Can you clean up mold yourself?
A major mold infestation can ruin your home—and your health! The first step in mold remediation is learning how to remove mold and perform black mold removal.
Almost every home gets mold. We’ll show you how to identify mold and how to remove mold, as well as the big ones, like black mold removal, that have gotten out of hand.
Step 1: How to Get Rid of Mold Overview
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 which are mycotoxins that cause allergic reactions, runny noses and sneezing, as well as irritating, even injurious, odors. We’ll cover how to remove mold, how to get rid of black mold, how to kill mold on wood and what kills mold in a few steps.
Almost every home gets mold infestations. The trick is to mold remediation is to get to them before they get big and harm both you and your home. In this article, you’ll learn about mold remediation and how to get rid of mold, how to get rid of black mold and what kills mold. We’ll show you how to identify mold, how to eliminate the small infestations as well as the big ones that have gotten out of hand and how to clean mold. We’ll also answer the question: Does bleach kill mold?
How to remove mold and how to perform black mold removal can be done with ordinary household cleaning products. But disturbing big infestations of mold on bathroom walls and other places can be bad for your health, particularly if you are an allergy sufferer or have a weakened immune system. When you discover an extensive mold problem, we recommend that you consider calling in a professional, who knows what kills mold, to handle the problem of how to remove mold.
A few types of mold are highly toxic. If you have an allergic reaction to mold or a heavy infestation inside your home, call in a pro like Dry Effect to perform a test to identify the types of spores present.
Step 2: How to identify mold
Mold is everywhere. It’s a type of fungus that grows from tiny spores that float in the air. It can grow almost anywhere that spores land and find moisture and a comfortable temperature, between 40 and 100 degrees F. Typically that includes about every damp place in your home.
Due to excess dampness, almost every home gets subjected to mold infestations-either small or big. Leaving molds unaddressed can stir up respiratory issues in normal individuals as well as in patients with pre-existing medical concerns. Besides, this very negligence can be a major cause of year-round allergies. This is why it is significant to get rid of mold at first glance.
You can see green, yellow, black, or white outgrowths near kitchen sinks, bathrooms, or grout lines. Also, the musty odor is a tell-tale sign of mold existence. Molds can be smelled easily before they can be seen.
Mildew is a surface type of mold that won’t damage your home’s structure. But other types of mold cause rot. Remove mildew from wood when you probe the suspect area with a screwdriver or other sharp tool. If the wood is soft or crumbles, the fungi have taken hold and rot has begun. We’ll show you how to remove mold from wood in a few steps.
If you have a high concentration of mold, you may smell it. If you detect the typical musty odor, check for mold on damp carpets, damp walls, damp crawlspaces and wet wood under your floors, wet roof sheathing and other damp areas. Clean up these infestations right away before they get worse, and see the following photos for prevention measures on how to remove mold.
Step 3: Removing large infestations requires precautions—and work!
You can scrub away the surface mold common to bathrooms, decks and siding in a matter of minutes with an antimicrobial cleaner solution as one way on how to remove mold. But often mold grows and spreads in places you don’t notice, until you spot surface staining, feel mushy drywall or detect that musty smell.
If you have to remove mold concentrations or perform any black mold removal covering more than a few square feet, where the musty odor is strong or where you find extensive water damage, we recommend that you take special precautions. You want to not only avoid contaminating the rest of the house but also protect yourself from breathing high concentrations of spores and VOCs.
- Wear old clothes and shoes that you can launder or throw away after the cleanup work.
- Wear special N-95 or P-100 respirators, in addition to goggles and gloves.
- Set an old box fan or a cheap new one in a window to ventilate the room while working. Throw it out when you’re done cleaning, because the spores are almost impossible to clean off. Tape plywood or cardboard around the window openings so the spores can’t blow back in.
- Wrap and tape moldy carpeting in 6-mil plastic, and double-bag mold-infested debris in garbage bags for disposal.
- To control airborne spores, moisten moldy areas with a garden sprayer while you work.
- Turn off your furnace and air conditioner and cover ducts and doors to contain spores.
- Keep your wet/dry vacuum outside when you vacuum.
- Moisture damage and large mold infestations go hand in hand.
Remove moldy carpet
Cut stained or musty carpet and pads into 6 x 8-ft. sections with a utility knife. Using a pump sprayer, mist the surfaces with water to control the spread of spores, and roll up the sections. Double-wrap them in 6-mil plastic and tape them with duct tape for disposal. Wear protective clothing and run an exhaust fan in the window.
