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Signs You Have Mold in Your House

mold growing on a wall in a home

Protecting Your Home From Mold

Living around the Palm Beach, Florida area, it can be humid. Not only does that make the weather hotter, but it creates moisture, and with moisture comes mildew and mold. Across the country, there was an epic of mold growth in homes. Steps were taken in the construction industry to build homes where there wouldn’t be as big of an issue, and there have been improvements in the mold removal process in recent years. 

Is it okay to continue living in a house with mold?

Is mold dangerous to your health? Mold is sneaky and will thrive in dark, moist areas. So, that would mean it isn’t a problem, right? Unfortunately, just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it’s okay to live with. When excess moisture settles into a porous material, like drywall, it becomes a big issue. Not only is mold removal needed but finding the source of what is causing it and fixing it is needed. 

Mold is classified as a fungus and will develop and spread with its kingdom of other fungi.  The spores of bacteria, mold, mushrooms, and others can cause the following problems when a mold issue isn’t addressed, like mold removal:

  • Respiratory tract symptoms such as coughing, swelling throat, and whizzing.
  • Asthmatic persons or those with allergies are at a higher risk. 
  • Anyone with hypersensitivity pneumonitis becomes prone to an immune condition.

Where is mold usually found?

Black mold isn’t the most common, but it is the most dangerous. It is found in areas that are dark and undisturbed. This can include: 

  • Shower stalls 
  • Behind walls
  • Attics
  • Crawlspaces
  • Basements
  • Under staircases

What does mold infestation look like?

There are several types of mold found in houses, but the most common that has the most request for mold removal are: 

  • Aspergillus
  • Cladosporium
  • Stachybotrys atra, aka, Black Mold

Other types of molds found in a home are: 

  • Alternaria
  • Aureobasidium
  • Stachybotrys chartarum
  • Trichoderma. 

How can you tell if your house has mold?

1. A Rotten Odor: If you’re smelling a damp, musty odor, it could be due to MVOCs (mold volatile organic compounds), you need to investigate getting a mold removal service. 

2. Spotted Clothing: If you’re noticing black or white spots on your clothing, this could be mold, indicating you may have a mold issue in your closet or under the house. Hiring a professional mold removal service can determine this and advise the treatment.  

3. Contaminated Carpets: Carpeting and area rugs are notorious for holding and breeding mold, which keeps spreading throughout your home. If you’re noticing any odor, spots, or stains on the carpeting or rugs, have them cleaned or removed, and then get an inspection for mold removal possibilities. 

4. Water Heater Closet: Areas that are moist are prone to have mold, like the water heater closet. Keep a watch on this specific area and as soon as you notice any mold, find a mold removal process immediately before it spreads any further. 

5. Allergies or Asthma: Mold is a harmful substance that triggers respiratory issues. This can include persistent coughing or recurring illnesses like bronchitis and pneumonia. If anyone in your home is experiencing these issues, you should have a mold removal inspection performed. 

Other assorted issues that mold can cause if fungus in your furniture, warped walls, and if you’ve changed your HVAC filters and still smell mold, have your home quoted for mold removal service. 

What are some health signs you might have mold in your house?

Inhaling mold spores can result in experiencing the following symptoms:

  • Chest and/or nasal congestion
  • Coughing and/or wheezing
  • Headaches
  • Irritated eyes
  • Irrigated lungs
  • Runny nose 
  • Skin rashes
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat

Even touch mold can result in a person experiencing these issues, and for most, it is a non-emergency issue. A person that has asthma or other respiratory issues may need urgent medical attention. 

Does DIY mold removal work?

It’s a common belief that bleach is an ideal mold removal product. However, it can also harm you and it isn’t a true mold removal, it just turns it grey or white. It will return. For DIY mold removal, experts and specialists recommend using borax, available at your local grocery store. Simply mix it with one gallon of hot water and apply to the area then scrub with a brush until the mold is gone. Other safe products for cleaning mold in small areas are baking soda, detergent, hydrogen peroxide, Tea tree oil, and vinegar. 

worker providing mold removal services

At The End of The Day

Will mold go away on its own? No, it will not. You can stop the constant moisture where the mold is located, like tightening plumbing, replacing the water heater, etc., and the mold will become inactive.  For the mold to be completely gone, you must do a complete mold removal process, or it will simply return. 

What is considered biohazard cleanup?

worker in a hazmat suit providing biohazard cleanup

What is a “Biohazard”?

The word ‘biohazard’ is a worrisome word, especially when used in the term, biohazard cleanup. What is the meaning of biohazard? Biohazard is a shorten version of the term ‘biological hazard” and refers to biological substances that present a threat to the health of humans and other living organisms. The hazard can contain medical waste, microorganism, toxins of biological sources, or viruses, all which can be harmful to the health of humans and other living organisms. 

What does biohazard cleanup do?

Biohazard cleanup is when an area is completely cleaned, sanitized, and deodorized. The more commonly known time a biohazard cleanup is done is at a crime scene, a suicide scene, or after a traumatic accident. 

The process of a biohazard cleanup requires the technicians to wear protective clothing, including gloves and goggles, to handle what could be potentially hazardous materials. Those hazardous materials include in situations such as accidents, crime, and suicide scenes including blood and body fluids. 

A biohazard cleanup has extensive methods, what the professionals of that job call a two-step process: 

  • The control zone – This is the contaminated area where the biohazard cleanup and removal is taking place; the area is placed under control.
  • The buffer zone – This is the area where the biohazard cleanup technicians put on their PPE (personal protective equipment) prior to starting the cleanup and where they dispose of all contaminated materials when the cleanup is completed, including their PPE.
  • The clean zone – This designated area is clean for the storage of equipment and tools so they can’t cause any cross-contamination with the substance involved in the biohazard cleanup.

It is crucial to the outcome of investigations and the legal actions that will follow that the scene of a crime or trauma is handled with the utmost care. The possible evidence at the scene cannot be altered or damaged for legal reasons, and there is the concern of safety for those doing the biohazard cleanup and everyone around them as well. 

The technicians that are assigned to biohazard cleanup duty have completed specialized training in their job as dictated by OSHA. That training includes the possible exposure to bloodborne pathogens. There are other forms of biohazards that we’ll discuss as we continue this article.

