Apartment Mold and How To Deal With It

By: Bethany Chin

Shanghai - On December 20th, mold was found in a small closet room because the room wasn’t visited much, the mold was reported to the property owner, it had grown on many parts of the room, including the wall and the ceiling. The overpowering smell had soaked the room.


Mrs. Julia and her daughters Phoebe and Bethany were cleaning a big closet full of toys and Legos. Seven-year-old Phoebe finds something disgusting behind a cardboard box full of board games. In the corner of the room, dark, green, and furry-looking microorganisms had invaded the immaculate white wall.


Mrs. Julia said, “30-40 years ago when I was a child in Taipei, there was always some type of mold growth in my apartment. Taipei is a very humid place. Especially during spring which is also the rainy season, everything is wet, even if you have the dehumidifier on. Now we're in Shanghai, it is humid, but not as bad as in Taipei. However, in our apartment there is a roof leak and therefore, there's mold growth on the corners of the walls. Unless we fix the leak on the roof by sealing up the cracks, there will always be some water leaking through, some mold growing.” Mrs. Julia and her daughters encountered mold because of water leaks, humidity, and because they didn’t visit the room on a regular daily basis.


Chelsea, a fifth-grade student in Concordia, once also had mold on the corner of her bathroom. The mold mostly grew in the cracks of the bathroom floor, so she could barely see it let alone touch it. Chelsea also described the color of the mold as dark black and some of it as brown. She said, “The apartment mold was very annoying and ugly. But once it was gone, it was gone for good. So, I really appreciate my mother for hiring someone to clean it out and get rid of it." Chelsea had stated that her mom hired people to clean the mold and then bought cleaning products.


Having mold in Shanghai is very usual because of the humid environment. Have you ever encountered mold in any parts of your apartment after leaving your apartment for a long time? Covid-19 makes traveling much harder, it is also very usual to leave Shanghai for a period and come back having mold in your apartment.


According to “What to Do If you Find Mold in Apartment”, it states, “The presence of mold is the symptom of a water issue (a leak or moisture) that you’ll have to address. The CDC doesn’t recommend testing the mold but rather to get rid of it quickly. People can be sensitive to molds and may develop wheezing, a stuffy nose, or itchy, watery eyes.”

What to do with Apartment Mold


1. Make Sure it is Really Mold

The first thing you should do when you find mold in your apartment is to make sure it is really mold. That is because mold is often confused with mildew. Both mildew and mold are fungi, but mildew is the surface of fungi and mold is embedded in the surface that it is growing on. According to “What to Do If you Find Mold in Apartment”, it states, “Mold tends to be fuzzy or even slimy in appearance and is typically green or black. Mildew is usually white, gray, or yellow, and it has a fluffy or powdery look to it.” And that is how you can find the difference between Mildew and Mold. If it is mildew, you can just get rid of it with a good cleaner and some scrubbing.

2. Determine How Big the Problem Is

After you know that it is really mold you are suggested to determine how big exactly the problem is. If it is only bits of mold, then treat it with some vinegar. You are suggested to use white vinegar, white vinegar kills at least 80% of the mold. Make sure the mold is soaked with vinegar and check the mold in about an hour. People might say that bleach works to solve the problem, but mold also feeds on bleach. So, after spraying bleach the mold might look like it is affected and disappear for some time, but the mold is not completely gone, in other words, it will grow back.

3. Contact or Call Your Landlord

If after spraying vinegar on mold and mold is no longer there, then good! But if mold is still there or if your problem is too big then you are strongly advised to contact your landlord to fix whichever problem that is causing the mold to grow. Mold is caused by a water issue so your property manager will have to take care of it.



Sources:

  • What to Do If You Find Mold in Your Apartment: Apartments.com

  • Mold and Health: epa.gov

  • Mold in Apartments: Interview with Chelsea Ouyang

  • Mold in Apartments: Interview with Julia Chin

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