You’ve moved into your apartment and feel chuffed about it, only to spot some mold on the bathroom ceiling.
Yuck! While this is the last thing you wanted to deal with, there are easy ways to tackle mold –and you really should.
What, exactly, is mold? Mold refers to varieties of fungi that use moisture to grow. Mold that’s growing on surfaces can damage them, so they’re dangerous to your home. Mold can also be harmful to health, as it can cause conditions such as allergies and infections.
When it comes to getting rid of mold, the most important thing is to act quickly. Here are some strategies to help you eliminate mold from your living space.
What To Do When You Find Mold In Your Apartment
If you’re renting your apartment, it’s crucial to take photos of the mold so you can show your landlord.
Many states claim that landlords have to eliminate mold from apartments at their own expense, and if your landlord doesn’t help you in this regard you should keep a record of all your communication with him or her in case you have to file a lawsuit against them, as Apartment Guide reports.
Renters’ Strategies For Dealing With Mold
If you don’t like that your landlord is ignoring the mold problem, you might consider a “repair and deduct” strategy.
As Nolo reports, this entails eliminating the mold yourself and then deducting the expense for it from the rent that you have to pay.
Withholding rent money completely is another strategy. However, if you created the mold problem, then this won’t work. In addition, generally you’re supposed to inform your landlord of the mold problem and give them a reasonable period of time in which to fix it.
If you act too hastily, such as by threatening to withhold rent, this is quite unreasonable.
There’s also the issue of how serious the mold is. If there’s a small mold problem, this doesn’t mean you can’t live in the apartment, so it wouldn’t be fair for you not to pay rent, as Nolo explains.
But what if the mold is a big problem that concerns you? You’ll be pleased to know that there are situations in which you can withhold rent. According to Mass Legal Help, if you answer “yes” to all five of the following questions, then you can stop paying rent.
- Do defective conditions exist in your apartment?
- Do these defective conditions endanger or materially impair your health, safety, and wellbeing?
- Does the landlord know about them, and did he/she know about them before you stopped paying rent?
- Were the conditions caused by something or someone other than yourself?
- Can your landlord make repairs to fix the problem without you having to permanently move out?
Reaching out to your landlord is the first step to take when you notice apartment mold. If your landlord doesn’t want to fix the problem, then you can – legally – take other steps.
Types Of Mold You’ll Find In Apartments
There are many varieties of mold and it’s important to know about them so that you can protect yourself.
Here are some common types of mold and where you’ll find them in your home.
- Alternaria. This is a common type of allergenic mold. It’s a bit like velvet in texture with brown and green hairs, and you’ll find it in damp spots in the home, such as in bathtubs and showers. It spreads quickly and exposure to it can cause asthma-like symptoms.
- Aureobasidium is allergenic mold that’s found on painted surfaces, wooden surfaces, and behind wallpaper. It can be brown, black, or pink, but it tends to become a dark brown when it’s been present for a while. It can cause skin rashes, as well as infections of the nails, skin, and eyes.
- Cladosporium can grow in cold and warm conditions, and you’re likely to find it in indoor materials like fabrics and carpets, or even inside cupboards. It’s green or brown in color, and looks like suede. It can cause infections such as those related to the lungs, skin, and sinuses.
- Stachybotrys, otherwise known as black mold, is black or dark green in color and looks slimy. It’s found in wet areas that have high humidity, so you might find it in bathrooms. It can also be found on materials such as paper, wicker, and wood. It can cause fatigue, depression, sinusitis and difficulty breathing. It’s especially dangerous to children. Black mold is one of the most serious kinds of mold.
Safety tip: Based on the above information about how mold can affect human health, it’s always important not to touch mold unless you’re wearing gloves.
In addition, always protect your eyes, noise, and mouth from mold spores.
How To Remove Mold In Your Apartment
If you’re choosing to go ahead and fix the mold problem yourself, or you own your apartment, then you want effective strategies to eliminate mold.
Here are some important steps to follow.
First, Get To The Source Of The Problem
Mold loves areas in the home that are damp, so it’s common for things like leaky pipes to be the culprit for why you’re finding mold in your apartment.
Make sure you reduce the moisture in your apartment by getting leaky pipes and other problems fixed so that you won’t have a mold issue in future. It’s pointless to clean mold only for it to resurface in the next few weeks or months.
Eliminate The Mold
There are various ways to clean mold. Here are some tried and tested strategies.
Use Liquid Detergent
Get some liquid detergent, mix it with water and scrub the mold to clean it. Make sure you dry the surface completely afterwards.
It’s common for carpets to be great breeding grounds for mold, so you want to steam clean them to eliminate any mold spores.
Use Hydrogen Peroxide
This is an antifungal and antibacterial ingredient, so it’s great for eliminating mold. It’s especially efficient for cleaning mold from bathroom fixtures, walls, and floors.
Put 3 percent concentration hydrogen peroxide into a spray bottle. Spray the hydrogen peroxide on the mold and leave it there for 10 minutes, as explained on The Maids.
Once the 10 minutes are up, scrub the mold and then wipe down the surface so that you get rid of any spores.
Vinegar is an acid that can kill up to 82 percent of mold species, The Maids reports. It’s really easy to clean your apartment with vinegar.
All you need to do is pour white distilled vinegar into a spray bottle and spray it on the moldy surface. Make sure you don’t dilute it with water.
Let the vinegar work for about an hour, after which you can clean the area with water.
You can add a bit of baking soda to the vinegar solution if you want to make it even more powerful or if you’re dealing with stubborn mold.
When cleaning away apartment mold, always protect your skin with gloves as some mold varieties can irritate the skin when exposed to it.
You should also wear a mask to prevent mold spores from entering your mouth, nose, and lungs, and wear protective eye goggles.
Finding apartment mold can be disheartening and very concerning because of the potential health issues that can occur. It’s especially problematic if you have kids living in your apartment.
When you find mold, speaking to your landlord promptly is a must, but if you own the apartment yourself then cleaning the mold safely and effectively is an important step.
Do it quickly so as to prevent a bigger mold problem.
Always be sure to tackle the problems that caused the mold, such as leaks in your apartment, to prevent a mold problem from occurring again in the future.
Once you’ve eliminated the mold, prevent mold from reoccurring by preventing dampness and humidity in your apartment.
If you can’t see mold, how can you tell if it’s there?
If your apartment has a musty odor, that’s usually an early sign that there’s mold present.
In addition, if you notice damp patches, that can also be a sign that mold is thriving because it loves damp and dark areas.
To be 100 percent sure your apartment has mold, get a mold testing kit.
How can you prevent mold from forming?
Clean up water spills, such as in the bathroom after a shower. Vacuum carpets and rugs weekly.
A HEPA vacuum cleaner is beneficial because HEPA filters can trap tiny particles like mold spores.
Run ceiling fans or dehumidifiers daily to keep indoor air dry and prevent moisture.Last updated on: