Keeping Your Wood Floors Clean: Mold Prevention and Mold Detection

If you have never experienced mold, you need to take necessary measures so that it will never occur. Mold is a mess and a health hazard! It is fungi. Mold eats and grows just like we do. A tree, even after it is harvested and turned into floorboards, contains fatty acids, sugars, starches, proteins and lipids. This is all nutrients for the mold. You don’t see mold in a living tree commonly because the bark has a natural barrier against fungi. Once the tree is cut down, the bark no longer acts as a protective defence.

Mold can occur in old and new homes. Often the new homes are so airtight that moisture cannot escape. Mold is dangerous to your health so preventing it is a great idea. Mold can come in different colors. On wood, it can be yellow, orange, green or black. Mold often discolors wood.

Here are some tips to prevent mold. Maintain a consistent indoor relative humidity. You can do this by purchasing a moisture meter also known as a hygrometer. You can pick one up at your local electronics store. Keep a logbook so you can easily pay attention to fluctuations. Mold breeds in temperatures ranging from 70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you are unsure if you have mold in your house, you may want to hire a professional to test the air. Mold can grow on furniture, wood floors, carpets, and so forth. Mold will grow in anything that is organic. The organic matter becomes its food supply. This coupled with moisture and oxygen is all that is needed. Most but not all varieties of mold require oxygen. If you have any areas of your wood floors that have a moisture content of 20% or greater, you are asking for mold and water in most cases.

If you have a dehumidifier that collects water in a basin at the bottom and you have it in a room with hardwood floors, be sure to empty it regularly so it won’t overflow. Same goes for any live plants that you have. If you overwater them and water gets onto the hardwood floors, there is a chance that mold will grow. Any standing water on wood floors is dangerous. It can cause water stains and mold. Keep your floors dry. Use a rag to dry any standing water on your hardwood floors always. If you detect any moisture, it may be worth it turn up the heat with a portable heater.

To understand mold on your wood floors more scientifically, when it comes from standing water it is often stain fungi. This is when you have had a puddle of water for a few days. This variety of mold penetrates the wood but not very deeply. As this mold grows deeper into the wood, it will change. The color of the mold will darken as it ages. When the mold darkens, it is called “blue stain”.

The mold that comes from chronic water from a leaky pipe, for example, is often decay fungi. This is when the mold attacks the wood fibers weakening them. This is what causes wood rot. The spores of decay fungi do not sit on the surface of the wood but rather go inside the wood.

Sometimes you can have excess moisture in your house without even noticing it. You may have mold spores but not even know how they got there. You may also have a leak without knowing. It can be as simple as a defective water pipe, a water heater leaking from the bottom or an open window bringing in humidity. Often the dampest area of a house is the basement. Basements are also the place in your house most likely to flood. If you have wood floors in your basement, you will need to be extra careful to monitor the moisture to avoid mold.

If you are unsure get your house checked out. If you have mold and don’t know what kind it is, it does not matter. Treat the mold immediately. Don’t worry about figuring out what kind of mold you have and getting a mold detection kit. It is expensive because any samples you get will have to be lab tested. You need a microscope to understand what variety of mold you have. To hire the right kind of professional, you will need a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH). The naked eye cannot detect it. Besides, it is pretty much impossible to test the mold if it has penetrated the wood floor. Cleaning and removing all the mold spores is all that you need to do.

Keep your home at a relatively consistent indoor humidity level. A good general rule is to maintain an indoor relative humidity of 30 to 50 per cent during heating season. When outdoor temperatures dip below minus 10 degrees celsius, it is best to keep your indoor relative humidity at around 30 per cent. Also, make sure to clean up spills of water or any liquid on your hardwood floors immediately. You will prevent mold from starting.