What is Black Mold?
Black mold, is a type of fungus as well as a relatively common household problem. In nature, fungus breaks down dead organic materials and is beneficial to the ecosystem. Unfortunately, black mold can cause health problems when found in an enclosed space, such as a home or business. Mold can cause allergic reactions as well as other health problems. People who have a compromised respiratory or immune system are usually affected more severely. For some, mold exposure can be dangerous. It can also damage materials and leave unpleasant stains.
Identifying Black Mold
The first thing one must do is identify the presence of fungus. As the name implies, black mold is usually a dark color that can be easily spotted. This does not always mean that it can be found easily. Hidden patches may grow in hard-to-reach areas, behind unaffected surfaces or simply in places one may not often look. When mold is not immediately seen, it is typically identified by smell or the presence of excessive moisture. Mildew has a musty odor and only grows in damp or wet areas. If a material has been wet for more than two days, one can usually assume there is mold growth.
Natural Ways to Kill Black Mold
While professional removal is necessary in cases of extensive growth, it’s possible to kill smaller surface infestations with natural ingredients that you can purchase at the store, or may even already have in your home.
One method is to spray the affected area with undiluted vinegar, let it sit for several hours, then scrub to remove. A similar cleaning technique can be used with a diluted solution of tea tree oil in water, or, for a less pungent treatment, a diluted mixture of citrus seed oil.
Another option is a 3% solution of hydrogen peroxide sprayed directly onto the area, but be careful and patch test it in a less visible spot first, as peroxide can damage or discolor certain materials.