Mold Remediation

How to Test Yourself for Mold Exposure


When residing in a home that is infested with mold, it is important to test for mold exposure. Serious health conditions, like mold toxicity, can result upon breathing in mold. Homeowners who are concerned about mold exposure should get themselves tested at a doctor’s office.

How common is mold?

Mold is naturally occurring fungi that is prevalent in the environment. The spores eat away at decayed materials, like dead trees and leaves, thereby supporting the important process of decomposition. Mold requires few nutrients to survive, making many places habitable spots.

Three nutrients are necessary to support mold colonies: a constant water source, organic materials, and darkness. A dripping water pipe produces enough moisture to feed spores. Organic materials range from clothing to carpets and drywall. When these nutrient sources combine with darkness, mold thrives.

Water damaged homes, thereby, are most susceptible to mold outbreaks. Mold colonies can develop within as little as 24 to 48 hours after exposure to moisture. Under consistently damp conditions and with a nearby food source, mold spreads rapidly and infests the home.

person overwhelmed by the sight of mold

What is mold toxicity?

Of the 100,000 species of mold, some are more harmful than others. Mold emits mycotoxins, which are toxins that mold spores naturally produce. Sensitive individuals who are exposed to mold and are unable to eliminate the mycotoxins from their bodies experience mold toxicity.

The mold toxicity that results when the body is unable to rid itself of the mycotoxins damages the body’s systems. Mold toxicity is also known as mold illness or Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS). Airborne mold spores can enter a person via their skin, respiratory tract, or GI tract.

Who is most vulnerable to mold toxicity?

Mold toxicity mostly affects people who are especially sensitive to mold. Not everyone experiences symptoms of mold illness or reacts, though all individuals are exposed to mold and its mycotoxins. Certain factors or conditions must be present in order for symptoms to appear.

Mold toxicity affects individuals who have a family history of asthma or allergies. People who are diagnosed with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), or other respiratory conditions are likely to be sensitive to mold and may experience mold illness.

High exposure to mold spores through the environment can lead to mold toxicity. This occurs in industries, such as carpentry, greenhouses, and millwork, where mold concentrations are highest. Similarly, working in a building exposed to high moisture levels increases the risk.

Living in a home with high humidity levels (above 50%) encourages mold and mold illness. Damp areas, such as bathrooms, are prone to mold growth. When windows and doors are tightly sealed, they can trap moisture and block the ventilation needed to prevent mold.

mold in the corner of a window

What are symptoms of mold toxicity?

People who develop mold toxicity show several symptoms. Some common mild symptoms are coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and sore throat. Affected individuals may experience runny noses, watery eyes, and sinus congestion. Others suffer asthma attacks, nosebleeds, and skin rashes.

Severe symptoms can occur, especially in immune-compromised people. These include brain fog, fatigue, changes in mood, and headaches. Individuals may suffer memory loss, liver and kidney issues, and digestive issues. Mold toxicity symptoms can overlap with existing health conditions, making diagnosis difficult.

How do individuals test themselves for mold exposure?

Experiencing symptoms of mold illness, whether mild or severe, should prompt individuals to test themselves for mold exposure. Testing is also recommended when mold is smelled or seen in the home. Musty scents may emerge or staining on walls may develop—both signs of mold growth.

A physician can order tests to determine if mold toxicity is present. Inflammation occurs alongside mold toxicity. Respiratory disease often results when mycotoxins are prevalent indoors and act as pro-inflammatory mediators. A mycotoxin test can be performed to check for toxins in the urine.

Alternately, a blood test might be ordered at the doctor’s office. The blood sample is taken and sent to a laboratory to measure the number of antibodies present in the bloodstream. The count of antibodies indicates the immune system’s sensitivity to various mold species.

How do homeowners address a mold infestation?

The first line of treatment after mold illness is to reduce exposure to the indoor mold. Homeowners must locate and repair the moisture source, without which mold cannot flourish. This may mean fixing a roof leak, a leaky pipe, or improving the home’s ventilation.

Maintaining ideal humidity levels in the home is also key to preventing mold growth and alleviating existing mold illness symptoms. Humidity levels should be kept lower than 50 percent. Be extra-cautious during the summer months and in humid climates.

Mold Remediation Services

Mold Remediation - HydroForce Cleaning & Restoration

Eliminate an existing mold infestation with professional help from HydroForce Cleaning & Restoration, an efficient, local mold remediation company. We provide thorough mold removal services in residential homes and commercial properties, returning them to a clean, habitable, and mold-free condition.

Our highly skilled team of technicians arrives quickly to assess the extent of mold growth and develop a mold remediation plan. We contain the affected spaces to prevent cross-contamination to other parts of the home or business. Specialists begin the cleanup process by first fixing the water source.

Removing mold spores in the air is a central part of our process. We run HEPA filtration equipment to clean the air and filter mold spores. When mold infests surfaces, our techs use HEPA vacuums and cleaning products to remove the spores and stains.

Anti-microbial solutions are applied to further treat affected areas. Any unsalvageable building materials are properly disposed of. The property is thoroughly dried, air quality is tested, and a final inspection is performed. We work with your property insurance company to accelerate claims.

HydroForce Cleaning & Restoration is Chicagoland’s first choice for quality and efficient mold removal. As a comprehensive service, we remove hidden and visible mold from your property. Same-day appointments are available for emergencies. Call our Bridgeview, Illinois, office as soon as you spot mold.

Mold Remediation

How to Test for Mold in My Apartment


Mold at your apartment can be noticed via a musty smell or spots and patches around windows and other areas. There are various ways to test for mold which can be costly, however you can also use a home kit as a cheaper alternative.

How to Figure Out if You Have Mold in Your Apartment

The best way to test for mold in your apartment is to use a home test. Also, if you have obvious brown, black, or even gray spots on various surfaces in your home, you may have mold. The most dangerous type of mold is black mold. It usually appears on wood, paper, fabric, and even insulation. It does not always look black as it can also be blue or gray. However, mold sometimes hides in different areas such as between cupboards and the wall, corners of walls, or any area that may have little air ventilation. You should also be sure to check areas that have plumbing pipes as they can leak and create a moist area that may allow mold to grow. Leaving mold unattended can cause various health issues so it is always best to deal with it right away to avoid further problems.

How to Test for Mold in Your Apartment

You can have your home either tested by professionals or you can use a home kit and test for mold yourself. No matter what type of test you use, if you do find that you have mold present at your property, you should make sure it is remediated right away before it spreads further and causes damage to your property.

Professional Mold Testing:

If you have a professional mold inspector test your home, they will take a sample from three different areas including the air, surface, and the surrounding dust. The sample will then be sent to a third-party lab which will figure out the concentration and the type of mold you have in the affected areas.

mold growing on the apartment ceiling

Mold Testing:

You can use a store-bought mold testing kit to figure out if you have mold present at your apartment. The mold you will usually see indoors includes Cladosporium, Alternaria, Penicillium, and Aspergillus or even black mold or Stachybotrys.

Here are a few common mold testing kits you should know about if you decide to do mold testing yourself:

5-Minute Mold Test:

This test is quick and easy and uses one test swab and one test strip for Stachybotrys and Penicillium/Aspergillus. You can test multiple samples for the lab, and you get a pre-paid mailer. Basically, you will need to swab the area, wet it in the provided solution, and apply it to the test strip. If you have one line, your test is negative and if you have two, then you have the specified type of mold present at your property.

Mold Armor FG500 Do It Yourself Mold Test Kit:

In this mold testing kit, you will get a test swab, a petri dish, and a bottle of medium that grows mold. You can use the kit in three ways. This means you can test the air, test the air quality of your HVAC duct, or test the surface for mold. The process of testing is simple. You will need to pour the growth medium into the petri dish, replace the lid, and allow it to grow gel for one hour. Next, you have the option to stay open to the atmosphere to test the quality of air, you can tape it to your air duct for an HVAC test or use the swab to remove the sample and apply it to the growth medium so you can do a surface test. It will take 48-96 hours for mold to grow in your dish. You can also send it to the lab for analysis for $40. The test kit itself is under $10.

mold test kits

Do it Yourself Mold Test:

With this test kit you get three tapes to get samples from surfaces. You will then need to mail them back for analysis. All the instructions are included in the kit. The usual cost of the kit is around $45 which includes the lab fees to test for all mold types. You will simply need to apply the tape to wherever you see mold in your home, lift it off, and adhere to the sample card included with the kit. You will get a full lab analysis report in the mail.

Keep in mind that you should always wear protective gear if you plan on testing for mold. It is important to wear long sleeves and pants, proper shoes, gloves, and goggles without vent holes and an N95 respirator. If you do one of the home kits and get positive results, at that point you can decide whether to get the mold removed yourself or hire a professional to do so.

Common Areas for Mold to Appear

  • Area around the plumbing lines
  • Under the sink
  • Within walls or around windows that may be leaking
  • In closets
  • Under the carpet if you’ve had a flood
  • Behind the fridge
  • Between furniture, on the exterior of walls
  • Coils of HVAS or ductwork

Common Causes of Mold in Apartments

Water Leak Causing Mold in bathroom

Mold thrives in cool and damp spaces. There are various reasons why you may experience a mold infestation. Here are a few:

  • Water leak

When you have a mold infestation, it may be caused by a leak. Even if you fix the leak,

mold can linger inside walls and floors; the mold spores grow quickly and cause it to spread.

