Most cleaning products you can purchase are full of harsh chemicals that can be dangerous to use or inhale. Manufacturers of these products do not have to disclose all of their ingredients, which means there are ingredients that are not listed on the label.

According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), “Government agencies and independent research institutions have not adequately evaluated the safety of numerous substances found in cleaning products.

Although government scientific and regulatory agencies have focused considerable attention on chemicals suspected of causing cancer, they have devoted far fewer resources to evaluating substances that may be toxic to the brain and nervous system, the hormone system and other organs.” Mass produced cleaning products can be dangerous for your health.

To learn more about the cleaners you currently use you can go to: https://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners to search more than 2500 products.

Essential oils are a great alternative to commercial cleaning products.

WHAT ARE ESSENTIAL OILS?

Essential oils are oils that have been distilled from plant materials with a strong scent such as the petals, leaves, or bark of a plant. Essential oils are concentrated and volatile (or easily evaporated) at room temperature. The oil is usually named for the plant from which it was distilled such as: lavender essential oil or peppermint essential oil.

Essential oils are generally safer to use than chemical cleaning products, but there are some precautions you should know.

Essential oils should never be used directly on skin or in the body. They are concentrated plant essences, and are not safe without diluting. Oils should be diluted in water, a carrier oil, or in a cleaning product mixture (such as vinegar and water).

In general, add essential oils to your solution with small amounts first, based on your personal preference for scent. 5 to 20 drops scents an entire bottle of cleaning solution. Some people will want more scent and some will want less. Start with the smallest amount in the recipe, and test the product before adding more.

There are some essential oils that can be excellent for cleaning, but may be irritating or cause allergic reactions in some people. For example, Tea Tree essential oil is distilled from the Melaleuca alternifolia tree from Australia. This essential oil is antifungal (kills fungi), antiviral (kills viruses), and antimicrobial (kills microbes, including bacteria).

It is excellent for cleaning! However, people with allergies or asthma are advised to use this oil with caution, as it can be irritating to the skin and lungs. Always read about essential oils before buying and using them. Test small amounts in your home to begin to check for any allergic reactions.

WHAT OILS ARE GOOD FOR BEGINNERS?

For beginners, start with established recipes and add the smallest recommended amount of oil. 5 drops may not sound like much, but remember that essential oils are concentrated and a little goes a long way!

Some oils that are good for beginners include: lavender, lemon, orange, and peppermint.

Lemon scent is of course the standard in most commercial cleaning products for good reason. Lemon essential oil is antimicrobial, and can help eliminate bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Most commercial cleaning products do not use real lemon oil, however. They use chemical substitutes that smell lemon-like.

Why settle for a chemical substitute when you can have the real thing?

Lemon oil and orange oil have been shown to have antidepressant properties.

Lavender essential oil is also antimicrobial and antidepressant. It has a calming scent that is safe to use around even young children and babies.

The combination of peppermint and orange essential oils deter pests like ants from entering your home. Both peppermint and orange essential oil also are antimicrobial.

These oils make you feel good as you use them. How wonderful to have your cleaning routine make you feel better!

A few cautions for beginners…

  1. Always research each essential oil before you use it. Learn for yourself what the benefits and precautions are for each type of oil. Don’t be afraid to try new oils, but do your research before using them.
  2. Never use any essential oil directly on skin or ingest the oil. Essential oils should be stored in a cool, dry place away from children. Use rubber or nitrile gloves when dispensing the oil to reduce the chance of getting the oil on your skin.
  3. Use the smallest amount of essential oil drops given in the recipe first (or reduce it further), and try the recipe on a small area before adding more.

SIMPLE CLEANING RECIPES TO MAKE YOURSELF:

The following recipes come from Karyn Siegel-Maier’s book ‘The Naturally Clean Home.’ It is an excellent book filled with easy recipes for cleaning with essential oils.

COUNTRY SPICE SCRUBBER

1 cup baking soda

3 tsp cinnamon

3 drops sweet orange oil

Combine all ingredients in an airtight container and shake well to blend. To use to clean kitchen sinks, sprinkle a small amount of the powder into the sink and scrub with a damp sponge.

 

CITRUS FLOOR CLEANER

1 gallon hot water

2 tablespoons liquid castile soap

5-15 drops of sweet orange

3-8 drops lemon essential oil or 1/4 cup lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a large bucket. Dip a mop into the bucket and squeeze out excess liquid. Clean the floor by working in sections, using short strokes and dipping the mop as needed. Rinsing is not needed.

 

Happy Cleaning!

Mold Cleaning

Everyone has to clean mold from their home from time to time. Whether you live in a mansion or an apartment, your home is your safe place. The place you feel most comfortable.

