Mold is a natural and vital part of outdoor environments but does not play a beneficial role indoors. In fact, when mold and other pathogens spread through your office, they pose a hazard to employee health and well-being. Indoor mold growth has a negative impact on air quality and can cause or exacerbate health problems, particularly respiratory. Here are some tips on how to prevent toxic molds and pathogens from taking hold in your office space.
Signs That Your Office has a Mold Problem
If mold and other pathogens have taken root in your office, you’ll need to take steps to remediate the problem. Depending on the severity, this may involve working with mold remediation specialists, as certain types of molds are a biohazard that require specific equipment and safety gear to handle.
Visually inspect your office. If you notice dark or discolored spots in your walls, floor, or ceiling, this could be due to water damage. Mold thrives in dark, damp areas like basements and bathrooms, as well as surfaces that are consistently wet due to plumbing or HVAC leaks. You may also notice an earthy or musty smell in areas impacted by mold growth.
Not all pathogens are detectable. While mold often grows in black, brown, green, or white patches, many forms of bacteria are invisible to the human eye. If you notice an uptick in office illnesses or ongoing respiratory problems, it’s possible that your office has a pathogen problem—even if it looks clean.
Keep Moisture at Bay
The best way to prevent mold growth in a commercial space is to eliminate the ideal growing conditions. The number one resource mold needs to thrive is a steady supply of moisture.
Repair all plumbing and HVAC issues as they arise and schedule regular inspections to detect early warning signs of damage. Lower the humidity level as needed with dehumidifiers, which should be emptied and cleaned on a weekly basis. Indoor humidity levels should not exceed 70% and will ideally remain between 25-60%. Clean up any spills when they occur, using a wet vac for large spills on porous surfaces like carpeting.
If mold growth or respiratory problems persist, have the foundation of your office building inspected. Cracks and other damage to the foundation can quickly lead to mold growth. When disturbed, mold spores become airborne and can spread to other floors of the building through airducts.
Disinfect or Dispose of Contaminated Materials
It is important to regularly disinfect surfaces in the office with antibacterial cleaning supplies. Disinfecting commonly touched surfaces like door handles and breakroom countertops can eliminate bacteria and viruses, reducing the spread of illness through the office. This is especially important in the fall and winter when many viruses are at their peak.
Mold is not always as easy to eradicate, particularly from porous materials. Common office materials that are difficult to clean once mold-infested include carpeting, insulation, drywall, grout, and even paper. It is often safer and more economical to dispose of and replace these materials once they become contaminated with mold, rather than trying to rid them of mold. Do so quickly, as any mold growth can create spores that cause the issue to spread.
Invest in Regular Office Cleaning
As mentioned earlier, serious mold growth requires professional mold remediation. Low-level mold and pathogen growth is much easier to reverse. Getting mold and pathogen growth under control, however, is only the first step in making your office a safer and healthier environment to work in.
Mold and pathogen prevention requires ongoing and consistent cleaning efforts. Only through the use of the proper supplies and methods will you see long-term results. Running a business doesn’t leave you with much time or energy to master the art of preventative cleaning, which is why outsourcing is often the best choice.
Prime Facility Maintenance offers professional commercial cleaning that you can count on. With our help, you can keep your office clean, tidy, and mold and pathogen-free so that your employees stay healthy, happy, and productive.