How To Fight Mold And Mildew in Your Lake House This Fall
September 28, 2020
Lake living is lovely and you would like to keep it that way. One way you can do so is to know how to fight mold and mildew that will want to take up residence in your lake house.
But everyone gets mold here or there, right? It is like dust on the furniture or streaks on the window glass, just part and parcel of everyday life.
And while that may be the case, it is imperative that mold not gain a hold in your lake house, or anywhere you reside for that matter.
Mold And Mildew Can Cause Health Problems
Besides damaging your lake house, mold can cause serious health problems. There are about 10% of the population that has severe allergic reactions to mold.
Mold and mildew are like evil twins. They are both types of fungi that thrive in moist environments.
They spread quickly and live on various surfaces, which can make them hard to get rid of.
If left unattended, these twins will wreak havoc and affect large areas of your lake house and your health.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has put out a brochure about DAMPNESS AND MOLD with guidelines for indoor air quality.
Primarily, it is the minute reproductive spores of mold and mildew that trigger allergic reactions.
The spores are incredibly small, which means that spores are hard to filter out.
On top of that, the spores can stay suspended in the air for hours, and that makes them easy to inhale.
While there will be various information given in this article, if you feel that you have a mold problem or are experiencing mold and mildew related symptoms, consider calling in an expert to help you deal with the issue rather than attempting remediation yourself.
Some of the symptoms of being exposed to mold and mildew spores include headaches, runny noses, nausea, sinus problems, skin rashes, and coughs.
The effects of exposure can leave you feeling listless. This isn’t very good anywhere you are, but especially at the lake when you want to enjoy yourself.
Some people feel like they have a case of the flu that just won’t go away.
As with many types of illnesses, mold can impact the elderly, newborns, and those with compromised immune systems the hardest.
Babies put everything in their mouths, and they crawl around on carpets that may harbor mold spores.
For most of us, mold and mildew reactions become alleviated after the removal of the source.
But for those who are vulnerable, it can trigger asthma attacks and render the individual extremely sick.
Not Fun Fungi
While they are both fungi, mildew is a specific type of mold.
Mildew is primarily a plant disease. It can cause a lot of damage to crops and plants.
It can develop indoors and give you some of the same health issues that mold does with coughing, headaches, and respiratory problems.
Mildew will look grey or white. It will appear either powdery or fluffy. Mildew grows flat and remains on the surface.
Thankfully, it is much easier to remove than mold is. If you see a patch of flat “stuff” lying on the surface of a moist area, it is most likely mildew.
Mold is a fungus that grows in black or green patches. It will look fuzzy or slimy in appearance.
It will have irregularly shaped spots that can be different colors like blue, yellow, green. They can also be brown, grey, black, or white.
Mold will penetrate the surface of whatever surface it is growing on.
We are all familiar with mold growing on food. Mold will also grow on walls and in crawl spaces.
You will find mildew on damp surfaces, on paper, on fabrics, and organic material.
Whereas both mold and mildew are both problems to be solved, we will concentrate primarily on mold for this article. That is because mold can cause structural damage to your lake house.
How Long Does It Take For Mold To Grow
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), MOLD & MILDEW can start to grow on a damp surface within 24 to 48 hours.
FEMA says that molds digest organic material and, in the process, destroy the material that they grow on, spreading to other areas as they go.
Homes or items damaged by floods are especially vulnerable to being destroyed by mold.
There are five main types that most of those molds fall into. They are:
It grows on walls and in showers. You will also find it around windows where condensation collects and under sinks or other damp places. It can be black, grey, or dark brown. Alternaria will look wooly.
Out of the 10,000 types of molds that can live indoors, aspsergillus is the most common type. You will see it growing on walls, on insulation, paper products, and clothing. It will be grey, brown, yellow, green, along with black or white.
Most molds like warmth, but caldosporium will happily grow in cool areas.
You will see the black or olive-green color mold on fabrics, carpets, and curtains. It will also grow on wood surfaces, like floorboards and cabinets.
This blue-green mold has a strong, musty odor. Often found on materials that have been in contact with water.
Carpet, insulation, mattresses, and any areas where there might have been a leak. These spores spread easily.
The infamous “black mold” is the most dangerous of all household molds. The mold is black and has a characteristic musty odor.
You will find black mold in areas that are always damp. Leaky pipes, a ceiling or attic leak, inside ducts for air conditioning, and other places where there is a lot of condensation.
Test For Mold
If you suspect that you have a mold problem, you can do some testing yourself to see what you are dealing with.
Put a few drops of bleach on an affected area. Wait about five minutes or so, and recheck the spot. If the area is lighter in color than it was before, you have mildew.
If the area remains dark, then you have mold.
There are also testing kits available at some of the home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s.
An Ounce Of Prevention Is Worth A Pound Of Cure
The best way to control mold or mildew in your lake house is to prevent it from developing as much as you possibly can.
That means that you need to keep the areas of your home dry and moisture-free. This will be a tall order being on the lake, but it will pay dividends not to repair mold damage.
A dehumidifier can help maintain a humidity level inside your house. You want to aim for a 40% to 50% level.
A regular inspection of your heating and cooling systems to make sure you catch any leaks that might develop.
Check under kitchen and bathroom sinks periodically.
Use fans to ensure good air circulation through your lake house.
And check outside your home, too, for mildew-affected plants and weeds. Remove them as soon as you see any.
How To Clean Mildew in Your Lake House
Because mildew is a surface fungus, treatment with a chemical cleaner is effective.
If you decide to clean it yourself, make sure the area has lots of ventilation and wear a mask and protective gloves.
You don’t want to be breathing in spores or to breathe fumes from the cleaner.
Use the cleaner per the manufacturer’s directions.
Clean the surrounding area and get any other mildew that might be thinking of growing in the area.
How To Clean Mold in Your Lake House
Cleaning mold is a different story. Where mildew sits on the surface, mold attaches to the material with microscopic filaments.
These filaments go beneath the surface, which is why mold can cause such significant damage to floors and walls.
Mold spores spread easily. They can thrive in extreme conditions and affect large areas.
Unfortunately, mold is only visible when the colonies of fungi start growing. This means that mold already has a hold by the time you see it.
It can be in areas that are hard to access and areas that you can’t see.
If there is a large amount of mold to be removed, the safest way to conquer it is to call in a mold remediation company.
Professionals can determine how to address the issue and can also determine the extent of the problem.
Take this into consideration if you suspect your lake house has a mold issue.
Borax Can Help You Fight the Mold and Mildew
Maybe your mold issue has just begun, it is a small area, you have stopped the moisture problem and now want to clean the area.