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Common Household Items Susceptible to Mold

Posted by Angela Ostroff on 30 January, 2017

When most people imagine the possibility of a mold infestation in their home, their minds tend to go immediately toward an infestation of the actual house itself. They imagine fungal growths eating away at their wallpaper, creeping along walls and ceilings, or blooming up in the dark, damp corners of the house.

 

This fear of mold attacking the home itself is certainly logical: after all, widespread mold infestations are one of the most serious health and safety concerns to arise in many people’s homes. No one want to have to deal with the sight, smell, and danger of a mold growth that has worked its way into the very fibers of their home!

 

What homeowners should not forget, however, is that all organic matter can potentially play host to a mold infestation. This means, for example, that even if you are lucky enough to avoid a mold problem in your basement, attic, kitchen, or bathroom, mold could still take hold through various household items that are made of organic matter.

 

Of course, these two problems are oftentimes interrelated. If you ensure that your home does not offer ideal conditions for mold growth, then both your house itself and your possessions will be less prone to an infestation. Likewise, if you do experience a mold problem in either of these regards, treating it quickly is the best way to ensure that the mold does not continue to spread. (Note: if you need to treat a mold problem in your home, RMR’s Botanical Cleaner and Treatment can do the trick!)

 

Here are a few household items that are particularly susceptible to mold trouble.

 

Wood. From coffee tables to cutting boards and even jigsaw puzzles -- our homes are filled with wood products. Unfortunately, wood’s organic makeup and porous surfaces make it an ideal host for mold. The best way to prevent such problems is to never let these items stay wet for an extended period of time: always use coasters, dry your cutting board, etc.

 

Cardboard. Often used for storage, cardboard poses a threat for mold growth for many of the same reasons that wood does. Though cardboard is not often exposed directly to water in the way that many wooden items are, it does absorb moisture very well, which is why keeping cardboard out of high-humidity areas is important.

 

Food. Keeping the fridge clean and ventilating the kitchen are the best ways of ensuring that no food is ruined and no people are accidentally sickened by eating mold-tainted bread, fruits, vegetables, etc.

 

Medication. Keeping medications sealed is crucial: moldy medicine can be ineffective or even poisonous.

 

Paper. That classic “old book smell” that we all love is actually caused by a very complex set of chemical breakdowns that occur with book materials over the year -- but it is often tinged with a small amount of mold. In small quantities, this can be charming, but if the mold gets out of hand it can ruin the paper and even risk triggering an asthma or allergy attack for the next person who opens it! Many documents, photographs, and other valuable keepsakes are made of paper (or paper-like) materials, which is why keeping these items in low-humidity areas is so important.

 

Visit RMR Solutions online to learn more about best practices for treating and preventing mold.

The Perfect Storm

Posted by Bearly Marketing on 23 January, 2017

Oftentimes, mold arises due to unforeseen circumstances that homeowners and renters can do little to prevent. Just as often, however, the residents of a home or apartment make common mistakes that allow mold to really gain a foothold. And the most common scenario involves some combination of the two possibilities.

 

Perhaps the best way to avoid such mistakes is to understand what they look like in practice. That's why, in this article, we're going to present what we'll call ‘the perfect storm.’ As you might imagine, this is a hypothesis scenario in which everything that can go wrong does go wrong. Although such a situation may seem unlikely, it is actually surprisingly common just how many homeowners ignore multiple warning signs of a severe mold infestation -- or even contribute to their own existing mold troubles. Read on with care: the odds are actually very good that you are committing at least one of the mistakes you will soon learn about.

 

Step one: negligent oversight. Regardless of how large or how small your living space may be, there are bound to be a few places that you don’t view with regularity in your daily routine. Examples may include your basement, your crawlspace, your attic, or even the space under the sink. In order to prevent mold infestations, however, it is important to perform periodic checks of your home in order to preempt potential problems.

 

Step two: a moisture problem arises. Mold cannot grow without a source of moisture -- which is why controlling moisture is the best strategy to prevent mold infestations. But, all too often, a moisture source does arise, perhaps in the form of a dripping pipe, or condensation on the attic window, or even simply from a humid climate.

