Finding mold in your home can be pretty scary. But while many molds are generally harmless, some can contain mycotoxins and be harmful, which is why it’s smart to identify the source of a mold problem and take steps to remove it. But is removing mold a DIY project or one that requires the specialized skills of a pro? The answer is “it depends” but generally speaking, if the affected area is small enough, mold removal can very well be a project you can do yourself! Here’s where to begin:
Mold Removal 101
Before you consider whether to fight the mold battle yourself, it’s important to understand the enemy. Mold tends to thrive in moist/damp environments but mold spores spread quickly and easily through the air. Nearly all molds carry the risk of nasal, lung, or eye irritation for people who have sensitivities to them. In some cases, mold can cause infection and can be particularly dangerous to individuals with suppressed immune systems or asthma.
The CDC identifies the most common types of mold as:
Growing indoors or outdoors, cladosporium mold and spreads through the air and appears as black, green, or brown.
The word “penicillus” is Latin for “paintbrush” which is what the spores of Penicillium mold resemble. Although the source of the first ever antibiotic, this mold can trigger reactions to those with allergies. It is the most commonly found in indoor environments and is a good indicator of dampness in a building.
Alternia mold is more commonly found outdoors but can be spread quite rapidly during dry, windy conditions. Pale gray to olive brown in color, it is known as a well-recognized allergenic.
However, there are more than just four types of mold and any variety of mold can pose risks to the health and/or air quality of your home environment.
But knowing what kinds of molds there are, does not help alleviate the problem if you are experiencing mold in your home. Even if there are no immediate health risks to anyone in your household, the odor and damage to your property is enough reason to start the mold removal process as soon as possible.
There are a number of ways to treat and go about mold removal but it is important to know the EPA recommends hiring a professional if the affected area is more than 10 feet (3’x3′ approximately) in size. They suggest reading their Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings guide which applies to all buildings.
How to Remove Mold Yourself
But if you are a DIYer who wants to clean up a moldy problem here are some tips for you to follow. Remember to always wear proper safety equipment including eye protection, mask, and non-porous gloves.
Determine the source of mold. This is critical to not only determining the extent of the damage but making the necessary repairs to prevent future mold infestation.
If you are removing absorbent materials such as moldy ceiling tiles, wood, carpet, or flooring, be sure to have plenty of ventilation. Open the windows and use a fan to pull spore-infested air away from you, out the window. Cut flooring in sections before bagging and disposing of them. Vacuum area thoroughly. Ensure you have proper ventilation as doing so will certainly stir up spores.
Removing mold in non-porous materials such as tiles, glass, or countertops
Bleach and Water
- Mix at a ratio of 1 cup bleach to 1 gallon of water.
- Apply with a spray bottle or sponge.
- Let dry. Do not rinse off (unless it is an often-used surface or accessible to children or pets).
Detergent and Warm Water
- Mix warm water with detergent.
- Spray with sprayer
- Scrub surface clean. Let dry.
Removing mold in porous materials
- Mix 1 cup Borax to 1 gallon of water
- Apply with spray bottle or sponge
- Scrub clean.
- Wipe any excess moisture or mold particles.
- Allow drying.
- Spray white vinegar onto affected surfaces
- Allow sitting on surface for one hour
- Wipe clean and allow to dry.
Mold can make your safe home a place of concern and risk. After cleaning your mold, be sure to prevent future mold problems by following these 10 tips on having a mold-free home.
With any DIY project, always make sure to follow manufacturers instructions and when working with absorbent materials, do a spot check to make sure the surface will not be harmed by the treatment. If it all seems to work out and no damage is being caused to the surface, these mold removal tips may be the answer you’ve been searching for.