5 BEST PRACTICES TO PREVENT AND CONTROL MOLD
Mold and mildew are hot button topics any time of year but especially during humid summer months. According to the EPA, “Mold can grow on virtually any organic material as long as moisture and oxygen are present. There are molds that grow on wood, paper, carpet, food, and insulation. Because mold eats or digests what it is growing on, it can damage a building and its furnishings. If left unchecked, mold eventually can cause structural damage to building materials. Molds gradually destroy the things they grow on. You can prevent damage to buildings and building contents, save money, and avoid potential health problems by controlling moisture and eliminating mold growth.”
How is mold linked to Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)?
When mold grows indoors, there could be reports of musty or moldy odors. These should be investigated immediately. Mold can be linked to various health issues such as headaches, allergic reactions, asthma symptoms, nasal irritation, and nausea. For more information on Indoor Air Quality, please review the EPA’s Guide for Building Owners & Facility Managers.
What are the 5 best practices to prevent and control mold?
- Reduce indoor humidity (to 30-60%) to decrease mold growth by:
- Venting bathrooms, dryers, and other moisture-generating sources to the outside
- Using air conditioners and de-humidifiers
- Using exhaust fans whenever cleaning
- Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials or furnishings within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.
- In areas with a perpetual moisture problem, do not install carpeting (e.g., by drinking fountains, classroom sinks, or on concrete floors with leaks or frequent condensation).
- Prevent condensation: Reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces (e.g., windows, piping, exterior walls, roof, or floors) by adding insulation.
- If mold is a problem, you must clean up the mold and eliminate sources of moisture. Fix the source of the water problem or leak to prevent mold growth.
If you think your facility has mold or mildew you should first understand what type issue you have. If the issue is flood water, please review the EPA Fact Sheet “Flood Cleanup ‐Avoiding Indoor Air Quality Problems”
There is no practical way to eliminate all molds and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.
If you see mold, how do you get rid of it?
Who should do the cleanup depends on several factors. One consideration is the size of the mold problem. If the moldy area is less than about 10 square feet (roughly a 3 ft. by 3 ft. patch), in most cases, you and your team can handle the job yourself by following the guidelines below.
However, if the affected areas are greater than 10 square feet, a professional remediation contractor may be required for the cleanup. In any event, check the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guide titled Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings, which gives advice on all building types.
What do you wear when removing mold?
- Wear an N-95 respirator. Please note that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that respirators fit properly (fit testing) when used in an occupational setting; consult OSHA for more information (osha.gov).
- Wear gloves. Long gloves are recommended.
- Wear goggles.
What are the best methods to cleanup mold?
- Scrub mold off hard surfaces, and dry thoroughly.
- Discard contaminated absorbent or porous materials, such as ceiling tiles.
- Avoid exposing yourself or others to mold. Wear appropriate PPE.
- Do not run the HVAC system if you know or suspect that it is contaminated with mold – it could spread mold throughout the building.
What chemicals should you use when removing mold?
Mold growth can be removed from hard surfaces with commercial cleaning products, disinfectants, or a bleach solution. Follow the manufacturers’ instructions for use (see product label) and ensure proper ventilation throughout the cleaning process.
If you choose to use a cleaner-disinfectant product, check the label to ensure that it has efficacy claims for fungal organisms, such as Aspergillus niger. Niger is a black mold commonly associated with high moisture events.
Some disinfectants may even offer residual antifungal benefits that can help control the return of the mold problem. Most importantly, certain disinfectants contain odor control agents that help eliminate the moldy odors, which are frequently a cause of student and staff complaints.
If you choose to use bleach to clean up mold, never mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners. Mixing bleach with ammonia or other cleaning products will produce dangerous, toxic fumes.
Who else can help when I have a mold problem?
Whatever mold situation you may be facing, it is suggested that you consult with your Imperial Dade sales consultant for recommendations specific to the needs of your case and your facility. Our representatives know what products and equipment may be needed to help you resolve your problem as quickly as possible. Visit our website to find an Imperial Dade location near you.