Many clients who experience mold issues in their properties are often also concerned with their clothing in the immediate vicinity of a mold concern.
One of the first questions which arises is whether or not the client should throw the clothes away, or whether they are salvageable. The answer to this question, in short, is: it depends.
The following is a list of suggestions when dealing with mold affected clothing:
1. If there is no visible mold, then the clothing is salvageable by washing the clothes and drying them in the sun.
2. If there is visible growth on the clothing, but no holes, the clothing can be taken to a dry cleaner to attempt to salvage the clothing.
3. If the clothing has had mold growth on it for a extended period of time, and has been eating through the clothing/material, then the clothing is most likely not salvageable at this point.
Mold on clothing usually arises due to high humidity in a closet (especially when living close to the ocean). However, this isn't always the case.
If you are having concerns about mold on clothing or excessive moisture, it is always best to consult with a certified mold inspector to ensure the correct procedures are followed and the source of mold is delineated.
Facts taken from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Healthy Homes Issues: Mold. Version 3
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) categorizes mold as being under a substandard living condition. As stated by the CDPH,
"CDPH has concluded that the presence of water damage, dampness, visible mold, or mold odor in schools, workplaces, residences, and other indoor environments is unhealthy."
Therefore, once mold has been documented and mold is registered via an inspection and relevant testing, it is paramount that remediation and restoration is performed in the pertinent property to ensure it is restored to an appropriate standard. The CDPH further added that,
"Beginning Jan 1, 2016, the presence of visible mold will be added to the list of conditions in the California Housing Code, already including dampness of habitable rooms, that make housing substandard (Cal. Health & Safety Code §17920.3)".
If you believe there is potentially mold in your property, or residual or active moisture from a current leak or previous leak, it is recommended reaching out to a local mold inspector, environmental health inspector or industrial hygienist to assess the area(s) of concern.
Often, clients will express concern over various stains in a property, but will be unsure of the nature of the stain or if it is some type of mold growth.
This is where experience becomes paramount. Mold inspectors can typically deduce if the growth in question is a concern (based on how three dimensional it is, the color and the shape of growth), which would then segue into mold testing to see if there are toxic properties present, as well as if the mold is reproducing into the air.
The following considerations should be taken into account with potential mold growth:
1. Are the conditions conducive to mold growth? Mold requires nutrients (such as drywall), moisture and the right temperature to grow.
2. Is an odor present? When molds metabolize materials, they can produce volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which is what people generally report as being a musty odor in the property.
3. Are there visible signs of mold growth? Mycelia or mold growth can be present in a plethora of colors, not just black and green as most people believe. These colors could include a blueish green, green yellow, black, brown, orange and white. Water stains can also indicate potential mold growth (such as in a wall cavity) since this indicates an ideal environment for mold.
4. Structural damage. This could include peeling of wallpaper or floor swelling, since this can indicate a moisture problem.
Finally, sometimes there may be efflorescence, which is the white/chalky calcium deposit left by water (such as in a crawlspace or one bricks), this can be distinguished from mold due to the chalky texture.
If you are unsure about potential growth, it is always best to check with a certified mold inspector to confirm whether or not there is further concern in your property.
Once the moisture source is removed from mold, many clients are curious to know if the dead spores can still trigger allergies and reactions. To put it concisely, the following information has been provided:
Read more at https://www.emlab.com/resources/education/ask-dr-burge/do-dead-spores-cause-allergies/.
MOLD HEALTH EFFECTS BLOG AND RESEARCH