A quick test for mold can be done when you dip a swab in diluted bleach (1 part bleach, 16 parts water) and dab it on the wall. If the spot quickly lightens (or keeps coming back after cleaning), assume it's mold.
Five most common signs
- Odor – you smell something but just can't see anything.
- You don't feel good when your home and you feel better when your away.
- Constantly itchy nose, red eyes and sneezing.
- Staining on interior wall and base molding.
- Wall appears to be wet and damp.
Symptoms of Black Mold Exposure
- Postnasal drip.
- Dry, scaly skin.
- Itchy eyes, nose, or throat.
- Nasal congestion.
Mold can develop anywhere it has a moisture source and a food source and it often forms in hidden places behind walls and ceilings. It can be difficult to tell if you have hidden mold and if no action is taken, it will only get worse.
You'll likely use a mold test kit with tape strips to lift a sample for surface testing. Or, you might use a swab to send a sample into a lab or spread a sample on a petri dish for evaluation.
Because of the risks that come with mold exposure, it can be unsafe to sleep in a house with mold, particularly in the affected areas because you put yourself at risk of mold allergies. This becomes especially concerning if you are sensitive to the mold.
The best testing methods to utilize are our urine mycotoxin test and our home environment test the EMMA. Mold testing will give you a comprehensive mold and mycotoxin look into your body and home. For more information on these tests, I recommend reading about finding mold in your home and about mold growth.
Skin prick test.
Your doctor takes a small amount of mold and applies it to your skin using a tiny needle. Your skin will break out in bumps, a rash, or hives if you're allergic to that type of mold.
Some are designed to only determine whether mold is present on surfaces. To test for mold spores in the air you're breathing, you'll need to purchase a viable mold detection kit such as Seeml Labs' Mold Inspector in a Box. Most quality mold tests cost between $20 and $45.
Surface Changes and Deterioration – Your walls' appearance can change significantly if there's mold growth behind them. In addition to discoloration and stains, your walls may deteriorate. Paint or wallpaper can crack, peel, or bubble because of moisture and mold growth.
Use 1 part bleach to 3 parts water, according to Sherwin-Williams. If you don't want to use bleach but do want something other than water, try vinegar, borax or branded products that you can find at a hardware store or home center, which also kill mold.
Primarily, mold illness is associated with allergic reactions that mimic seasonal allergies. Respiratory symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, watery eyes, and skin irritation are the predominant symptoms.
It's often described as musty and earthy, and may even smell like rotting vegetables or plants. You might notice a musty smell, but not be able to see any mold growing. In this case, you should look for areas that might be exposed to water.
Sensitivity to light. Sensitivity to noise. Pulsing or throbbing pain (instead of, or alongside, a sensation of pressure or a dull ache) Head pain that worsens with physical activity.
This is why many toxicologists recommend homeowners treat moldy belongings ASAP. Damaged items should be thrown away without question, and items that are easy to replace or inexpensive (i.e. clothes, food) should be tossed as a precautionary measure. Basically, it's better to be safe than sorry.
Sleeping in a damp, mouldy room is very dangerous. Research has shown that people of all ages can be affected by mould – they can't breathe properly while sleeping, have poor sleep quality, skin rashes, and many other problems, including hallucinations!
– Do-it-yourself mold test kits often cause people to make uninformed decisions. The levels of spores that are analyzed by the lab are not accurate and they cannot detect hidden mold, so the homeowner cannot properly assess the situation. People often do either too little or too much based on these results.
If the black mold growth in your home is small enough for you to treat alone, a simple mixture of bleach and water can help. Add one cup of bleach to one gallon of water and apply it to the moldy spots. You can also find commercial black mold removal products.
Many homeowners attempt to simply repair drywall that is infested with mold, but it should always be fully replaced. If you don't replace every part of your drywall that has experienced mold growth, you're only leaving your home vulnerable to much more damage in the future.
In some cases, mold in your home can make you sick, especially if you have allergies or asthma. Whether or not you're allergic to molds, mold exposure can irritate your eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs.
These symptoms usually first appear 2 to 9 hours after exposure and last for 1 to 3 days. Other affected persons have progressive shortness of breath and cough, as well as weight loss. Work-relatedness may only become apparent over long holidays if symptoms resolve and then recur on return to work.