Having a moldy cushion can be annoying and irritating. I’m sure you don’t want your guest thinking that you are unhygienic when they visit you. As far as mold is concerned, you will jump at everything to eliminate its presence in your furniture.
Nobody wants to sit in a moldy cushion. If your cushions are white, it would become so apparent for anyone to detect the presence of mold on them. In fact, it is easy for anyone to detect molds on any color of cushion. Leaving your cushion outdoors is a great way to relax in the garden and enjoy mother nature. However, being outside means you exposing the cushion to the elements – rain, sun, etc, and in this process, mold spots would be detected.
We shall discuss further what mold is, causes, effects, types, and how to get rid of it from your outdoor cushions.
Mold is a natural substance in the form of a wooly or furry growth of tiny fungi that appears when organic material is exposed to air. Mold can appear in the shades of yellow, green, brown, gray, black or white, depending on the type of mold. Molds grow in different surfaces and the effects on outdoor cushions are often devastating. Odors, color discoloration are the orders of the day.
Usually, molds start to grow on one area of the surface. If they are not dealt with, they spread to other areas via spores. Since they spread mostly by air, the entire area can be stained with molds. That is why it’s vital that you employ an effective cleaning method to get the stains removed early before it inflicts more damage on your material.
It’s important to note that molds are toxic and of course, unhealthy. They thrive in moist, damp and dark areas, and can occur anywhere. This is one step to identifying where you can find them generally.
Causes of Mold
The main causes of molds are high humidity and dampness/water leak. In furniture generally, these two may occur simultaneously. When there is improper flow if air, your furniture will be damp and give way to molds to grow in it.
Effects of Mold on Health
Eliminating molds as soon as they are discovered is crucial. If not, they will spread and since it’s toxic, they can have long-lasting effects on human health. If you have a pre-existing health condition, you are even more vulnerable to molds.
Effects of mold on human health include;
Sometimes, mold growth can be so difficult to control. Many aren’t exactly sure of how many types of mold that exist out there. However, some mold aren’t as dangerous as others.
It’s important that you understand the type of mold you are dealing with in order to address the issue of eliminating properly. Each type of mold has its features, effects on health, and growth patterns. Molds can be classified into three major ones:
Every known type of mold is classified under those three major three. Let us discuss different types of mold under these three classifications.
Acremonium is a type of toxigenic mold. This type of mold evolves in its appearance, meaning that it starts out as something before moving to the next.
At first, acremonium begins as a small moist mold. Over time, it metamorphoses into fine, white powder substance. Apart from the white color that it mostly manifests in, this type of mold can come in pink, grey, or orange color.
Acremonium is toxic. Exposure to it can affect the bone marrow and other vital organs. Acremonium is carcinogen, meaning that it can cause cancer. This mold is known for emitting an unpleasant smell.
Aspergillus is an allergenic mold, but can become toxic depending on environmental factors and specie. It is common in most American homes and can appear in more than one color – white, yellow, grey, or black.
Aspergillus is known for its long flask-shaped spore. This spore form thick layers around the area or surface, creating long chains of mold growth.
This mold can lead to asthmatic attacks, respiratory problems, and even lung failures. Certain members of the aspergillus family are carcinogenic. Example of such is aflatoxin.
Like aspergillus this type of mold is allergenic. It can grow in warm and cold weather conditions making it even dangerous. You can find this mold most indoors on fabrics materials, and leather upholsteries.
Cladosporium is know for its distinctive olive-green color or brown color, with a texture like that of a suede material.
Exposure or contact with this mold triggers an allergic reaction like skin rash or irritation, asthma, flu, and other reactions that may come from the eyes, skin, nose, and other parts of the body.
While this mold is not known to be toxic yet, direct contact is risky and will cause the aforementioned reactions.
This is another type of allergenic mold that is not as dangerous as the ones mentioned here. You can find this mold on wooden surfaces and behind a wallpaper.
Aureobasidoum usually manifest in pink, black, or brown color, and as it develops, it turns to a darker brown color.
This mold causes eye infections and skin rashes. You should never touch this mold directly with your skin.
This is the most common form of allergenic mold anywhere in the world. It manifests as dark green or brown color, with furs or hairs. It grows in area that is moist or damp. It can also grow on furniture provided such furniture is most or damp.
Alternaria triggers allergies like running nose, asthma, etc. It should be taken care of once you discover it because it can spread rapidly.
Fusarium is capable of growing and spreading rapidly at colder temperatures. This type of mold is both allergenic and toxigenic, which makes it even more harmful.
This mold can manifest itself in pink, white, or reddish color. The reddish color usually manifests after the mold has long grown on the surface. Fusarium, typically grows on fabric materials, under the carpet, and on certain food products. By nature, this mold can spread quickly too.
