Mold Q... Need quick answer pls!

old_home_loverMarch 11, 2013

Just lifted up a section of loose linoleum in the house and there is clearly mold. Some yellow-white. Black underneath. I know normally to leave the Lino in place until ready to deal with floors but should I pull this up and let it dry out some? And should I treat it with something right away? I have hot water and bleach here but we don't live on site. Just here clearing out some things over the weekend. There's a small hardware store in town I could check for a product if anyone has a recommendation. Leaving tonight for at least a week and want to know the best thing to do with my limited time. Thanks!

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It might be best to leave it alone until you have time to deal with it. It's my understanding that black mold is toxic.
Here is a link for you

Here is a link that might be useful: Black mold Clean up

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 3:27PM
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What's the state of your heating plant these days? I remember your posts from last fall about wanting to have some kind of temporary and intermittent heating for when you were visting over the winter.

I ask because if you have damp moldiness, I doubt if you can deal with it effectively without a healthy dose of well-heated house air. You might find that if you can heat the house to normal temps, even when you're not there, that alone may be sufficiently curative all by itself.

Beyond that, the remedy for all sorts of moldiness consists of changing the environment to inhibit the growth of mold. You can remove its surface manifestations but don't imagine you can sterilize away or even sanitize into oblivion. At best you can force it into abeyance.Mold needs moisture laden air (which is where temps come into play, see below); stillness in the air, darkness and food. Food is somewhat specifc to the species of molds, but many have wide palates. Basically food is any organic substance: paper, wood, (both cellulose), dirt, both outright earthy-type soil and the ickier dirt of general grunge, fly specks, greasy-dust, fats from soap and body soil.

And they need certain temps to flurish. But they can survive in a resting or dormant form decades outside of these temp parameters, hence you can not really expect them to go away, just to go quiet, awaiting better days.

Now about the affect of temps and moisture laden air. For a given amount of available moisture, cooler temps will result in condensation of water droplets on surfaces; warmer air will hold hold more moisture in the air. In general heated houses are also dryer because of the ensuing exchanges of warm air out into the atmosphere through leaks and door openings and closings. Plus heaters which burn air also move it through and out.

Your first task is to get the house heated and dried out. If you aren't heating with a heating plant, then you must wait for nature to provide this after Spring has arrived (probably in mid to late May in western PA.) When that happens get the whole house opened during all warm days, but closed again at night.

Remove the lino and use paper towels to mop up the visible manifestations of mold. You can treat the area with bleach if you want. But simple hot water washing, and ordinary clean-up will also be fine. Then get the air in the house heated with both interior and basement areas dried out. This will remove molds' essential conditions of life and suppress them - for now, at least.

If you have breathing or health issues, you might wear a respirator and a discardable Tyvek suit when tackling the first rounds of clean up.

Continued, heated occupation of the structure and fairly intensive standards of household cleaning over a period of years will be effective in winning the mold-wars.

Give some early thought to makking sure your basement is as dry as it can be.

Also don't panic, almost all old houses have some mold issues - and most old house owners co-exist with them without excessive problems.


    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 11:10PM
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The US Centers for Disease Control: "We do not believe that one needs to take any different precautions with Stachybotrys chartarum (Stachybotrys atra), than with other molds." #

This post was edited by worthy on Tue, Mar 12, 13 at 12:28

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 12:26PM
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Thanks all. To update, I did go out and get a good mask, (I have no allergies and tend to think some dangers that are rare are a bit overplayed) so I figured I would deal with it myself to the best I can right now.

With mask in place I pulled up all of the lino and carpeting in the house (what a job!) then wiped up all visible mold. There were only two rooms that seemed badly affected, and these were both places where water lines had broken in the basement. Throughout the rest of the house I found only very rare and small patches that easily wiped away and left no visible harm to the wood beneath.

Some positives:

I went into the basement and there was no mold there, on the underside of the flooring, where the water had been spraying from the pipes. I theorize this is because despite being a decade or more without heat, the basement side was open to the air and dried off, while the topside was sealed tight under paper and lino preventing evaporation.

I also discovered to my elation, that the entire first floor was rewired, so I feel comfortable setting up a dehumidifier during the week when we can't be there to aid in drying the place out. Unfortunately heat is nowhere on the horizon yet but I think the dehumidifier should suffice. The only other place there was significant mold was behind and under the sink, which I tore out and disposed of, then cleaned up the mold.

All in all I feel it was a pretty productive weekend!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 5:01PM
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Vinegar, vinegar, vinegar. Kills mold dead on contact.

I salvaged an old wood table last week that had been outside for some time and was a bit mouldy in spots. Poured on white vinegar and the mould disappeared before my eyes. Mind you, what you had here was likely a different kind, but still.

If you cleaned with soap you probably had the same effect, or if you used bleach, but vinegar is of course less toxic for you and on disposal than bleach is - plus bleach is not as effective as a disinfectant/demolder/demosser etc as one would think.

Karin L

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 10:52PM
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" It's my understanding that black mold is toxic. "

SOME black molds are toxic to SOME people.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 1:04PM
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Here we go again, mold. Dear wife told me mold can kill me and freaked when she saw some mold in a Reno I was doing. Where did you hear that Dear wife, let me guess the internet. I asked her to spend an hour on the internet on a reputable site like the CDC or Health Canada.

She wasn't afraid I was going to drop dead on the spot after getting educated (or was she disappointed). We don't want to live with it but unless one has a serious respiratory issue or has infants in the environment we need not panic.

I believe we have all come across the piece of cheese that fell behind the catsup bottle that had turned, blue, grey, green and black, mmmmmm. That's mold. We threw the cheese away but didn't throw the entire fridge of food away, or did we?

This post was edited by SouthernCanuck on Thu, Mar 14, 13 at 22:07

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 10:00PM
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Vinegar, vinegar, vinegar. Kills mold dead on contact.


    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 5:36PM
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