Many, many of the cleaning products sold today are full of toxic chemicals and undisclosed ingredients. Keeping it clean is essential, but how do you do that safely?

How can you protect your pets, children, guests, and yourself from harmful chemicals?

This simple guide will equip you to clean mold from the hard surfaces in your home with non-toxic ingredients you already have in the pantry.

WHAT TO WEAR

Before even choosing a cleaning product, you should know what kind of safety equipment to wear to clean a moldy surface.

The basic equipment consists of an N-95 respirator & protective gloves with long cuffs.

Mold is a respiratory irritant and allergen, so a mask with a N-95 respirator is important, especially if you know you are allergic to mold. A simple dust mask will not protect you from the mold spores. For more information about safety, visit https://www.cdc.gov/mold/What-to-Wear.html

WHAT NOT TO USE TO CLEAN MOLD

The first thing people often turn to to clean mold is the worst choice. Bleach.

Bleach is a combination of chemicals used as an agent to kill bacteria and whiten clothes, floors, and walls. Bleach contains sodium hypochlorite which is toxic to bacteria, fish, and human beings. Sodium hypochlorite is a known carcinogen (cancer causing agent), and can cause both respiratory and skin irritation or damage. This alone is enough reason to find a better alternative cleaning agent!

But there is more. Bleach is designed to kill bacteria, and will not completely remove a mold problem. Molds are fungi, and they can and will grow back after bleaching.

WHAT TO USE TO CLEAN MOLD

There are 3 simple ingredients you can safely use to clean away mold in your home: white vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide.

Each of these ingredients has the highest safety rating on the Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning (EWG).

To clean a hard surface (like a shower stall, tiles, toilet, sink, or floor), simply add hydrogen peroxide OR white vinegar to a clean, empty spray bottle undiluted. Never mix these chemicals! Choose one or the other.

For hydrogen peroxide, spray the area to clean thoroughly, and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Then, scrub the area, and rinse it clean with water. Repeat if needed.

For white vinegar, spray the area to clean thoroughly, and let it sit for at least 15 minutes or up to one hour. Then, scrub the area, and rinse it clean with water.

To use baking soda, add a teaspoon to a tablespoon of baking soda to a clean empty spray bottle and fill the bottle ¾ full of hot water. Shake to dissolve. Spray the area and use a scrub brush to clean the mold away.

Baking soda works best with a white vinegar spray following. Baking soda is a base and vinegar is an acid. When they are used together, they react to form carbon dioxide gas and heat. The heat helps clean the surface and the chemical reaction kills fungi and bacteria alike.

Running a bathroom fan while cleaning will also help remove odors from the room as well as any smell from the mold or cleaning supplies.

5 to 10 drops of tea tree essential oil can be added to the white vinegar spray to increase the disinfectant power. Tea tree essential oil is distilled from the Melaleuca alternifolia tree from Australia. The essential oil is antifungal (kills fungi), antiviral (kills viruses), and antimicrobial (kills microbes, including bacteria). I advise people with allergies or asthma to use this oil with caution, as it can be irritating to the skin and lungs.

TIPS FOR CLEANING MOLD

  • Remember that your goal is not to kill the mold spores but to remove them. When they have been removed completely they cannot grow back.
  • Be sure to spray and then wipe all surfaces with a damp rag. Dry wiping will disturb spores and send them into the air! Airborne spores can regrow in new locations, and cause even more mold to grow. Mold spores are not visible to the naked eye, so be sure to cover all surfaces with your cleaner of choice, even if they look ‘clean’.
  • Do NOT use a vacuum to clean mold unless you have a vacuum with a HEPA filter. Remember that you will eventually have to empty the vacuum, and it will be filled with the mold. The HEPA filter should be changed periodically to increase efficiency. Mycotoxins may not be filtered out even when using a HEPA vacuum.
  • Ventilate, ventilate, ventilate! Ventilation is important during cleaning so that any disturbed spores exit the building. Close and tape off doors to the rest of the house and use a box fan in a window pointing out while cleaning.

KNOW WHEN TO CALL THE PROS

It’s easy to take care of mold as a homeowner, but it’s also a good idea to know when to call in the pros. If the area of mold covers more than about 10sf, there is a good chance the mold problem is more than an isolated issue.

Mold is great at hiding in hard to detect locations. A mold inspection by Branch Environmental can help you get to the bottom of the problem.

For more information go to:

https://www.cdc.gov/mold/What-to-Wear.html

https://www.maids.com/cleaning-hacks/3-non-toxic-ways-clean-mold-natural-cleaners/

https://www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners

https://branchenvironmental.com/mold-indoor-air/mold-in-your-home/bathroom-mold/

https://branchenvironmental.com/mold-indoor-air/mold-in-your-home/

https://moldpedia.com/hepa-vacuum-mold

A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home – https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-10/documents/moldguide12.pdf

Mold Hiding In Your Home

The Top 5 Places It Hides

Halloween is here and ghosts and goblins are out and about. Luckily, you can keep the spooky things away by staying nice and safe inside your home. Right?!?

Not so fast. Your home may be safe from the ghosts and gremlins, but monstrous mold could be hiding right under your nose.

Have you ever been going about your day, and suddenly felt like something was wrong? What is that musty smell? Where is it coming from? Oh, no! It can’t be! (scary music) Dun, dun, dun! The mold monster is back! AHHHHH!

There are so many unusual and rarely cleaned places that mold can lurk in your home. It’s positively frightening! But fear not! At Branch Environmental, we’ve got you covered! We will tell you about some of the places mold monsters can lurk, and how you can get rid of them!

Mold grows where there is moisture, mold spores, and a food source. Places like bathroom counters and kitchen sinks are likely to produce mold because of the moisture level. What about other places you may not have thought of? Dishwashers and washing machines are places that mold can develop! They have a food source (bits of old food or clothing) and high moisture levels.

This Halloween, we have the top 5 places mold hides in your home. Beware!

1 – DISHWASHERS

Dishwashers are a wonderful technology that help save us time and energy. However, they are also places with high moisture and food particles. The perfect environment for mold monsters to grow!

To clean mold growth on or in your dishwasher you will need 2 simple ingredients: baking soda and white vinegar. Each of these ingredients has the highest safety rating on the Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning (EWG). EWG is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment. Check out their website at ewg.org.

First, clean the outside of the dishwasher including: gaskets, seals, and the steam vent. Using a clean spray bottle filled with undiluted white vinegar, spray the areas that need cleaning and allow it to sit for 15 minutes to 1 hour. Wipe clean with a paper towel or rag. Next, clean behind the silverware rack, the filter, dish racks and any other interior removable parts with vinegar and a scrub brush; or wash them in hot soapy water before returning them to the machine. Last, clean the interior of the dishwasher by adding a cup of white vinegar to a glass container on the top rack. Balance carefully. Sprinkle baking soda on the bottom of the dishwasher. Then, run the machine using a hot water cycle.

To prevent future mold growth: Clean the machine at least once a month. Allow the dishwasher to dry completely as often as possible.

2 – WASHING MACHINES

Washing machines are a perfect place for mold to grow, especially in the hot summer months. Warm moist air and the organic material (from clothing) make a perfect environment for mold monsters to grow! Front loading washing machines are especially susceptible to mold growth because the seal required when washing. If you look inside the rubber gasket of your front-loading washing machine, you will probably find slimy mold monsters growing there! Top loading washing machines are also susceptible to mold growth.

To clean the machine: There are several homemade cleaners that are safer to use than commercial washing machine cleaners. The ingredients you will need include: hydrogen peroxide OR white vinegar and lemon juice.  Warning: Never mix vinegar and peroxide! Lemon juice is safe to mix with vinegar. Both are acids and can help remove the mold.  All 3 solutions have the highest safety rating by EWG.

To clean the gasket of a front loading machine: Take your spray bottle of vinegar (that you used to clean the dishwasher) and spray around the interior of the gasket. Be careful not to spray yourself in the eyes! Be sure to spray the door gasket and window as well. Allow it to sit for 15 minutes to 1 hour. Clean the inside of the gasket with a scrub brush or an old toothbrush. Rinse with water or wipe clean. Clean any removable compartments with hot soapy water or if truly gross, soak in vinegar first.

To clean a top loading machine: Spray the surface inside the lid and around the top of the machine with vinegar. Allow it to sit for 15 minutes to 1 hour. Wipe or rinse clean after scrubbing with an old toothbrush or scrub brush.  Clean any compartments that are removable in hot soapy water.

To clean the drum: Take 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide OR white vinegar (not both) and add it to the compartments of your machine. If it is particularly dirty, add a cup to the drum as well. Run the machine without clothes on the hottest water setting. (My front loading machine has an allergy setting with hot water that is 1 hour and 20 minutes long.) Allow the machine to air dry between washes by always leaving the door open.

To prevent future mold growth: Keep the door of the washer open to allow the machine to air dry. Keep the laundry room door open if possible to allow more moisture to escape. Clean the machine at least once a month using the steps above. Mold growth is higher in the summer when it is warm. So in the summer, you may want to clean more often.

3 – BATHROOMS

Bathrooms are a constant source of moisture and an ideal place for mold to grow. Luckily, mold found in bathrooms is often superficial and can be easily cleaned.

Start by looking at the bathroom exhaust fan, shower curtain, and wall surfaces. If you see any signs of mold here, simply use the cleaners described above to wipe clean. This is also an indication that these areas should be cleaned more frequently to prevent mold growth from recurring.

Once the surface mold is tackled, it’s time to dig a little deeper. Head towards the floor and look along the baseboards where they meet the wall. Look closely at the caulk and grout lines around the tub or shower. Open your vanity and look at the back wall. Any sign of mold in these areas could indicate a bigger problem associated with water in hidden locations. Your bet here is to call in a professional mold inspection.

To prevent future mold growth in the bathroom, follow these steps:

  • Run the exhaust fan during and after taking a shower
  • If possible, keep a door or window open to allow moisture to escape
  • Avoid leaving wet towels hanging
  • Regularly clean surfaces and replace shower curtains
  • Repair any gaps in caulk or grout

4 – Air Conditioner

Your air conditioner is at the top of the list for mold monster hiding places. It is out of sight and out of mind, but also has a huge impact on the air you breathe.

Start by looking at the filter. You do check your filter regularly, right… If there is any sign of dust it should be replaced. A dusty filter can harbor mold spores and keep your system from operating effectively.

Keeping the filter clean is important, but we still need to dig a little deeper to find all the monsters. The next step is to check the coils. I’m going to stop right here and say that if you don’t know how to find the coils, you should probably call out a pro to do it for you.

The coils are inside the air conditioner unit, and they can harbor some nasty mold growth. Coils should be checked and cleaned at least once every year. Unfortunately, many people go for many years without a comprehensive HVAC service and cleaning.

5- Crawlspaces

We’ve saved the best for last. If you have a crawlspace, especially here in the Southeast, you’ve got a great hiding place for mold. It’s an area that does not get much traffic and stays damp and stagnant. On top of that, any small leaks travel down and end up in the crawlspace.

It’s an area where we find a lot of hidden mold and water damage.

You should head down to your crawlspace at least once a year to get a check on things. Pull back the floor insulation and look at the floor joists and decking. If mold is there, it will be easy to spot. Make sure you check a few places throughout the crawlspace, and look around the areas below the kitchen, laundry, and bathrooms.

If you do find mold, the cleanup is more than the typical DIYer wants to take on. It’s a good idea to call in the pros for crawlspace mold. But beware, it’s a labor-intensive job to do well, and it’s an area that a lot of companies know you won’t be going behind to check. If you see a deal that’s too good to be true, it probably is.

WE’RE HERE WHEN YOU NEED US.

Call Branch Environmental. We’re experts not only at mold removal, but at determining and remediating the underlying causes. From hidden mold sources to major contaminants. We can identify exactly what is going on in your home and rid it of environmental toxins, often for good.

 

For more information go to:

https://www.cdc.gov/mold/cleanup.htm

https://thecleanerhome.com/blog/clean-dishwasher-prevent-mold-mildew

https://moldblogger.com/how-to-remove-mold-from-a-washing-machine/

https://moldpedia.com/hepa-vacuum-mold

Mold allergies are caused by breathing in the spores of fungi that are in the air. For some people, these do not cause any problems. However, for those that are allergic to mold, symptoms can range from irritating to debilitating.

When you have a mold allergy, your immune system reacts to the mold as though it were a disease-causing organism. The body’s immune system then works to eliminate the supposed threat.

There are hundreds of types of molds but only a few are known to cause allergy symptoms. Molds that can cause allergies include (but are not limited to) species in the Alternaria, Aspergillus, Cladosporium and Penicillium families.

Some of the initial symptoms that can be attributed to a mold allergy include:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Cough and postnasal drip
  • Itchy eyes, nose and throat
  • Watery eyes
  • Dry, scaly skin

Depending on the type of mold and the degree to which you are exposed may determine how severe your symptoms are. Molds can also cause problems for asthma sufferers including: shortness of breath, chest tightening, wheezing, and coughing.

Outdoor molds are most likely to cause allergy sufferers problems in summer and fall. However, indoor molds can cause symptoms year-round. If you have more severe symptoms when you enter your home or business than when you are outside, you may have an indoor mold problem.

When Mold Is More Than Allergies

The same molds that cause allergy symptoms can also be responsible for releasing mycotoxins into the air. Mycotoxins are toxic compounds that are naturally produced by certain types of mold. Molds that can produce these toxins are not a specific color and cannot be identified by sight.

You may have heard that ‘black mold’ is the most toxic. This is not necessarily the case, as molds of all colors (brown, green, tan, black, etc.) can be toxic. Mycotoxins can be produced by molds under certain environmental conditions, and it is not possible to know if you have a toxic mold without laboratory testing.

However, if it is in your home and making you feel bad, it is toxic!

Now That I Know I Am Allergic, What Do I Do?

1 – Clean what you can see.

Not all molds are easy to see. They can hide under sinks, behind drywall, in washing machines! Do you best to clean what you see.

You may be able to clean surface mold on the walls, ceilings or floors of your home by using gentle detergents and water. Be sure to spray all surfaces when cleaning and use damp cleaning supplies. Dry wiping just spreads mold spores and causes more problems.

Avoid using vacuum cleaners on mold, unless you have a HEPA filter installed.

2 – Prevent new growth.

Prevention is worth 9/10 of the cure! By preventing an allergy or asthma attack, you can reduce your need for medical interventions such as antihistamines, cortisone shots, eye drops, and nasal sprays. Keep your home free of mold by preventing mold growth.

Indoor mold growth can be prevented by simply controlling moisture and controlling humidity indoors. Anywhere in your home that has a water leak or too much moisture can cause mold growth. Look for places where moisture could build-up, and mold can grow, such as around sinks, showers, toilets, and air conditioner drains. Keep them clean by using a non-toxic cleaner often.

To prevent mold growth in your bathroom: ventilate, ventilate, ventilate! Use the bathroom fan before, during, and after showering, to remove moisture from the room.

Keep rugs dry, and wash rugs and towels regularly to prevent mold growth.

To prevent mold growth in your kitchen: ventilate, ventilate, ventilate! Use an exhaust fan while cooking that vents to the outdoors when cooking. Keep garbage cans clean by washing with dish soap outdoors. Be sure to let the can completely dry before adding a new plastic bag.

Quickly repair plumbing leaks. Clean refrigerator drip pans and door gaskets and be sure they seal properly.

For other rooms: Clean moist places in your home at least once per month with a non-toxic cleaning solution. Dehumidifiers may also be helpful to reduce moisture in your home.

Air-conditioner filters should be changed every 3 months.

For a comprehensive list of mold prevention methods go to https://www.aafa.org/mold-allergy

3 – Get a professional inspection if you suspect the problem may be more than an isolated area.

If you see areas larger than about ten square feet, or there is a musty smell you can’t identify, it may be time to call a professional.

Mold is a tricky thing and can hide in unlikely places. The presence of mold can also indicate larger issues in your home.

A professional mold inspection can ensure your problem is solved and not just covered up.

We’re Here When You Need Us

Call Branch Environmental. We’re experts not only at mold removal, but at determining and remediating the underlying causes. From hidden mold sources to major contaminants. We can identify exactly what is going on in your home and rid it of environmental toxins, often for good.

For more information go to:

https://www.cdc.gov/mold/faqs.htm

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mold-allergy/symptoms-causes/syc-20351519

https://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/allergies/mold-allergy

https://acaai.org/allergies/types/mold-allergy

https://www.aafa.org/mold-allergy

Mold Inspection

It may come as a surprise that a professional mold inspection is a great thing to add when you are purchasing a home. Buyers often assume that the standard home inspection covers all the bases, but it can leave some key things out.

A mold inspection takes a comprehensive look at the home you are about to purchase, and can uncover issues that may cost you dearly in the long run.

Here are 5 reasons you should get a mold inspection even though you already have a home inspection.

1) Finding mold takes a trained & experienced eye

While your home inspector is focused on the mechanical systems and structure of the home, they are not specifically looking for the telltale signs that mold is hiding. Mold is a sneaky thing and can be very hard to detect. An otherwise clean house could easily pass a home inspection while mold is present.

2) With mold often comes water damage

It takes moisture for mold to grow. Therefore, the presence of mold means that excess moisture is entering from somewhere.

When we find mold, many times it is associated with a previously undiagnosed water leak, drainage issue, or humidity. Mold is often the indicator of a larger issue, and what better time to find that out then before you sign the deal!

3) A mold inspection will give you corrective steps

While a home inspection simply reports what is found, a mold inspection is focused on solutions. The goal is to identify any potential issues and give you the exact steps needed to correct the problem. You won’t be left guessing.

4) A mold inspection goes beyond the mold

A mold inspection is a comprehensive process. we start at the foundation and go to the attic. We look at most everything in between. In the course of a mold inspection we will get a good look at your mechanical systems, framing components, and other areas. We often find things related to the structure beyond mold, and we include all these items in your final report.

