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Old October 4, 2017   #1
AlittleSalt
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Default Black Mold

A friend of mine told me that they have Black Mold in their attic. I remember we had black mold around 20 years ago in a bathroom. I removed some boards and washed everything down with 50-50 bleach water solution, but we also sprayed it with some sort of spray for black mold. However, I don't remember what it was called.

I'm wondering if any of you might have some advice on getting rid of black mold? I've heard it can happen in gardens too.
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Old October 4, 2017   #2
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They need to make sure that mold isn't the dangerous kind. Those mold spores can be all in the air if they are disturbed. I did buy that mold control to kill the smells on those dresses for my friend. It works by wiping or spraying it on and letting it dry, then wiping or spraying again to clean off the dried up mold spores. I highly recommend gloves, long sleeves and pants along with a good mask designed to keep out tiny mold spores before they go messing with that stuff.

The product is called concrobium mold control.

http://www.concrobium.com/

The fogger is probably the best way to apply it in the attic.

http://www.concrobium.com/products/mold-control-fogger/
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Old October 4, 2017   #3
MikeInCypress
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Salt,
If it was 20 years ago I bet the product was Consan Triple Action 20. It has been used to control algae, molds, & fungus of all types.

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Old October 4, 2017   #4
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The "black mold" that is common in houses here is actually a harmless slime mold. It commonly grows wherever there is condensation, so in bathrooms and also windowledges etc where we get condensation when it's cold. They are easily cleaned up with either vinegar or soda - can't tolerate pH extremes - but the real solution is to get rid of the moisture which they need to live.

In other black molds, Aspergillus is a bad kind. They can be quite toxic. Rockporter is right, to know what you're dealing with and suit up for a hazardous job. You don't want to breathe the spores.

I've also read that bleach is not a best choice for hazardous molds. In the long run it kills off harmless stuff but encourages the more toxic and resistant types to take hold.
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Old October 4, 2017   #5
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I will be watching this thread. My daughter's basement is of great concern to me. It has flooded several times and stays very damp. It is full of stuff that was already there when they moved in. They never go down there but I did once when I was dogsitting while they were away and nearly had heart failure. I picked up an antique side table and it just fell apart from rot. Mold is visible and everything is damp to the touch. My question is whether the spores travel upstairs through the ducts It's a nightmare down there. There are industrial storage racks with hundreds of boxes packed full of stuff.
Previous owners were hoarders and junk collectors. It would cost a fortune to have it cleaned out but I wouldn't feel safe doing it ourselves
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Old October 4, 2017   #6
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I have cleaned up a few flooded messes and it is nasty and not fun, but I don't think the hazard of cleaning it up is anything near as bad as living with it in your basement or your ducts. Rubber gloves, mask, eyewear to make sure nothing gets in your eyes, coverall or suitable work clothes you can wash or throw out if you really get it on you. Contractor bags, gumption, and just go to it. If you can bag and get rid of all the damaged stuff in 2-3 hours take that as step one, and enough for one day. Have a hot shower, clean clothes and a drink to congratulate yourself.
Day two go in and clean the building surfaces with vinegar. or borax. Again I would just do one morning or one afternoon at a time. No need to make it a marathon exposure.
There is no special training needed for those jobs, only common sense and taking normal precautions. The occupational hazard may be serious if doing it day in and day out, but much less if you are doing it only once! and no more than a few hours at a time before you get outdoors and breathe some clean air.

It sounds like you need to run a dehumidifier too.
If the place is still wet after you remove all the junk then you need to find where the water is coming from and fix that to get the place dry for long term. This is the kind of savvy that gives the professionals their edge. And they will get in and clean ductwork crawl spaces etc. if it needs to be done.

But even if you manage step 1 you are ahead of the game. Cardboard boxes of junk are the worst thing IMO to be lurking in a flooded space. They host the mold and dampness like they were made for it. The longer you leave it, the worse it will get.
Of course if you have the money to pay the pros, why not. It's the job no one wants to do.
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Old October 4, 2017   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bower View Post
The "black mold" that is common in houses here is actually a harmless slime mold. It commonly grows wherever there is condensation, so in bathrooms and also windowledges etc where we get condensation when it's cold. They are easily cleaned up with either vinegar or soda - can't tolerate pH extremes - but the real solution is to get rid of the moisture which they need to live.

