On the Lookout for Mold
Mold can grow anywhere, on virtually any substance, as long as there is moisture. That means wood, carpet, ceiling tiles, and dry wall are all susceptible. Learn how you can prevent mold growth and clean it if you spot it. If the mold in your home is reoccurring, especially in an area where there shouldn't be any moisture, call in the professionals.
The first step to preventing it is proactively avoid moisture problems. This means installing carpet in a bathroom (yuck!) is probably a bad idea. The same would go for a basement that has issues with leaks and condensation. Fix leaky plumbing or other sources of water. Water damaged areas of your home need to be dried within 24-48 hours to prevent mold spores growth.
You should also prevent condensation on windows, exterior walls, floors and attic/roof by adding insulation. Reducing your indoor humidity will also help. You can do this by venting bathrooms and dryers to the outside, using air conditioners and dehumidifiers, increasing whole house ventilation, and utilizing kitchen exhaust fans.
Molds produce allergens and irritants. Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions such as: sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash. Mold exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs. Reactions are common, and can be particularly problematic for those with asthma, leading to asthma attacks.
CLEANING & REMOVAL
You may tackle mold cleanup on your own if the area is relatively small, say less than 10 square feet (3'x3'). Clean mold off hard surfaces with water and detergent. Be sure to dry completely. It's best to avoid breathing in mold, so in order to limit your exposure to it you should wear an N-95 respirator ($12-$25). Also wear long gloves and goggles. Absorbent materials, like ceiling tiles, may need to be discarded and replaced if the mold has penetrated the material. Carpet is the same. Do not paint or caulk moldy surfaces.
Remain diligent in the bathroom. Increase ventilation by running your fan or opening a window. Clean more frequently to keep ahead of mold growth and keep it to a minimum.
If your damaged area is large, call in the professionals for mold abatement. This is critical if there has been a lot of water damage (flooding, burst pipe) or your mold growth covers more than 10 square feet.