How to Test for Mold in Your House: An After-Flood Must

how to test for mold in your house

Did you know that the cost of the sickness caused by dampness and mold in the home amounts to over $20 billion every year, just in the United States?

These high costs come partially from the seriousness of the illnesses that mold can cause, and partially from the fact that mold is so common in our homes. At some point, it’s important to learn how to test for mold in your house.

Read on to learn all about the dangers of mold, how to find it in your home, and how to get rid of it!

Dangers of Mold in the House

Mold can cause at least 5 kinds of illnesses. For those that have allergies, mold can trigger their allergy symptoms. Symptoms can include red and itchy eyes and skin, as well as congestion.

Even if you’re not allergic, mold can make perfectly healthy people cough. A mild cough may not be serious by itself, but if you have mold all the time, then your cough may last for months or years.

In some cases, mold in the home can even infect the lungs. In extreme cases, these infections can be fatal. Unfortunately, there are other ways the effects of mold can become permanent.

If you’re exposed to mold long enough, you may develop asthma. This is especially true of children.

Once you have asthma, your condition will remain with you even after the mold is removed from your environment. That’s one reason it’s so important to get rid of mold quickly!

How to Test for Mold

The first thing to know when you’re looking for mold is where it’s likely to grow. Mold grows in damp, dark places, like the basement. It may also be found under a sink, or in a bathroom that stays wet for long periods of time after a shower.

If you think you might have mold, but you’re having trouble finding it, the cause may be a leaking pipe. Pipes extend all throughout your house, so if one develops a leak, there could be mold growing in places you wouldn’t usually expect. 

Once you’ve found potential mold, you might have trouble telling if it’s mold or just dirt. Mold generally comes in an array of spots.

A professional can help you assess your home’s mold situation if you need their help. On the other hand, if you want to know how to check for mold in walls and other areas yourself, you can try a simple trick.

Mold is a living organism, unlike dirt. This means that mold responds very differently to bleach than dirt does. Place your suspected mold in bleach and watch what happens.

If the dark spots stay the same, they are probably dirt. On the other hand, if they quickly dissolve or turn a lighter color, then you’re probably dealing with mold.

For more difficult cases, you can buy at-home mold testing kits as well.

Different Kinds of Mold

Most people are familiar with types of mold that look black or dark green. White mold is another type of mold that you might have to deal with.

White mold in basements often grows after some kind of flooding or leaking water. Structurally, it has a fine texture that almost resembles cotton. It often grows on wood.

Some people mix up white mold and efflorescence. Fortunately, there’s another simple test you can use to tell the difference.

Drop the white substance from your home in some water. Efflorescence dissolves in water, while mold will not.

Black mold is one of the more troublesome varieties. It can cause exactly the slew of respiratory conditions mentioned above.

It also produces an unusual smell that can drift throughout your house. This smell can help you find the source of the mold if you recognize it.

If you find black mold on walls or anywhere else, you can remove it like other molds. Diluted bleach and a good scrubbing should eliminate the mold.

Beware, however; the mold may return. Remember that mold grows in damp and dark places, and a good cleaning won’t change the environment of your home.

How to Get Rid of Mold

If you’ve had significant water damage, then a brush and a bucket of bleach water may not be enough. Serious water damage can cover your whole basement with mold from the ceiling to the floor. It can also hide in insidious places, making it difficult to properly get rid of.

If your mold situation is more serious, then you may need professional help. Skilled professionals know exactly where to look to find mold growth after water damage. They can also use cleaning techniques for killing mold inside walls that will help prevent the mold from returning.

In some cases, you may need ceiling tiles and walls replaced. If the level of home restoration you need is significant enough, you may need to call the professionals.

Preventing Future Mold

Preventing future mold isn’t about cleaning up; it’s about changing the environment of your house. That means that leaky pipes need to be fixed and wet bathrooms may need to be dried after a shower.

In some cases, moisture may be coming through crevices in your walls, especially in the basement. In that case, rather than fix a leaky pipe, you may need to waterproof your basement. Basement waterproofing will help seal moisture out.

The benefits of basement waterproofing extend beyond protecting you against mold on floors, walls, and ceilings. It can also protect you from flooding and expensive insurance claims.

Know How to Test for Mold in Your House

We hope you found something helpful in this piece about how to test for mold in your house. 

To learn more about caring for your home’s cleanliness and well-being, check out our blog!

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