  • Water that enters from the outside:

If you have badly fitting windows or cracks in your walls or doors, you may end up with some moisture inside your home.

  • Water from condensation

Condensation is caused by the water we exhale and from showering and cooking. It condenses on cool surfaces such as on walls and can cause mold. Also, if you have indoor humidity that is higher than 60 percent or an indoor temperature of 60 F or lower, this can also be a cause of mold.

Preventing Mold

You can prevent mold by using dehumidifiers or air conditioners to get rid of extra moisture from air indoors, you can also run exhaust fans in your kitchen and bathroom and make sure to heat your home during cold weather.

Have you experienced mold at your apartment? If so, make sure to give HydroForce Cleaning and Restorations a call today. Our highly trained professionals will provide you with all the needed mold testing and remediation services right away to ensure your space is safe for you to inhabit. For more information about our mold removal services you can call us today at 630-835-0862.

Mold Remediation

Steps to Remove Mold from Plywood in the Attic


Steps to Remove Mold from Plywood in the Attic

The attic is a part of the home that often gets neglected. However, you should not ignore your attic as it is a prime spot for water damage and mold growth. It is important to regularly check the walls, floors, sides, and corners of the attic to make sure there is no mold forming anywhere. If you do notice mold, it is crucial to address it right away as it can cause significant damage and have an effect on your health.

Why does plywood get moldy?

Mold can appear on treated or untreated plywood. The causes of mold on plywood include temperature, humidity, extra moisture, and the presence of mold spores. Mold on plywood is typically black in color, and it spreads quickly if it has the right conditions, especially if it is wet and humid. Mold and algae affect only the surface and do not get into the plywood structure itself. However, when there is decay in the plywood, the mold can penetrate the surface.

Removing Mold in the Attic

What does mold on plywood look like?

Mold on plywood is typically black or green in color. It can appear on untreated plywood and on H3.1 LOSP and H3.2 treated plywood. This is most likely to happen if the plywood becomes wet or the attic has the proper conditions for mold to form. Sometimes weather conditions involving heat or humidity can create the right conditions for mold to form.

Here are some things you should look out for if you think you have mold on the plywood in the attic:

  • If there is moisture present, you may already have mold.
  • The wood looks damaged and discolored.
  • If you see spores on the surface of the wood packaging, you may have mold.

Identifying mold on your plywood can be tricky as you may mistake it for simple iron stains, mineral discoloration, or sun exposure. Make sure to consult a professional to determine if you have mold and start the remediation process right away. Also, speak to them about future preventative measures you can take to avoid mold.

Preventing Mold

Mold in your attic happens due to excess moisture from a leak in your roof, or an issue with the structure that is causing the extra moisture. The mold spores in the attic will spread to the rest of the home quickly and exposure to mold can trigger allergic reactions. It is important to prevent mold in your attic to avoid property damage and the possible health effects.

Here are some steps to follow so you can be sure to prevent mold in your attic.

  • Keep a minimal difference in exterior and interior temperature:

Make sure that you keep the temperature inside similar to the temperature outside so that you do not create condensation on the underside of roof sheathing.

  • Work with a professional to identify air leaks:

A professional will be able to identify any air leaks in the interior of your attic.

  • Get any points of entry air sealed:

You should make sure to air seal any points of entry such as bathroom fans and hoses, recessed lighting etc. Also, if you have any holes or gaps where there is wiring, plumbing, vents, pipes, or ducts, make sure to get those sealed.

  • Check for ventilation that is damaged or blocked:

Check all the rafter ventilation and make sure it is not blocked or damaged.

  • Repair the baffles:

If your rafter ventilation is broken or improperly installed, make sure to repair it.

  • Allow for proper ventilation:

You can decide on the proper amount of ventilation in your attic by figuring out the amount of roof ventilation that is needed for your attic space.

  • Fix the roof if needed:

If you have leaks in the roof or any damage, make sure to get it repaired.

  • Decrease moisture:

If you have moisture coming in from a gap or a crack, make sure to get it fixed.

  • The appliance vents should be on the outside:

The vents for your appliances coming from the bathroom, kitchen, and the dryer should blow air to the outside.

  • Use insulation:

Make sure you are using the proper insulation like cellulose to prevent the formation of mold growth.