5) We see a lot of things home inspectors miss mold

The honest truth is that we work with a lot of people who have already moved into their new home and have discovered mold. Many times the mold was simply missed by home inspectors. It’s just not their expertise and not what they are trained to find.

Correcting mold issues can be a costly process, and if the issues are discovered before the purchase they can be accounted for or negotiated. After the keys are yours, it’s simply too late.

A small investment in a professional mold inspection while you are purchasing a new home can save an immense headache in the long run.

Let’s say you just went up to your attic for the first time in years this week to retrieve a special keepsake for your child’s graduation. As you open the door, you hear a fluttering sound, only to discover a colony of bats has made your attic their new home. You close the door and think to yourself – I can probably get rid of these bats on my own, right? Leaving out a few traps and some poisonous bat products will get the job done?

Considering bats carry lethal viruses, like rabies, there is never a circumstance in which you should try and remediate the situation on your own. If not for your health and safety, do it for your family’s safety. Here are 5 reasons why you need professional bat infestation help immediately:

1 – Bats Carry Rabies:

Need we say anymore? Bats are many times the number one carriers of rabies in nations, which is a lethal virus that can kill any person with a compromised immune system. Many times, bats can carry the virus for months and show zero classic signs of the infection (foaming mouth), etc. Professionals with proper extermination outfits and materials can trap the bats without exposing themselves directly to the rabies virus.

2 – Bat Droppings Can Breed Lethal Fungal Infections:

If not rabies, bat guano can become a hotbed of fungal activity. Respiratory and central nervous system infections can run rampant in these bat droppings, making the air itself dangerous – and potentially lethal – to anyone who breathes it. Professional bat exterminators have the proper aeration systems to ensure these airborne threats do not affect them.

3 – Bat Infestations Can Make Rooms Unstable:

After months of urinating and excreting on your insulation, home structure, and other building materials, this waste can start to actually burn through the integrity of your home. Especially attics, which tend to be less structured than your basement, can pose a threat to anyone standing on the floor. You can essentially fall right through, seriously injuring yourself without even realizing it.

4 – Bats Are Difficult to Catch:

Have you ever tried to catch a bird? It’s downright impossible. Well, bats are just as difficult, except they use echolocation to get around any space or interior. With this ability, they will be able to detect the placement of your body, making it very, very hard for you to trap the bats on your own.

5 – Bats Can Make a Serious Mess:

You have a family, a job, and a life you have to manage every single day. You don’t have time to not only patch up the openings the bats have been using, but also clean the bat guano, and make sure you stay a safe distance away from all of it to ensure you don’t contract anything. Hiring a professional just makes sense.

You don’t want to tamper with you and your family’s health. Unfortunately, bats can be a serious threat to your health and safety, which is why professional bat infestation health is paramount in any instance.

If you or someone you love in your home is suffering from chronic allergies or cold-like symptoms that don’t seem to go away, the answer might reside in the actual integrity of the home structure. None of us like to see our spouses or our children deal with coughing, wheezing, sinus infectors, poor sleep, or runny noses months and months over again.

We want to do something about it.

You probably, at this point, have taken them to see a doctor or a specialist. The doctor might have prescribed an antibiotic or a course of treatment based on the allergic response. However, after a few months, you notice that the cold-like symptoms are still there; in many cases, they are getting worse.

What if these allergies have nothing to do with the person, and everything to do with the environment around you? And no, we’re not talking about the trees and the weeds out back; we’re talking about the unseen structure of your home, where mold can hide right under your nose.

Mold Remediation Services

Nothing is more important than your health, which is why we often receive mold removal or remediation calls from families looking for some relief – finally. We completely understand that you are doing everything you can to protect your family, which is why we take our professionalism extremely seriously.

When we receive these calls, we come into the home and typically discover the following:

  • Mold – Studies have found that more than 50% of U.S. homes have some kind of mold within their structure. Additionally, about 28% of the population possesses genes that make them susceptible to mold-related health issues, which are nothing to mess around with.
  • Old Home Decay – This is just another way to describe old homes that might not necessarily have mold or dangerous materials; they just have dust and other debris that can upset respiratory systems.
  • VOCs – This is an acronym that describes the chemical off-gassing from flooring, paint, and other materials in the home. Many people have a sensitivity to these kinds of toxins, which can be linked to a slew of health problems.

We’re Here to Help You

You’ve done your research, you’ve been to the doctor’s office, and you’ve spent days pondering health problems. You know what you need to do, and we’re ready to help. Research has shown that indoor air is more contaminated than the air outside your home, which means you need to do everything you can to keep your loved ones vigilant and protected.

