A Complete Guide to Mold and it’s Cleaning Process
What is mold remediation?
Mold remediation is the process of removal and/or clean up of mold from an indoor environment, such as a home or a business.
If a home or a business has serious mold damage, it is best to hire mold remediation/removal professionals as specialized equipment and methods may be required to remove the mold completely.
Please call us at the number on the top of the page for mold remediation and removal services, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
What Are the Levels of Mold Damage?
There are different levels of mold damage, and it is so important to keep this in mind when it comes to dealing with any mold exposure you have in your home. Level one is used to describe damage of 10-square-feet or less. This means that it is relatively straightforward to fix. The mold spores will typically be found on wall panels exposed to temperature fluctuations or high humidity, baseboards, and ceiling tiles. Next, we have level two, and this is for areas between 10 and 30-square-feet. The more significant amount of mold may be an underlying issue with the air conditioning system or plumbing system, although this is not always applicable. You then have level three, which is for areas that are greater than 30-square-feet. Typically they will be between 30 and 100-square-feet. With this sort of damage, you do need to consider getting help from a professional mold removal company to take care of the issue for you. Next, we have level four mold damage, which is the worst type of mold damage. This is used to describe areas with mold damage of 100-square-feet or more. Professional remediation is a necessity because this type of mold presents a considerable health and safety risk.
How Molds Can Affect Your Health
Exposure to mold can lead to asthma attacks, eye and skin irritation, and allergic reactions. It can lead to severe infections in people with weakened immune systems. Avoid contaminated buildings and contaminated water as much as you can.
Flood water may have carried sewage or chemicals into your home. This could expose you or your family to viruses, bacteria, disease carriers (such as mosquitos), and parasites, as well as mold.
How to Get Rid of Mold?
Mold is a major-league nuisance. It blackens the grout lines in your shower, discolors drywall, shows up as black spots on siding, darkens decks, and grows on and rots damp wood everywhere. Even worse, it can be bad for your health. Mold releases microscopic spores that cause allergic reactions, runny noses and sneezing, as well as irritating, even injurious, odors.
Mold Clean-up Process
Who should do the cleanup depends on a number of factors. One consideration is the size of the mold problem. If the moldy area is less than about 10 square feet (less than roughly a 3 ft. by 3 ft. patch), in most cases, you can handle the job yourself, follow the Mold Cleanup Tips and Techniques. However:
- If there has been a lot of water damage, and/or mold growth covers more than 10 square feet, consult EPA guide Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings. Although focused on schools and commercial buildings, this document is applicable to other building types.
- If you choose to hire a contractor (or another professional service provider) to do the cleanup, make sure the contractor has experience cleaning up mold. Check references and ask the contractor to follow the recommendations in EPA guide Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings, the guidelines of the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygenists (ACGIH), or other guidelines from professional or government organizations.
- If you suspect that the heating/ventilation/air conditioning (HVAC) system may be contaminated with mold (it is part of an identified moisture problem, for instance, or there is mold near the intake to the system), read our blog Should You Have the Air Ducts in Your Home Cleaned? before taking further action. Do not run the HVAC system if you know or suspect that it is contaminated with mold – it could spread mold throughout the building.
- If the water and/or mold damage was caused by sewage or other contaminated water, then call in a professional who has experience cleaning and fixing buildings damaged by contaminated water.
- If you have health concerns, consult a health professional before starting cleanup.
Tips for Mold Clean-Up
The tips and techniques presented in this section will help you clean up your mold problem. Professional cleaners or remediators may use methods not covered in this publication. Please note that mold may cause staining and cosmetic damage. It may not be possible to clean an item so that its original appearance is restored.
- Fix plumbing leaks and other water problems as soon as possible. Dry all items completely.
- Scrub mold off hard surfaces with detergent and water, and dry completely.
- Absorbent or porous materials, such as ceiling tiles and carpet, may have to be thrown away if they become moldy. Mold can grow on or fill in the empty spaces and crevices of porous materials, so the mold may be difficult or impossible to remove completely.
- Avoid exposing yourself or others to mold.
- What to Wear When Cleaning Moldy Areas
- Hidden Mold
- Do not paint or caulk moldy surfaces. Clean up the mold and dry the surfaces before painting. Paint applied over moldy surfaces is likely to peel.
- If you are unsure about how to clean an item, or if the item is expensive or of sentimental value, you may wish to consult a specialist. Specialists in furniture repair, restoration, painting, art restoration and conservation, carpet and rug cleaning, water damage, and fire or water restoration are commonly listed in phone books. Be sure to ask for and check references. Look for specialists who are affiliated with professional organizations.
How do I know when professional mold removal is complete?
There are two different ways to know when the mold is removed.
- Visual: You might see that all mold is gone is away, but hidden mold colonies and mold spores can linger in hidden places and in the air. So visual inspection is not the best way to ensure complete removal.
- Third-party testing is usually the best way to test for complete mold removal verification.
Your mold removal company should not test as this is a conflict of interest and State Of Maryland residents be aware that there is a law that states that a mold removal company must have certain certifications and cannot test at the same time as the remediation.
Remember that you need to have a pre-testing procedure (mold spore tests, etc.), protocols (a list of how to remove the mold), and a clearance test after the mold removal to ensure that the mold spore count is at acceptable levels.
Do I need to hire a mold remediation/removal expert to remove mold?
Actually anyone can remove mold from a home or a business as long as they understand that when you disturb mold (clean it, cut it out, etc.), you will distribute the mold spores throughout the house, creating new mold issues.
The only way to correctly remove the mold is to build a containment correctly using negative pressure and using the correct personal protective equipment. You will also need to follow the IICRC S-520 Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Mold Remediation, and hire an industrial hygienist to make sure that the mold is removed.
At Dry Effect, our staff is certified in mold removal and mold remediation process by the IICRC (Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification). You can call us anytime for mold remediation/removal services, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.