Removing Mold in the Attic

Even if you take all the abovementioned precautions, you may end up with mold in your attic. It is always easier to have it removed by professionals, however, if the surface area is not too large, you can attempt to remove it yourself. Here are the steps to follow:

Remove Mold in the Attic before and after

1.  Seal the area and use protective gear:

Cover the surrounding area with plastic sheeting so that mold spores don’t spread. Use protective gear such as googles, masks, and rubber gloves to protect yourself.

2. Vacuum the area:

If there is water present, make sure to use a wet vacuum to get rid of it. Then dry out the area with fans, dehumidifiers, and heaters. Next, dry vacuum to get rid of the mold spores.  Make sure to empty the vacuum outside and seal the bag you’ve used to dispose of it, so the spores do not spread.

3. Clean off the mold:

If the mold hasn’t gotten through very deep into the wood, it can probably be killed with dish soap and warm water. Take a teaspoon of soap and fill a spray bottle with water and shake it up. Next, spray the area and scrub it with a brush to get rid of the mold. Finally, dry the area with a towel. You can also use distilled white vinegar. Make sure to use equal parts vinegar and warm water in a spray bottle and spray it on the mold. Next, let the solution dry for an hour and then wipe it with a wet cloth and then a dry one.

The final option is using borax, which is a more natural and safer way to clean than bleach. Use a tablespoon of borax with a cup of water, then put this solution on the molded area with a brush. Make sure to scrub the mold away which will leave the borax solution in the wood. Do not sponge up the extra liquid. You want to make sure leave as much solution as possible so that future mold growth can be prevented.  Finally, use a humidifier or a fan so that the wood can dry quickly.

4. Sand the wood:

The mentioned cleaning solutions should get rid of the mold issue, however, if you are unable to get rid of it, the final solution is sanding. Make sure to use 100-grit sandpaper on the affected area while making sure to not sand away too much of the surrounding area. Keep repeating this process until the mold spores have loosened.

Mold can happen at any time in your attic, especially if it is not maintained. If you’ve experienced mold at your home or business, we can help. Mold in your attic can cause costly damage. We provide complete mold remediation to ensure that the mold is fully removed, and that it does not come back. For all of your mold removal needs make sure to reach out to HydroForce Cleaning and Restoration at 630-835-0862.

water restoration

4 Hidden Places to Check For Mold


Over 30% of brand new homes constructed have some kind of mold in them. Though mold issues are quite common when it comes to residential properties, it’s a serious issue across the business sector, as well. Thankfully, there are professional commercial services that can perform mold inspection and consultation services, as well as help with mold cleanup and prevention.

Whether you’re taking care of your home or your business, you need to know where to look for mold. There are plenty of areas throughout a structure that can have mold growing but might be tough to actually see. Here are some hidden places to regularly check for mold around a building:

4 Hidden Places to Check For Mold

  • Air conditioners — This is especially true when you’re not using your AC units. The air that AC units bring in from outside contains pollen and dirt, which are perfect for mold growth. AC units that sit for long periods of time are likely to contain all kinds of mold spores. Preventing mold inside your AC can be done by simply running it every single day, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
  • Underneath the carpet — Mold can lie beneath the carpeting, inside the floor padding. Any liquids that have spilled onto the floor will lead to mold growth over time.
  • Storage boxes — If there are a lot of cardboard boxes on your property, it’s best to regularly inspect them for mold. Cardboard boxes and paper files can lead to mold if they are being stored in humid environments or a water spill or leak has recently occurred.
  • Window sills — Window sills are a great spot for mold to start and spread since they are consistently exposed to moisture from condensation. Make sure to wide down all your windows sills throughout your home or business and consult with mold commercial services right away if you identify a lot of mold (this goes for anywhere in the building).

If you want to learn more about mold prevention and want to work with professional commercial services, give Hydroforce Cleaning Systems a call today.

water restoration

Keep Mold Out Of Your Home And Bathroom With These 3 Tips



Mold can be a terrible nuisance for a homeowner. It can look terrible, decrease property value, and even cause some serious health concerns. Plus, according to the Mayo Clinic, 93% of chronic sinus infections have been attributed to mold.

If a home has a serious mold problem, immediate action is required and you should contact local plumbers and mold cleanup specialists. However, if mold only resides in small areas of your bathroom, there are a few things that you can do prior to reaching out for professional help. But it’s important to keep in mind that in order to completely rid your home of this problem, you need to hire mold removal professionals, even if it’s for the smallest mold issue.