What is biohazard crime scene cleanup?

Anytime there is blood or body fluids spilled, they can become trapped on the ceiling, floors, and walls. These potential bloodborne pathogens, including body fluids, can cause illness in humans, either immediately, or years later. 

A crime scene biohazard cleanup is a specialized process of removing any contaminants that can be potentially harmful. Those contaminants include blood, body fluids, and odors. The blood and body fluids can inhibit bloodborne pathogens that include the potential of causing diseases. 

Is cleaning up blood dangerous?

The short answer to this question is yes. The handling of blood should always be handled with care and caution, including blood stains. According to CD (Centers for Disease Control), blood is a potentially hazardous substance because of the diseases it can spread, no matter how old the spill or stain may be.

Blood of any kind can contain various bloodborne pathogens including: 

  • HIV
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • MRSA
  • Other transmittable diseases

Some bloodborne viruses continue to live in dried blood like Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. 

What is unattended death cleanup?

An unattended death is when a person was alone when they passed. Often the remains are not found immediately, it may be hours, days, weeks, or even months. An unattended death will typically include: 

  • An accident
  • A suicide
  • Fatal disease or illness
  • A homicide
  • Natural causes

The process, once the body is discovered, is considered a biohazard cleanup by specially trained professionals. Their biohazard cleanup begins after the body is removed and officials have declared it ready for the process to begin. 

The biohazard cleanup of an unattended death is the special handling of any blood and other body fluids in a way that can be tested for further investigation by law enforcement. The biohazard cleanup and remediation includes the process of eliminating possible harmful substances associated with the remains, both obvious and unseen.

Can you get sick from cleaning up feces?

YES! Cleaning human feces and urine is considered a biohazard cleanup process. Proper training should be required of any employee that may be asked or required to clean up any human waste. It is important to remember that a biohazard is any type of biological substance that can be considered a threat to a living organism, primarily humans. 

This includes blood carrying bloodborne pathogens or human tissues, or anything that has come into contact with any human fluid or human waste. These are articles that be the host for any infectious diseases, making any cleaning of human waste a biohazard cleanup process. Human feces can have any of the following organisms: 

  • C-diff
  • Cholera
  • Dysentery
  • E. coli
  • Giardia
  • Hookworm
  • Norovirus
  • Ringworm
  • Salmonella
  • Tapeworm

Insect and rodent droppings are another extremely unsanitary substance that biohazard cleanup precautions should be observed. Rodent droppings are known to contain bacteria and different diseases that can be unwittingly transmitted to humans and animals. 

What is hoarding cleaning?

Hoarding cleanup is considered a biohazard cleanup because of the possibility of bacteria and germs that could exist. Within a hoarding situation, there may be live and dead animals, their feces, urine, and body fluids as well as the hoarding human. By being exposed  to these conditions without any protection again bacteria, fungus, or other pathogens is extremely dangerous.

How much does professional odor removal cost?

Every situation and every odor requires a different odor elimination process, some are considered part of biohazard cleanup, and others are for personal concerns. A professional odor removal company will provide a deep cleaning from top to bottom that will reach and removes the most stubborn of odors, with permanent eradication. 

To remove odors, the rates can start at $80 per hour and go up to $300 per hour.  deodorize a house? An average-sized home can take between 1 and 2 hours for basic odor elimination. A fire cleanup or any type of biohazard cleanup can take up to 8 hours, depending on the size of the house. 

Professional odor removing services include: 

  • Tobacco smoke
  • Fire, ash, smoke, and soot
  • Pet dander
  • Mildew and mold
  • Water damage
  • Decaying food

How much does biohazard cleanup cost?

A biohazard cleanup requires a deep and thorough process that includes the ceiling, flooring, and walls as well as any furniture in the area. Biohazard cleanup jobs include removing substances that are considered dangerous and is done by personnel that has been trained. Rates for a biohazard cleanup can start at $1,500 and max out at $25,000, depending on the size of the biohazard situation and what may be included as biohazard substances. 

How much does rodent cleanup cost?

According to experts, rodent extermination can cost between $200 and $600 for an average size home, with the average cost being around $300. This includes a full-service professional cleanup that includes inspecting the area, treating the area, and steps that are taken to keep rodents from returning.

woman wearing a face mask

Concluding The Biohazard Cleanup Subject

It is important to understand that a biohazard cleanup is much more detailed than even the most detailed spring cleaning a homeowner could perform. There are chemicals and processes used for certain substances that not only remove the spill or stain, but remove any possibility of bacteria, disease, and germs from infiltration and spreading. 

What is the first step in cleaning up a blood spill?

close-up of spilled blood on a tile floor

Cleaning Up Blood

After two years of COVID and all the other disease we’re subjected to these days, the words ‘biohazard cleanup’ has become used more than ever. What is biohazard cleanup? Biohazard cleanup procedures include the process of cleaning, deodorizing, and sanitizing an area or site where a chemical spill or violent crime, or traumatic accident that has resulted in death or injury has taken place.

Examples of when and where biohazard cleanup is required include: 

  • Crime scenes
  • Homicide scenes
  • Biohazard cleanup after death at the death scene
  • Suicide scenes
  • Hoarding scenes
  • Animal remains
  • Animal or human waste
  • Blood and bodily fluid accidents or spills
  • Chemical hazards
  • Possible coronavirus contamination

Why do I have to clean up bodily fluids?

Body fluids like blood, feces, urine, vomit, or other major bodily fluids are all considered to be potentially contaminated with bloodborne bacteria or other germs, i.e., biohazard. Cleanup is required immediately to minimize the possibility of any bacteria or germs spreading and contaminating others or other surfaces. Any of these substances can be potentially infectious making it necessary for a biohazard cleanup process. 

What are the major bodily fluids besides blood?

