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Identifying Mold Growth in Your Bathroom

Mold is a nightmare that can dampen the spirits of a homeowner even in broad daylight. Spores flourish under the right circumstances: those that offer air, nutrients, moisture and humidity. The bathroom is a prime spot for all these ideal conditions to coexist and feed the unsightly mold spores.

Spotting mold growth in the bathroom can be a challenge for homeowners. The stealthy and invasive nature of mold ensures it colonizes areas where people do not tend to look, like under the bathroom floorboards or behind shower wall tiles. You can identify mold in the bathroom by looking for these telltale signs:

Mildew or Mold?

First off, homeowners should differentiate between mildew and mold growth. The former may be cleaned up easily, since these fungi only grow on wet surfaces. The grayish white mildew is less harmful than pervasive mold, although mildew, like mold, can create allergic reactions.

Eradicating mildew is easy with bleach or vinegar, which makes it far less of a threat than the penetrating mold colonies. A homeowner just needs to wipe away the powdery mildew from the bathroom ceilings or shower walls with household cleaning products.

Sign 1: Health Issues

Health problems can erupt as homeowners spend time in moldy bathrooms. Common symptoms that break out as a result of exposure to mold spores include dizziness, headaches, coughing and respiratory problems. People may experience these symptoms immediately or have a delayed reaction.

Black mold is deadly and can be found in bathrooms. Stachybotrys chartarum is the scientific term for the common black mold. When people with mold allergies come into contact with the mycotoxins that black mold produces, these individuals can become ill. Sudden sickness may indicate a mold problem.

Sign 2: Visible Growth

While mold spores are minute in size, each spore can reproduce trillions of additional spores rapidly. Recognizing individual spores is an impossibility; but locating a colony is more likely. Black splotches behind the toilet or under the sink are definite signs of explosive mold growth.

Mold spores are nourished by the condensation in areas, like, for example, behind the toilet tank. As a typically cool surface, the toilet develops condensation when the temperature of the surrounding walls falls below the dew point. The ensuing moisture leads to the outbreak of mold.

Sign 3: Musty Odors

As mold spores literally decompose the materials in a bathroom, a sour or musty odor is continually released. The stale, damp smells permeate the vicinity and should never be directly inhaled. Intentionally sniffing mold could be dangerous to the occupant’s respiratory health.

Earthy odors also accompany mold growth. The spores latch onto nutrient-rich surfaces, such as wood, insulation and drywall. As the mold eats away at these materials, the wood rots. The end result is a pervasive, earthy scent, like those found in forests as decayed wood is consumed by mold.

Sign 4: Pests

Ants are known to build nests in moist wood, like those found under the bathtub. When the bathroom becomes overridden with ants or similar moisture-loving insects, the irritating pest infestation could mean the homeowner also has an unfortunate mold infestation.

Sign 5: Dirt-like Particles

Mold can assume a dirt-like appearance. Shower wall tiles that are caked with dirt-like particles may actually be harboring a multitude of mold spores. Black mold is the real culprit here, rather than harmless dirt. Like mud, the moldy areas may exude a slimy feel and associated damp odors.

Sign 6: Ruined Walls

Bathroom walls can be a hotspot for mold growth. Several factors, such as the quality of paint applied to walls and the amount of insulation in the bathroom, may encourage mold spores. Especially when ventilation fails to be adequate, the resulting condensation on the walls allows mold to thrive.

Visual signs of mold attacks on the bathroom wall include discoloration, peeling wallpaper and crumbling plaster. Mold often grows behind wall tiles, causing these materials to crack or become loose. Plus, gaps in the grout or caulk suggest mold spores have infiltrated the spaces behind the wall.

Tile and grout joints are hardly sealed and waterproof, as many homeowners assume. When the caulking displays cracks, it is a sure sign that moisture has seeped into the cavities behind the walls. The unwanted result is an explosion of mold colonies behind the bathroom walls.

Sign 7: Damp Floors

A spongy bathroom floor is not only a nuisance but can indicate a hotbed of mold spores. Unstable flooring likely means that mold colonies have firmly latched onto the porous plywood underneath. The plywood rots as it continually absorbs moisture. Mold feasts on the combination of wood and moisture.

While mold spores find sufficient nutrients in the bathroom, preventing mold outbreaks can be accomplished. Turning on the bathroom fan during showers ensures adequate ventilation. Sustaining the humidity levels to between 30 and 50 percent works to circumvent mold growth.

Additional mold-prevention tactics include keeping the bathroom window open or switching on the air conditioning to improve the humidity levels. Since mold thrives in dark spaces, open a window in the bathroom during the day, or turn on an energy-efficient light for a few hours per day.

When mold growth intrudes in your bathroom, seek the services of a professional mold remediation company. ServiceMaster Restoration by Complete provides high-quality mold cleanup services to homeowners and business owners alike. Mold spores can wreak havoc on the health of inhabitants and destroy the structural integrity of the property, making it critical that homeowners address the mold infestation swiftly.

Upon a professional assessment to determine the extent of mold growth, ServiceMaster Restoration by Complete technicians contain the mold growth and prevent the spores from contaminating other areas of the property. Our mold removal tactics eliminate the mold. We also provide solutions to keep the mold from recurring.

Bergen County, New Jersey, residents and business owners turn to ServiceMaster Restoration by Complete for our comprehensive mold remediation services. Experienced technicians are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to respond to emergency mold cleanup calls.