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Black mold is a common indoor mold that grows in humid and dark areas in homes. Just like other molds, it releases spores in the air, which can be then topically absorbed through the skin or inhaled.

Why Is Black Mold So Dangerous?-Black mold is a toxic mold which is associated with various kinds of respiratory reactions, such sneezing, sore throat and coughing as well as watery and itchy eyes.

Black mold is toxic, and prolonged exposure can have serious health consequences. According to one study, exposure to mold during infancy led to asthma, while others have associated exposure to behavioral dysfunction, neurological deterioration, and brain inflammation.

Black Mold Signs and Symptoms

#1. Noticeable mold odors. The most practical way to find a mold problem is by using your eyes to look for mold growth and by using your nose to locate the source of a suspicious odor. If you see mold or if there is an earthy or musty smell, you should assume a mold problem exists.

#2. Mold growth becomes visible. It may appear cottony, velvety, granular, or leathery and have varied colors of white, gray, brown, black, yellow, green. Mold often appears as discoloration, staining, or fuzzy growth on the surface of building materials or furnishings. When mold is visible, testing is not recommended.

#3. You notice excess moisture or water damage. Look for water leaks, standing water, water stains, condensation problems. For example, do you see any watermarks or discoloration on walls, ceilings, carpet, woodwork or other building materials?

PS: Search behind and underneath materials (carpet and pad, wallpaper, vinyl flooring, sink cabinets), furniture, or stored items (especially things placed near outside walls or on cold floors). Sometimes destructive techniques may be needed to inspect and clean enclosed spaces where mold and moisture are hidden; for example, opening up a wall cavity.

#4. You begin suffering from (or you notice a worsening of) allergy-like symptoms.

These include:

  • Nasal and sinus congestion
    Persistent cough
    Wheeze/breathing difficulties
    Sore throat
    Skin and eye irritation; itchy skin
    Upper respiratory infections (including sinus)

#5. On the exterior of the house there are areas that appear to be “wet” or do not dry out for days after rainy weather. There could be some water in the walls or cavities that are holding water indicating a leak and nowhere for the water to escape.

How to Get Rid of Black Mold

Once you have found that black mold is lurking in your home, the next step is doing something to get rid of it.

  1. Kill It Yourself

To prevent spores from transporting the mold to other areas, close off the affected area using duct tape over cracks and vents.  Then, clean the area with soap, water, and scrub brush.  Dispose of everything that was infested.  Apply a strong disinfectant to the area, ventilate, and keep it dry.

Some of the best disinfectants that banish black mold include grapefruit seed extract (mix twenty drops of grapefruit seed extract with two cups of water in a spray bottle), tea tree oil ( mix a teaspoon of tea tree oil with a cup of water in a spray bottle), white vinegar ( spray directly onto the affected area), and hydrogen peroxide ( spray a  3% concentration onto the affected area).

  1. Prevention

Once you kill mold yourself, here is how to prevent it from returning:

  • Reduce humidity (Mold thrives in humid and damp environment)
  • Watch for Leaks (around ventilation ducts and appliances as moisture stimulates growth)
  • Improve Ventilation (keep the home well-ventilated or use a dehumidifier)

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