There are several forms of bodily fluids, and typically not something that comes up in general conversations. Bodily fluids should be considered the same as automotive fluids.  Bodily fluids are needed for or from our body’s functions as antifreeze, gas, and oil are some of the fluids a vehicle needs to function. The major body fluids that can create the need for a biohazard clean-up are: 

  • Blood: A major fluid that is part of the human body’s defense by carrying waste away that is within our body like feces, sweat, and urine. Blood also provides our body oxygen and other substances essential to our body’s survival like hormones and sugar.
  • Saliva. Contains mostly water, saliva also contains minerals and proteins that prevent gum disease and tooth decay. This bodily fluid helps us chew and swallow.
  • Semen. Found in males and contains catecholamines, fructose, and protein that is released from the body through the penis during sexual acts. 
  • Vaginal fluids. Found in women within the vagina area and contains amino acids, carbohydrates, proteins, and other acids that are produced by common lactobacillus bacteria.
  • Mucus. Comes from the lungs, mouth, nose, sinuses, and throat, containing antibodies, enzymes, and proteins that keep these areas of the body moist and fight bacteria and viruses.
  • Urine. Contains mostly water and flushes the human body of chemicals and dead blood cells that the body doesn’t need. 

What cleans up blood and bodily fluids?

Bodily fluids like diarrhea and vomiting present a high risk of spreading contamination.  Oftentimes, when a person with diarrhea or gastroenteritis vomits in an explosive or projectile manner, the substance can thrust small airborne virus particles to 25-feet. Gastroenteritis viruses can survive up to 60 days on hard surfaces such as carpeting, door handles, faucets, handrails, telephones, toilets, touch screens, upholstery, and kitchen prep areas.  

It is the recommendation of the CDC and OSHA to use chlorine as a disinfectant with paper towels that are disposed of when soiled and use fresh paper towels to continue. This has proven to be effective against pathogens and other viruses that are known to cause gastroenteritis. A chlorine bleach solution can create by mixing regular, unscented household bleach with a chlorine sanitizer. 

What equipment is needed to clean bodily fluids?

Before the process of biohazard cleanup and disinfecting bodily fluids spills, proper safety equipment is recommended that includes: 

  1. Gloves: disposable and waterproof
  2. Rubber boots
  3. Safety goggles, if no potential splashing is possible, disposable is acceptable
  4. Coveralls or biohazard cleanup suit, disposable
  5. Cloth towels that are disposable 
  6. Broad spectrum disinfectant that kills bacteria, germs, and viruses
  7. Biohazard cleanup bags with approved labels & manifest

What disinfectant should be used to clean up blood?

The proper biohazard cleanup process for blood starts with wiping up the blood with paper towels and placing them in plastic garbage bags. Then gently pour a bleach solution on the contaminated surface and allow it to sit for twenty minutes. Finish wiping up with more paper towels then place them in a plastic garbage bag for disposal.

close-up of a worker with a biohazard container

Closing Comments 

A few Biohazard cleanup tips and advice is to realize that a biohazard cleanup can be in any residential and industrial structure and are not always as dramatic as a chemical spill or other accidents.  Biohazard cleanup can be required after a simple roof leak that results in black mold growth or rodent infestation and rodent feces. 

Biohazard cleanup procedures should be followed by hotels, motels, and other premises where bodily fluids may exist or sharps waste like hypodermic needles are used. Viral outbreaks are possible in assisted living facilities and professional cleaning is required with hazmat cleanup procedures.

Anytime there is questionable materials to be cleaned, hazmat cleanup procedures are recommended. This includes using disposable gloves, masks, and materials that are placed in a sealed plastic garbage bag and promptly disposed of. 

Can a fire-damaged house be restored?

fire at an electrical outlet

The Aftermath of a Fire

Even with water heater leaks, busted water pipes, and roof leaks, the worst thing of all for a homeowner to deal with is a house fire. Restoration and repairs of the other three things are obvious, but is a house fire restoration possible? 

How bad is fire damage?

A house fire does more than damage or destroy a home. It can reach fatal heat levels, and even if the home isn’t 100% destroyed, it leaves bad odors and stains to be reckoned with during house fire restoration. This includes removing the smoke that traveled through the house, creating additional staining of flooring and walls. The smoke carries and leaves dirt, dust, and soot on every surface.

There are other possible dangers in addition to the fatal heat levels. If the fire doesn’t destroy the home, leaving enough for house fire restoration possibility, there are ongoing issues to be considered. Like carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide creates dangerous levels of chemical and thermal irritants. 

These irritants can cause permanent damage to the respiratory system of humans and pets, even resulting in death. The method of a house fire restoration is dependent on what type of fire occurred. So, can you live in a house with fire damage?

You could, but it isn’t safe, no matter the size of the house fire, there are smoke particles spread throughout the house still lingering. By staying in the house, you’ll be exposed to several health risks from the smoke and soot. 

If you plan to stay in the house, you need to hire a professional house fire restoration company. Or find out how to restore a house after a fire so that the 

smoke and soot lingering through the house won’t be absorbed by your system, subjecting you to possible long-lasting health effects. 

  • The first step in a house fire restoration is to remove the soot. Before you clean the carpeting, curtains and drapery, and upholstered furniture or your clothing, the soot needs to be removed because of the staining factor. Soot is an oily substance that should be removed using a heavy-duty vacuum cleaner without any attachments. Once you have vacuumed these surfaced, cover them with plastic so more soot from the house isn’t attracted to them. 
  • Next, you need to get the odor eliminated cause by the smoke. A proper deodorizing must be performed to get the remaining smoke odor out of all the clothing, carpeting, drapery, and upholstered furniture. This can be done by using a dry cleaner that has a deodorizing process to break up the smoke molecules. 
  • This ozone treatment will produce an oxidizing agent that gives a sweet smell like that from a rainstorm. A professional house fire restoration company will use an ozone generator or place items in an ozone room. If you’re attempting your own house fire restoration, you’ll need to deodorize all fabric covered items before having them cleaned. 
  • Now, remove the smoke that is between the walls or the smoke odor will reoccur, especially in damp and humid weather. During the fire, the pores of the walls expanded, and the smoke filled those pores. As the house cooled down, it sealed that smoke odor inside the walls. The smoke odor is also inside the ducts and vent, drifting throughout the home. The air ducts will need to be replaced to remove all the smoke odor or have a house fire restoration company apply a chemical sealer that permanently seals the smoke odor to the sides of the ducts. 
  • Remove all the insulation from the attic. This is one area that no measure of house fire restoration can rid or seal. The insulation will need to be replaced. 
  • Have the carpeting and drapery professionally cleaned. Once all the house fire restoration has been completed, they may need to be professionally cleaned again. 