Seal off the damaged area
Seal the room from the rest of the house. Cover the doorway with a barrier made of overlapping plastic sheeting and tape it to the wall and floor. Cover all air ducts in the room with plastic and tape.
Open up moldy walls
Pry off baseboards and trim from contaminated areas with a pry bar and block of wood. Probe heavily stained or moisture-swollen walls using a screwdriver to discover and open up moisture damage and hidden mold in the insulation and wall framing.
Bag moldy materials
You have to open up the wall to get at the mold growing inside. Since you have to repair the wall anyway, don’t hesitate to cut the drywall back beyond the obvious damage to find all the mold and let the wall dry out. To avoid cutting electrical wires, poke a hole through the damaged section and locate the wires first. Turn off the power to the outlets before you cut. Mist the moldy drywall and insulation with the pump sprayer to avoid spreading mold spores. Double-bag moldy material in heavy-duty plastic bags and tie them shut.
If the moisture damage has been neglected or gone unnoticed for long, you’re likely to find rot. Where possible, remove and replace soft, spongy studs and wall sheathing. Where removal is difficult, treat the affected areas with a wood preservative (available at home centers), after cleaning the wood and allowing it to dry. Then double up rotted members with pressure-treated wood.
Tips for Mold Prevention
At this point it is obvious that mold is no man’s friend and cannot in fact be tolerated as it is very unsafe, so here are a few ways to control mold growth and keep your household safe.
- Always use dehumidifiers and air conditioners, especially if you live in areas with hot, humid climate. This would reduce the moisture in the air and the chances mold could get to grow in your home.
- Make sure to keep your air conditioning drip pans empty and clean. Also ensure that your drain lines flow properly and there is no obstruction.
- If there is water spillage anywhere, always make sure you thoroughly dry wet areas within 24 to 48 hours to prevent mold growth.
- Take care of all leaks and all seepage. Ideally, the ground outside your home should slope away from the building. If it is not, and water then flows into your house from outside, you could either have a simple landscaping or waterproof your home.
- Try to keep the doors in your home open as often as you can. Opening doors between rooms increases the air circulation in the house which prevents mold growth by keeping the place breezy. You could also increase air circulation by using fans and moving your furniture from wall corners.
- Make up for the weather when you can. When cold, keep your house warm not just because you don’t want to freeze, but also because as temperature goes down, the air loses the ability to hold moisture and so, said moisture would condense on cold surfaces. This encourages mold growth.
Step 4: Cleanup and repair
Complete the initial cleanup by vacuuming up the debris. Thoroughly clean the wet/dry vac afterward by disposing of the filter and washing out the tank, hose and attachments with the bleach-and-water solution.
Vacuum up moldy debris with a standard wet/dry vacuum. Buy an extra length of hose and run it out the window so you can keep the vacuum outside to avoid further spore spread.
Scrub moldy surfaces with mold cleaner
Scrub the surface mold stains from walls and wood trim with a mold cleaner to kill the mold. Use a soft brush and work until signs of the mold disappear. After scrubbing the surfaces, simply allow the antimicrobial solution to continue to penetrate the surfaces and dry.
Seal moldy areas after they dry
Set out dehumidifiers and new fans to dry the now-cleaned areas for at least three days, then check them (by sight and smell) for mold. If you discover more mold, clean again with antimicrobial agent for mold remediation.
When you’re sure the mold has been eliminated, seal the wood surfaces with pigmented shellac like BIN or an oil-based primer like KILZ. Repaint cleaned wall surfaces with a regular latex paint that contains a mildewcide to help stop future mold growth. Then install new insulation and drywall and nail the trim back on. And keep in mind that if the moisture returns, mold will return.
Required Tools for this Project
Have the necessary tools for this DIY project on how to get rid of mold lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration for your mold remediation and black mold removal.
- Drywall saw
- Safety glasses & goggles
- Shop vacuum
- Utility knife
- Window fan
- Rubber gloves
- N-95 respirator (Full face is preferred if not wear goggles too)
- Scrub brush
Required Materials for this Project
Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time to know how to get rid of mold. Here’s a list.
- 6 mil plastic garbage bags
- Heavy-duty cleaner
- Painter’s tape
- Plastic sheeting
- Shellac- or oil-based primer
What Causes Molds to Grow?
Unfortunately, it is the climatic condition of Cincinnati which makes an ideal breeding ground for these molds. You may experience recurring mold problem in your area due to:
- Humid weather
- Leakages in pipes and roofs
- Leaky basements
- Flooding and water infiltration
- Poor ventilation
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.