How to Avoid Mold During the Summer

by Lawton Brothers | Aug 18, 2017

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Mold is a common problem in commercial properties. It can grow and spread throughout a building before anyone notices that it’s even there. Although mold is usually identified by its black hue, it can exist in a wide range of colors including white, brown, tan, yellow, blue, green, red, and even orange. Mold thrives most during the summer months when the heat and the humidity is optimal. Once it takes root in a building, it can grow at an accelerated rate. Below are some tips to help you prevent the spread of mold during the summer.

What is Mold, How Does it Grow, and What are its Effects?

Mold is a fungus that spreads throughout an area through spores that become airborne. The spores will sprout wherever they land. What this means is that mold can develop and grow anywhere. What the spores need to survive is moisture and an ideal climate. Mold grows best in rooms where the temperature is around 70 degrees. Since most employees in a commercial facility prefer 70 degree weather, you can see how it creates the perfect platform for mold development. Bottom line: Where there is moisture and a moderate temperature, there is a likelihood of mold.

Once mold establishes a breeding ground, it perpetuates itself by creating more moisture. For instance, if you walk into a room and sense the presence of mildew, it’s because a large amount of mold is creating a damp setting where more mold can grow. When left unchecked, mold can envelope large areas within a building in a short period. The most common areas where mold thrives include:

  • Damp basements

  • Inside the walls

  • Bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, and other areas where water is always present.

  • HVAC systems including condensation drains, ductwork, and vents where condensation is almost always present.

  • Carpets. Look for moisture in the carpets near building entryways and other places where people can track in water.

  • Ceilings and roof areas that lack proper ventilation.

Mold causes natural materials to deteriorate. This why you notice food spoiling in the refrigerator. It gets much worse, however, when you consider that mold is also responsible for wood rot and cement decay. It can damage a building’s structure without anyone knowing it. Mold is also unhealthy and can lead to diseases, respiratory conditions, and in rare cases, cancer.

How to Prevent Mold Growth

Now that you understand what causes mold to grow, you can prevent it from growing inside a building.

The first rule of mold abatement is to keep the inside of the building dry. For those in the custodial field, this means either reducing the amount of water you use when cleaning an area or extracting as much water from the area as you can once the job is complete. For instance, if you are hot water extracting carpets, then you need to establish an effective extraction method using proper CRI certified equipment that will pull the water up from the carpets. After cleaning a carpet, you should have removed enough water to allow the carpet to dry within just a couple of hours. This inhibits the possibility of mold settling into the floor. You also want to ensure that the HVAC system is running to pull moisture out of the air.

Although mold is both destructive and bad for health, it is easy to kill. Many cleaning solutions contain some type of chemical that will inhibit or destroy mold on contact. These solutions range from a basic acidic based cleaner to biocides and disinfectants. If you use any of these products every day, then they can aid in mold prevention. When cleaning countertops, floors, walls, or other items, make sure you properly apply the cleaner/disinfectant then allow proper dwell time and then scrub the mold off the surface using a brush or scrub pad. Always follow the manufacturer’s directions on the label.

Last, never allow towels, cleaning cloths, or mops to sit for long periods. An example of this would be to leave mops sitting in a janitor’s closet with the lights off. This would create the perfect breeding ground for mold. Remember, mold starts with airborne spores. Although your mops or cleaning cloths may not show signs of mold, they can help spread it throughout a room.

If would like to find out more about how to prevent mold in commercial properties, then contact Lawton Bros. We provide on-site education and training programs for those in the commercial custodial industry. We also offer a wide range of cleaning products, supplies, and equipment that aids in the mold prevention. Contact us today at 800-432-0813 and let us help you and your business with all your cleaning needs.

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