If you discover mold in your home, it's important to act quickly. There are some precautions when you clean up 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.
Concerning moldy bathrooms, you probably do not need to call in the 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.
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.
Suggested items to clean up mold yourself
- face mask to cover nose and mouth
- long gloves
- a cleaning solution
- goggles without ventilation holes
- garbage bags to remove all items used for clean-up
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, or wallpaper, the best bet is to throw it away.
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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