 With this step-by-step on how to do a house fire restoration, you may want to know what to clean fire damage with. The American Red Cross recommends using a mild detergent or soap for removing smoke and soot from the floors, furniture, and walls. 

Another option is mixing four to six tablespoons of tri-sodium phosphate with one cup of chlorine bleach to a gallon of warm water. With rubber gloves and durable cleaning rags, clean all waterproof surfaces thoroughly and then rinse with clear warm water.

Does insurance cover fire damage?

Typically, a homeowner insurance policy is property insurance that provides additional coverage for damages or loss to a structure that is damaged or destroyed by fire.  The policyholder will be paid under the policy for replacement cost or the ACV (actual cash value) for the damages. Every insurance company has differences and each homeowner’s policy is different. Refer to your own policy and contact your agent if you’re unclear what is covered for a house fire restoration. 

How hot is a house fire?

In under four minutes, a house fire heat can reach get over 1100 degrees Fahrenheit. A room that isn’t in flames will reach over 300 degrees. Approximately 80% of all civilian deaths in a fire are in the home. 

firefighters putting out a house fire

Can fire damage brick?

Brick is one material that doesn’t burn. However, there are side effects from a fire that makes them unsafe, such as cracking and spalling. Part of a house fire restoration is to have the home thoroughly inspected to make sure none of the bricks are damaged.  

In Conclusion As a landlord, in case of a house fire of a rental unit, are tenants responsible for fire damage? Both the landlord and tenant have a specific responsibility in case of a fire. The landlord is responsible for making sure all electrical, gas-powered or other possible flammable items on the property are in good working order.  The tenant is responsible for taking steps that prevent a fire, like leaving a candle or cigarette unattended.

When do I need emergency vehicle decontamination?

cars interior being sprayed

Understanding Vehicle Decontamination

Vehicle decontamination sounds serious, doesn’t it? So, what is car contamination? It sounds serious because it is serious. COVID-19 brought many things to light for the everyday person, including how full of bacteria and germs our vehicles can get on the inside. Fortunately for us, vehicle decontamination is something that our First Responders are trained to know about and how to go about this process. 

Ambulances especially are held to a strict guideline for cleaning and disinfecting at the beginning of a shift, after transporting patients, and end of a shift. The ambulance is one place where the germs that transmitted the coronavirus could easily have been transferred from one patient to the next if not for proper and thorough vehicle decontamination. 

Consistent and correct cleaning and decontaminating steps included having adequate ventilation as crews used the chemicals needed for vehicle decontamination. Crews were also trained to use any PPE protective gear as they decontaminated their units. The areas that are included in this decontamination process are:

  • Hard non-porous interior surfaces. The arm rest, door handles and grab bars, seats and seat buckles, controls, and any surface that appeared dirty was to be disinfected. 
  • Soft and/or porous surfaces such as fabric-covered seats. 
  • Electronic surfaces such as tablets and touch screens, communication instruments, medical devices, etc. 
  • Disposable PPE materials like gloves, gowns, masks were to be disposed of properly.
  • Crew members were instructed to wash hands for 20 seconds with sanitizing soap. 
  • Cloth items like stretch sheets and blankets are to be immediately removed and laundered. 

Other times vehicle decontamination is needed is on the exterior to remove biohazards like radioactive exposure and after a fire. 

What does decontamination remove?

Vehicle decontamination in the area of first responder use is a process of removing or destroying infectious agents and other contaminants. It is a process that keeps susceptible sites from becoming contaminated by a site that has been exposed to sufficient quantities of matter that can initiate infection and harmful responses. 

What is car paint contamination?

With this bit of education on additional responsibilities that First Responders have, it should be noted there are other types of vehicle decontamination. Like the exterior of a car for painting purposes. Like paint contaminants from bugs, grime, road salt, and other airborne matters that get stuck on the exterior of a car or other vehicles and in the paint. 

Most of these things will wash off with a short period of exposure. However, some others will bury themselves into the surface and remain, or if the vehicle isn’t washed periodically, can slowly degrade the clear coating that manufacturers apply to cars.

For a car to be repainted, vehicle decontamination is needed. This will assure the new paint coating will adhere without issue. To determine if the vehicle decontamination process is needed, rub the surface of the car. A bumpy, rough feel is an indication the process is needed. So if vehicle decontamination is needed, what do you use to decontaminate a car? 

Clay bar treatment is something that most people have never heard of, much less know how to use for vehicle decontamination. To get dirt and other particles removed completely, a clay bar is a necessity in the auto paint and body industry. Clay bars are durable and elastic, allowing tough substances like brake dust, road salt, and other contaminants that can pierce into glass, metal, and paint. There are three types of clay bar: 

  • Fine Clay Bar: The softer type that is easy to use and ideal for removing any small contaminants.
  • Medium Clay Bar: This clay bar is for tougher contamination like tree sap. A more abrasive grade with a firm consistency and higher density. It removes impurities by scrubbing them away. This includes any industrial fallout and overspray. 
  • Heavy Clay Bar: Removes the tougher overspray and stubborn contaminants and should only be used by an experienced professional. Professional auto body workers will use it on glass and metal wheels. 

How do you fully decontaminate a car? 

Professional auto body technicians that are doing full vehicle decontamination for paint and bodywork will follow these steps: 

  • One: Wash the car exterior thoroughly. 
  • Two: Next, they will begin the clay bar process, dividing the car surface into 2-foot sections. 
  • Three: One 2-foot section at a time, they will spray a special lubricant on the wet surface. A wet surface is required to avoid damaging the paint.
  • Four: The clay bar is rubbed in using small, circular motions until it is smoothing running over the surface. 
  • Five: The area that has a clay bar applied is wiped down with a microfiber towel. If any residue is left behind, the technician will spray a lubricant over it then using a clean microfiber towel, wipe it down again. 
  • Six: Once the clay bar process is completed, the technician will polish and wax the vehicle. This creates a glossy finish, protects it, and extends the paint’s lifespan. 

The process of vehicle decontamination is difficult, hard work. For a properly clean vehicle, car decontamination will remove any tough blemishes so the exterior beauty is restored. Afterward, the technician will offer you a car decontamination kit. This can be used to help keep the paint job in ideal condition with products that easily remove paint-marring contaminants, like asphalt, bugs, iron, and tar. 

