When you see mold on your bread, you know you should throw it out. But what about when it shows up in your apartment? It's actually not nearly as obvious as the mold on food, but it's way more hazardous. It's something you should absolutely be mindful of, and there are signs to look for before things get out of control. It's important to know whether or not your apartment has mold, and you need to know how to find out as well as know how to deal with it. We give you the signs and tips on how to prevent it and get it removed.
Mold is a Health Hazard
So, what is mold? It stems from untreated moisture and warm temperatures that combine to form a fungus, which is what you know as mold. You don't have to touch it to get sick because it becomes airborne. You may not know how bad mold actually is for your health. Breathing in mold spores can cause numerous health problems. As mold starts and grows in your apartment, there are spores that can produce allergens, irritants, and mycotoxins. These spores can enter your lungs and cause major problems that can even lead to hospitalization. For those who are allergic to mold, it's even worse and can lead to death in extreme situations. It's no joke.
You Can't Always See It
Moisture can get trapped almost anywhere, and you might not be able to see the mold in your apartment. It could be under the carpet, behind wallpaper, or trapped under a kitchen or bathroom sink. It could be the result of water leakage, trapped moisture from a humidifier, or other causes. Don't assume that because you can't see it mold isn't present in your apartment. If you see bubbling wallpaper or even mildly dark patches seeping through, you can't assume it's definitely mold, but you should be aware. Other signs may point to it, as well.
Mold Smells Bad
If you've ever put your nose up to moldy bread, you know it's not pleasant. The same goes for mold in your apartment. It tends to give off a distinctly musty smell that doesn't go away. If you walk into your apartment and it consistently smells dank and musty, then you know you probably have a mold issue that's not attributable to food gone bad (you checked, right?). That means there's mold somewhere in your apartment, and you should start looking in areas where there could be trapped moisture. But you should consider wearing a mask until you determine where it is and how best to treat it. It's best to avoid breathing in any spores that might be floating around.
Mold Looks Bad
Sometimes mold isn't very obvious, but other times it's plain to see. It shows up as black, grey, or green spots, and it can come through paint, wallpaper, carpet, etc. Also, keep in mind that mold can be behind bubbling drywall, peeling paint, and it can even be present in water stains. Also, look for mold trapped in corners or along the edges of door frames. Take a look in your bathroom, as well because poorly grouted tile or improperly caulked bathtubs and showers can also lead to horrible mold. Sometimes Don't let small patches of mold become a much bigger problem since mold can spread quickly and permeate places that you can't even see.
How to Treat Mold and Keep It Away
Let's say you've discovered mold in your apartment. The small patches can be dealt with using a safe spray cleaner with bleach (Lysol, Clorox, etc.). Wear a mask, eye protection, and gloves before you start to clean the location. We're not talking about big patches behind wallpaper or paint or under rugs. We're merely addressing small locations along door frames, on counters, under sinks, etc.
You must also remember to inform your landlord that you have discovered mold. Don't fail to notify him or her of the situation. They will likely want to have a professional come in and inspect other areas. If black mold is present, it must be properly abated because it is a serious health hazard. Once it is treated, you can use a dehumidifier during months where there is high humidity, and this will help prevent mold from returning. Also, make sure you address any moisture before it becomes a problem. Mop up any standing water, stop any leaks from faucets or sinks, and make sure you tell your landlord about poorly sealed tubs and tile. Taking care of these matters will help you keep mold out of your apartment and give you peace of mind.