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Your Home Environment Resource - University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension in Lancaster County

Household Hints & HELP!


submitted by Lorene Bartos, Extension Educator
This article will appear in the February 27, 2005 Lincoln Journal Star Newspaper.

Molds are found both indoors and outdoors. Mold spores grow when moisture is present and conditions are right. Mold allergens can cause respiratory congestion, eye irritation, headaches and fatigue. Indoor mold growth can be prevented and controlled by controlling the moisture in the home.

When mold is found in the home, the first thing to be done is find the moisture source and make the needed changes to reduce or control the moisture. Then the mold needs to be taken care of correctly. To prevent mold growth, it is important to dry out water-damaged areas and items within 48 hours.

If you find mold, many times it can be removed. Mold used to be cleaned up by wiping down the surface with a diluted chorine bleach solution. Now recommendations for cleaning non-porous surfaces include physically removing as much of the mold as possible with a strong detergent solution followed by a rinse of clear water. The bleach solution is reserved for use as a sanitizer after all evidence of mold is removed from the areas exposed to dirty water, soil and bacteria. People planning to do mold clean-up should take careful measures to protect themselves, including wearing goggles, gloves, clothing covering the whole body and a mask.

Contaminated porous materials aren’t easy to clean and should be thrown away. Care should be taken so mold spores aren’t spread throughout the home. Use plastic bags or tarps to cover and carry items such as carpets, boxes, wall board and other porous materials.

If you have a mold problem in your home and the area is less than ten square feet, most times, you can handle the clean up yourself. It is important to follow proper guidelines when doing the job yourself. If you choose to hire someone to do the job, be sure they have experience in cleaning up mold.

The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has good indoor air quality information and good reference guides “Mold, Moisture and Your Home” and Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Building” on their Web site

Builders, contractors, remodelers, housing managers, real estate licensees, inspectors and HVAC and other housing professionals wanting to learn more about mold and moisture problems and solutions are invited to attend the Mold, Moisture, and Ventilation Symposium, Wednesday, March 16, 2005 at the Holiday Inn Central, Omaha. For more information and fee call 441-7180.

Remember, moisture control is the key to mold control.



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