Mold in back of kitchen cabinets

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Old 08-06-17, 06:17 PM
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Mold in back of kitchen cabinets

Hello,
I discovered mold on the back of the kitchen cabinets. It looks like there was a leak along time ago on the plaster and it grew mold. I do not believe the leak is still there.

The top part of the kitchen has a pretty small amount of mold as you can see from the picture about 3 inches by 6 inches:

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The bottom wall of the cabinet is pretty much smeared in mold all over:

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That's probably 18 inches by 3 feet of space.

I think its been there for years and I haven't noticed because it is covered with pots and pens. and its pretty hard to see the bottom drawer as you basically have to be lying down to see all the way back to the wall.

Now, can I remove the mold myself or do I need to call a specialist?
Also, I can't remove that wall as it is a built in kitchen.

My plan of attack is using concrobium (Concrobium Mold Control, 946-mL | Canadian Tire) setting up a air purifier with True 99.9% HEPA filter just outside the cabinet to caputre anything that might get into the air.

Any suggestions or other ideas or thoughts I may have missed will be greatly appreciated. This will be my first mold removal project ever so I'm pretty clueless.
 
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Old 08-06-17, 10:04 PM
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It looks like there was a leak along time ago on the plaster and it grew mold.
Aren't we looking at the inside back of the cabinets in the pictures or is that the wall with the cabinets removed ?

It looks like the inside of the cabinets and it appears the cabinets are constructed with particle board. That wood product absorbs the water, puffs up and sometimes crumbles.

There may be much more mold behind the cabinet if that much water got inside the cabinet.
 
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Old 08-07-17, 02:37 AM
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Looks like those are the types of cabinets that don't have a back using the wall for the back. Assuming the wall is dry and solid, I'd clean it up best I could, rinse off any cleaner residue and paint.
 
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Old 08-07-17, 06:06 AM
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Yes this is the inside back of the cabinets. However, I don't believe they ever had a back to the cabinet. Looks like they are constructed to the wall. The back part certainly doesn't feel or look like particle board. I think it's plaster. There's actually a little hole in the second picture in the bottom left corner around where the electrical chords go through the side wall and you can see the cinder block wall right behind the plaster.

But I have no idea where the water came from, there's no pipe behind the wall and so I can only assume there was a pot in there with water that turned upside down and spilled that water?
Any other thoughts? the area is not under a window. It doesn't look like the water came from the top of the cabinet. The outside stucco is in great condition.
 
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Old 08-07-17, 08:54 AM
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If the plaster/drywall is dry and solid feeling - the odds are there is no active leak. I'd be inclined to just clean it up, paint and keep an eye on it.
 
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Old 08-08-17, 07:32 AM
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So,
I went out and got the Concrobium mold cleaning products. I was very impressed by its reviews, celebrity endorsement (mike holmes) and "independent" reviews of bloggers and news agencies.

(please see video of how it suppose to work:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QJCYySqwiQ)

I follow the instructions, sprayed the wall, let it dry overnight, came back in the morning and with a cloth dampened with this cleaning product I tried to scrub off the "mold". Result? NO CHANGE. The back of the cabinets look exactly the same with the same spots.

Could it be something other than mold?

I don't want to use bleach on it as I keep reading that it doesn't work on porous materials and tends to hide the problem rather than solve it.
 
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Old 08-08-17, 07:51 AM
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Mold only completely disappears (wipes off) if it has been growing on a slick painted surface like mildew might grow, and for just a short time. If it has found a food source, it has usually grown "roots" right into its food source. On a plaster surface, it has penetrated and stained the surface it lives on, so treating the mold with a fungicide may kill the mold organism but will not make it magically disappear as if you waved a magic wand over it.

Bleach kills mold and also "bleaches" the mold, making it less visible... one of the reasons bleach is the first thing most people think of using.

Your mold grows there because it's cold, likely under insulated, and blocked from warm air movement. At this point, you could probably skim coat and paint the back wall.
 
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Old 08-08-17, 08:49 AM
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Painting the back wall with a bath paint [has extra mildewcide] may also help.
 
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Old 08-08-17, 08:53 AM
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Is that an exterior wall . . . . and is it above or below grade ?

I'm wondering if this isn't just moisture from the outside, seeping through an exterior foundation wall . . . . or moisture getting behind the siding of an above grade wall, and making itself evident at the rear of these cabinets.
 
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Old 08-08-17, 07:11 PM
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Above grade exterior wall. There's nothing on the outside wall against the house. The stucco outside is in perfect condition.
 
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Old 08-09-17, 07:53 AM
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"Result? NO CHANGE". Same results I had .
From X "Your mold grows there because it's cold, likely under insulated, and blocked from warm air movement." That would be my guess, condensation in winter due to cold walls, a very common problem.

Mold spores are everywhere so the solution is to eliminate the conditions that promote their growth, moisture being a primary problem. The bleach has mixed reviews but does one thing well, it eliminates the stains. My guess with the Concrobium is it kills the mold but I followed up with the bleach to make the area look better.

Note, even a well insulated wall that is isolated from the heat will get cold, somewhere inbetween inside and outside temperature. I use an infrared camera and have located many air leaks and insulation voids that contribute to unexpected cold spots.

Bud
 
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