We simply work to get these harmful substances and molds out of the home, so you can go back to living your life in a healthy environment.

Here at Branch Environmental, we’re the emergency remediation and mold removal specialists in your community. Don’t wait; give us a call and act now.

Your health depends on it.

Crawlspace Mold

I owe you an apology. We are not going to clean your crawlspace for $75.

But now that you are here… there is something important we need to talk about.

I saw this very ad as I was scrolling Facebook the other day. “$75 Crawlspace Cleaning Special! Kill Mold & Remove Odor!”.

It sounds too good to be true because it is too good to be true. These companies will most likely send out a low paid worker to spray your crawlspace down with a mold killer & odor neutralizer. You’ll feel great about the deal you got, and you’ll be no closer to solving your problem.

If you are concerned about the condition of your crawlspace, you need to make sure your investment in fixing it will be money well spent.

Here are the steps that should be part of any comprehensive crawlspace mold cleaning.

1: Identify the problem

Why are you concerned about your crawlspace? It’s an easy place to forget about. Why bother?

Something has you thinking there is an issue. Is your family suffering from sinus related symptoms? Do you see visible mold growth? Do you have drainage issues? Can you smell the crawlspace inside your home?

These are all important questions to answer. You need to know what you are trying to accomplish before you start laying down cash.

This is where we start every crawlspace mold inspection. We figure out how it is impacting the quality of your life and why you want to solve the problem.

2: Assess the physical space

If you have a mold problem in your crawlspace, there is a reason. There is no sense in cleaning the mold without understanding why it is there in the first place.

Mold is a fairly predictable animal.

Microscopic spores are present in the natural environment. Those spores settle on the surfaces of your home, including the crawlspace.

All mold species feed on organic matter such as wood framing. When that food source is combined with a high enough moisture level… those spores reproduce and turn into what you recognize as mold.

We know that we can not remove mold spores from the environment, and we know we can not remove wood from your crawlspace. That leaves moisture.

Anyone claiming to be addressing your mold problem should be identifying the source of excessive moisture and offering solutions for correcting it. This takes a comprehensive understanding of buildings, mechanical systems, and drainage.

3: Clear the path for mold removal

If mold is growing in your crawlspace, cleaning what you can see is not good enough. Most every crawlspace mold remediation will require removal of insulation and any other materials that are unsalvageable or blocking access to the mold.

4: Don’t kill it. Remove it.

Believe it or not, killing mold is not good enough. Dead mold and accumulated spores are still capable of causing allergic reactions and other adverse health effects.

This is the real downside of the $75 special.

They may come in and kill the mold, but your crawlspace will still be full of dead fungi and leftover spores. Those will continue to create the problems you had prior to the cleaning.

Proper mold remediation protocols specify complete removal of mold and their spores. Processes such as sanding, abrasive brushing, wet wiping, blasting, chemical lifting, and HEPA vacuuming are all methods utilized by professional mold remediators to get the mold gone.

5: Seal the gaps

Studies have shown that a significant amount of crawlspace air can enter the living areas of a home.

For every cubic foot of air that leaves your home, another cubic foot must enter to replace it.

That means that when you open a door or window or turn on a bathroom fan, the air that escapes must be replaced from somewhere.

More often than not, your crawlspace provides the easiest path for this makeup air to enter, bringing with it all the crawlspace nasty.

Leaky HVAC ducts, flooring systems, plumbing and electrical penetrations, and gaps in framing are all places that air can flow freely from the crawlspace into the living room.

After investing in cleaning the crawlspace, steps should be taken to close up as many of these air gaps as possible.

6: Fix the moisture

The last step to fixing your crawlspace issue is to fix the moisture issue. It may be groundwater, condensation, poor drainage, or leaking pipes.

Whatever the cause, if you don’t fix it the mold will simply repeat the cycle of growth.

Wrapping it All Up

A mold problem in your crawlspace is not the end of the world. It’s an entirely solvable problem. I just don’t want to see you put your good money after bad.

At Branch Environmental, we believe that the health of your family is the highest priority and you deserve to breathe easy in your home. We offer comprehensive assessments and remediations that follow the best protocols available.

Save your $75 for a nice dinner on the town, and give us a call to help fix your problem for good!

Mold Removal Athens GA

Home Mold Remediation

You suspected mold all along. Perhaps it was the musty smell. Maybe you or a member of the family was suffering from chronic, allergy-like symptoms. Maybe the mold was already visible.

You’ve had a thorough Indoor Air Quality Assessment and the best recommendation for you is a professional Home Mold Remediation.

We’ll Guide You Through Every Step

We know a mold remediation can be overwhelming, we are here to walk you through it.