Is car paint decontamination necessary?

For a new paint job on a car or other vehicle to adhere and shine, yes, absolutely. For an emergency vehicle, decontamination is important to keep the community safe from biohazard, bacteria, and germs spreading. 

person in protective suit spraying a car's interior

Wrapping It Up

Vehicle decontamination is important, whether it is for the safety of the public, the adherence of a new paint job, or keeping an existing paint job looking good. So, how often should you decontaminate a car?

As we discussed in the beginning, for an emergency vehicle, decontamination is required at the beginning and end of each shift, as well as after each transportation and service call. For the purpose of maintaining a vehicle’s paint job, the basic rule of thumb is every two weeks.

Many car owners will wash their vehicles once a week, or even more. Any time your car has been driving on roads covered with ice or has seen a lot of highway time, vehicle decontamination should be done to remove the asphalt, bugs, and tar.

Can you do mold removal yourself?

Peeling away wallpaper to reveal mold on a wall.

The Important Task of Removing Mold

Living in Florida, a state that is primarily considered coastal, can be wonderful. It’s almost like year-round vacationing! Unfortunately, there are things that occur that can make it not the best vacation spot too, like hurricanes and rain. Along with that rain comes humidity, and that often leaves behind mold. Removal of mold is important for many reasons, and that is what we’re going to discuss today – Mold Removal

There are home remedies that will remove surface mold, like cleaning with household bleach. However, when the mold is more entrenched, it takes the experience of a company that knows how to do mold removal in homes and get deep into the structure if needed. Mold removal is serious because of the consequences it can lead to for health and structures. 

Is mold removal safe?

No, which is why it is always best to have a professional mold removal service do the job. However, if it is a small, contained area, with special precautions you can do your own mold removal. But remember that even a minimal amount of mold exposure during the mold removal process can create health issues like: 

  • Chronic coughing/sneezing
  • Respiratory infections and irritation
  • Skin disorders and rashes
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Internal bleeding
  • Nose bleeds

If the mold is on the drywall but not entrenched into the framing and structure, the following are steps you can do for mold removal on drywalls that are painted. There are some cases in which coated or painted drywall can be easily cleaned with a product purchased at your home improvement store. Steps for mold removal from painted drywall are: 

Step One: Select a cleaning agent that kills mold

What kills mold without bleach? Any of the following options can be used as cleaning agents that don’t include bleach. Depending on how severe the mold problem is though, these chemical and natural alternatives for DIY mold removal may not be enough. 

  • Baking Soda: This is a common ingredient in your kitchen that can be used for a number of things and is all natural. Mix baking soda with water in a 1:5 ratio and it will make a mild and safe cleanser. 
  • Vinegar: Another common ingredient in most kitchens, mix an even ratio of vinegar with water for an all-natural and safe cleaner even with children and pets around, but deadly for mold.
  • Detergents: Follow the label directions and most detergents make a safe mold removal product. 
  • Bleach: Most people want to avoid bleach because of the fumes, but it is one of the strongest things you can use for mold removal. Mixing bleach and water in a 1:3 ratio is a strong solution that will do the job in many cases. 

Step Two: Fill spray bottle with selected cleaning solution 

Step Three: Ventilate and Protect 

  • Make sure the room you’re performing your mold removal in is well ventilated, opening all doors and windows. This is especially important if you choose the bleach method for mold removal. 
  • Prepare all the areas around where you’re doing the mold removal in case of any accidental spills of the chemicals or products you’re using. This includes moving furniture, plants, any belongings away from the area where the mold removal will be taking place. Cover the floor with a drop cloth. 

Step Four: Spray the mold area with your cleaning solution 

  • Shake the spray bottle well, then spray a small amount on the mold. Do not drench the area. You don’t want to add moisture to the problem.
  • Make sure you cover the entire molded area but not to the point it is running down the wall and spreading.

Step Five: Brushing it clean

  • With a soft bristle brush or old toothbrush, scrub the area firmly but not so that it damages the wall. Keep scrubbing until the mold is gone

Step Six: Allow the Area to Dry

  • The drying period is essential! If any moisture is left, the mold will return. Place a fan on the mold removal treated area to help the drying process. 

Step Seven: Paint the Drywall with a Stain-blocking Paint

  • Mold removal will often leave a stain. You can cover this up by painting the drywall with a stain-blocking primer and paint. 

Can mold grow back after removal?

Absolutely – it is possible for mold to return, whether you do your own mold removal or have a professional mold removal and remediation service. This is why once mold removal is complete, it is necessary to determine the cause and remove that possibility of a mold outbreak. 

Does insurance pay for mold removal?

The verbiage in every homeowner’s insurance policy is vague about answering the question “when is mold removal covered by insurance?” They don’t want to pay for mold removal, so they generally leave room to be able to deny a claim for mold removal and remediation. Most policies exclude mold damage coverage with the exception of when mold is the result of a claim that was covered, like water damage.

For example, a standard homeowners insurance policy will protect the homeowner from water damage that was caused by an accidental or sudden incident. Those incidents will include a busted water pipe or a malfunctioning AC unit.

Spraying cleaner on a moldy wall.

In Closing – The Difference Between Mold Removal vs Remediation

Mold removal physically removes all mold spores from the affected area. However, mold cannot be completely removed because it is a natural occurrence from moisture in the air. Mold remediation is the process of bringing a mold-infested property back to its natural level prior to mold attacking the area. 

Mold removal and remediation will be ineffective if the source of moisture that caused the mold isn’t addressed. This is why mold removal and waterproofing must be done at the same time. If you find yourself in need of professional mold removal in Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade Counties, FL reach out to Restore Experts, Inc. by calling (954) 548-5613.

How to Speed up Carpet Drying

bedroom carpet

Restoring your carpet

Unless it is indoor/outdoor carpet, drying it out isn’t something you think you’ll ever be concerned with, right? After all, why would your carpet get wet? Well, accidents happen, like the bathtub overfilling or a something gets spilled, requiring the carpet to be cleaned. Then there are catastrophes like a leak in the ceiling. 

So, you see, the concern about carpet drying isn’t as far fetched as you may think. Just how long should carpet take to dry? Well, that is going to depend on why it is wet and then there are several factors to take into consideration surrounding the situation.  Carpet drying from an overfilled bathtub, or a roof leak will take a little longer than from a carpet cleaning process. 