In other black molds, Aspergillus is a bad kind. They can be quite toxic. Rockporter is right, to know what you're dealing with and suit up for a hazardous job. You don't want to breathe the spores.

I've also read that bleach is not a best choice for hazardous molds. In the long run it kills off harmless stuff but encourages the more toxic and resistant types to take hold.
Slime mold ones I know well, they come in different colors, including the Dog Barf ones.

But when I saw Aspergillus being a bad kind for humans I decided to Google that since there are MANY species of Aspergillus and few are toxic. The question being as you'll read in the link below,it's very difficult to ID one species from another.

Here is that Google search

https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&....0.18f8heaoiU8

Hope that helps,

Carolyn
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Old October 4, 2017   #8
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Slime mold ones I know well, they come in different colors, including the Dog Barf ones.

But when I saw Aspergillus being a bad kind for humans I decided to Google that since there are MANY species of Aspergillus and few are toxic. The question being as you'll read in the link below,it's very difficult to ID one species from another.

Here is that Google search

https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&....0.18f8heaoiU8

Hope that helps,

Carolyn
Too right, Carolyn the common aspergillus is not a harmful mold. But I believe the toxin producing types are encouraged by bleach treatments, where it has occurred as a house mold (instead of a ho hum bread mold). That is just based on things I read probably 20 years ago and maybe a few more things when I did mycology also more than 15 y ago!

It's interesting to see what crops up on the mold mats when you leave them too long... tells me what's going on in my environment. Penicilliums are king here. So smelly.
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Old October 4, 2017   #9
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Thank you Salt for posting this!

I live in an apartment that has a black mold infestation and have had little luck motivating my landlord to address it. I get mold growing on my windows where moisture condenses. I have mold that grows in the bathroom. It grows on our walls and in the carpets. I have even had it growing on my furniture.

I know that this started when our roof was leaking. Rather that fixing it promptly, our landlord put 14 buckets up in the attic. He re-roofed after I had water coming down my ceiling fan and mold growing out of the electric sockets. After the roofers removed the shingles you could see where the wood had totally rotted away in a 10'x10' area. When he re-roofed, he had the great idea of covering over all of the vents. He also went up there and sprayed bleach around. Now there is no air circulating up in the attic. The moisture rises, condenses on the cold roof and caused a mold explosion in the building. I have told him numerous times that it is against the building codes not to have vents in the attic. He tells me that they are there, just under the shingles.

I just do not know what to do to motivate him to address this issue.

Any ideas?
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Old October 4, 2017   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MissS View Post
Thank you Salt for posting this!

I live in an apartment that has a black mold infestation and have had little luck motivating my landlord to address it. I get mold growing on my windows where moisture condenses. I have mold that grows in the bathroom. It grows on our walls and in the carpets. I have even had it growing on my furniture.

I know that this started when our roof was leaking. Rather that fixing it promptly, our landlord put 14 buckets up in the attic. He re-roofed after I had water coming down my ceiling fan and mold growing out of the electric sockets. After the roofers removed the shingles you could see where the wood had totally rotted away in a 10'x10' area. When he re-roofed, he had the great idea of covering over all of the vents. He also went up there and sprayed bleach around. Now there is no air circulating up in the attic. The moisture rises, condenses on the cold roof and caused a mold explosion in the building. I have told him numerous times that it is against the building codes not to have vents in the attic. He tells me that they are there, just under the shingles.

I just do not know what to do to motivate him to address this issue.

Any ideas?
Refuse to pay rent until he addresses and fixes the problem. You also report him to the housing authority and health department.
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Old October 4, 2017   #11
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Bower, because we love in such a humid climate the mold that grows in attics is generally the bad kind. I sure wouldn't be wiping it down with bleach. I'd be calling in the professionals if the mold control does not do the job. I think though that 1-3 treatments of mold control using the big machine would take care of it. Then it's time to wipe it down with more mold control, clean it off and recoat with mold control to help keep it mold free up there. Mold is very scary out here in Texas attics.
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Old October 4, 2017   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MissS View Post
Thank you Salt for posting this!

I live in an apartment that has a black mold infestation and have had little luck motivating my landlord to address it. I get mold growing on my windows where moisture condenses. I have mold that grows in the bathroom. It grows on our walls and in the carpets. I have even had it growing on my furniture.