 

Step three: a catastrophic event. In extreme cases, mold can be the result of a major problem such as flooding from a leaky roof or a broken pipe. If your home is damaged by water, mold will grow unless action is taken to stop it.

 

Step four: failure to ventilate. Moisture in the home can be remediated a little with regular ventilation. Homes that experience mold problems often tend to lack ventilation, either due to a lack of windows or to the owner’s own negligence.

 

Step five: a mold problem develops...and is ignored. By the time you can smell that distinctive musty odor of mold, the odds are good that a large quantity of mold has grown. (Whether visible or not.) If you do see mold, the odds are also good that there is a large amount of hidden growth as well. As soon as you detect mold, action should be taken to remediate it. The longer mold is left unchecked, the more it will spread, and the more difficult, costly, and time-consuming it will become to remediate.

 

Step six: inadequate cleaning procedures employed. In order to stop mold in its tracks, powerful cleaning products such as RMR Solution’s Botanical Cleaner and Treatment are needed. Although lesser products can temporarily remove the appearance of mold, fungal spores are very resilient, and are bound to return unless treated with the most effective of products. Visit RMR Solutions online today to learn more.

Mold Q&As

Posted by Bearly Marketing on 16 January, 2017

We’ll be the first to admit: mold isn’t exactly the most exciting thing in the world to learn about. For this reason, many renters and homeowners know very little about this pesky problem when it first strikes their place of living. If you’re looking for a quick crash course in mold, you’ve come to the right place. This Q&A should help get you up to speed. 

 

Q: What is mold and how does it occur?

A: Mold is a fungus that feeds off of organic matter and can occur anywhere moisture is present. High levels of moisture in a given area tend to be a warning sign that mold could occur: this is why mold is so prevalent in basements, attics, kitchens, and bathrooms.

 

Q: Is mold toxic?

A: Certain molds produce substances called mycotoxins, which are indeed poisonous to humans and animals. These molds, the most common of which is Stachybotrys chartarum (black mold) can cause neurological problems and even death if the exposure is extended and intense. It is worth noting, however, that even non toxic molds can cause and/or trigger wide array of potential health issues such as asthma, allergies, anxiety, and cold-like symptoms.

 

Q: Do I need to worry about mold in my home?

A: As scary as that last paragraph might have sounded, the answer is actually...it depends. The truth is that virtually every indoor structure in the world has at least some mold spores, and as long as this mold is kept at bay there is no risk to people or property. However, if you can see or smell mold, the odds are good that the problem has reached a level that warrants remediation. Likewise, if you notice symptoms that could be indicative of mold (such as allergies that get worse indoors) then a thorough mold search is probably in order.

 

Q: What should I do if I discover mold?

A: As mentioned above, mold infestations that have reached the point of being easily seen or smelled likely warrant action. Search carefully to discover the full extent of the mold, and look for the source of moisture as well: cutting off this moisture source will be key to preventing more mold growth in the future. The mold itself will also need to be treated: we will address that in the following question.

 

Q: Can I handle a mold infestation by myself?

A: Absolutely! Excepting the most widespread and unmanageable of infestations, mold can generally be removed by a non-professional as long as that person has the right tools. If you are interested in DIY mold removal, we encourage you to visit the RMR Solutions store today to view great products such as the RMR Solutions Botanical Mold Cleaner and the RMR 86 Mold Stain Remover. Depending on the severity of the problem, you may wish to check out our full selection to find useful items such as foggers, respirators, solution sprayers and more. And should you have any questions, feel free to reach out us. Good luck!

Keeping Your Bathroom Moisture Free

Posted by Bearly Marketing on 09 January, 2017

Apart from attics and unfinished basements, bathrooms are one of the most susceptible rooms in the house when it comes to mold. As you could probably guess, this has a great deal to do with the amount of moisture that tends to be released when bathing and showering. If you hope to prevent mold growth in your bathroom, therefore, you will need to prevent moisture. Here are a few important tips to keep in mind.

