Last Updated on August 10, 2021 by Rebecca Huff
If you discover mold in your home, it's important to act quickly. There are some precautions when you get rid of mold. First, consider the size of the moldy area, if it's less than 10 square feet, in some cases, you may be able to clean it up following specific guidelines.
If the mold covers more than a small space, you suspect mold in your HVAC, there is a lot of water damage, or contaminated water/sewage caused the mold, you will want to get in touch with a Mold Remediation professional. When in doubt, your safest option is to contact a certified remediation company.
Another important tip, if you are experiencing health concerns, get in touch with your health care professional before you clean up mold.
Mildew vs. Mold
Mildew refers to certain kinds of mold or fungus. The term mildew is often used generically to refer to mold growth, usually with a flat growth habit. Molds include all species of microscopic fungi that grow in the form of multicellular filaments, called hyphae.Environmental Protection AGency
Concerning mildew or moldy bathrooms, you probably do not need to call in professionals. If mold is in the shower or other areas of the bathroom, increase ventilation by opening a window or running a fan. It might also help to double up on your cleaning rotation; instead of once a week, maybe clean the bathrooms twice per week.
Keeping humidity down is key in mold prevention. In homes with dampness, consider a dehumidifier to prevent mold infestation.
Wear gloves and a mask to avoid breathing in mold spores. “Molds reproduce by means of tiny spores; the spores are invisible to the naked eye and float through outdoor and indoor air.” (1) Scrub mold off the hard surfaces with detergent and water and allow the surface to dry completely. If necessary, point a fan at the area.
Important note: it is NOT recommended to use chlorine bleach to clean up mold as doing so can release mold spores into the air which can then land on other surfaces or worse you may breathe them into your lungs. *see infographic below
Warning. The EPA does not recommend that immune-compromised individuals be present during mold clean up. Allergic reactions can still occur from the dead mold, so it's vital to kill and remove the mold.
If you have a mold problem and symptoms of mold toxicity, consider hiring a mold inspector or mold remediation company to investigate. Mold can grow in other places besides your bathroom, including ceiling tiles, crawlspace, and other areas of your home.
In crawl spaces, the inspector will check for moldy surfaces. In your home, they can do air quality tests that will determine which type of mold is present in your air. You'll want to prevent future mold growth.
Suggested items to clean up mold yourself
- face mask to cover nose and mouth
- long rubber gloves
- a cleaning solution
- goggles without ventilation holes
- garbage bags to remove all items used for clean-up
- stiff bristles brush to clean mildew build-up in grout
When mold is a problem in other areas of the home the first step is to find any possible leaks or damp areas that could be contributing to the issue. If you find mold on porous surfaces such as carpet, wood surfaces, or wallpaper, the best bet is to throw it away. If that is not possible, take all precautions when cleaning mold.
Caulking over mold is not a reliable remedy. It is not a good idea to paint over moldy walls as the paint will end up peeling off.
Control moisture to prevent mold
- Clean and repair roof gutters regularly
- Air conditioning drip pans and drain lines should be kept clean
- Indoor humidity maintained between 30-50 percent relative humidity is best, if necessary use humidifiers
- If you see condensation, clean it immediately
- Use an air purifier with HEPA filtration and ultraviolet germicidal radiation (UVC) to remove airborne particulates and allergens and inhibit the growth of captured microorganisms (such as bacteria, mold, and viruses)
- Run bathroom exhaust fans whenever possible
- If possible, open windows to ventilate kitchen if humidity from the dishwasher or stove is a problem
When it comes to mold, take extreme precautions before doing any clean up yourself. If you are in doubt, get an inspection done to prevent exposing yourself to toxic black mold which can cause serious health problems.
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Professional Mold Removal
Homeowners should do a yearly home inspection to check for leaks, flooding, drywall mold or other telltale signs of possible affected areas. Black mold removal can expose you to toxins. If you find mold stains or have a known water problem, consider hiring a professional to detect and kill mold in your home.
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