Mould can grow anywhere in your home where the combination of humidity and moisture are present, so your washrooms, kitchen and laundry room, and your windows are typical hot spots for mould growth. With the recent humid and stormy weather, you should be cautious of any hot spot areas and ensure they stay well-ventilated, clean and dry to prevent the onset of mould growth.
Mould is not only unpleasant looking to see in any part of your house, but they can have extremely adverse effects on your health if you do not remove it. Skin irritability, digestive problems, respiratory issues and even death may also result from exposure to mould. Warning: this blog contains some graphic images of mould that some readers may not want to see.
Interestingly enough, mould can grow in four different colours. The variation of colours do not tell you how harmful they are to your health, as each colour produces strains that are detrimental to your health, while others are more just unsightly to look at.
1. Orange/Pink Mould
The Gross: You may see orange or pink coloured mould in your shower from time to time. The colour comes from the presence of iron in the water as well as oily elements such as a soap residue. We’ve seen our fair share of this type of mould in our shower renovations, after years of not maintaining shower grout, some clients prefer to tear out everything and start from scratch.
The Bad: If left untreated, the mould can instigate allergies or trigger any open wound infections on your body.
The Ugly: When cleaning, be sure to wear protective gloves. The best tried and true products for cleaning shower mould we’ve heard our clients use are citrus enzyme (ideally from a lemon) and hydrogen peroxide. Spray on either of these elements to your tile grout and let it sit for about 10 minutes before scrubbing.
2. White Mould
The Gross: White mould is commonly found in the attic, basement, crawl spaces and under the deck area. It’s commonly misdiagnosed as efflorescence, which is just salt deposit from dried up water. You can distinguish between the two by dropping some water on the questionable area, if the white area dissolves, then it is efflorescence.
The Bad: White mould is known to cause respiratory problems for those living with it, so people with asthma should be especially cautious.
The Ugly: If you’ve discovered that you have white mould, the next steps would be to seal off the area so it is does not continue to expose itself to the rest of your home. If the white mould is present on a non-porous surface, you may use a mixture of 10 parts water and one part bleach to clean the area.
If you want less exposure to harsh chemicals, you can spray the area with vinegar or hydrogen peroxide before scrubbing or put a quarter tablespoon of baking soda into a spray bottle of water before scrubbing and drying the area.
3. Green Mould
The Gross: Green mould may appear anytime condensation, leaks, or moisture are present. They are commonly found on the ceilings, walls and windows where the aforementioned issues are likely to occur. It’s not uncommon for clients to call us to replace their windows because green mould has taken over their windows.
We see situations similar to the above photo when indoor temperatures are battling exterior temperatures such as during the winter when windows produce condensation from the warm indoor air cooling against cold glass. To counter condensation on your window or other areas in your home, ensure areas are well ventilated by opening the windows from time to time for fresh air and running the exhaust fan.
The Bad: Green mould can cause respiratory problems, lung inflammation and skin irritations such as rashes.
The Ugly: Green mould should be handled carefully. Limit your exposure to the mould as little as possible by wearing protective gear for your hands, eyes and nose and mouth. You may use any of our above-mentioned suggestions of vinegar, bleach or hydrogen peroxide solutions. Again, these solutions are only effective on non-porous surfaces, so if the mould has seeped into your carpet, you will want to replace the carpet completely.
4. Black Mould
The Gross: As we mentioned earlier, all types of moulds produce minor and major hazards to your health regardless of the colour. Black mould tends to cause a more alarming reaction because it can mean the presence of Stachybotrys, the most hazardous type of mould. Known as toxic black mould, it is also commonly called “stachy” and you can distinguish it from other types of black mould by its greenish-black, slimey appearance. It is found only on cellulose surfaces such as paper or wood, which have been damp for numerous days.
The Bad: Among liver and stomach problems, exposure to toxic black mould may also be fatal to one’s health. Symptoms of wheezing, coughing, runny nose, irritated eyes and nose, skin rashes and diarrhea are also common.
The Ugly: If you believe that you have toxic black mould in your home, do not attempt to touch it or remove it yourself as any disturbance can release mycotoxin (toxic chemicals) into the air and contaminate your whole house. Call a professional to have it taken care of and if possible, arrange for accommodations until the mould is eradicated.
We want to stress that if you are unsure of how hazardous the mould may be to your health, please contact a local mould inspection company to review your problem areas. As a general rule, any areas under 10 sq. ft. should be acceptable for you to handle on your own, if the area covers more than 10 sq. ft., you should call a professional for removal assistance, unless it appears to be toxic black mould.
Should you decide to clean mould covered areas on your own, please ensure you wear protective gloves, eye wear, a respirator mask and even a full hazmat suit if you are dealing with the fuzzy stuff.
Have you experienced mould in your home? How did you deal with it and where was it? Share your comments below! Check our recent blog on maintaining a spotless shower for more tips to keep moisture-retaining areas in your home clean and dry.