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How to Test for Mold in Basements

How to Test for Mold in Basements

Mold thrives in environments where moisture is present. It nestles comfortably in temperatures between 40 to 100 degrees—basically every damp area of your home!

While natural sunlight and airflow prevent it from growing, some areas of the home don’t get as lucky. Your basement, for example. These areas get very little sunlight or airflow, which means mold won’t die off on its own.

You have to treat this problem immediately to prevent putting your health at risk or damaging your home. We’ll go over how to test for mold in basements here.

How To Test for Mold in Your Basements

To perform a quick mold test in your basements, dip a swab in a solution consisting of one part bleach and 16 parts water, then apply it to the wall. If the affected area quickly lightens or reappears after cleaning, it should be assumed to be mold. Below are other ways you can test your basement for mold.

1. Inspect the Basement

Mold comes in many forms. Sometimes there are black streaks on the walls, while you’ll notice slimy textures other times. It often appears as stains with a yellowish tint or white areas with orange spots. Whichever of these you spot, you need to test for spores.

Cluttered Basement With Concrete Floor

Check your basement from top to bottom. Inspect the walls, baseboards, ceiling, and floors.

You can expect to find spores near pipes, behind heating elements, or inside closets. You also want to check the backside of your basement stairs.

You’re in the clear if you don’t notice anything out of the ordinary. But if you do, you’ll need to get rid of it as soon as possible.

2. Determine If It’s Mold or Dirt

Let’s say you come across an affected area but are unsure if it’s mold or dirt. Here’s a quick way to spot the difference:

  1. Dip a cotton swab in a bleach solution (mix 1 part bleach with 16 parts water).
  2. Dab it on the affected area of the wall.
  3. If the spot keeps returning after cleaning it, it’s likely mold.

Another way to identify spores is by odor. If the smell is strong and unaffected by deodorizers, you have an issue.

3.  Conduct a Home-Test Kit

Home-test kits used to be left entirely in the hands of professionals. Nowadays, homeowners can collect their own samples.

You can find a home test kit at your local home improvement store. Keep in mind the actual testing still has to be done in a lab, so it may delay how quickly you can get a start on the cleaning.

After collecting the sample, you’ll have to mail it to the address stated on the kit. Depending on the manufacturer, results may take a few days or weeks.

Because time is of the essence in these situations, it’s best to call a mold removal service to take care of the issue. Experts can inspect, test, and analyze the samples more quickly using in-house services.

4. Hire a Professional

The most effective method of testing and treatment is hiring a professional specializing in mold removal. A professional can remove it entirely, leaving no trace behind.

These specialists are also highly trained to follow safety precautions when dealing with an infestation like black mold.

Can I Remove It Myself?

Anyone can remove spores themselves, but should they?

There are a few reasons it’s best to leave this job to professionals. For instance, unless you know the exact type of fungus you’re dealing with, you should hire a mold removal specialist.

Mold Remediation Company

Some molds are worse than others. A remediation service will determine your type and the best course of action to remove it.

Also, the removal process is a significant undertaking. It’s not straightforward and can get costly very quickly. It requires equipment like masks, air filters, dehumidifiers, and cleaning chemicals.

The last reason it’s best to leave this task in the hands of experts is that mold is dangerous. Breathing it in can cause sinus problems, fungal infections, headaches, bronchitis, and more. Unless you have the proper protective equipment and know the specific species and how to eradicate them, you risk mold exposure and poisoning.

How Do I Know if the Mold in My Basement Is Toxic?

Toxic spores usually have a grayish, soot-like texture. Sometimes it comes in the form of a slimy, wet surface.

Black mold, for instance, is very toxic as it can cause breathing problems, especially among the elderly. To be safe, don’t get too close to it and call a professional immediately.

When to Treat Mold in the Basement

The time to treat mold is as soon as you notice it. You need to treat the spores immediately to stop them from spreading further.

Leaving the issue unattended will only cause further damage to your home. It also puts everyone living in the home at risk of severe health issues.

This fungus can be toxic and make you sick. It can irritate the throat, nose, and lungs. It may also cause difficulty breathing for individuals with asthma. Symptoms of exposure include:

  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Headaches
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Fatigue
  • Watery eyes

Note that being exposed to this fungus may cause several health effects or none at all. It depends on the individual and their sensitivity to mold.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Does It Cost to Remove Mold From a Basement?

The average cost for mold removal ranges from $500 to $3,000. It varies significantly as it ultimately depends on your basement’s size and the extent of the infestation.

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Testing for Mold in Basements: Final Thoughts

Mold can be tricky to spot, and when you determine it’s there, it’s even more difficult to remove completely.

Testing for mold is the first step to getting rid of it. You need to inspect your basement, determine if it’s mold or dirt, conduct a home-test kit, and hire an expert.

Leaving it unattended will only make matters worse. Or, trying to remove mold from the basement yourself could lead to missed spots resulting in the spores returning. Taking matters into your own hands could also lead to mold exposure and symptoms of sickness, including headaches, sinus problems, bronchitis, fatigue, fungal infection, and more.

For emergency mold removal and remediation the safe way, call All Dry USA.


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