Mold is hard to escape. Mold is both indoors and outdoors, and while some kinds of mold are not harmful, mold like black mold can be dangerous in a home or in a business. Aside from mold being unsightly, it can create a musty odor in your living space or office and can cause health issues for occupants. If you find mold in your home or business, it is critical to understand how to remove mold safely and quickly to prevent it from growing and spreading throughout the home or building. Mold can also cause structural damage if left untreated.
Safety Precautions When Removing Mold
Before attempting to remove mold yourself, be sure to take the proper precautions to keep yourself safe and healthy. There are several ways to protect yourself when you remove mold. The Center for Disease Control suggests the following tips when removing mold:
- 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 googles, to protect your respiratory system and skin.
- Throw out contaminated items: Discard contaminated items that cannot be properly dried out. Wet carpeting is tough to completely dry so make sure it is free from moisture if you want to salvage it. Personal items that have sentimental value may be able to be restored by a professional service.
- Open windows and doors: Mold growth is optimal in poorly ventilated spaces, so when you discover mold in your home, open all windows and doors to create air movement. This will 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 cleaners! Bleach and ammonia mixed together 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 just 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.
Products that Remove Mold
Mold can be removed safely from a home or business using standard products and solutions found at a home improvement or department store. You may even have some of the products already in your inventory of cleaning products. Some methods of removing mold include:
- Bleach: Standard bleach works to kill and destroy mold. Bleach, also known as sodium hypochlorite, is harsh. Dilute bleach before using on surfaces. Mix one cup bleach with one gallon of water. Apply this mixture 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 and chances are, you may have hydrogen peroxide already 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. This causes the surface of 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 do its job 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 application of vinegar. 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 a great product to use to remove mold and can be combined with water and vinegar to make a mold removal solution. Mix two parts baking soda with one part of both water and vinegar to create a paste. As with other application methods, apply directly to the affected area and let it dry. Once it is dry, use a scrub brush to scrub the area. Finish by wiping the area clean with warm, soapy water.
Removing Mold from Different Areas of Your Home or Office
There are different methods and ways to remove mold depending on where it is growing in a home or office. Mold that affects carpeting or cloth, for example, should be treated differently than mold growing in a bathroom or basement. There are several recommended methods to clean, kill and prevent mold:
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 not properly dried, the residual moisture can encourage mold growth. If your carpeting is infested with mold, you should find the source of moisture and eliminate it. Burst pipes, leaking appliances, overwatered house plants, and 4-legged family members can cause moisture issues.
Carpeting is one of the hardest items in a home or business to completely remove mold. If the carpeting has a strong, musty odor, and the carpet pad is showing signs of mold, you should remove and replace the carpeting and carpeting pad.
If mold is 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 household items may be used 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 level of moisture 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 the mold using one of the methods mentioned such as bleach or vinegar.
Mold is commonly found on bathroom walls including shower stalls and bathtubs. There are several products that are specifically designed for bathroom mold, however a baking soda paste works just as well.
What to Do with a Moldy Basement
Basements, especially unfinished basements, are a hot spot for mold growth. The most important 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 30-60%.
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 of the building. Begin by spraying the mold “dust” lightly with water. Spraying lightly is important. Using too much water 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 scrubbing, wipe the area with a clean, damp cloth.
If the mold growth in a basement has spread, affected items may need to be thrown away or disposed of. If you have a sentimental or valuable item that you cannot throw away, consider having a professional clean and restore your prized possession.
Mold Removal from Windows
A window separates outdoor environments from the indoors, 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 reoccurring, 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.
Do I Need Professional Mold Removal?
If the mold growing in your home or office is out of control, has spread outside of a contained area, or if you are concerned about a health risk, it’s time to reach out to a professional mold remediation company. Reynolds Restoration Services has been helping home and business owners find, kill, and prevent mold for 15 years. Reach out today to start the mold removal and remediation process. With offices in Harrisburg and Philadelphia, PA and Baltimore, MD, our teams can respond quickly and are on-call 24/7/365.