7 how to remove mold from your home


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TABLE OF CONTENTS

COPYRIGHT AND TRADEMARK NOTICES .............................................1 LIMITS OF LIABILITY & DISCLAIMERS OF WARRANTY ..........................1 AFFILIATE COMPENSATION DISCLOSURE ............................................2

INTRODUCTION ...................................................................................... 5 THE INFLUENCE OF ENVIRONMENT UPON MOLD GROWTH ................. 7 HOW TO REMOVE MOLD FROM YOUR HOME ..................................... 14 THE FANTASTIC 4: THE MOST EFFECTIVE MOLD KILLERS ..................... 18

REFERENCES & RESOURCES .................................................................. 24

© 2016 Neil Ratliff

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INTRODUCTION

There are close to a hundred thousand different kinds of fungi in the world. They are not rare, opportunistic plants growing here and there, but are present everywhere, growing on all conceivable kinds of things. Their size is small, their structure simple, but they have many of the characteristics that make for survival. Yes, fungal molds can be scary due to their environmental versatility. But they’re not invincible. Not by a long shot. If you know – and understand – the factors that make them grow and spread, you can easily turn their environment into an inhospitable place. In other words, you will stop them in their tracks. Then you just need to kill them. © 2016 Neil Ratliff

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Luckily, you can do that easily and non-invasively by using several simple techniques and some very common substances. This short guide will take you exactly there. Simply put, it will help you remove any trace of mold from your home and the ever-looming threat of fungal toxins from your life.

© 2016 Neil Ratliff

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THE INFLUENCE OF ENVIRONMENT UPON MOLD GROWTH

Fungal molds are influenced by temperature, water, oxygen, food, light, and various growth-promoting substances. Like other small biological organisms, they are much more children of their environment than we are. Some of them have visible weaknesses in this respect, which is fortunate, because it enables us to control or eliminate them by making it too hot for them or too cold, too wet or too dry. However, they are more adaptable than most of us realize.

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 Temperature Fungi have no thermostatic controls, such as us and most other higher animals have, to regulate their temperature, but they can adapt to changes more easily and readily than the most complex forms of life. In general, most fungi grow best between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. At 50 degrees these fungi will grow slower than they do at higher temperatures, while at 30 degrees they stop growing. But they don’t die. They simply “hibernate”, waiting for better, more favorable times to come. For this reason, fungi will easily survive freezing for months or for years. They are not damaged by low temperature, and some have been exposed to a temperature close to absolute zero without any injury whatsoever. For this reason, low temperature is not effective in eliminating most fungi. Many fungi can thrive – not only survive – at temperatures below freezing. Meat and other types of food stored in freezers must be kept below 20 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent them from becoming infested with mold. Fungi also grow in and decay flower bulbs in frozen ground, kill grasses and legumes during the winter, and ruin golf greens when they are covered with snow. As a matter of fact, a few of these fungi are so adapted to a life at low temperature that they do not grow too much above freezing.

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Plants whose roots are solidly frozen have little to no protection against invasion by these low-temperature fungi. High temperature, of course, is a whole different story. A fungus which grows well at 90 degrees Fahrenheit will begin to slow down at 100, and if it’s exposed to 130 degrees for hours or days it will eventually give up the host. A temperature approaching that of boiling water – 212 degrees Fahrenheit – destroys most fungi almost instantly. Few of them can endure 160 degrees for more than several minutes. This sensitivity of most fungi to high temperature is their hallmark weakness, and it is taken advantage of in agriculture and industry. Food processed by heat – boiling, baking, or pressure cooking – are free of living fungi. They may, however, become contaminated later. Some fungi like a moderately high temperature, and begin to dwindle only from 120 degrees onward. Fortunately, these high-temperature molds are not very common.

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 Water Some of the fungi grow only when immersed in water. They are common and nearly ever-present in lakes, ponds, streams, and moist soil. There they live on a great variety of living and dead plants and animals, and probably make up a rather significant part of the flora. Relatives of these water-dwelling molds are found in nearly all kinds of soil, and some are destructive parasites of the roots of many wild and cultivated plants. They are especially difficult to contend with, since they often can parasitize a wide range of host plants, both wild and cultivated, and can also exist as saprophytes on debris in the soil. At the other extreme, some of the most common and widely distributed of fungi grow in flour, wood, leather, and almost innumerable other products that contain only from 12 to 15 percent water. Between the tropics of Capricorn and Cancer the relative humidity of the air often exceeds 70 percent throughout much of the year. In humid, warm regions, such as the Gulf Coast of the United States, these fungi represent a major problem in everyday life, in that they attack and rot shoes, clothing, equipment, food, and stored goods. Warm, humid conditions are not limited to the tropics, though. © 2016 Neil Ratliff

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Similar warm, humid environments are common in basements in the northern countries during moist weather, as well as within walls where condensation occurs or rainwater has seeped in. Mold takes advantage of this fact. What you need to remember is that whenever the relative humidity exceeds 70 percent regularly, slow molding will occur. When it exceeds 75 percent, molding will occur within a matter of a week or two in all the materials that are susceptible to mold.

