhalation. When we breathe in/ inhale, our lungs expand, diaphragm contracts, and air is suck downward through the airway. Black mold spores that travel with air would touch on our nose, mouth and lungs causing many respiratory related diseases. For most people, the first signs is usually sneezing, nasal stuffiness (stuffy/ running nose), dry throat, follow by postnasal drip cough from the excessive mucus. Others especially asthmatic person would further experience burning feeling in the air passage, chest tightness, breathing difficulty and wheezing (high-pitched whistling sound). If the situation remains unchanged, a person would suffer from mild cold/ flu, chronic cough, sinusitis (sinus infection), sinus headache, Epistaxis (bleeding from nose) and asthma attack. Prolong inhaling Mycotoxins from black mold can lead to the toxic stucked in the mucus membranes, resulting internal damage to respiratory system such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), respiratory tract infection, Pulmonary Fibrosis (scarring in the lungs), Pulmonary edema (fluid accumulation in tissue and lungs), Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis (lungs inflammation from allergies) and Pulmonary haemorrhage (acute bleeding from the lungs).

2

Mental Health Problems

  • Symptoms – Mood swings, easily agitated, aggression, forgetfulness, poor memory, difficult to concentrate, shorter attention span, loss of interest, headache, dizziness, confusion
  • Health risks – Chronic headache, chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), migraine, vertigo, memory loss, impair learning, disorientation, insomnia, anxiety, depression, hallucinations, malaise, seizures

Black mold is also linked to mental illness that most would least expect. Exposure to the lethal Trichothecene Mycotoxins toxic would start off with symptoms like headache, dizziness or even confusion where you will have a difficult time understanding a simple question. Slowly creeping in is the poor memory along with lack of focus and attention span. People around you might also notice the personality change where you easily get agitated or aggressive with uncontrollable mood swings. Pro-long exposure to Trichothecene Mycotoxins can permanently destroy neurons in the brain and lead to health risks like chronic headache, migraine, vertigo (spinning dizziness) to the extent of sudden blackout. Children in particular would be greatly affected with impair learning ability. You might also experience mental disorder like disorientation, malaise (feeling uncomfortable yet unable to identify the reason), difficulty to fall asleep or wake up often during the night, anxiety even on the littiest things and even lead to hallucination or depression.

3

Neurological Problems

  • Symptoms – Joint pain, weak aches, abdominal pain, twitching, trembling, numbness, tingling, morning stiffness, muscle pain, tiredness, weakness
  • Health risks – Partial or complete paralysis, epilepsy, parkinson’s disease, stroke, fibromyalgia, chronic widespread pain (CWP)

Joint pain, weak aches, abdominal pain, twitching (short jerky movement), trembling (quivering), tingling (needles stinging sensation) or the opposite numbness (lack of sensation), morning stiffness that is unrelated to poor sleeping posture, muscle pain without any strenuous activity or exercise, this could be the neurological symptoms of mold related illness. Chronic exposure to the Mycotoxins toxic would bring in the health risks of partial or complete paralysis and Epilepsy (unpredictable, recurrent seizure disorder). Black mold toxic is also linked with Parkinson’s disease (degenerative nervous system disorder) and can trigger mild to severe stroke particularly for elderly that has suffer from acute stroke previously. There is also distinctive connection between neurological and mental disorder where damage to the central nervous system would lead to tiredness, weakness, seizure, Malaise, Fibromyalgia or Chronic widespread pain (CWP).

4

Skin problems

  • Symptoms – Rashness, itchiness, night sweats, abnormal body temperature
  • Health risks – Dermatitis (eczema), jaundice

Another common mold-related problem, the mycotoxins toxic from black mold can be absorbed through our skin and trigger many allergic reactions. Common irritant symptoms include itchiness, rashness from scaly, crawling skin or blister. While Dermatitis aka Eczema is probably the only side effect that causes skin inflammation, Some people might experience night sweat or abnormal body temperature while in rare cases, black mold would also lead to jaundice (yellowing skin from the excess pigment bilirubin). As always, children or people with sensitive skin has a higher percentage of reacting to skin allergies compare with adults.