Prolonged exposure to fusarium can cause dermatitis, itchy eyes, running nose, and other allergic reactions. It can also affect the bone marrow and the general nervous system. It produces toxins that can inflict damages to the nervous system if it’s not checked.
You will mostly find this type of mold in water-damaged homes and poorly constructed sewage. These are damp places that it thrives in well. Chaetomium manifests itself like cotton and changes color from white to grey, then to brown, and finally, to black. You can also recognize this mold by its stale odor.
Chaetomium causes health hazards such as skin infections and may be detrimental to compromised immune system. It’s toxic and produces mycotoxins that can have long-lasting effects on the body’s immune system.
You may be asking, why is penicillin dangerous when it’s used for producing antibiotics? Penicillin may be very crucial, but exposing yourself directly to it is what’s harmful.
Penicillin is an allergenic mold that you can recognize by its bluish-green color, with a velvety appearance. Penicillin mold is usually found in water-damaged buildings, fabric materials, carpets, and mattresses.
Penicillin spores can spread from one area to the next rapidly because it’s airborne. Once inhaled, you could develop asthma and pulmonary inflammation. Further exposure will lead to chronic sinusitis.
Like most molds, penicillin I’d associated with moist and damp places. So be careful of water leaks as this may trigger it’s growth.
If you have HVAC systems, conduct a check to see if you see any mold. If yes, then you should deal with it as soon as possible.
Mucor is an allergenic kind of mold that manifests in white or grey colors. They grow easily and you can find them in places where there is moisture condensation. E.g HVAC systems.
Health-wise, mucor can cause a lot of health problems. It affects the respiratory system. By causing difficulty in breathing, asthma, fever, etc.
Prolonged exposure to this mold will lead to mucormycosis. This is a fungal infection that can lead to multiple organ failure, including the lungs, the brain, and digestive system.
Ulocladium grows rapidly in moist places and water. Most times, it’s black in color. This mold can grow together with other types of molds in areas in the kitchen, bathroom, windows, etc.
This type of mold can cause severe health issues. Exposure to ulocladium will lead to severity in health problems such as immune disorders and skin infections. Asthma-like symptoms and difficulties in breathing are also common effects of exposing yourself to this mold.
Popularly known as the “black mold” because of its black color, stachybotrys is a toxigenic kind of mold that can cause allergic reactions. It thrives in wet areas with high humidity. Sometimes, this mold can appear as dark green and has a smooth texture.
Stachybotrys grow mostly on woods, cardboard paper, hay, etc. This mold produces mycotoxins that causes serious health problems to anyone who have been exposed to it. Symptoms after exposure include fatigue, difficulty in breathing, pains in the mucous membranes, etc. You may also experience coughs, fever migraines, and a burning sensation in your trachea.
This toxigenic mold can cause neurological problems in children as well, although it’s yet to be proven.
The last, but not the least on our list is trichoderma. This mold is another allergenic type of mold that grow in a colony. It grows as a wooly, clustered texture, and then shrink over time. It’s mostly white in color, with green patches in between the white color.
You may find this mold in HVAC systems, and other moist areas around the home or building. You may also find it growing under the carpet and on wet, abandoned fabrics. It thrives very well on any wet surface.
There are some minor types of trichoderma that produces mycotoxins. These species have been linked to causing liver infections and pulmonary inflammation. However, getting rid of the mold as fast as you can is the only way to curtail exposure.
With this information, I’m sure you have learnt a out the different types of mold species available and how to identify them. The next step to the is carryout a professional mold remediation – that is if it’s on a large scale or you aren’t a to do it. Molds are dangerous and cause some serious health problems that you may not handle alone. Check possible places for mold growth and devise a plan on how to fumigate the area. We shall discuss mold remediation processes in this article.
There are other ways to clean your moldy outdoor cushion if you are not convenient with the steps above.
Use ammonia – Ammonia is a powerful cleaning solution that can get any surface sparkling. To clean those mold-infested areas on your cushion, mix ammonia with baking soda and water. Dip a sponge inside and scrub until the mold is gone.
Use lemon salt – lemon salt is another potent cleaning agent that can get rid of molds. Mix lemon juice with salt and use it to scrub on the mold area.
Scrub with Bleach – Bleach never seems to disappoint when it comes to cleaning. Make sure dilute it, so that it doesn’t create any discoloration on your cushion. As a precaution, never attempt to use bleach if you are an expecting mother.
Use Hydrogen Peroxide – Hydrogen peroxide works wonders in cleaning and it’s no surprise that you can also use it to clean molds out of your cushion.
While attempting to use any of these methods, always wear a mask. Molds are dangerous and exposure to it by inhalation will cause you health problems.
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Regular care is vital and the surest way of preventing molds from infesting your outdoor cushions. If you want to enjoy your outdoor activities, like reading on your cushion always check for molds.