 Oxygen Nearly all fungi require oxygen in order to live and grow, although there are some exceptions to this – some molds do not need oxygen, while a few other can do with a very small amount. Most of the fungi not only need oxygen, even if only in small amounts, but they are poisoned by carbon dioxide, even as we are. Very few of them can grow if the concentration of carbon dioxide in the air exceeds 50 percent, regardless of how much oxygen is present. When they are growing in soil, stored grain, cotton, or other bulk materials, they may be inhibited (or eliminated) by the carbon dioxide they themselves produce. © 2016 Neil Ratliff

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 Food Like every other living thing, mold needs food. Some fungi thrive on an wide range of food, and seem capable of decaying almost everything but metals. Others are so specialized that they will grown only on specific kinds of pollen grains, on hair or feathers, on certain trees, within the body of certain kinds of insects, or on the dung of certain kinds of animals. In other words, fungi are trying different ways of feeding. It’s not surprising that as it is, fungi have done pretty well at converting a major portion of the world into mold. Given a slight but consistent increase in temperature and relative humidity over a large portion of the globe for a few eons and probably they would become a dominant form of life.

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 Light Light is only a minor factor in the growth of most fungi. While true that a few of them need a certain amount of light in order to reproduce normally, the majority of them grow as well in darkness as in light. Ultraviolet light will stimulate some, inhibit others, or kill them, its effect depending on wave length, time of exposure, and the particular fungus involved. The majority of fungus spores are more resistant to injury from ultraviolet rays than bacteria. Some fungi have a dark pigment in their bodies and spores that apparently protects them from injury by UV light.

© 2016 Neil Ratliff

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HOW TO REMOVE MOLD FROM YOUR HOME

 Drywall If you find fungal mold growing on unpainted drywall in your home you will have to remove and replace the drywall. Unfortunately, there is no way to completely remove mold from unpainted drywall since it’s a porous material. To remove the moldy drywall, use a utility knife to cut out any section of drywall invaded by mold. Make sure to cut out an area that covers at least two of the wooden beams behind the drywall. This is needed because you’ll have to properly attach the replacement section of drywall onto the two beams. Next you’ll need to cut out a section of new drywall to replace the one you just removed. Use a tape measure to measure the length and width of the new © 2016 Neil Ratliff

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section that you’ll need so that it’ll fit properly. Then use the utility knife to cut out the section of new drywall. Make sure that the new drywall fits in place and the use drywall screws to attach it to the wooden beams. After this you should apply drywall compound and then leave it to dry. Once you’ve left it for 24 hours you can then sand the joint compound down to smooth it out. You can also then paint the drywall if you like. If you find mold on drywall that is painted or primed, then you don’t need to remove the drywall. This is because the mold should be just on the surface and shouldn’t have penetrated into the drywall itself. Wipe or scrub the mold away using a cleaning product and a mold killing solution.

 Wood To clean moldy wood wipe or scrub the mold from the surface using a cloth or a sponge, along with some water and detergent. The same general process for removing mold from wood applies whether the mold is on wooden furniture, wooden walls, beams or any other wood. To remove mold stains from wood – which could remain after you’ve cleaned mold – you can sand the wood. This should usually remove the stain, although © 2016 Neil Ratliff

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sometimes the mold stain might run deep into the wood so that it can’t be completely sanded away. Another option of course is to remove and replace the wood with mold on it. Generally this is not worth the cost and trouble compared to cleaning, but if it’s a situation where the wood is cheap and easy to replace you might decide it’s the best option. You’ll need to HEPA vacuum the surrounding area once you’ve remove the mold from the wood. During mold removal it’s inevitable that some mold spores are left behing and so you need to remove as many as possible. After you’ve finished cleaning up the mold problem you might want to coat the wood with a fungicidal sealant or paint so that you know it’s completely safe. This way any mold left in the wood certainly won’t affect you and no new mold should begin to grow on the wood either.

 Tiles You’ll often see mold growing on tiles in place like the bathroom. The good news is that mold can be easily cleaned from the non-porous surfaces of tiles. Begin by scrubbing the mold off of the tiles and grout. Use a scrubbing brush along with a household cleaning product or mold killing product. © 2016 Neil Ratliff

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After this you’ll probably find there is still mold stains left on the grout. You can use bleach to fade these stains away. However, before you use bleach you should spot test it to make sure that it won’t discolor your tiles. You should also wear gloves to protect your hands from the bleach. Apply the bleach to the grout and leave it sit for approximately 10 minutes. If you find the stain remains on the grout after bleaching then repeat the process. Then rinse the bleach off thoroughly with water.

