True or False: Bleach kills mold.
If you said true, you’re not alone. Many people believe that bleach is an effective way to treat mold, but in fact it actually feeds it, says Ana Ramirez, co-owner of Green Home Solutions. “Bleach is 95 percent water, which mold needs in order to grow,” she says. “It will look like it’s gone because the chlorine whitens the first layer, but it’s still there, especially if you’re applying it to a porous surface.”
The bleach actually sits on top of the mold and only the water penetrates, explains Green Service Expert Eddie Odoms. “That first layer is killed, but the roots of the mold spore remains and is fed by the water. It always comes back and sometimes even darker.”
Such misconceptions are common, he explains. Odoms and Ramirez find that educating customers is all part of their job. Mold is a misunderstood subject and some even believe that any mold is going to cause an allergic reaction. But everybody’s immune system is different, so one person might have a reaction to a specific mold but another might not.
“A lot of people think that all mold is deadly and everyone reacts to it the same way,” he explains. “They see black mold and they think it’s the worst. But mold comes in all kinds of colors and classifications.”
There’s also confusion around the difference between mildew and mold. “People think that mildew grows in their bathrooms,” says Ramirez, “but mildew doesn’t grow in homes. It’s organic and it only grows outside on things like plants. If you find something in your bathroom, usually it’s mold. Products that say ‘kills mildew’ are a misconception.”
If mold is living in a confined space like inside a closet or under a sink with the doors shut, residents may mistakenly believe that it’s not in the air. “Just because it’s under a cabinet doesn’t mean it’s not airborne,” says Odoms. “The spores get into the air in the same way as when you blow on a dandelion. Once they have a heavy colony, you can walk by and the spores will spread throughout the living area.”
In one extreme case, a client developed runny eyes, headaches and asthmatic symptoms every time she was in her kitchen. No one else in her home ever had any problems, but she was very sensitive to mold. “We did an evaluation for her and there was black mold growing under her sink and her kitchen counters,” says Odoms.
Getting rid of the mold required a complete kitchen remodel, but that’s an extreme case, says Odoms, and the solution was worth it for the client. “This had been going on for years. The end result was that the root cause was repaired and Green Home Solutions came back after her remodel and treated the home again. It took care of the problem.”
While Green Home Solutions often gets called in after a problem has already developed, they also educate real estate agents and home owners on what causes mold to develop and how they can prevent it from happening. “The majority of the time, it starts in the attic space due to a lack of ventilation,” says Odoms. “Maybe a bathroom fan becomes detached and all of that warm, moist air goes directly into the attic but doesn’t go out through the roof.”
When that happens, calling a certified roofing contractor to reattach the fan and make sure there are no leaks can take care of the issue. “If there’s not enough venting, have a contractor come out and vent more of the attic so you can get air moving into that space,” says Odoms.
However, Green Home Solutions’ preferred method of prevention and treatment is through their products of choice. The company uses Oceanic, an Environmental Protection Agency-registered disinfectant/fungicide that is safe for people, pets and plants and is approved for use in hospitals and medical facilities. “It’s safe for pets and for people with fish tanks,” says Ramirez. “It’s specific to mold. It attaches to and breaks down mold spores only, not humans, animals or plants. What’s left once the peptide bonds are broken are only harmless amino acids.”
Clients are grateful to have a non-toxic option that is effective. “I hear from people that they’re overjoyed that there is a product out there that’s both environmentally friendly and kills mold,” says Ramirez. “They say things like, ‘We’ve been needing this for a long time.’ We’ve heard horror stories about chemicals that kill everything, not just mold. We offer a better choice and a better product.”
Aside from that, Ramirez points out, it’s American-made. “Our product is made right here in the U.S.,” she says. “We feel really proud to give it to our clients.”
Visit Green Home Solutions online to learn more about their services and products or give them a call at 360-334-9333.