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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Got Mold? What You Need to Know

6/6/2016 (Permalink)

Due to all the moisture that we have had in Southeast Nebraska, mold could be growing in your home!

What are molds and where do they grow?

Molds, like most fungi, break down plant and animal matter in the environment. They can grow almost anywhere there is moisture and organic material such as in soil, on foods and plants, and in people's homes. To reproduce, molds release spores, which can spread through air, water, or on animals.

What should I do to prevent mold growth in my home?

The key to preventing mold growth is to identify and control moisture and water problems. Mold spores are everywhere, including your home, and they can grow on any surface that has sufficient moisture.

Common sources of moisture are:

  • Roof leaks
  • Indoor plumbing leaks
  • Outdoor drainage problems
  • Damp basements and crawl spaces
  • Steam from the bathroom or kitchen
  • Condensation on cool surfaces
  • Humidifiers
  • Wet clothes drying inside the home
  • A clothes dryer venting indoors
  • Poor or improper ventilation of heating and cooking appliances
  • Flooding

How do I know if I have a mold problem?

You can usually see or smell a mold problem. Mold can appear as slightly fuzzy, discolored, or slimy patches that increase in size as they grow. Most molds produce musty odors that are the first indication of a problem. Mold can grow anywhere there is adequate moisture or a water problem. The best way to find mold is to look for signs of mold growth, water staining, warping, or to follow your nose to the source of the odor. It may be necessary to look behind and underneath surfaces, such as carpets, wallpaper, cabinets, and walls. There are some areas of the home that are always susceptible to mold growth and should be part of routine cleaning to control mold growth. These are:

  • Bathrooms especially shower stalls, bathroom tiles, and shower curtains
  • Window moldings
  • The seal on the refrigerator door
  • Surfaces on and around air conditioners

How do I get rid of mold in my home?


  1. The first step to mold cleanup is to control the moisture problem. The source of the water or dampness must be identified and corrected.
  2. Porous materials with extensive mold growth should be discarded (e.g., drywall, carpeting, paper, and ceiling tiles).
  3. All wet materials that can't be cleaned and dried thoroughly, should be discarded.
  4. Hard surfaces that are not decayed (rotten) can be cleaned. Small areas can be cleaned with detergent and water. An experienced remediation company should do the work if it is a large (greater than 10 square feet) mold problem or if you are highly sensitive to mold. Rubber gloves and an N95 dust mask are recommended for jobs other than routine cleaning.
  5. In areas where it is impractical to eliminate the moisture source, detergemt can be used to keep mold growth under control. In areas that can be kept dry, cleaning should not be necessary, as mold cannot grow in the absence of moisture. When using any cleaner, ensure that enough fresh air is available to prevent eye, nose, or throat irritation.
  6. Inspect the area for signs of moisture and new mold growth. These may indicate the need for further repairs or material removal. High moisture areas like bathrooms need extra attention to prevent excessive moisture and water problems from causing mold growth.

More information is available at epa.gov/mold

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