How do I know if it is Mold or Mildew?

Mold and mildew – neither word invokes happy images, but what exactly is the difference between these two household nuisances? The simple answer is nothing. Mildew and mold come from the same spores. Technically, there are no “mildew spores,” because all mildew arises from the same spores that can ultimately create mold colonies  At their core, mold and mildew refer to the same basic issue, although each word carries different connotations, with The Federal Emergency Management Agency (http://www.fema.gov/) reinforcing this notion, by describing mildew as “mold in early stage.”

You cannot identify the type of mold in your home with a photograph or with the naked eye since most molds look very similar.  Even an expert mycologist may not identify mold just by their look on drywalls. The only way to tell for sure what type of mold you're dealing with is to have your home tested by a Certified Mold Inspector. Remember!. It's the types of mold and the amounts that you inhale that matters.

For more information: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/pdfs/appenc.pdf

 Can’t I just remove the Mold myself?

The rule of thumb is that if you have a one square foot section of visible mold on a wall, there's likely to be 10 square feet of mold on the other side! So, if you tear into that wall without sealing up the doors and HVAC vents, without venting room air to the outside through a HEPA filter, without covering the floor, walls and even the ceiling with plastic, and without wearing a powered respirator, you might ...

  • release millions of invisible spores into your ventilation system

  • be exposed to a huge dose of potentially toxic fungi

  • contaminate unprotected furniture and personal belongings

  • put your family at risk.

Can’t I just clean the Mold with bleach?

The simple answer is NO.  Bleach can kill virtually every species of indoor mold that it comes into contact with, along with its spores, leaving a surface sanitized and resistant to future mold growth.

Unfortunately, however, using bleach is only effective if the mold is growing on non-porous materials such as tiles, bathtubs, glass and countertops. Bleach cannot penetrate into porous materials and so it does not come into contact with mold growing beneath the surface of materials such as wood and drywall. Using bleach on these materials will kill the mold above the surface but the roots within the material will remain and the mold will soon return.  The chlorine in bleach cannot penetrate into porous surfaces such as drywall or wood. The chlorine is left on the surface of porous materials and only the water component of the bleach is absorbed into the material, providing more moisture for the mold to feed on.  Moisture is one of the few requirements mold has. Now that even more of the wood has become moist, thanks to the water in the bleach, the mold can spread into that area and continue its feast.

The Clorox Company, a company that makes bleach, says bleach and water will kill some types of mold on hard, non-porous surfaces. They say it will kill Aspergillus niger and Trichophyton mentagrophytes but do not say whether or not it will kill any other types of mold.  OSHA and the EPA all have determined that bleach should not be used in mold remediation.

Keep in mind, it is the mold we breathe in that harms us.  Removing the visible aspect of the mold does, in no way, ensure the harmful irritants are not airborne.

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