 

  • Ventilate. First and foremost, it is important to keep your bathroom ventilated--especially during and after showers. Run your ventilation fan before and after your shower, and, upon finishing, leave both the door and the window open until all visible fog has evaporated. In the case that your bathroom does not have an overhead fan, installing one may ultimately be a more cost-effective investment than dealing with a mold infestation--but bringing in a mobile fan from time to time is probably a good idea meanwhile.
  • Clean and Dry. Keeping your bathroom clean is a smart hygienic decision to begin with: but the potential for fungal growth makes regular cleaning an absolute no-brainer. Just as importantly, drying off each and every surface that you clean is a good idea that can help prevent an otherwise dangerous buildup of moisture. After cleaning, it is a good idea to leave door and windows open with the fan running, just as you would after a bath or shower.
  • Dehumidify. If, in spite of your best efforts to ventilate, clean, and dry your bathroom, moisture still poses a problem, it is probably time to invest in a good dehumidifier. Once again, the upfront cost of this expense will be well worth the time, money, and energy that you save by avoiding a future mold problem.
  • Keep bathroom warm. The colder your bathroom is when you turn on the shower, the more vapor will be generated--and the more moisture will collect in your bathroom. Depending on the setup of your house, it may be wise to leave your bathroom door open (or make sure that bathroom vents are open) before showing in order to allow the room to warm up.
  • Watch for leaks. This article has focused on the moisture generated by bathing and showering, but it is important to keep in mind that another reason bathrooms are susceptible to mold problems is because leaks can occur quite easily from shower heads, pipes, and other water fixtures. Catching a leak as soon as possible is the best way to prevent water damage, mold, and other potential problems.
  • Address mold immediately. If you do discover mold, it is important to act quickly in order to prevent damage and stop the problem from spreading. Although large-scale mold infestations may need professional remediation, smaller mold problems can be easily solved using DIY products such as RMR Solutions’ Botanical Cleaner and Treatment. Visit RMR Solutions online today to learn more about our powerful range of products that can help you rid your home of mold once and for all.

Employers: OSHA Standards Regulate Mold in the Workplace

Posted by Bearly Marketing on 02 January, 2017

The topic of mold in the workplace is a legally murky area. As OSHA itself points out, “There are no [current] federal standards or recommendations, (e.g., OSHA, NIOSH, EPA) for airborne concentrations of mold or mold spores.” However, this does not mean that mold itself is outside the realm of what OSHA is concerned with. As OSHA’s mold guide also states, “Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees.” Because mold has been clearly indicted as an aggravating and/or causal factor in a number of health conditions, it is unquestionable that excess mold in the workplace could become a health concern, therefore subjecting your company to OSHA regulations. (As well as lawsuits, reputation damage, and other highly negative consequences. Due to the aforementioned fuzziness of current regulations, however, it is difficult to tell at exactly what point mold becomes a legal concern.

 

Complicating matters even more, as much as business owners would love to simply “play it safe” and keep their buildings entirely mold free, this is not an option either. OSHA offers a concise overview of the ubiquity of mold. “Molds are the most common forms of fungi found on the earth. Fungi are classified as neither plants nor animals, and include yeasts, mildews, puffballs, and mushrooms. Most molds reproduce through the formation of spores, tiny microscopic cells that float through the indoor and outdoor air on a continual basis. We are all exposed to mold spores in the air we breathe on a daily basis, both indoors and outdoors.” In other words, virtually every building on earth contains at least some mold, and avoiding it (and avoiding exposing your employees to it) is impossible. The key to smart building management lies in assessing and mitigating risk.

 

Here are a few tips mentioned in OSHA’s mold report that you should consider implementing:

 

  • Find mold. It is important to review you building carefully in order to discover any potential mold infestations. This is highly relevant because mold tends to thrive in precisely the places where it has a high chance of going unnoticed: basements, attics, crawlspaces, and hidden nooks and crannies.
  • Sampling and identifying mold. Some types of mold are more dangerous than others. If you are concerned that a mold infestation you have found may be toxic, you may wish to call a professional for testing.
  • Removing mold. Regardless of the size or toxicity of an infestation, if it is large enough to be visible (or detectable by smell) then you should probably invest in removing it, either with a professional service, or with a powerful do-it-yourself product such as the RMR Solutions Botanical Cleaner and Treatment or the RMR-86 Mold Stain Remover.
  • Preventing mold. Once you have removed any mold infestations, you should take precautions in order to ensure that you do not experience any mold problems in the future; most importantly, remove any potential water leaks or other sources of moisture!

