Finding mold inside your home or business is never a good sign, and getting rid of it can be challenging to complete on your own. You may not even realize it, but mold is all around us, and can take many forms. Mold is a type of fungus and has many beneficial applications, such as penicillin. However, many molds are quite dangerous to human health, crops and plant life and buildings’ structural integrity. If you ever find mold indoors, it’s essential to address the problem as soon as possible. Mold is unsightly and can create unpleasant odors. It is also a health hazard to any occupants inside the building and a danger to materials and structures in the facility.
If you’ve identified mold inside your building, you’ll want to have it removed quickly and safely. It is crucial to note the safety precautions and methods for mold removal to protect everyone’s health in the building, plus prevent mold spores from spreading and making the problem worse.
Identifying Dangerous Mold vs. Mildew
Before you start in on your mold problem, you must understand what you’re dealing with. There are many different molds, and mildew is only one variety. Mildew is a prevalent problem in homes, especially in bathrooms, and while it is unsightly, it’s generally not very harmful. It may appear as black spots on tiles, sinks and tubs or look like a small dirt pile. Mildew spreads on top of surfaces, but does not penetrate them. Usually, to get rid of mildew, all you need is some household cleaner and a sturdy scrub brush.
However, dangerous mold varieties like black mold can penetrate whatever material it is growing on, making matters worse. This mold can damage your property and make you sick, so it’s imperative to address it as soon as you notice it. Mold can appear in patches around the home in moist environments, and can be black, green, brown, orange, pink, purple or even other colors, too. It often looks fuzzy and has irregular borders. Usually, mold also has a musty smell, especially if the affected area is larger.
Safety Precautions When Removing Mold
Removing black mold, or any other type of dangerous mold, is a significant undertaking. You’ll want to protect yourself to ensure health and safety and preserve your belongings. If you have mold in your home or business, you should take a few precautions. For safe mold removal, these top tips can help.
- Wear proper protective equipment: Since mold can cause health problems, it’s critical to protect yourself when attempting to remove mold. Wear gloves, a mask and goggles to protect your respiratory system and skin.
- Throw out contaminated items: Discard any soiled belongings you can’t get thoroughly dry. Wet carpeting is challenging to dry completely, so ensure it is free from moisture if you want to salvage it. A professional restoration service may be able to renew personal items with sentimental value.
- Open windows and doors: Mold grows more quickly in poorly ventilated spaces, so when you discover mold in your home, open all windows and doors to create air movement to help dry out areas quickly. Professional mold removal companies use large desiccant dehumidifiers for the same purpose.
- Be safe with cleaners: If you are using chemical cleaners, DO NOT MIX them! Combining bleach and ammonia can create toxic vapors and cause even more severe problems than mold exposure.
- Remove it, don’t cover it: While it may be tempting to paint over mold growth on drywall or add caulk to mold in a shower or bathtub, this will not stop the spread of mold, only camouflage it. Remove as much of the mold as possible.
How to Safely Remove Mold
After you’ve taken all proper safety precautions, you can use many different products and methods for black mold removal. If you’re learning how to remove black mold safely, one of the most straightforward techniques to try is a quick baking soda solution. You can mix 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda with water in a spray bottle, shake it to mix well, then spray it on the affected areas and scrub with a stiff brush to remove. Once you’ve scoured the mold away, rinse the spot well with water and let dry.
This technique works well on various surfaces, but let’s take a closer look at some of the additional products used to remove mold, and more specific directions for different surfaces and areas of the home or office mold might affect. If you’re unsure about which products or methods to use, or you have a more extensive amount of mold, it’s always best to contact a professional for help with removal.
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Products That Remove Mold
For smaller patches of mold found in a home or business, a few common ingredients work well. You probably already have most of these on hand, and if not, they’re readily available at most hardware, home improvement or grocery stores. Here are the best products for mold removal.
- Bleach: Standard bleach works to kill and destroy mold. Bleach, also known as sodium hypochlorite, is harsh, so dilute it before using it to clean. Mix one cup bleach with one gallon of water. Apply this blend to non-porous surfaces. For porous surfaces such as grout, you can add standard dish soap to the mixture. Do not mix bleach with any other chemicals – this can be extremely dangerous.
- Hydrogen peroxide: You can use hydrogen peroxide to remove mold. You might have this product in your home or workplace first-aid kit. To remove mold with 3% hydrogen peroxide, use a spray bottle to cover the affected area. Hydrogen peroxide works by releasing oxygen quickly, which causes the mold to oxidize and decompose.
- White vinegar: White vinegar works well to kill and clean mold. Fill a spray bottle with white vinegar and spray the affected area. You do not have to dilute white vinegar. After application, let the vinegar sit for at least one hour – do not scrub or wipe the surface. After one hour, rinse the area with clean, warm water and apply one more vinegar treatment. You can let the last application of white vinegar dry completely, and do not need to wipe it down once it is dry.
- Baking soda: Baking soda is an excellent mold remover in combination with water and vinegar. Mix two parts baking soda with one part of water and vinegar to create a paste. As with other methods, apply directly to the affected area and let it dry. Once it is dry, use a scrub brush to remove the solution. Finish by wiping the treated spot clean with warm, soapy water.
