Mold is a fungus that reproduces by erupting microscopic spores into the environment. When it takes hold in your home, it’s not something that should be taken lightly. Not only is it unsightly and odorous, but mold can lead to the development of dangerous health conditions. This is why, if your home has mold, it’s crucial to get rid of it as soon as you possibly can.
This guide will help you do just that. Take a look at the ten tips below for getting rid of mold in your home.
Determine The Source
Mold can’t grow without moisture present. So, if mold is showing up in different places on your property, it’s crucial to identify the continuing source of the excess water or moisture.
For example, if you walk into a basement and smell a musty odor, you’ll likely find mold thriving there. This is a common sign of mold contamination. What this likely means is that somewhere, there’s a leak that’s keeping materials such as wood and plasterboard walls wet. Another possibility could be poor ventilation or groundwater seeping through the understructure of your home.
Until you find the source of the moisture and remedy it, your mold problem will continue.
Dry Out The Area
Before you can begin the mold cleanup process, you’ll have to dry the wet or damp areas completely. Logically, if there is standing water, you should remove this as quickly as possible. To begin, open up all of the windows and use fans or, better yet, hire an industrial dryer and dehumidifier. Keep in mind, the faster you can dry out the area, the less time there will be for mold to grow.
If inhaling mold spores is not on your list of things to do today, you need to protect yourself before you start cleaning the mold. To avoid breathing in spores, all you need to do is purchase an inexpensive respirator to wear over your face. This should cost around $15 or $20. Ideally, it would help if you opted for an N-95 respirator with removable cartridges, which will trap mold spores.
Be sure to wear rubber gloves to protect your skin from the mold as well as from the chemicals you’re going to be using to clean it. Alternatively, you can use a pair of utility-grade disposable gloves if you don’t want to keep your soiled gloves after the entire cleaning process. Depending on the scale of molding, your gloves may not survive after the cleanup, so it may be better to use the inexpensive kind. It also wouldn’t hurt to wear goggles to prevent your eyes from becoming irritated. If the mold is a serious problem throughout your home, you may want to go ahead and wear a protective suit to cover your skin.
Avoid Covering Up The Problem
When mold shows up in your home, it can seem like an overwhelming task to get rid of it. Instead of trying to kill it, you may be tempted to cover it up by painting or caulking over it. Unfortunately, this isn’t going to solve your problem. The source of the moisture must be identified, or the problem is going to repeat itself.
Paint applied over-mold is likely to peel anyway, and the air will continue to be contaminated, even if you can’t see the mold anymore. It’s just a matter of time before it shows its ugly face again.
Tackling Mold In The Basement
Basements can be a haven for mold growth, as mentioned above. After you’ve dried out any stagnant water and geared up in your protective wear, you’re ready to tackle the (likely) big job of cleaning up the mold. Here’s what you need to do to get started:
- Know When It’s Time To Call A Professional
If you find extensive damage from contaminated water and areas of mold that are larger than 10 square feet, it’s best to hire a mold remediation professional such as Pure Maintenance Cascades Mold Removal to do the job for you.
- Examine Your HVAC System For Mold Contamination
Search for mold in your ventilation system. Check inside the air ducts for mold growth or a musty smell. If you think they might be contaminated, have your air ducts professionally cleaned immediately.
- Do Minor Jobs Yourself
If you’re able to take care of the mold yourself, begin by moving all contaminated items out of the area to check them out. If you have moldy boxes, throw them away. If you find moldy clothes, wash them.
If your basement is carpeted, you’ll need to steam clean or replace it—whichever fits your circumstances.
To clean hard surfaces, combine a gallon of water with a cup of bleach. Apply this to the surface and allow it to sit for about 15 minutes. Now, scrub, scrub, scrub to your heart’s content! After you’re done, rinse the area with clean water.
Now that you’ve done the dirty work, it’s time to increase the ventilation in your basement. Use fans and dehumidifiers to get the air flowing and the moisture out.
Getting Rid Of Mold From Wood Flooring
To begin removing bleach from wood flooring, you need to make sure you choose the appropriate cleanser. You’ll need a chlorine-bleach solution with a 10:1 water/bleach ratio. You can pick this up at your local hardware store.
Spray this solution directly on the wood floor, and allow it to soak for 10 minutes. Now, wipe the mold away with an old rag or towel and throw it away when you’re finished. If there are spots where the mold remains, use a scrub brush to remove it from these stubborn areas. Finish the job by rinsing the floor with chemical-free, clean water.
It should be noted that if the mold has deeply penetrated the wood, it may need to be sanded down and refinished, or in some cases, replaced. If you’re unsure, it’s best to consult a professional for advice.
Removing Mold From Walls
Bleach is also your friend in removing mold from walls. Just mix up one-part bleach to three parts water in a spray bottle and thoroughly spray down wherever you find mold growing on your walls. Let the bleach soak in for a few minutes, and then use a scrub brush to remove the mold.