 

To learn more about mold and mold removal, visit RMR Solutions online today!

Could Mold Be Affecting Your Pets?

Posted by Bearly Marketing on 26 December, 2016

You make sacrifices to be a good pet owner. You invest in the highest-quality food, you go on walks and park-days, you change the litter, go to check-ups, and stay informed. You love your little buddy, and the love, loyalty, and company you get in return makes it all worth it. If this sounds like you, then congratulations -- you are a model pet owner!

As mentioned above, one of your biggest responsibilities is staying informed and up-to-date: after all, new information is always coming out about how animals should be treated and cared for, and sometimes, new dangers can also emerge or be discovered.

Case and point: over the past decade or so, vets and the public alike have come to understand just how much of an impact household mold can have on animals. The issue was first brought to public consciousness in 2007, when the American Veterinary Medical Association published a press release detailing a disturbing incident experienced by Florida veterinarian Douglas Mader. Mader had been performing a relatively routine dental procedure on two sibling cats when one began foaming at the mouth. The procedure had to be halted, and, despite the valiant efforts on part of Mader and his staff, both cats ended up dying two days later.

Perplexed and concerned by this event, which occurred at a time when animal-borne illnesses such as the Avian Flu were receiving a great deal of attention, clinicians observed the blood tests that had been ordered before the cats passed away--only to make a surprising discovery. Both cats had black mold in their lung capillaries. Despite having shown minimal to no symptoms, both cats had been very ill due to the inhalation of toxic black mold, and the dental procedure had aggravated internal hemorrhages, thus causing both cats to pass.

Of course, the health impact that mold can have on humans has been well-documented for many years. It isn’t entirely surprising to learn that these same problems can also affect animals. The more surprising (and worrying) element of this story, along with recent tests, is the fact that many symptoms of mold poisoning can easily go unnoticed and untreated until it is too late. According to reports, a few possibly observable symptoms of mold poisoning in pets include: severe scratching and chewing when fleas or other pests are not present, lethargy, runny nose and eyes, wheezing, coughing, nose bleeds, and changes in eating habits.

Because of an animal’s small size and body weight, it can oftentimes be severely impacted by mold that would only be a minor problem for us humans. The negative impact of mold can also take hold far quicker in animals that in people, which is part of the reason why symptoms are not always noticed in time. This highlights the importance of bringing your animal to the vet with relative haste whenever a potential problem is noticed.

Additionally, this issue highlights the importance of treating mold promptly in order to avoid negative health effects in humans and animals alike. With powerful products such as RMR’s Botanical Cleaning and Odor Treatment, you can fight mold and keep yourself and the people (and animals) you love safe!

Laundry and Mold

Posted by Bearly Marketing on 19 December, 2016

You may not realize it, but your dirty laundry can create more than just a bad smell or an annoying chore—it creates an ideal environment for mold. Without proper care, laundry can easily become infested with mold itself; and it can even create an environment in which mold spreads and infests other parts of your home. Here is a brief guide to the ways laundry can create mold, and the ways that you can prevent this problem from occurring.

 

Before Washing.

The primary risk for mold infestation in laundry comes during the stage before laundry is washed. This is because dirty laundry is oftentimes damped with sweat, body oils, and water. As you probably already know, mold needs dampness and organic matter in order to thrive, and this combination is extremely present in dirty clothes. The situation can be even worse in clothes that have been soiled with food or beverages, as there is even more organic matter to feed the infestation. Either way, however, the moisture alone is oftentimes enough for the initial infestation to take hold. This is why laundry should always be washed promptly (within a few days at most). Though it may be tempting to let laundry pile up a bit more in order to perform all laundry duties in one large batch, this method can facilitate a moldy infestation that will be very difficult and time-consuming to deal with, and could even ruin your clothes. In the worst case scenario, this mold can even spread and begin infesting your floor, walls, or other parts of the home—which is why leaving dirty clothes in a hamper is always recommendable.

 

In the Washer.

Although dirty laundry is the most susceptible to mold, don’t make the mistake of assuming that the risk has been totally assuaged as soon as you begin the cleaning process. Once you wash your clothes, they become extremely damp—and should be moved from the washer to the dryer as quickly as possible in order to prevent potential problems.

