Do-it-yourself Mold Remediation: 3 Steps For Your House Clean-up
Mold is undesirable in the home. It darkens the corners of the bathroom, stains the walls, grows in between tiles. It’s a very unpleasant sight which feeds and rots damp wood. Mold can accumulate and can be hard to remove over time. Aside from it being a disgusting sight, different types of mold also cause respiratory diseases and is generally bad for our health. Mold releases spores that can cause allergic reactions. These allergens may be invisible to the eye but can cause serious health problems. Hiring a professional may be costly, that’s why it’s important to know these Do-It-Yourself Mold Remediation steps so you can perform the cleaning by yourself in your own home.
Mold infestation is a major problem in any household. Once you discovered the presence of this health-threatening fungi, you might be tempted to clean it up on your own. Mold remediation is a task that is better left in the hands of professionals. However, if the infestation is pretty small, you can tackle it on your own.
But before you do that, read on to learn about the basics of mold cleanup and the proper ways and techniques to effectively get rid of it without compromising your health and safety.
Identify the mold
Almost every home experiences mold infestation. The proper remedy is to get them before they accumulate and turn into big chunks. These molds are harmful to the health of your family and as you allow them to become bigger, they become harder and harder to clean. Black mold removal can be performed using ordinary cleaning products that you can buy in the supermarket. Molds can be easily identified as these are small black spots that grow into large colonies. The key to mold identification is testing it with bleach. Drop a few drops of household bleach to the mold, and the ones that disappear easily are mildew. You will usually spot this in damp areas. There are two kinds of black molds namely: mildew-mold and dirt mold. Mildew mold easily goes away after pouring bleach on it while dirt mold does not. Be wary that other kinds of mold are toxic so it is safer to let professionals handle if you have respiratory problems and get allergies easily. Once you have identified the type of mold, it’s time to gear up for safety.
Gear up for protection and observe safety precautions
More than anything else, when you are dealing with mold, it is important that you protect yourself from its harmful effects. A thin mask will not help. You will need to wear clothes that you can immediately wash or better yet, you can just get rid of after using them. Remember that the mold odor can be strong especially if the mold is thick and clustered. You don’t want to be smelling that, right?
Mold can stick on your clothes and may spread to your other clothes if you wash them together with other clothes in the washing machine. So instead of washing it, wear clothes that you can throw away after you soil them. You will need to wear goggles and gloves. You need to protect your eyes from these particles. It is dangerous for them to reach your eyes and not wearing protective gloves when cleaning might allow mold to stick to other parts of your body. May we suggest you do not eat if you have not showered after general black mold remediation.
The spores can easily spread in the air so it is best to use proper ventilation in the room while cleaning. These spores can also stick to the blade, so to lessen the work of having to clean the fans that you’ve used, buy those cheap fans that you can simply throw away afterward. It is better to be safe than sorry. Sometimes, it’s better to spend a little amount of money on hygiene and good health. When it comes to the mask that you are wearing, if you have a thin mask, you can wear several layers of it so you do not have to buy the N-95 which can be a bit costly. Wearing several layers of the mask should be sufficient.
Do not remove this in the process of cleaning. Turn off your furnace and air-conditioner when you are dealing with molds. We don’t want those spores spreading all over the room or even the house and causing some breathing and respiratory problems. You can also seal the door gaps to prevent any particles from spreading to the other room. Prepare your bleach, brushes, rags, gloves, disinfectants and everything you need for the cleaning process.
Mold remediation process
Now that you are geared up for the mold cleaning or black mold removal, we can commence the cleaning process. First, check for the signs of mold. Check the moldy walls and open these up by using a screwdriver. Don’t hesitate to cut through the drywall since you will be replacing this anyway, or a professional will do the replacing for you. Make sure that you get to the root cause of the molds and you should open up the walls to find them. Scrub the surfaces with a mold cleaner and do this thoroughly. After scrubbing, leave the solution for a little while to allow it to penetrate through the wood or wall. While the mold cleaner is setting in, you may now clean up the wall debris. Use a vacuum cleaner to get rid of the moldy wall.
