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Q: I’ve noticed some of my customers have carpet in their bathrooms and I see mold occasionally around toilets and bathtubs, sometimes on the sheetrock. I’m not a mold expert. Should I clean this up, or have the customer call a professional mold company?
That’s an interesting question.
What you are seeing is probably mold, which often occurs in a room that experiences moisture, and one that is usually not ventilated.
Although there may be an exhaust fan present, many times it isn’t turned on because of the noise it makes. And sometimes the fan doesn’t work anyway. So moisture accumulation, in a bathroom, is very probable and often leads to mold growth.
Does this amount of mold require a real mold remediation effort? It might. I would point out what you have observed to the homeowner. If the homeowner has no health issues, nor expresses concerns, then we can do a “sort of” remediation, assuming you have the correct equipment. If the homeowner does express concerns or has health issues, then this needs to be referred to a real mold remediation expert.
Let’s assume that the homeowner has no issues and asks you to “treat it.” The first action would be to use a high-efficiency particular air (HEPA) vacuum over all the affected surfaces and carpet to vacuum up all visible mold. The second action would be to apply a biocide to the affected areas, being cautious of possible color loss on the carpet. This is a simple process and is not intended to be considered traditional mold remediation; rather, we are treating the affected areas.
The affected areas should be checked with moisture meters, and if they are wet (above 16 percent moisture content) then whatever is causing this “wetness” needs to be found and addressed. This amount of moisture would also raise concerns that mold is probably under the carpet and pad, and inside the wall cavity, and thus the problem is much larger than is visible and — in this situation — the job probably does requires a real mold remediation expert.
If these areas are not really wet (below 16 percent moisture content) then the problem has probably been caused by poor ventilation, and we should discuss this with the homeowner, as routinely using the ventilation fan or opening a window when showering should minimize the possibility of the situation reoccurring.
— answer submitted by Richard Driscoll