 

In the Drier.

As in the case of the washer, preventing mold in the drier is mostly a question of diligence: don’t leave damp clothes in the drier without drying, and don’t remove clothes until they are fully dry. It is also important to remember to clean the lint trap frequently, as a clogged lint trap can cause the moisture removed during the drying process to escape into your home. It is also worth noting that a bit of this moisture does escape each and every time you dry, so be aware of this when it comes to controlling moisture levels in your laundry room.

 

Air drying.

There are lots of reasons to love air drying your clothes: it is cheaper, quieter, and more environmentally friendly, just to give a few examples. It can also help prevent the aforementioned problem of moisture escaping into your laundry room. All that being said, it is still highly important to practice the rule of diligence mentioned above; never remove clothes from the line before they are dry, no matter how tempted you may be!

 

For more mold tips and tricks, visit RMR Solutions online today!

Mold and Dry Rot

Posted by Angela Ostroff on 13 December, 2016

Dry rot is a serious problem that can have a negative impact on one of your greatest investments: your home. Though it is particularly prevalent in older homes featuring wood that may not have been treated, it can occur virtually anywhere--and, when left unchecked, can cause serious and costly harm. Here are a few facts that you should know about dry rot.

 

What exactly is dry rot?

Dry rot, also referred to as brown rot decay, is a certain type of wood-eating fungus that can cause serious damage in a home environment. It is important to point out the fact that the term “dry rot” is a bit of a misnomer: like all forms of fungus, dry rot does require at least some moisture in order to grow. Ironically enough, even the alternate name, brown rot decay, can be a bit misleading as well! This is because dry rot actually goes through four distinct lifecycle phases:

 

  • The fungus begins as a collection of microscopic spores that, in large quantities, can appear as a fine orange powder to the naked eye.
  • In the second stage of dry rot, the fungus grows thin white tendrils known as hyphae. These strands eventually penetrate the lumbar, setting the stage for the destructive third and fourth stages.
  • The third stage is reached when the hyphae have grown so dense and numerous that they form a large white mass known as the mycelium.
  • In the fourth stage, the mold has developed into a fruiting body that actively pumps out spores to the surrounding area, causing the entire cycle to start over, leading to a rapid expansion of the infestation.

 

Where does rot tend to occur?

Because dry rot is technically a type of mold, it occurs in many of the damp, isolated places that typical household molds appear. Examples include wooden window sills, rim joints, crawlspaces, basements, the connections between decks and house structures, and the floor around tubs and toilets. Dry rot is not always immediately visible until it has reached the point of actually causing damage, but sometimes the presence of other molds can tip you off to the possibility of dry rot. This is yet another reason to never ignore mold!

 

Preventing dry rot

The key to preventing dry rot is preventing moisture buildups. Here are a few important suggestions:

 

  • Ventilate and insulate your attic, basement, and crawlspaces.
  • Seal basement and crawlspace floors.
  • Check all wall, roof, deck and porch flashings to ensure water is diverted effectively.
  • Keep wood siding and trims elevated.
  • Make sure all windows and doors are properly weatherproofed.
  • Paint and caulk regularly
  • Keep an eye on drains and downspouts, removing any debris that could potentially cause trouble.

 

Responding to dry rot

If you discover dry rot in your home, you are going to need to analyze the situation and respond accordingly:

  • Deep damage necessitates replacement of the wood and occasionally even structural repairs.
  • Surface level mold require aggressive treatment to prevent negative health effects and preempt serious damage.
  • Stains can be treated with special products such as the RMR 86 Mold Stain Remover.

 

Learn more about mold treatments by visiting RMR Solutions online today!

When is Mold Remediation Covered by Insurance?

Posted by Bearly Marketing on 05 December, 2016

If you have mold in your home or place of business, you’re probably hoping the cost of solving this trouble will be covered by your insurance. Many people simply assume that their homeowner’s insurance will pay for any unexpected issue that arises with their home through no fault of their own. Unfortunately, the reality isn’t so simple. The answer to the question of whether or not your insurance will pay for mold remediation ultimately depends upon many factors. In this article, we will offer a brief overview of the subject. Be aware, though, that we will be speaking in generalities: you should always double check with your insurance company in order make sure that you aren’t missing out on any potential payments!

