As a homeowner you have a lot of things to keep your eyes open for, but did you know that one of the many problems that you might have is mushroom growth in your basement? That’s right, in some basements (possibly yours since you are reading this) mushrooms are growing right now in somebody’s basement.
Mushrooms that are growing in your basement is a serious problem and one that should be addressed right away. Mushrooms or fungi which they are also called, are a form of mold. The most common cause of fungi and mold growth in your basement is from excessive moisture and dampness. In many cases, you may have a leaky pipe or a high humidity level, which is causing the mold and fungi to form and grow.
If you do not have a leaky pipe or if you have never had water damage in the basement, this could mean that you have too much humidity in the air and that moisture is keeping the surfaces damp enough for mold to grow.
Mold can grow on practically any type of surface including wood, dirt, paper, and concrete. If left untreated, mold could spread across the room and begin to sprout mushrooms.
If you notice that you have mushrooms growing in your basement, or anywhere else in your home for that matter, it is recommended that you immediately find and fix the source of the moisture problem, and have the mold properly disposed of.
Is Mushroom Mold Dangerous?
Mushroom mold is dangerous to both humans and animals and could cause many health issues. One of the leading health issues that mold mushrooms could cause is respiratory problems, ranging from a simple cough, wheezing, tightness in the chest, shortness of breath, or asthma-related symptoms.
For people who already have a compromised respiratory function, such as those with cystic fibrosis or a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, mold could cause much more severe symptoms, for example; pneumonia-like inflammation of the lungs.
You should keep your animals and children away from the basement until the mold and mushrooms have been adequately removed.
It should go without saying, but never eat a mushroom that you find growing in your home. This goes for mushrooms growing outdoors in the wild as well.
How To Stop and Get Rid of Mushrooms Growing in Your Basement
Depending on how large the mold infestation has gotten, you may be able to dispose of the problem yourself. Larger infestations might require a professional to make sure the mold is removed correctly without causing small mold particles from entering other parts of the home through the air.
If you are going to attempt to dispose of the mold yourself, then you need to make sure that you are wearing the proper protective equipment. There is a good chance that while you are cleaning up the mold and scrubbing the surfaces that you will cause small little particles to become air-born. If you are not wearing at least an N-95 facial mask, you could inhale the dangerous mold particles into your lungs.
Protective Equipment Needed:
Other Equipment Needed:
- HEPA Air Filtration Air Scrubber – This equipment is a little pricey, so I would recommend calling around to different hardware stores, and equipment rental stores to see if you can rent one for a few days. If you would prefer to buy one, Amazon has them on for $569. Click here for the current price.
- Heavy-duty Plastic Sheets – Available at your local Wal-Mart
- Duct Tape – Available at your local Wal-Mart
- Heavy-duty plastic bags – Available at your local Wal-Mart
- Dehumidifier – (Recommended on Amazon) Afloia Dehumidifier
- Scrub Brush – Available at your local Wal-Mart
- Sponge – Available at your local Wal-Mart
- Antibacterial Fungicide – (Recommended on Amazon) BenzaRid
- HEPA Contractor Grade Vacuum – These vacuums are also a little on the pricey side, so it is recommended that you look at renting one of these if possible. If you would prefer to buy one, Amazon has them on for $300. Click here for the current price.
Before you begin, make sure that nobody is around while you are disposing of the mold who is not wearing protective equipment.
Remove or fix the source of the moisture. Without doing this step first, if you have any leaks or excess moisture from condensation, the mold will likely reappear after you remove it.
Take the heavy-duty plastic and duct tape to completely seal off any doorways or other types of openings leading to other areas of the home. Using a HEPA air scrubber will help suck up and remove the mold spores from the air.
If there are windows in the room you are working in; you can open those up to help air out the smells from the cleaners.
Pull out the visible mushrooms by hand, making sure to pull them out as close to the surface as you can. Place the mushrooms in a heavy-duty plastic bag. I’ve also heard some professions first place the mushrooms in a zip-lock bag so they can seal them up tightly once you are finished pulling them all out.
Use a soapy bucket of water and scrub brush to rub away the mold and get deep in cracks. Use the sponge to wash away the mold. Allow the area to dry after completely.
Never mix different cleaning products. For example, mixing bleach and vinegar will cause a toxic chlorine gas that will burn your eyes and your lungs.
Once the mold is cleaned up, you can use a HEPA grade vacuum to go over the entire area. This will make sure that any mold that wasn’t sponged off is removed, along with any dirt particles that might have been infected with mold is taken away.
Use an antibacterial fungicide product to clean the area to kill the mold from returning thoroughly.
After everything has been cleaned up, make sure to dispose of everything using the heavy-duty plastic bags. Use a dehumidifier to help remove any moisture from the air.
Mushrooms Growing in Basement Carpet
If you have a problem with mushrooms coming up from the carpet, then this is a sign that you have a mold problem growing underneath the carpet. This is caused because the carpet is damp or wet, or at least it was at one time. A leak or high humidity levels in the air could cause the carpet to become damp.
Sometimes mushrooms might not sprout up in a visible area of the carpet, but rather under a couch or behind a bookcase. So you might not even know that you have a problem. If you notice a musty odor in the air, this could be a sign that there is mold present.
In most cases, you should peel back the carpet from the floor and completely remove that carpet to avoid further mold problems down the road. Once the carpet is removed, you can then work at properly cleaning the mold on the floor.
Depending on why the carpet got wet in the first place, you might also have a problem with mold behind baseboards and drywall.
Do You Think You Might Have a Mold Problem in Your Home?
A great product to test for mold is the DIY Mold Testing Kit from Amazon for only $45.95. This price includes the cost of the product as well as the cost of the in-lab tests (except in Texas).