© 2016 Neil Ratliff

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THE FANTASTIC 4: THE MOST EFFECTIVE MOLD KILLERS

There are several substances you can use to kill and remove mold, but the most effective ones are bleach, vinegar, baking soda, and tea tree oil.

 Bleach Bleach can kill every species of indoor mold that it touches, along with its spores, leaving a surface sanitized and mold-resistant. Unfortunately, using belach is only effective if the mold is growing on nonporous materials such as tiles, bathtubs, glass and countertops. Bleach cannot penetrate into porous materials and so it does not come into contanct with mold growing beneath the surface of materials such as wood and drywall.

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Using bleach on these materials will kill the mold above the surface but the roots within the material will remain and the mold will be back. Bleach produces heavy fumes so make sure the area is well ventilated before you start. Also wear gloves to protect your hands.

1. For killing mold with bleach use a ration of one cup of bleach per gallon of water (about 1 part bleach to 10 parts water).

2. Apply the solution to non-porous surfaces with mold growth either by using a spray bottle or by using a bucket and a sponge or cloth.

3. You don’t need to rinse the surface afterwards because bleach will inhibit mold growing in the future.

 Vinegar Vinegar is another potent mold killer. It is a mild acid which can kill 91% of mold species. However, it also has the advantages of being natural and safe. Vinegar is non-toxic and doesn’t give off dangerous fumes like bleach does.

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To kill mold with vinegar, use white distilled vinegar which you can buy cheaply from the supermarket.

1. Pour some vinegar into a spray bottle without watering it down.

2. Spray the vinegar onto the moldy surface and leave it to sit for an hour. 3. Wipe clean the area with water and allow the surface to dry. Any smell from the vinegar should clear within a few hours.

If you want to use vinegar to prevent mold from growing on surfaces just spray vinegar on the surface and leave it. Repeat this process every few days.

 Baking Soda Baking soda is well known as a natural and safe household cleaner. But you can also use baking soda to effectively kill mold in your home. Unlike other mold killers which contain hars chemicals, baking soda is mild and harmless to your family and your pets. Besides killing mold, baking soda also deodorizes, thus clearing the smell that mold leaves in your home. Moreover, baking soda also absorbs moisture to © 2016 Neil Ratliff

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help keep mold away. You can use baking soda to complement the action of vinegar, since vinegar kills different species of mold.

1. Add one quarter tablespoon of baking soda to a spray bottle of water.

2. Shake the bottle to dissolve the baking soda into the water. 3. Spray the moldy area with the baking soda and water solution. 4. Then use a scrubbing brush to remove all mold from the surface. 5. Once you’ve scrubbed away the mold rinse the surface with water to remove any residual mold on the surface. 6. Spray the area with the spray bottle again and let the surface dry. This will kill any left over mold and prevent the mold from returning.

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 Tea Tree Oil Tea tree oil is the most effective natural mold killer, hands down. Although it is not cheap, a small amount of tea tree oil goes a long way in killing mold. Tea tree oil is an essential oil derived from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia, a tree which only grows in Australia. It is antifungal, capable of killing all types of mold. In addition, it is also antibacterial and harmless to people and pets. You can buy tea tree oil for about $10 for a small bottle. You can find it in most natural food stores.

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1. To kill mold using tea tree oil add water to a spray bottle, keeping in mind how many cups it takes to fill the bottle.

2. Next add tea tree oil at the ratio of 1 teaspoon per cup of water that went into the spray bottle. 3. Spray the solution on the moldy surface. 4. There is no need to rinse since leaving the tea tree oil on the surface will kill the mold and prevent it from returning.

Tea tree oil has a strong smell but i will go away after a while. You can keep and use the solution you have made for a long time – the oil keeps its potency.

© 2016 Neil Ratliff

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References & Resources https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15238314 - An investigation into techniques for cleaning mold-contaminated home contents – Wilson S., Brasel T.L., Carriker CG, Fortenberry GD, Fogle MR, Karunasena E; Center for Indoor Air Research, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock; 2004

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16862714 - Controlled study of mold growth and cleaning procedure on treated and untreated wet gypsum wallboard in an indoor environment – Krause M, Geer W, Swenson L, Fallah P; Veritox Inc., Redmond-Fall City Road, Redmond, WA, USA; 2006

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3131638/ - Associations between Fungal Species and Water-Damaged Building Materials; Brigitte Andersen, Jens C. Frisvad; Center for Microbial Biotechnology, DTY Systems Biology, Technical University of Denmark; 2011

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK215647/ - Prevention and Remediation of Damp Indoor Environments; Institute of Medicine, Committee on Damp Indoor Spaces and Health; 2004

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK143947/ - Moisture Control and Ventilation; WHO Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality; Dampness and Mold; 2009

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16270726 - Prompt remediation of water intrusion corrects the resultant mold contamination in a home; Rockwell W; Allergy Associates of Fairfield County, Bridgeport, CT, USA; 2005

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