For quick mold cleanup jobs inside your home’s bathrooms, consider these following tips:

Keep Mold Out Of Your Home And Bathroom With These 3 Tips

  • Use hot water, baking soda, and bleach — For a quick and affordable way to clean up mold inside your bathroom, get some baking soda and bleach. All you need is a single teaspoon of liquid soap, a cup of baking soda, a few drops of an essential oil, and water. Then, mix that solution with some bleach and transfer it into a spray bottle. Spray the affected area, like a bath tile or your bathroom ceiling with the solution and allow it to dry. Once it has dried, scrub it with a brush and rinse until the mold is gone.
  • Use vinegar — Another inexpensive method for addressing bathroom mold is to put vinegar in a spray bottle. Since vinegar is only mildly acidic, it can clear out a moldy part of your bathroom without cause for health concerns. Make sure you don’t dilute the vinegar with water when placing it into the spray bottle, however, because you’ll need it to be at full-strength and not watered down. After you spray the mold, let it rest for about an hour and then wipe it clean with hot water before drying it off with a clean towel.
  • Keep your bathroom clean — Keeping your bathroom clean is an essential responsibility for all homeowners. After you’ve had local plumbers and mold cleanup professionals address any mold and mildew inside your bathroom and throughout your home, keeping it clean will prevent future mold from growing.

If you’re in need of local plumbers in order to address mold and other plumbing emergencies inside your home, give Hydroforce Cleaning Systems a call right away.

disaster recovery

Mold Clean Up: 4 Mistakes You Need to Avoid



Mold growth inside a home might seem like a minor annoyance, but it is imperative that you address these issues right away. Even the slightest bit of mold inside a new or old home can cause some serious health concerns.

There has even been a 200% increase in defect mold litigation in construction over the past five years. If you suspect that you have any kind of mold growth inside your home, whether it’s in your attic, your basement, or within your home’s foundation, you need to know how to effectively get rid of these damaging issues.

Here are some common mold clean up mistakes that you should avoid at all costs:

Mold Clean Up: 4 Mistakes You Need to Avoid

  1. Not acting quickly — The most important aspect of mold clean up is addressing the issue as soon as possible. If you neglect any mold growth inside your home, not only will the health concerns amplify, the damage will get much worse, as well, subsequently damaging your home’s structure and significantly decreasing its resale value.
  2. Using bleach — For some reason, many homeowners believe that using bleach is an effective way to remove mold from inside a home. That’s not true since bleach only changes the color of mold, but doesn’t actually get rid of it or prevent any of mold-related damages.
  3. Only using mold-resistant plants — Mold-resistant plants actually can help and will even look great, but the won’t solve the issue. All mold-resistant plants do is cover the infected area. Underneath, the mold will continue to grow. Mold-resistant plants are only recommended once the mold has been completely eliminated.
  4. Attempting to do everything yourself — Though you should beware of all the aforementioned mistakes, the worst thing you can do when it comes to ridding your home of mold is to do everything yourself. There are mold clean up professionals who specialize in quick and efficient water damage clean up and home restoration services.

If you are in need of 24-hour emergency plumbing services or want to schedule a thorough mold inspection and consultation, give Hydroforce Cleaning Systems a call today.  

water restoration

Beware of Household Water Damage: Look For These 4 Signs



Water damage can be a major problem for homeowners in just about every part of the country. The average cost of a home water damage insurance claim is approximately $6,965.

If you notice any water damage inside your home, there are a few things you need to do right away. Before you address these issues, however, you should know how to properly identify all the warning signs pertaining to water damage:

  • Smell — Moisture rotting away inside your home can produce a terrible smell after a while. Dampness has a very distinct odor and is usually partnered with mold, which is damaging in itself. If you notice any bad odors coming from your home, it’s best to check it out right away. Mold has its own smell and can cause serious health concerns.
  • Sound — Water damage can even have a sound. If you hear dripping water, creaking floorboards, or rushing and splashing water — you could have some major issues on your hands. Some of these sounds are normal, however, but it’s best to have them inspected by a plumber if anything has changed.
  • Discoloration — Look around your home for streaks of water that are running down the walls. This could mean that your roof’s gutters are overflowing. You should be able to see exactly where the water poured down the wall.
  • Pooling — An easy way to identify water damage inside your home is locating a puddle of water. Make note of any pools of water when you first see them, mop them up, and keep an eye on that area to see if the puddle comes back. If pooling occurs again, you most likely have a leak.

Beware of Household Water Damage: Look For These 4 Signs

If you are experiencing significant water damage inside your home, you must act quickly. Here’s what to do:

  • Stop the flow of the water.
  • Turn off your power.
  • Inspect for mold.
  • Consult with an experienced plumber.
  • Hire a water damage cleanup service.

If you’re in need of 24-hour emergency plumbing services and want to work with an experienced and professional plumber, give Hydroforce Cleaning Systems a call right away.