Never Use Bleach To Kill Mold
Mold has many colors and shapes.
For many households, chlorine bleach is generally seen as your “go-to” cleaner for tough jobs. Mold removal does requires a heavy duty cleaner, but recently, many of the hazards of bleach are gaining more media attention causing people to take a closer look at the way they clean.
OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) was one of the first federal agencies to STOP recommending the use of liquid bleach for mold remediation. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has since edited their “A brief guide to mold and moisture and your home” to exclude their once suggested use of bleach as a means to kill mold.
So what actually is mold? Let’s go over the basics to get a better understanding of how it works and how it should be properly treated.
According to scientists, mold is a type of fungi that is neither plant nor animal. This basically means, unlike plants, it cannot derive energy from the sun or actively “hunt” for food like an animal. Therefore, mold must be opportunistic to survive. In order to reproduce, it regularly sends microscopic spores into the air searching for a suitable environment to live. It only needs a few requirements to survive: water, warm temperatures and a food source. Once it has located the perfect environment, it can begin to grow remarkably fast, sometimes within 24 hours! This is why we often see a mold bloom after flooding, water damage and undetected burst pipes etc…
So now that we know how it works, how do we properly treat it? Big bleach labels have promised you that nothing else will do the job like bleach. Chlorine bleach is most well known for it disinfecting properties but that doesn't mean it's the best choice for mold. It’s main function is to disinfect and to, well, bleach or change the color. But after use, what usually happens? The moldy color looks like it’s gone but within a week or two the mold usually comes back and sometimes worse! Most homeowners don’t put together that it’s the bleach causing this reaction and not a really bad case of mold. The fact remains that if the mold is not removed from the material, it will most likely always return.
Does Bleach kill mold?
Yes, but it comes with a catch. Bleach labels will warn you that chlorine bleach will only be effective on a “hard, non-porous surface.’’ This basically means that chlorine bleach is not made to “soak in.” Therefore, its disinfecting properties are limited to a hard surface like tile or glass. So here’s the problem: To ensure survival, mold spores spread its roots (Mycelia) deep into a porous surface. Mold remediation requires a cleaner to reach deep down into wood and other porous building materials to remove or "pull out" the roots. The properties of bleach prevent it from soaking into these materials. The surface mold looks gone (it's bleached white) but the internal mold always remains to grow back.
Another issue: Bleach contains 90% water and mold LOVES water. When bleach is applied, the chlorine quickly evaporates after use leaving behind A LOT of water. This water often soaks into the porous surface allowing the mold to flourish and re-grow in this moist environment. So in effect, using bleach actually feeds the internal mold spores! Although the surface may look bleached and clean, the remaining spores will root deeper, stronger and will often return worse than before.
"This chemical is considered hazardous by the 2012 OSHA Hazard Communication Standard. Sodium Hypochlorite (Chlorine Bleach) MSDS requires handlers in FULL Personal protection gear including respirators."
Bleach and mold. A few facts to remember:
- In some cases, bleach will encourage toxic mold to grow where it was not present before.
- Bleach will only remove the green stain from mold. The surface will appear clean but internal roots will continue to grow.
- OSHA and the EPA have specifically advised against the use of bleach for mold remediation. See link below*
- Chlorine bleach is caustic and extremely harmful to wood and many other surfaces. If bleach is used on wood, it will weaken the wood by breaking down its fibers. This can create further problems with the structural integrity of the home.
- When bleach is mixed with ammonia it creates a deadly gas! *Remember, Urine contains ammonia! Using bleach in the toilet could also create a toxic gas.
- Bleach itself is considered a toxic chemical and is classified the same as gasoline.
- In its gaseous form (room temperature) chlorine releases Dioxins, a known cancer causing compound.
- Bleach is highly corrosive to skin. Exposure to bare skin creates a hydrolysis reaction. This means the “oily” feeling is actually the top layer of your skin beginning to dissolve!
- Bleach is not only hazardous to your health, it will make your mold problem worse in the long run.
No disaster or loss too big for SERVPRO of Cedar Mill/Oak Hills
Part Of Our Disaster Recovery Team
We live here in our small area of Beaverton/Hillsboro called Cedar Mill. We think nothing disastrous can happen, right? Think again because we want you to be prepared from the start.
Imagine that you work on the first floor of a large building such as an office building with many offices for insurances, brokers, medical groups, banks, whatever the case may be. Everybody leaves for the day, let's pretend it's a Friday. Yay, Friday is finally here! Everybody leaves for the weekend, the entire office building is secure. On the top floor in one of the kitchens/breakrooms the hose to the ice maker springs a leak. It seems the plastic hose split.
When you return on Monday there is water everywhere. Looking up, the ceiling is sagging, the light fixtures have water in them. Everybody is outside wondering what to do???
Call in SERVPRO of Cedar Mill/Oak Hills. We should be your first call since we have the manpower and equipment to tackle any jobs, large or small. Our Disaster Recovery Team is standing by ready for anything that comes our way. You will be amazed at how fast our team will be on site, analyzing your situation and getting your office building back to the way it was, "Like it never even happened."
What is Black Mold?
Don't try to get rid of this yourself...call a professional today!
What Is Black Mold?
Stachybotrys chartarum is the type of mold often called “black mold” or “toxic mold”. Sensational news reports warn about the dangers of black mold and these stories can be alarming and confusing. Any mold in your home should be treated with caution – stay out of affected areas and don’t touch or disturb the mold.