As for the larger parts, place these in a sturdy garbage bag. After a few minutes, you may now wipe the mold cleaners. Do not wash them. You can wipe them off then you may seal the wood surfaces with a wood primer. This will restore the wood or the surface to a better condition. Once this is done, you may now install negative air machines to get rid of any leftover smell of the mold cleaner and the mold itself.
Get the right cleaning products
First things first – prepare what you need. Basically, you need a reliable product in cleaning mold. Many household owners think that bleach is an effective mold treatment. But contrary to the popular view, it isn’t. Bleach is a strong chemical which can harm your health. Also, it does not get rid of the mold. It only changes its color from black to white or grey. After a few weeks of bleaching, there is still a big possibility that the mold will come back.
A DIY mold remediation product that mold specialists usually recommend is borax – a white powder which you can purchase from the grocery, at the detergent or laundry section. To clean mold using borax, mix the powder in one gallon of hot water. Apply the solution on the surface affected by mold and scrub the area with a rug or brush until the mold disappears. There’s no need to rinse it off because borax will keep the mold from coming back. However, do not use this cleaner on porous surfaces like drywall. Such materials absorb water easily. This could aggravate the problem because as you know – mold loves moist environments.
Some other safe yet effective products you can use to kill mold are baking soda, vinegar, Tea tree oil, hydrogen peroxide, and detergent. If you’re using vinegar, simply put it in a spray bottle. No need to add water. Spray the vinegar on the surface and leave it for an hour.
Wear the right clothing
Make sure you are properly geared before you start with your DIY mold cleanup. Wear gloves, goggles, and loose clothing especially if you’re using a chemical. After cleaning the mold, dispose of your clothing and gears or thoroughly wash them. Mold spores can easily spread within your house as they travel through the air.
When it comes to black mold removal, it is better to ask professionals to do it. Black mold is a dangerous type of mold and can have a hazardous effect on your health.
Dry the surface
The last and most important part of how to remove mold is drying the surface. Take note that moisture is the main cause of mold build-up. These fungi love the humid, damp environment. Since you will be cleaning mold with water, the surface will be wet for a period of time. Aim to speed up the drying process by ventilating the area. Open doors and windows if possible and run a dehumidifier. You can also use air movers to quickly dry the surface.
Mistakes to Avoid While Mold Cleanup
When doing mold remediation on your own, make sure to avoid the following mistakes:
- Choosing the wrong mold cleaner. Again, bleach is not what kills mold. Cleaning mold with bleach is not going to help. The best way to clean mold is by using natural products like the ones mentioned above.
- Not addressing cross-contamination. Here’s one important thing you should know. Once you start scrubbing off the mold from the surface, some of the spores will become airborne. This means that your entire home can be exposed to mold infestation. Thus, it is essential to containing the area. Dispose of all the cleaning materials and clothing you used to prevent cross-contamination.
- Not eliminating the moisture source. No matter how hard you clean the parts of your home infested by mold, it will just keep coming back until you address the moisture problems. After the cleanup, speak with a mold remediation professional to determine the causes of water problems or leaks in your house.
Just like most homeowners, you are eager to learn how to remediate mold on your own. It’s a good thing and knowing the must-dos and must-haves to clean mold is what you need to be successful in this project. Additionally, learning what kills mold spores effectively is a must. You certainly don’t want to spend a lot of money on cleaners that don’t work.
Nonetheless, if you are unsure about the entire mold mitigation process, or the mold infestation in your home is too big to handle, it is recommended that you work with professionals. They are the best people to work on it, having not only the knowledge and training but also the tools and equipment to effectively get rid of mold.
Now, see where this has taken us? Mold remediation is quite a complicated process. It will take up time. It is best to prevent the occurrence of the mold by using proper humidifiers and maintaining good ventilation in each of the rooms (especially basement and crawl space) of your houses. Also, clean up the mold as soon as you spot them so you do not end up doing a bigger job