Homeowner’s insurance and water damage

The source of mold, as we all know, is moisture. For this reason, most serious mold infestations are the result of water damage. The best way to stop mold is to respond quickly and decisively when water damage occurs. This is where we have some good news to offer: in most cases, insurance does cover remediation of water damage that occurs due to an unexpected internal event. (For example, a busted water pipe or a broken washing machine.)

Insuring for a flood.

In the United States, water damage caused by a flood is not covered under homeowner’s insurance. Instead, homeowners have the option to choose additional flood insurance, which, obviously, would cover any water damaged cause by a flood. If this is the situation that you find yourself in, then your flood insurance will help you pay to treat the water damage, thus effectively removing the potential cause of mold.

Okay…but what about mold itself?

You’ve probably noticed that, thus far, we’ve only been talking about the broader problem of water damage. Sure, home and flood insurance companies will pay to remove the potential cause of mold, but what if my home or place of business is already infested?

In the vast majority of cases, mold damage is not going to be covered because it is going to be viewed as the result of inaction on your part. Most official insurance policy in this regard basically boils down to “you should have told us about the water damage that caused this mess in the first place if you wanted us to pay for it.” Although there may be exceptions made in certain circumstances (again, It never hurts to try) the general assumption you should make is that insurance rules toward mold ae rather harsh.

What can be done about a mold problem?

If you’re looking for an affordable yet effective method to kill mold and get your house back to the way it was, then RMR Solutions can help. With powerful products such as the RMR Botanical a Mold Killer and Treatment, it’s easier and more affordable than ever to treat mold problems on your own. Visit RMR Solutions online today to learn more about our unique and highly effective line of mold treatment products.

Reviewing the EPA's Guidelines for Mold Prevention and Remediation

Posted by Angela Ostroff on 28 November, 2016

 

Mold can have a substantial impact on your standard of living. It can negatively impact a number of health conditions, it can create ugly sights and smells in your home, and it can cost you an unfortunate amount of money to clean up.

Because of all the problems that mold poses, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has compiled a helpful set of resources intended to help inform those who are struggling with mold problems in their homes or places of business. The also contains information about preventing mold growth in the first place--which is obviously preferible option. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as the old saying goes.

For those who have a bit of time for further research, visiting EPA.gov/mold  is certainly recommendable--it features a pragmatic mix of links to serious scientific research and simplified explanations, as well as an interactive “house tour” that shows renters and homeowners where mold is most likely to grow. This features is especially useful because, as you may be aware, identifying (and, thus treating) mold quickly is the key to stopping an infestation before it grows out of hand.

For those looking for the “Cliffnotes version,” here is a quick rundown of the guidelines posited in the EPA’s informational mold pages.

 

1. Be aware of the health impact of mold. Allergic reactions, asthma attacks, and a variety of other illnesses, both respiratory and otherwise, can be aggravated by exposure to mold. In the long term, mold can even help cause disease and injury, especially in the case of so-called “toxic molds” such as black mold.

2. Removing mold spores from the air is impossible. This news sounds a little worse than it is: after all, the EPA also points out that every home is inevitably going to have at least some mold spores in it, and as long as the mold count is reasonable the human body is not going to be impacted. Nonetheless, it does underscore the importance of treating mold quickly in order to keep the amount of mold spores in the home to a minimum.

3. Removing moisture is a necessary component of mold remediation. Without taking this step, it’s only a matter of time until the mold returns.

4. Identify the source of moisture--keeping in mind that it may be more than what you expect. Sometimes, the source is quite obvious, such as a busted water pipe. Other times, it’s a complex equation of humidity caused by a variety of sources.

5.Mold should be thoroughly cleaned. Without killing off the entire mold colony, your attempts at mold remediation will not be effective. This means using a powerful cleaning product capable of killing mold on contact and penetrating porous surfaces in order to reach mold protected by its host substance.

6. With moisture and nutrients, mold can grow virtually anywhere. Stay vigilant and act fast in order to prevent buildup and colonization!

 

Shop RMR Solutions today and discover incredible mold remediation products such as the RMR 86 Mold Stain Remover!

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