Carpet drying depends on evaporation. This means that the moisture, which is leftover water, in the fibers must evaporate in order for the carpet drying to happen. So, dry air will get faster carpet drying and humid air will cause the carpet drying to take longer. 

If you’ve just cleaned up an overflowing bathtub and you’re asking yourself, “why won’t my carpet dry?”, it is highly likely the bathroom has little to no air ventilation. The first thing you should do to aid in carpet drying is turn on the exhaust fan. If there isn’t an exhaust fan and it isn’t cold or wet outside, open any exterior window in the bathroom. The next step is drying carpet with dehumidifier. 

Using a  dehumidifier for carpet drying will remove any moisture in the air by converting the wet air in to into water. A dehumidifier has two systems with one being the inlet that draws the damp air in and an outlet that emits dry air. When the moisture in the air converts into water, it goes into a storage tank that is emptied. Replace the tank and repeat the process. 

When dry air is emitted, the dry air evaporates more moisture, continuing the carpet drying. You should continue this process until there isn’t any moisture left in the air, which can take up to 12 hours for a 250 square foot bathroom. 

close up blue carpet

What if you don’t have access to a dehumidifier, can you dry carpet using fan?

Knowing how to use a carpet drying fan, or an air mover as they are called in the business, is key in this type of carpet drying working. Remember, this will take patience because drying carpet isn’t just a matter of drying the surface. Remember, you are drying carpet and padding too in most cases. If the padding doesn’t get dried, the carpet will never thoroughly dry.  Then you’ll have mildew, mold, and the odors that come with that issue.

An air mover, i.e., the big fan, lifts the moisture from the carpet fibers and dries the carpet fibers. When you have wet carpet, the only way for fast carpet drying is with the high speed of an air mover. Professional water extraction process will have one air mover blowing under the carpet and one blowing over the top. 

One of the best things you can do for small to medium sized areas of carpet drying to take care of is a combination of carpet drying fan with heat. The following steps will help you get your carpet drying done as quick as it can happen: 

  1. Shop Vac Extraction: Extract as much water as you can with a shop vac, using the biggest attachment first then step down to the smallest. Create a good seal with the attachment by pushing down as hard as you can.  
  2. Towel Absorbing: After extracting as much as possible with the shop vac, get a bunch of dry towels, lay one down on the wet area and walk across it to absorb more water. Remove the now wet towel, lay another dry towel, and repeat this process. Keep doing this with the towels until a towel is no longer wet after walking across it on the wet area. 
  3. Moving Air with Heat: Place a fan or a box heater in place where it is blowing warm air across the wet carpet. If you have access to a dehumidifier, place it so that it the dry air it emits is blowing over the wet carpet by the fan. Turn the ceiling fan on to the highest setting possible. 

Not all wet carpeting is soaking wet, sometimes it just moist, so how to dry moist carpet isn’t as entailed as these steps. The household wonder ingredient, baking soda, can be excellent way to dry a moist carpet, just follow these steps: 

  • Remove as much excess water as possible with dry towels or a shop vac, getting as down deep as you can into the carpet fibers. 
  • Sprinkle a large amount of baking soda over the wet area. 
  • Let the baking soda sit for up to 24 hours. The longer it sits, the more it will absorb the wet and any odor.
  • Vacuum over the whole area and either throw away the bag or empty the vacuum canister so the baking soda doesn’t clog the vacuum. 
  • Run a fan of the area of carpet that was wet for a hour or so to get any linger dampness. 

A professional service for carpet cleaning with drying will use commercial, professional carpet drying equipment that will leave your carpeting as dry as possible. It is important to ask the technician when the carpet will be safe to walk on so that footprints are left on your fresh clean carpet!  They will often provide you disposable shoes wraps to put over your shoes for a period of time. Call (954) 548-5613 today for your carpet drying in Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade Counties, FL.

How do I clean up sewage spill?

grass and sewer lid

How do I get rid of the sewer leak smell?

When you discover you have a busted sewage line, you know you have a major problem that needs to be fixed. In addition to that busted sewer line, another problem you may need to address is sewage removal. Yes, that clogged toilet from a diaper or toy that caused the toilet to back up or cause the underground sewage line to burst has not left you with a sewage block removal and sewage odor removal. 

When those solid object get lodged into the sewage pipes, like feminine hygiene products, diapers and wipes, toys, and other non-human waste items, the don’t decompose. They sit in the sewage line and all the human waste and toilet paper get hung on them, causing a build-up of sewage water. That is the flooding you’re experiencing in your bathroom, kitchen, lawn, or under your house and that is when professional sewage removal services is needed sometimes. 

Because those busted sewage pipes and overflowing toilets leave behind sewage damage in multiple areas on multiple surfaces. Then that horrible sewage odor comes along. Any business owner or homeowner needs to do a sewage removal, and get that mess cleaned up and the odor gone, right? 

Cleaning the substance up is fairly self-explanatory, but it will take more than those “picker-upper” paper towels. What about odor though, how to get rid of that sewage odor? Well, you can keep masking it with air fresheners and scented candles, but that is all its doing is masking it. To rid the sewage odor after the sewage removal, here are 7 proven ways to try: 

  1. Sink overflow – this is a hole located across or under the faucet and accumulates bacteria, hair, soap scum, and toothpaste that produce that sewer smells. If you have hard water, it can clog up the overflow and keep it from doing its job.
  2. Wax ring – this is installed before the toilet and seals the toilet to the floor to keep water from seeping out. If the seal breaks or becomes old and stiff, sewer gas leaks out.  This can be fixed by replacing the wax ring. 
  3. Toilet base – when a toilet is installed, it should be caulked around the base along the floor. If it isn’t sewage odors will leak out and the toilet isn’t as secure to the floor as it should be. In less than an hour, you can caulk around your toilet, stop the odor, and firm the toilet in place. 
  4. Bacterial growth – drains will accumulate a build-up of soap scum and organic matter, creating an environment for bacteria to stink up your house. Baking soda and vinegar mixture will clean out that bacteria and its odor. 
  5. Unused sinks and tubs – maybe you have a guest bath that doesn’t get used? The sewer odor could be coming from the P-trap under the sink. An unused sink dries out and then sewer gas escapes through the drain and into the air. You can stop this from happening by running water in every sink or tub once a month. 
  6. Leak check –  check under sinks and water heater, anywhere that could have a small pipe leak. Even the smallest leak can become a mildewed, moldy, smell. If you don’t see anything, have a plumber inspect your home. 
  7. Garbage disposal – inside your garbage disposal is a black rubber piece that is the splash guard. Pieces of wood and other waste you put in to the disposal accumulate under that black rubber and start to smell. You can clean this with a brush by turning the splash guard inside out and gently scrub with the brush. 

