Stachybotrys chartarum, commonly known as black mold or toxic black mold, is a type of fungi that can grow in homes and feeds on organic matter. Toxic black mold can be easily spotted because of its greenish-black color. It looks slimy when there is still a water source present, but can also look dry if the water source is eliminated. Toxic black mold produces mycotoxins – substances that can be a health hazard in buildings and homes.
Black Mold Exposure Symptoms
Long-term exposure to toxic black mold mycotoxins may cause various symptoms to individuals. Symptoms include respiratory problems, sneezing, itchy eyes, nose and throat, headaches, skin and eye irritation, coughs, and more. Toxic black mold exposure can cause over 30 health problems, such as skin infections, flu-like diseases and pneumonia. This is why it can be very dangerous to ignore toxic black mold in your home.
Where Does Black Mold Grow in Homes?
Toxic black mold typically grows in warm and damp areas, after a flooding event or due to leaks in the roof, cracked pipes, or other moisture sources. The most common areas in a home where toxic black mold grows are the basement, bathroom, and the kitchen. Toxic black mold can grow on many building materials in a home, as it needs materials high in cellulose and low in nitrogen, such as walls, drywalls, wood, etc.
Black Mold Removal
In general, surfaces larger than 10 square feet require professional mold removal services. However, if the affected area is less than 10 square feet and you feel comfortable with mold cleaning, you can choose to remove the mold yourself. Fix the water leak and dry the area first. Use a scrubbing brush and mixture of household detergent and water, or a commercial mold removal product. Wear protective gear such as goggles, dust mask, protective clothing and gloves. Learn more general mold removal tips here.
Black Mold Prevention
Preventing toxic black mold in your home is a matter of controlling the moisture levels and keeping your home dry. Fix leaks in the walls, roof, gutters and plumbing pipes, keep indoor humidity at 30-50%, prevent condensation by reducing humidity and ventilate appliances that generate moisture. For repairs, use mold-resistant paint, drywall and sheetrock. More black mold prevention tips are available here.
At PuroClean, we bring you valuable advice for mold prevention and remediation in your home. Learn how to remove mold from wood here and how to clean up mold in the bathroom, basement and kitchen. For professional fire, water, and mold restoration services, contact your local PuroClean office.