mold on wall
What is mold and how does it enter my home?
Molds are microscopic organisms that are all around us. Mold can enter the home as tiny spores. All molds have the potential to cause harmful health effects especially to those with asthma, allergies or other breathing conditions. When mold spores enter the home they grow in places that have moisture. The key to controlling mold in your home is to dry any water damage within 24-48 hours and control the moisture level in your home.  

Visit the EPA's page on ten things to know about mold

Symptoms of mold exposure
The most common symptoms of mold exposure are allergy and irritation. These include:
  • Nasal and sinus congestion 
  • Itchy, red or watery eyes 
  • Wheezing or difficulty breathing 
  • Cough 
  • Throat irritation 
  • Skin irritation, such as a rash 
  • Headache  

What do you do if you have mold?mold treatment
When you find mold in your home it is important to remove the mold and fix the moisture problem. You may need to hire a professional service to properly remove the mold for you. When you are removing mold it is important to avoid exposing yourself or others to the mold. Wear long gloves, goggles and an N-95 respirator to prevent exposure to the spores. Remove the mold with a bleach solution and completely dry the area. The EPA suggests that you use one cup of liquid bleach per gallon of water. Never mix bleach with other household cleaners because the vapors may be toxic. If the area is not completely dry, then the mold can grow back. If absorbent or porous material such as ceiling tiles have mold, you may need to throw them away because it is hard to completely remove the mold. If expensive or sentimental items have mold, you may want to consult a specialist to have them cleaned to limit the about of damage to the item. Mold can leave some staining and cosmetic damage to items. When you are finished cleaning up the mold, make sure there are no signs of water or new growth. 
If you rent your home and need help to address this issue with your landlord, please contact the tenant hotline at 503-648-7723 for advice. Also, it would be good for you to familiarize yourself with the Oregon Landlord Tenant Act (OR-90).
How can I prevent mold growth in my home?
  • Fix leaks as soon as possible 
  • Watch for condensation or wet spots 
  • Prevent condensation by reducing the moisture level in the air by using a dehumidifier and proper ventilation
  • Make sure to vent showers
  • Perform regular inspection of you home for mold 
  • Do not let the foundations stay wet 

Hidden mold
Mold can be hidden on the backside of dry wall, wallpaper or paneling, the tops of ceiling tiles, and the underside of carpets and pads. It may be hard to find the mold in these areas. If you smell mold, it is important to be careful when you are looking for the source. If you remove items that have mold on them you may cause a large release of spores that can be harmful to the health of those in the area. Therefore, it is recommended that people hire licensed mold removing services.