Mold colors don't matter very much. Mold is mold whether it's black, green or pink, and it's usually a problem, especially for people with respiratory issues. If the mold has a greenish color, it could be any one of a number of species, including Aspergillis, Cladosporium or Penicillium. You can't tell for sure without having the mold tested in a lab.
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention counsel that it isn't as important to identify mold as it is to eradicate any you find. If conditions favor the growth of green mold, they also favor toxic black mold (Stachybotrys chartarum), which is unambiguously dangerous. The two species could be growing side by side.
Should You Call In a Pro?
As a rule of thumb, a homeowner can handle a mold cleanup as long as the affected area is less than 10 square feet. An infestation larger than this calls for professional remediation, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The remediation team, which should be licensed, is equipped to handle issues like excessive moisture and spore incursion into HVAC ducts.
The Best Way to Kill Mold
You can use vinegar to kill mold, and you can also use baking soda, but at a minimum, you should scrub the affected area with detergent and water. Physical removal is the most effective remediation strategy and the one recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Cleaning mold with vinegar and baking soda is always a good plan, but you can't use them at the same time because they neutralize each other. To make a spray that you can use to treat green mold:
- Mix one part vinegar and one part water.
- Mix one part baking soda and one part water.
Put the mixture in a spray bottle and spray the mold liberally. After doing this, wipe the mold away with a sponge soaked in detergent and water, and then rinse and let the area dry out.
Green Mold Can't Grow if There Is No Moisture
You have to alter the prevailing conditions so they don't favor mold growth, which in most cases means removing sources of moisture. If the mold is growing at the base of a wall, the moisture could be coming from a plumbing leak or a leak in the wall or roof. Search for that leak and fix it.
When mold is growing in a dark corner or at the top of a wall, it usually signifies high room humidity. There may even be enough moisture in the air to form condensation, which often happens in basements, bathrooms and closets. The remedy is to improve ventilation and air circulation by running a fan or opening a window.
Green Mold in the Toilet Tank
You may notice green discoloration on the sides of the toilet tank if your toilet is in a cool, poorly ventilated alcove. This could be due to mold or algae. They are related, and both call for eradication.
Treat the discoloration by emptying the tank and scrubbing the sides with a bathroom disinfectant that contains bleach. When you refill the tank, pour in a cup or two of vinegar and let it sit for several hours or overnight before flushing.
You may be tempted to put a blue disinfectant tablet in the tank to keep the mold or algae at bay. While this might work, it's an approach that has drawbacks. The tablets contain bleach, which can corrode rubber parts in the tank and poison any pet that drinks out of the bowl. It's safer and just as effective to repeat the vinegar treatment at regular intervals.
Chris Deziel is a contractor, builder and general fix-it pro who has been active in the construction trades for 40 years. He has degrees in science and humanities and years of teaching experience. An avid craftsman and musician, Deziel began writing on home improvement topics in 2010. He worked as an expert consultant with eHow Now and Pro Referral -- a Home Depot site. A DIYer by nature, Deziel regularly shares tips and tricks for a better home and garden at Hunker and Family Handyman.