The words “black mold” can strike fear into the hearts of even the most dauntless of homeowners, and with good reason. Scientifically known as Stachybotrys chartarum, black mold is different from other types of household mold in that exposure to this toxic mold is believed to have some of the most serious side effects. If you think you might have black mold in your home, it is critical to understand what you’re dealing with, so the team at Best Pick Reports has compiled the following need-to-know information—black mold 101.

Causes of Black Mold

Mold Growth

Mold spores are tiny airborne particles that make their way into homes via indoor-outdoor air exchange or by hitching a ride on unsuspecting people and pets. When spores find themselves in a suitable environment, they feed on any organic matter present and begin to grow. Mold thrives on moisture, so it typically grows in damp, humid places with little air movement or exposure to sunlight, like basements and bathrooms. Because black mold requires excessive moisture in order to grow, it tends to gravitate toward water-damaged areas.

Health Risks

While many types of mold are not harmful to your health, people who are allergic to mold spores are vulnerable to some unpleasant—and potentially serious—side effects. Exposure to black mold may be associated with the following health issues:

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Eye, nose, and throat irritation
  • Nosebleeds
  • Headaches
  • Rashes
  • Fatigue
  • Asthma
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Bleeding in the lungs

Because symptoms of black mold poisoning can also be linked to other air quality problems, research on its health effects is ongoing.

Getting Rid of Black Mold

Cleaning Safety

Cleaning black mold may sound scary, but according to the CDC, black mold is no more dangerous to remove than other types of household mold, and no special precautions are necessary. Nevertheless, there are some situations in which you should not hazard removing black mold yourself—if the mold is growing in your HVAC system, for instance, or if anyone in your home suffers from a breathing or autoimmune disorder. If you are even the least bit unsure, call in a professional.

The best way to deal with black mold is prevention, but if it’s already taken hold, black mold treatment starts with addressing the moisture issue that encouraged its growth. Once that’s taken care of, arm yourself with gloves, goggles, and a respirator and determine how best to remove the mold, which depends on where it is located. Mold can be cleaned from most hard, nonporous surfaces by spraying on a bleach solution or another mold killer, letting it sit for a few minutes, and then scrubbing it away. Moldy carpeting, drywall, insulation, ceiling tiles, and other porous materials should almost always be thrown away and replaced.

Some professionals recommend mold testing prior to removal to ascertain the type of mold in your home and its potential health risks, but the CDC recommends eradicating mold as soon as possible, regardless of type or severity. If you need help taking care of mold in your home, contact a local Best Pick company that specializes in water damage and mold remediation.

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