Mold Prevention – and Why It Mattersplanning ahead // on Tuesday April 26, 2016
Spring cleaning season is officially upon us. And while dusting, vacuuming and tidying up are likely on your to-do list, you’ll want to add another task: mold inspection and prevention.
Here’s why: Mold is everywhere – there are more than 1,000 common mold species in the United States. (Shuddering yet? Me too.) It likes to lurk on roofs and in bathrooms, kitchens, carpeted areas, air conditioners, basements, and walls – and is often out of sight. Most mold is pretty harmless, but some species create health hazards – all the more reason to check your facility.
Fortunately, doing your due diligence can go a long way in protecting your facility. Take these precautions to say good-bye to mold – and keep it away.
Spot the warning signs. Red flags include water-damaged areas, stains, warped boards and drywall, and abundant condensation. Remember, mold often hides out under surfaces and objects, but once you zero in on problem areas, it’s pretty easy to distinguish. Identifying factors are:
- Color: Brown, green, black or white
- Texture: Smooth, rough or powdery
- Scent: Musty, earthy or even chemical-like
Stop growth. Mold thrives in warm, humid and damp conditions, but you can thwart it by controlling humidity (keep your building’s humidity level below 40 percent) and increasing air flow.
Keep grounds clear. Water that collects outside can seep in. Direct water away from the building foundation, and don’t plant shrubs and trees near exterior walls.
Clean it up. If you find mold, remove it with a mixture of 10 parts water to one part bleach. Play it safe and wear a disposable respirator, gloves and protective eyewear. An exception to DIY mold removal: hard-to-remove greenish-black mold, known as stachybotrys chartarum, is best left to a pro. More mold-removal tips can be found on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s website.
Act quickly after damage occurs. Leaky pipe? Post-storm flooding? Repair the source of the damage and immediately clean and dry affected carpet, walls and furniture. You might be better off tossing porous items like carpet or ceiling tile, where mold can get out of control.
Including mold prevention in your facility’s maintenance plan is a smart idea. It will help ensure a healthy, safe environment, and keep your facility in good shape. Plus, here's to tackling another item on your spring cleaning to-do list!