Please refer to our Mold Damage Tips to learn more about mold and what to do until help arrives.
How Do I Tell If It’s Black Mold?
Since many types of mold can produce allergens and irritants, you should contact a qualified mold remediation company regardless of the color or type of mold. In many instances, multiple types of mold can exist in the same house or structure. If you suspect that you have a mold problem, contact a SERVPRO Franchise Professional immediately. Click here to find a SERVPRO Franchise.
If You See Signs of Mold, Call Us Today 24/7 at 503-619-6198!
When water intrudes into your property, mold growth can start in as little as 48 hours. Consider the following mold facts:
- Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
- Mold spores are microscopic, float along in the air, and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet.
- Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce toxins harmful to humans and pets.
- Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise the mold may return.
- Mold often produces a strong, musty odor, and that odor can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
- Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.
Winter Snow Storm Cause Major Damages
What is an Ice Dam?
Last winter we had one of the worst winter storms possible here in the Portland Metro area. Roads were solid ice, it took most of us MANY hours just to get home from work even when we left early! Trees or limbs down, vehicles all over the roadways, people stuck in their homes for days, many inches of snow all over the area. What about the damages we don't see?
We all love icicles on roofs, it has such a fun look, a real "wintry" look to it. What about what it can possible do to your roof? Here is some information that has been gathered from a Nationwide Insurance website:
Ice dams. These icicles on your roof may appear harmless – and may even look pretty – but they can cause damage to your home. Here’s what you need to know about ice dam prevention and ice dam removal to help protect your home.
What is an ice dam?
An ice dam is a wall of ice that forms at the edge of the roof, typically at the gutters or soffit, and prevents melting snow from draining off.
What causes ice dams?
For an ice dam to form, 3 things must be present:
- Snow on the roof
- Higher portions of the roof’s external surface must be above 32°F
- Lower surfaces must be below 32°F
When these factors are in play, snow will melt and the water will flow down the roof and eventually freeze – forming an ice dam.
Poor ventilation and temperature control in the attic can also lead to ice dams. Excessive warm air in the attic can cause the snow on the roof to melt regardless of the temperature outside. Recessed lighting, skylights, complex roof designs and heating ducts in the attic can all increase the chances of an ice dam developing.
Do icicles mean that you have an ice dam?
In short, no. It’s common for small icicles to form; the larger, thicker icicles are the culprits. When you notice the larger icicles, it’s important to act fast in order to prevent damage.
What are the signs that you have an ice dam?
These are the most common, according to the Ice Dam Company:
- Your home has a history of ice dams
- Icicles form on the edge of the roof or off the front edge of the gutter
- Ice is coming through the soffit
- Ice is forming behind the gutters
- Water or ice appears on the exterior wall
- Water is seeping through a door frame or window
What type of damage can ice dams cause?
If not addressed early, ice dams can cause significant damage. Here’s how:
- Water from melting snow can seep into your house and into walls, ceilings, insulation and other interior areas.
- Ice dams can lift roof shingles up, allowing water to leak inside your home.
- Pressure and weight from the dams can pull off gutters and lead to structural damage that can cause flooding.
- If attic insulation gets wet, it can become ineffective, plus mold can develop.
How to prevent ice dams:
Properly winterizing your roof is the best way to prevent ice dams. Consider these precautions.
- Have your gutters cleaned before winter.
- Keep your attic well ventilated, so it stays cold, and properly ventilate the roof and eaves.
- Insulate the attic floor to reduce the amount of heat rising from within the house.
- Rake or shovel snow off the roof before it freezes or hire a professional roofer to clear your roof.
- Create an air barrier between the house and attic with a foil-faced cover over an uninsulated attic hatch or whole-house fan opening.
- Install a water-repellent roof membrane.
- Check for any potentially dangerous heat sources, including uninsulated recessed ceiling can lights, uninsulated folding attic stair openings, heating ducts, furnace or water-heating equipment and inadequate bathroom vent fans.
How to remove ice dams:
If an ice dam has formed, here are immediate steps you can take to help prevent further damage.
- Apply calcium chloride or another ice-melting product onto the ice.
- Place a box fan in the attic and direct it at the underside of the roof where water is leaking in. The cold air will freeze the water.
- If your roof is flat or has a low slope, use a roof rake to sweep off the snow.
- Have a professional remove the dam with high-pressure steam or other specialized methods.
Pleased to meet you, Cedar Mill and Oak Hills!
Our new van will be seen everywhere
We are very pleased to meet all of you in our new territory! We are new to the area, so getting around to meet all of you can take some time but we will try our best.
We are fully equipped to handle your emergencies whether they include fire, water, biohazard, mold or just general cleaning. Is your crawlspace flooded? We can dry it out. Are you floors wet? We can dry them out, even if they are hardwood. Mold in the bathroom or basement? We can mitigate that and make it so it never comes back. Is there something icky or creepy that you just don't want to clean up? Call us for any job. Did you have a fire? We can clean it up from cleaning your contents and getting rid of the smoke odors to the reconstruction of the damaged area.
We also have a full construction team that can take your job with no subcontractors to worry about. You won't have to worry about schedules being coordinated, another stranger in your house, the quality of the work or any miscommunication between contractors. We keep it simple.
We know you will be pleased with the work we do since we do it best.