No matter how much you clean and clean, with every type of cleaner you can find, sometimes, it takes professional cleaning and sewage removal. This is especially so when there is a need to remove sewage smell from carpet. 

How do you clean up raw sewage?

A sewage spill outdoors poses a threat to others besides yourself, and the environment. There are harmful pathogens in a sewage spill and immediate action is required.  First the area should be isolated and secured to keep contamination from spreading. Then preparations for clean-up should be made such as remove anything that can be cleaned and disinfected later. 

For a minor sewage spill:

  • Sprinkle garden lime liberally over the affected area until totally covered in white dust.
  • If there are thicker areas of sewage, use a rake to mix the lime with the spill.
  • Wait24 hours.
  • Shovel the contaminated lime into heavy-duty trash bags, double bagging.
  • With garden hose, wash the lime remnants off the ground.
  • With the garden hose or a sprinkler, water down the area to dilute any leftover contaminants.
  • Allow area to dry in the sun for one day to  help kill the bacteria. Do not rake it anymore until it has thoroughly dried.  
  • If there is any lime white dust still visible, water it until it dissipates. 

For a major sewage spill, or for any size sewage spill in the winter: 

  • This is too big for an individual clean  up, so connect with an approved pumper truck or a sewage clean up company. They are able to extract large amounts from the ground with a vacuum tanker.
  • Debris and solid waste left behind should be removed and placed into double bin bags and place in the garbage.

How do you dispose of sewage?

The State of Florida has over 7,700 lakes, 50,000 miles of rivers and streams, 4,500 square miles of bays and estuaries. There are countless wetlands as well and proper wastewater management is important for protection of the water quality for every citizen and visitor. For a private citizen to dispose of sewage waste properly, a list of wastewater facilities is available on the Wastewater Facility Information page.

septic system in need of cleaning

How much does it cost to clean up sewage?

An average cost is $7 per foot for clean-up and sewage removal. There are factors that can affect that price though such as: 

  • The Amount of Sewage: Yes, $7 per square foot, but how much, is there sewage removal from water required,  and what caused the sewage spill can affect this price. 
  • The Area Size: How big of an area is the sewage removal and clean up? A kitchen backup is going to be a lot less expensive than a basement flooded with sewage backup. 
  • The Time the Sewage Has Sat: Sewage has water in it, and that water will soak into anything from cabinets and flooring to the walls the longer it sits. Part of sewage removal and cleanup will be removing it from those areas where it has soaked up, how long it has had the opportunity to soak up will determine how long the clean up takes. 
  • Plumbing Repairs Needed: Whatever cause the sewage backup will need to be repaired or replaced. The bust sewer line will need to be cleaned up along with the sewage removal. 
  • Reconstruction: After the sewage removal and cleanup, there will be additional cost to repair and restore the parts of your home that have been damaged too.
  • The Material Replacement: A sewage backup can ruin a lot of things in your home and replacing those damaged things will cause the price of sewage removal and cleanup to cost more. 

Okay, so you had a small sewage back up, what’s the big deal? It was on your property; does it really matter to everyone else? Can sewage make you sick? Before we answer that, we could suggest you do a Google search about Flint Michigan.  While sewer gas isn’t toxic necessarily at low levels, chronic or high levels of exposure, have been connected to sewer gas poisoning.

The key components of sewer gas are: 

  • Ammonia: can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat, and a higher level is toxic to humans, associated with organ damage or death.
  • Carbon dioxide: a greenhouse gas that is safe on its own, when mixed with ammonia though, becomes flammable.
  • Hydrogen sulfide: high amounts can cause adverse symptoms, organ damage, or death.
  • Methane: extremely flammable.

Call (954) 548-5613 today for your sewage spill clean up in Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade Counties, FL.

How do you remove smoke residue from walls?

Smoke on walls

What is considered smoke damage?

A house fire isn’t something anyone wants to experience. Not only can a home be damaged or destroyed, but personal belongings are too, and worsts of all, lives are often lost. Beyond the worse things possible though, if the home isn’t destroyed and nobody perished, the next worse thing to handle is the smoke cleanup

Smoke damage to house can be far worse than the eye can see. You can experience smoke damage without fire too, like smoke damage from fireplace. Smoke damage to houses can also come from other fires, like smoke damage from neighbor’s fire from their house or their grill, a burn pit, any number of other sources. 

Smoke damage is deemed to be anything that is has been impacted negatively by smoke. It could be nothing more than an unpleasant smell or something along the lines of a structural damage. Smoke damage isn’t all the same and each type will have different ways for smoke cleanup.  The factors that create different environment that will determine the smoke cleanup process are: 

  • Fire temperature
  • Fueling materials
  • Location of the fire

Depending on the damage type doe, the restoration and smoke cleanup will be impacted by these four types of smoke damage. 

  • A Protein Residue: This smoke damage come from kitchen fires of a low-temperature nature leaving minimal amounts of smoke, soot, or streaking. However, finished surfaces like cabinetry can be permanently discolored, but not all smoke damage is visible, but the odor is strong. If a thorough smoke cleanup isn’t done, the  unpleasant odor will intensely permeate throughout the entire structure and remain without a thorough smoke cleanup. 
  • A Dry Smoke: A fire fueled by paper or wood creates a dry smoke  because of the high temperatures it burns and how fast it spreads. After the smoke has cleared, the surfaces are covered in a light powdery substance, an easy smoke cleanup. However, it will seep into pores of everything, and the smoke smell stays. A deep smoke cleanup is needed to remove the smoke odor completely.  
  • A Wet Smoke: A low heat from a smoldering fire will create a wet smoke, typically from rubber or plastic actively burning. A distinct smell with smaller flames are thick and have black soot with a dense, sticky smoke that covers every surface in the structure. Special equipment and process is needed for the smoke cleanup from this type of fire.  
  • A Fuel or Oil: These petroleum residues aren’t commonplace in business and homes. It does create a  sticky ad thick smoke that is difficult to clean. The leftover smell is heavy and unappealing, easily noticed, destroying any type of clothing, curtains,  upholstered furniture, and other materials if not smoke cleanup and washed promptly.