5

Vision and eye problems

  • Symptoms – Redness in eyes, bloodshot eyes, watery eyes
  • Health risks – Conjunctivitis, uveitis, blurry vision, poor eyesight, permanent eye damage

The spores of black mold usually do not spread through air or stay airborne for long due to its heavy weight. Nonetheless Mycotoxins toxic from black mold can still cause irritation to eyes and temporary vision problems. Bloodshot/ red eyes is usually the first symptom when in contact with the allergies where the blood vessels in the eyes would become enlarged and obvious overtime. Watery eyes is also a very common sight as the eye would produces excess tears to counter the irritation and dryness. Contact lenses wearer, children or people with pre-existing condition would take a greater hit. If the situation does not change and your eye conditions become progressively worse, black mold toxic could lead to health risk of Conjunctivitis aka pink eyes, hazy, blurry vision, reduced eyesight, Jaundice (yellow eyes), Uveitis (uvea inflammation) and permanent eye damage. There are reports that extremely high exposure to Mycotoxins could resulted Glaucoma and blindness however, it is on a very rare basis.

6

Physicality problems

  • Symptoms – Loss of appetite, bloated, diarrhea, nausea, vomit, dehydration, frequent urination, bad metallic taste, burning sensation in mouth
  • Health risks – Weight loss, hair loss, tinnitus, hearing loss, anorexia, abnormal liver, liver failure

Black mold can play a significant negative role in your health physically and psychologically. Unintentional mold digestion would can leave a bad metallic taste or slight burning sensation in your mouth, cause abdominal pain and leaving you sick to your stomach with the feeling bloated, dehydrated, nausea and vomit. What follow is the loss of appetite, weight loss or even some cases weight gain (due to the body producing autoantibodies) and lead to the risk of eating disorder or Anorexia. Unresolved exposure to Mycotoxins toxic would have a health effects of liver diseases or liver failure. Ear infection is another symptom of mold poisoning where the risk of Tinnitus (ringing, hissing, buzzing sound) or permanent hearing loss is in place. Black mold can also cause hair loss to the extent of baldness because of the immune system produces mast cell called Histamine. Histamine cause inflammation that effectively disrupts blood flow in your hair capillaries (tiny blood vessels that provide nutrients to hair).

7

Circulatory system and Immune system problems

  • Symptoms – Heart pain, heartburn, irregular heartbeat, fatigue, difficultly in performing simple action, vomiting blood
  • Health risks – Hemorrhage, heart attack, low blood pressure, heart inflammation, heart damage, blood clotting or not clotting properly, bone marrow disruption, weaken immune system, rheumatoid arthritis (RA)

Our circulatory and immune system can be undermined by black mold poisoning through inhalation, ingestion and absorption. Circulatory system (also known as cardiovascular/ vascular system) is a network of veins, arteries, blood vessels and heart that circulate nutrients, oxygen, blood cells and hormones to other part of the body. When the oxygen-rich blood is contaminated with black mold fungal, different parts of the organ system will be directly exposed to Mycotoxins toxic resulting many circulatory system diseases. Most people would experience symptoms like fatigue, heart pain, difficultly in performing simple action like walking to the severe vomiting blood, heart attack. If left untreated, the person is in risk of irregular heartbeat, hemorrhage, low blood pressure, heart inflammation, heart failure, blood clotting or not clotting properly and bone marrow disruption. On the other hand, our immune system is network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to defend against microbial invaders such as bacteria and viruses. Mycotoxins toxic would not only weaken the immune system defence, it can cause autoimmune disease where the immune system mistakenly attacks body healthy cell.

8

Reproductive system problems

  • Symptoms – Indirectly
  • Health risks – Infertility, impotence, fetal development problems, miscarriage, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

A known issue where many cases of marriage ruined because it, reproductive system problems are associated with Black mold where the outcome is irreversible and cause unimaginable damage to you and your loved one. Primarily because of the Mycotoxins released from black mold is teratogenic: a toxic that may disturb the development of an embryo or fetus. Mycotoxins is also cytoxotic (kill cells) and mutagenic (cell mutation) that add up resulting birth defect in the child. To make matter worse, there is no direct symptoms to show that a person is badly affected by black mold poisoning until it is too late. Indirectly women might experience signs from hormone change e.g. weigh gain, skin allergies, thinning hair, or irregular/ painful periods to no periods at all. For men reduce sexual desire could also be some indirect symptoms. Typical reproductive system health risks include infertility (inability to conceive), impotence, fetal development problems, miscarriage and SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Men, women, expectant mother, stay clear of mold.

9

Cancer with Mold

There are no or concrete evidences that directly links cancer with mold although there are reports suggesting that Aflatoxin toxic from Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus mold can increase the risk of developing liver and gallbladder cancer. What is certain that black mold poisoning can aggravate asthma, cause brain damage, progressive organ failure, destroy your immune system which all would lead to the only outcome: death.