- Borax: Like baking soda, borax has a high pH level that works to stop the growth of mold on surfaces. It’s easy to mix with water to make an effective cleaning solution. Borax is somewhat less potent than other cleaning products, but it will work harder at removing lingering stains.
Removing Mold From Different Areas of Your Home or Office
The processes and products you should use for mold removal can vary, depending on where the mold is growing. Whether it’s at home or in a business, the ways to remove mold will be different for soft surfaces like carpeting or cloth than on harder surfaces or in bathrooms and basements. There are several recommended methods to clean, kill and prevent mold, and here’s what you should know about the specific techniques for mold removal in different areas.
Removing Mold From Carpeting
Carpeting can hide dirt, hair, dust mites and even mold. Carpeting is a perfect place for mold to grow because it retains moisture. When carpeting is damp, the residual moisture can encourage mold growth. If mold has infested your carpeting, you should find the moisture source and eliminate it. Burst pipes, leaking appliances, overwatered houseplants and four-legged family members can cause moisture issues.
Carpeting is one of the most challenging areas to remove mold from a home or business. If the carpeting has a strong, musty odor, and the carpet pad shows signs of mold, you should remove and replace the carpeting and carpeting pad.
If mold remains contained to a small area, and the carpeting pad appears to be void of mold or black mold, start by scrubbing the carpet with a stiff brush to release the mold spores. Do not vacuum the area, as the vacuum can then spread the mold to other areas of your home or office. While you may use common household products to clean mold from carpeting, it is best to use an anti-fungal spray designed to destroy mold.
How to Remove Mold From Walls
There is a higher moisture level in rooms like bathrooms and basements, making these common areas for mold growth on walls. Check areas near the ceiling, floor or along any cracks in a wall for mold. If you discover mold on a wall, you can clean and kill it using one of the methods mentioned, such as bleach or vinegar.
Mold frequently grows on bathroom walls, including shower stalls and bathtubs. Several products are specifically for addressing bathroom mold. However, a baking soda paste works just as well.
What to Do With a Moldy Basement
Basements, especially unfinished basements, are a hotspot for mold growth. The foremost way to keep mold growth at bay in a basement is to control the moisture and humidity. Homeowners should invest in a dehumidifier to keep the humidity between 30 and 60%.
If you discover mold in a basement and it is dusty, you will need to dampen the mold spores to prevent them from becoming airborne and affecting other areas. Begin by spraying the mold “dust” lightly with water. Be careful not to use too much water, since that can add to the existing moisture issue that caused the mold in the first place.
After you have lightly sprayed the area, scrub the mold with your desired solution. A bleach solution works well in basements, especially on concrete blocks or unfinished floors. After scouring, wipe the area with a clean, damp cloth.
If the mold growth in a basement has spread, you might need to throw away affected items. If you have a sentimental or valuable belonging you don’t want to dispose of, consider having a professional clean and restore your prized possession.
Mold Removal From Windows
A window separates outdoor and indoor environments, keeping moisture out. Inspect windows regularly to ensure they do not leak. Old, leaky windows can let moisture into a home or office, causing the area to grow mold.
If you discover mold on or around your windows, begin by wiping the area with a damp cloth. Then, use a bleach solution to scrub and kill the mold. You can repeat this process several times to get rid of the mold around the window and window frame.
To prevent the mold from coming back, determine how moisture was getting into the area. Replace cracked windows. You may also want to add caulking to the window frame to seal the windows from any small cracks or gaps.
Mold Removal From Household Appliances
Certain appliances are more prone to a buildup of mold growth, especially those that combine heat and moist environments, such as washing machines, refrigerators and coffee makers. These helpful home appliances benefit from regular cleanings to remove any mold.
For a washing machine, run an empty hot water cycle with a little bit of bleach. You can do this about once a month, or whenever the appliance starts to smell a little musty.
You can also run hot water through the coffeemaker without any coffee grounds to give it a good cleaning. A simple vinegar spray is also excellent for wiping down coffee machines and refrigerators.
Mold Removal From Furniture and Fabric
If mold has been growing on furniture, fabric and other soft surfaces for more than a couple of days, the damage may be too extensive to save the item. However, if you catch the damage early, you can treat it quickly. If possible, take all affected items outside, and try to brush away as much of the mold as you can. Doing this outside ensures the mold spores do not spread in the home.
Run washable fabrics through your washing machine with hot water and an oxygen bleach cleaner. Soak fabrics for eight hours for an even better clean. Take fragile and dry-clean-only fabrics to a professional. For furniture and other items that aren’t machine-washable, try wiping with a damp cloth dipped in vinegar, dabbing at the stained areas. Use a fabric brush to scrub stubborn spots, then rinse.
Do I Need Professional Mold Removal?
If you have found mold in your home or business, it’s best to get rid of it as soon as possible. And, while there are a few DIY fixes to try, the best solution for your safety is to hire black mold removal professionals. Mold poses a severe threat to your health and your building’s structural integrity, and you want to have the peace of mind that comes with knowing a trained technician is solving the issue. With more than 15 years of experience treating mold problems, Reynolds Restoration Services can find and treat mold and help prevent it from coming back. With offices in Harrisburg and Philadelphia, PA, and Baltimore, MD, our teams can respond quickly and are on call 24/7/365. Contact the experts at Reynolds Restoration Services today to put an end to your mold woes. Our team is standing by and ready to help.