Can you live in a house with smoke damage?

It isn’t recommended to remain living in the house until a thorough smoke cleanup procedure has been completed. The smoke from any object that has burned will contain carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and soot. If other items catch fire, the chemicals within them can are in absorbed and become part of the fire and smoke too. 

Smoke damage will cover the entire structure, clinging to walls, seeping into furniture, and clothing, damaging electronics, and settling into the ductwork. Once it is the ductwork, each time the HVAC system turns on, the odor will flow through the entire structure. 

steps with smoke and fire damage

Can smoke smell be removed from house?

Scented aerosols and candles will provide a temporary mask, but they will not eliminate the  odor. Ventilation will seem to remove some of the smoke smell, but is only diluting the odor, not permanently removing the smell.

For the smell to be removed completely and permanently, the source of the fire must be removed first. No matter how deep and how much we clean, if the source is still in place, the odor will stay. 

The smoke cleanup process takes determination and perseverance, and severe smoke damage will require the services of professional restoration experts. They have the equipment and techniques to completely and thoroughly perform a smoke cleanup that will leave your home fresh and clean smelling again. 

Okay, so you’ve experienced a fire in your home and there is smoke damage and you’re asking, “How do I clean my house after smoke damage?”. Next to restoration experts, the American Red Cross are experts at smoke cleanup and recommend tri-sodium phosphate  products. Following the label directions, TSP reduces smoke and other odors in fabrics. They also offer the following suggestions: 

Smoke and soot can be removed from floors, furniture, and walls, with mild detergent or soap mixed with four to six teaspoons of tri-sodium phosphate and one cup household cleaner or bleach  with one gallon of water. With clean rags and wearing rubber gloves, go over these surfaces then rinse with clear warm water and allow to dry thoroughly.

Smoke and soot odor can be removed from clothing simply by washing in bleach water and TSP if the fabric is bleach safe. If not, washing clothing in cold water with the usual laundry detergent and1 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract. Call (954) 548-5613 today for smoke damage cleaning in Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade Counties, FL.

What Kills Black Mold?

mold removal

Can You Clean Up Mold Yourself?

Are you in desperate need of mold removal? Are you wondering whether or not you can do it yourself? In all honesty, each case will be slightly different as it pertains to the severity of mold in your household or property. For small cases, it is possible to use a few household products. These products include baking soda, vinegar, tea tree oil, hydrogen peroxide, and detergent. For a vinegar-based solution, you have the opportunity to use a spray bottle. There is no need to add water to the solution. You can actually spray the vinegar on the surface and leave it for an hour. However, these household solutions will not be able to thwart a significant mold infestation. That is why it is especially critical that you use a professional mold remediation company when possible.

What is the Best Product to Kill Mold?

There are many different products available on the market that help kill mold. Let’s review a few. Please read through the following list to discover more.

  • White vinegar. White vinegar is highly recommended as a way to clean, deodorize, and kill 82% of mold species. This includes black mold which can be found on porous and non-porous surfaces.
  • Baking soda. This product is effective at removing odors, relieving heartburn, and removing mold. This is accomplished by absorbing the moisture that attracts mold.
  • Tea tree oil. Tea tree oil has a lot of benefits. It is an insect repellant, an antiseptic, and it is a deodorizer. It’s a safe method for removing black mold as well.

If you have a significant mold infestation in your home or property, it is essential to seek professional help. A professional mold remediation company will have effective tools and strategies for handling serious mold issues.

What Kills Black Mold?

Are you looking to get rid of black mold? While you are waiting for the professional attention of a mold remediation company, you should feel free to research the methods that are recommended for mold removal. These methods include combining one part baking soda with five parts distilled white vinegar and five parts water in a spray bottle. Additionally, you can also use a chemical-based mold mildew remover. Bleach and dish soap are also recommended.

How Do Professionals Remove Mold?

There are a number of benefits to be aware of as it pertains to professional mold remediation. A mold remediation professional will remove all water-damaged, mold-infested materials from the area. They will also clean and disinfect walls, carpet, and personal items. If the damage is too extensive, then the drywall and studs will be removed. Finally, they will vacuum with HEPA filtration. HEPA stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air filtration.

Can You Sell a House with Black Mold?

Do you have a house with black mold that you are trying to sell? While this isn’t a great reality, it is important to understand whether it is in your rights to do so. According to a leading real estate website, you have the right to sell a house “as is” with a mold infestation. However, this information must be disclosed to the buyer. When you are selling a house that has a mold infestation, then the buyer will most likely be a cash buyer. 

Will Insurance Cover Mold Removal

Are you wondering if your homeowner’s insurance will cover mold removal? The good news is that homeowners insurance will cover mold damage if the damage was caused by a “covered” peril. The list of covered perils will be itemized in your homeowner’s insurance agreement. If your mold damage was preventable or caused by something that is not established in your contract, then your insurance provider will have reason to reject your mold removal insurance claim. 

When is Mold Removal Covered by Insurance

When you need serious mold removal, it is always best to have some financial assistance when it is possible. Insurance will cover the cost of mold removal when the mold is caused by a covered peril. These perils will be listed in the terms of your homeowner’s insurance contract.

mold removal

What Mold Removal

When you need to check and see if you have mold, using a mold removal solution will provide some much-needed assistance. Mold removal solutions include undiluted white vinegar and a properly diluted bleach solution. To make a bleach solution, you will mix one cup of bleach in a gallon of water and apply it to the surface. Do not rinse. When dealing with grout, you can add a little dish soap to help it penetrate porous surfaces.

What is a Mold Removal Fogger

A mold removal fogger produces a mist of antimicrobial and odor-controlling solution that is specifically designed for mold remediation.

When you need mold removal in Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade Counties, FL, you can count on us to make the difference you need. Please reach out to us to schedule an appointment. You can reach us at (954) 548-5613 today!