While this is a good temporary fix, it’s possible that the root of the mold is still going to be present inside of your drywall. To kill mold at the root after cleaning up the surface, spray undiluted white vinegar onto the area, then allow it to dry. There may be an odor from the vinegar, but it should help solve your mold problem.
Removing Mold From Your Home’s Exterior
Don’t let mold ruin your home’s curb appeal! Mold on the outside of homes is common in regions with high humidity. There are several things you can do to take care of the mold growing on the outside of your home:
- Clean Out Your Gutters
Gutters are home to decaying leaves and the like, which make them a likely place for mold and mildew to grow. Decomposing debris can clog the downspouts, causing water to spill over the gutter’s edge. This overflow can then make its way down your house’s siding, where mold begins to grow. Make sure you clean your gutters regularly to prevent and remove mold.
- Clean Your Exterior Siding
Wood and wood fiber siding is among the most vulnerable materials to mold and mildew. The north side of your home is likely to be where the mold is forming because mold is resistant to sunlight.
Home improvement guru Bob Vila recommends never using a power washer to clean the outside of your home, as it’s too powerful and can peel off paint or blast through the wood siding. Instead, he recommends a washer called the Pivot Pro, as it should be safer. You fill the Pivot Pro with an all-purpose mold and mildew cleaner and hook it up to your garden hose.
You can also use its brush head to scrub mold off of your deck or porch.
Killing Mold In The Bathroom
Seeing discolored grout in your shower isn’t just unsightly; it can also be dangerous to your health. Bathrooms are the perfect breeding ground for mold to grow, as they’re usually damp, dark, and warm.
To clean a moldy shower, gather rubber gloves, an old toothbrush, vinegar, a scrub brush, and equal parts of water and bleach in a spray bottle. You may also want to purchase an antifungal surface cleaner such as Clorox Antifungal.
Start by spraying the Antifungal spray all over the entire shower. Then, use a sponge to wipe the mold off of the tile and porcelain. However, this may not get the mold out of the grout. To tackle this issue, spray the bleach solution over the grout and let it sit for a few minutes. Next, respray the area and use the old toothbrush to scrub the mold out of the grout.
When this is finished, spray a coating of undiluted vinegar over the grout to eliminate the mold spores, and allow it to dry.
To prevent having to repeat this process regularly, remember: prevention is key.
- To reduce the humidity in your bathroom, install an exhaust fan if you don’t already have one.
- Squeegee and then wipe down your shower with a towel after each use, so that mold doesn’t have a chance to grow.
- Spray vinegar on your shower after wiping it dry. If the smell is too much to handle, try adding a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the spray bottle.
- Do a regular clean of your bathroom every week.
Consider A Natural Approach To Killing Mold
Perhaps you’re not a fan of chlorine bleach or any strong chemical for that matter. If you’re looking for some natural alternatives, here are several you can try:
- Hydrogen Peroxide
So, here’s the deal. Wherever it says to use bleach above, you could use hydrogen peroxide instead. You use a 3% concentration of it, and spray it wherever you find mold. Scrub the area down, just as before, and rinse it clean.
Vinegar has already been mentioned above, but it should be noted that it’s a completely natural, non-toxic solution to killing mold on its own, as well. White vinegar has the power to clean, deodorize, and disinfect. Spraying it in full concentration and leaving it on the moldy surface is the best way to make sure mold is eliminated.
- Baking Soda
Isn’t baking soda one of the handiest ingredients one can have in their kitchen? Baking soda has the power to absorb the moisture that attracts mold. To make a heavy-duty, mold-killing paste, mix two parts baking soda with one-part white vinegar and one-part water. Stir it up until it becomes a thick paste. Spread it on the moldy areas generously and allow it to dry. Now, scrub away the mold and stains, and rinse the residue away with clean water.
- Tea Tree Oil
Are you familiar with essential oils? They’re the most potent parts of a plant, derived from the seeds, roots, flowers, and stems. The essential oil helpful in killing mold is known as tea tree oil. A natural fungicide, tea tree oil helps prevent mold spores from returning.
To use tea tree oil to kill mold, combine one teaspoon of it with one cup of water in a spray bottle. Shake well, so they blend thoroughly. Then, spray this mixture onto the mold, and leave it there for an hour. Wipe away the remnants of it with a dry towel.
Whether you choose to kill mold the natural way or not, getting rid of it in a timely fashion is of the utmost importance. There’s no use covering up the problem or ignoring it, as you’re only enabling it to grow and potentially impact your health. Be sure to take a good look at your situation to see if it would best serve you to hire a professional. There’s nothing wrong with admitting that you need professional help to remedy the problem. After all, your family’s health should be the number one priority.