Though every home and circumstance is unique, we follow a proven process to not only remove mold contaminants but keep them from returning.

  1. Define The Scope. This begins with an Indoor Air Quality Assessment. We will define the extent of the necessary work and what may or may not need to be done. We’ll talk through all your options and tailor a plan that fits your needs and your budget.
  2. Protect The People. Keeping your family and our crews safe is the first priority. This means preparing your home for the work that needs to be done. We will use methods such as containment walls and negative air to keep your home safe, and we’ll let you know if you can or cannot be in the home during the work.
  3. Remove The Mold. We will start by removing and discarding non-salvageable material. Next, we will clean what can be saved. We always use safe and environmentally friendly products. There is no reason to replace one environmental toxin with a harsh chemical such as bleach.
  4. Correct Moisture. Removing or correcting the source of moisture is a vital part of the remediation process to ensure mold does not return. This may be handled by a contractor outside the scope of the mold remediation. If walls or floors are opened up, now is the time to address plumbing issues and other leaks.
  5. Restoration. If walls or floors were removed during the remediation, the final step will be reinstalling what was taken out.

Will You Have To Gut My Home?

Every effort will be made to remove only the material necessary.

If you only have surface mold, we might be able to clean it without removing anything. However, if mold is inside walls or under floors, we may have to remove the material to clean it properly.

If mold is in your crawlspace it may be necessary to remove insulation in order to clean floor joists and apply an antimicrobial agent.

We’ll contain the work area and pump the air outside, keeping you and your family safe.

This Sounds Expensive!

We understand most people rarely plan for the expense of Home Mold Remediation so we are careful about controlling costs and managing your expectations from the beginning.

With a clear understanding of the problem, we can work with you to create a remediation protocol that fits your needs.

The best place to start is with an Indoor Air Quality Assessment. This step will give you all the information you need to move forward. You will discover exactly how extensive your problem is and what is necessary to solve it.

We’re Here When You Need Us.

Call Branch Environmental. We’re experts not only at mold removal but at determining and remediating the underlying causes. From hidden mold sources to major contaminants, we can identify exactly what is going on in your home and rid it of environmental toxins, often for good.

Is Mold Dangerous?

The short answer is, yes it can be.

While there is much mis-information around the subject, and the term Toxic Black Mold is exaggerated in many cases… mold is still something to take seriously.

Mold growing in your house can cause adverse health effects and lead to chronic illnesses including intense cold and allergy symptoms, headache, serious pulmonary issues and worse.

Some people are more sensitive to the effects of mold than others, but everyone should avoid breathing or touching mold. People who are not necessarily sensitive to mold can become sensitive as a result of prolonged exposure. You don’t have to be allergic to mold to suffer from irritation to the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs.

In some cases, mold exposure symptoms go away as soon as mold is removed from the environment. In other cases, mold continues to effect the body long after the source is removed.

The bottom line is that there are hundreds of different varieties of mold and each variety effects each person a little differently. Some effects are minor annoyances, some have serious long-term ramifications.

Where mold crosses the line from annoying to dangerous is going to be a matter of perspective for each person, but it’s safe to say that mold in your home is never a good thing.

Why Is Mold Dangerous?

Molds are dangerous because, depending upon variety, they produce allergens, irritants and potentially toxic substances known as mycotoxins, some of the most dangerous toxic substances in existence.  Exposure to mycotoxins can occur from inhalation, ingestion and skin contact.

Mycotoxins are often associated with Black Mold, a variety that tends to grow on surfaces in homes and buildings that have suffered water damage or elevated humidity and moisture.

However, there are more than 200 mycotoxins from common molds that have been identified, with perhaps hundreds more in existence. The mycotoxins produced by a particular mold depends on a number of environmental factors. In severe cases, exposure to toxic molds can lead to suppression of the immune system, permanent lung damage, memory loss, and more.

How Do I Know If I Have Mold?

Mold is naturally occurring in the air and is virtually everywhere. It cannot survive without moisture, so mold becomes an issue when it is able to attach to moist surfaces, reproduce and thrive.

Areas inside your home that can serve as a hospitable environment include: basements, crawlspaces and cellars; underneath kitchen and bathroom sinks; underneath or behind refrigerators; behind walls (particularly where there is plumbing); around air conditioning units; wallboard or around windows that leak; under carpeting that may have become wet.

Signs of mold range from a musty smell to discoloration of surfaces to impacts upon your health and quality of life. Hidden mold may be harder to identify. Aside from visible clues, you may suspect you have a mold problem because of unexplained health symptoms.

You should be concerned about mold in your home and act to remediate it whether or not the mold is toxic.