I know that this started when our roof was leaking. Rather that fixing it promptly, our landlord put 14 buckets up in the attic. He re-roofed after I had water coming down my ceiling fan and mold growing out of the electric sockets. After the roofers removed the shingles you could see where the wood had totally rotted away in a 10'x10' area. When he re-roofed, he had the great idea of covering over all of the vents. He also went up there and sprayed bleach around. Now there is no air circulating up in the attic. The moisture rises, condenses on the cold roof and caused a mold explosion in the building. I have told him numerous times that it is against the building codes not to have vents in the attic. He tells me that they are there, just under the shingles.

I just do not know what to do to motivate him to address this issue.

Any ideas?
Patti, I made the reply to our PM 2+ hours before I read this. I going to send a second reply now.
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Old October 5, 2017   #13
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Refuse to pay rent until he addresses and fixes the problem. You also report him to the housing authority and health department.
Don't know about up there but here you cant refuse to pay rent because of things that need to be fixed.
If you take the legal route you will find yourself on the street because the landlord will refuse to renew your lease.
Nor can the landlord refuse to fix things because rent hasn't been paid.
In many cases the tenant just keeps paying the rent out of no choice while the house or apartment falls down around them.
You cant just up and break the lease because things aren't being fixed.
In every case you have to take legal action or you are screwed.
And you have to have proof when you go to court or when the health department shows up.
Seizure of property by the landlord can be different from state to state also.
In Texas the landlord cannot issue an eviction notice it has to be presented through the courts by an official.
One of my old slumlords sent his son over to basically rob my house while I was moving stuff into storage.
His son came in my house thinking I was gone moving belongings only to find himself looking down the barrel of a 12 gauge shotgun.
That man never knocked he just came in.
He was waiting for my truck to leave down the street.
No, refusing to pay rent is the wrong way to go.
It would be the same as refusing to pay taxes because of potholes in the streets.
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Old October 5, 2017   #14
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Thanks for the replies.

I have looked into this some today. I do need documentation so I will try to get into the attic and take pictures of it. I can refuse to pay full rent, but still owe some until the work has been done. I guess that I am worried about the building being condemned while the work is being done. There are 3 other units in the building and those people have to be considered. Of course, they need to be considered with the health risks of the mold as well as the possibility of having to move. I am by law protected from being evicted for 1 year, but then what? The landlord is good about fixing plumbing and appliances in a timely manner, so not all is bad. I can break the lease for not declaring building code violations and health risks on the lease. A catch 22 for sure.
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Old October 5, 2017   #15
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Patti, it sounds like there is way too much moisture in your apartment.

If the moisture is there since the unfixed roof leak, maybe your landlord would agree to pay the cost of running a dehumidifier to bring the moisture level down to normal. May even supply you a dehumidifier for that purpose. That is the first thing to do.

The attic vent may or may not be causing the problem. I advise you to shift focus from the vent (which landlord says is as it should be) to the problem itself which needs to be solved, ie too much moisture in the apartment plus the spores are there to bring back the mold. That started with the leak, and frankly the place should be dried out, painted and cleaned throughout and your furniture/carpet should be professionally cleaned as well. Otherwise, you will have a recurring problem.

Moisture management inside homes or apartments has been an issue since we started building insulated homes. Moisture is simply trapped inside unless you deal with it one way or another. Every year when it gets cold outside, the moisture that built up during the summer condenses on the windows. There is seasonal maintenance that has to be done in fall (and sometimes winter), to mop the condensation off the windows and prevent mold from settling in.
Our local housing authority has a section on mold prevention in the manual they give out to tenants. They are told to use bathroom and kitchen fans, not to leave standing water, and keep the temperature in all rooms at least 15 C (60 F). They basically told tenants that they will have mold if they don't follow these regs, and it will be their own responsibility.

In your case, the mold has already got a foothold because of the leak, and it will keep coming back unless the proper remediation is done. Honestly I think you would be better off moving out so the place can be dried out and totally cleaned and painted.

If you don't want to move, talk to your landlord about
(1) dehumidifier
(2) need a paint job
(3) will he pay for your furniture to be professionally cleaned, as damage caused by the leak.
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