If you have spotted mold in your home, or if you have reason to believe that mold might exist, you need to clean it up as soon as possible.
It might seem like a challenge, but with the right steps, you can free your home of mold and keep it from coming back
Why is Cleaning Mold ImportantThe purpose of this article is to explain methods for cleaning mold, so we’re not going to spend too much time discussing why mold removal is important. However, it’s worth briefly noting some of the health risks associated with mold.
Many people often think of the term toxic mold, but while this term is common, it’s not exactly accurate according to the CDC.
Certain molds can produce toxins, but the molds themselves are nontoxic, and there is very little proof that molds found inside the home cause health conditions that are extreme and unique, such as memory loss or pulmonary hemorrhaging.
However, mold has been connected to coughing, throat irritation, sinus congestion, and more. There is also an increasing theory that mold may be connected to the development of asthma. In extreme cases, you can also find mold connected to fungal infections and mold hypersensitivity or allergies.
If you are looking for more information on the health effects of mold, we’d encourage you to read our article Common Types of Household Mold, which discusses the topic in greater detail.
Tips for Cleaning MoldSo, what happens when you discover mold in your home?
What can you do to remove the existing mold and keep it from returning?
Fortunately, there are many different steps you can take to clean the mold from your house.
Warning: With all methods, especially ones using harsh chemicals, be sure to use proper gloves and eye protection. Keep areas ventilated, and always consult a professional before taking steps to clean mold by yourself.
BleachInside your house, you may already have some of the chemicals and cleaners required to kill and mitigate mold. Bleach, for example, is one of the most common chemicals used to clean mold from a home.
Moldpedia, an online mold-information resource, recommends using diluted bleach to kill mold on non-porous surfaces, such as tiles, bathtubs, glass, and countertops. They recommend one cup of bleach for every gallon of water, and applying the solution with a spray bottle or bucket. Unless the area is used for food or may be touched by small children or pets, you don’t need to wipe away or rinse the mold and chemicals. However, bleach cannot penetrate porous surfaces and is therefore not effective for removal of mold on wood, drywall, and other porous surfaces.
BoraxAnother household cleaner for mold is borax. This chemical can be used in the same ratio as bleach. Use a scrub brush to work borax into the mold, and wipe away any moisture and leftover mold before you are done. Once again, you can leave the Borax solution in place unless children, pets, or food will be near the area.
VinegarStandard white vinegar can be very effective for killing mold. Without watering it down, pour some vinegar into a spray bottle. Spray the vinegar directly onto the mold and let it sit for roughly an hour. Wipe the area with a wet cloth and allow the surface to dry. You can repeat this process a few days in a row for maximum efficiency.
AmmoniaAmmonia is another effective chemical for removing mold. It will kill mold on non-porous surfaces but is also ineffective on wood and drywall. However, ammonia is a harsh chemical and should be used only with extreme caution. Moldpedia recommends using 50% ammonia and 50% water, then spraying the solution onto areas where mold is present.
There are many other household chemicals that can be used against mold, including:
- Baking soda
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Tee tree oil
Removing Mold in Porous SurfacesIn many cases, you’ll find mold has grown into porous surfaces, especially household wood and drywall. While this can create a tough challenge for cleaning, it can be removed. In fact, literal removal of the material is often required.
To remove mold from drywall, you’ll likely have to cut out sections that have been affected. Using a utility knife (and extreme care!) you can cut out areas and replace them with clean, dry wallboard. You’ll then be able to apply compound and re-paint the area. If you’re not comfortable with this step, it’s best to hire a professional that can do it quickly and leave the wall looking brand new. Mold on the surface of painted drywall can often be cleaned away, as the mold will not be able to penetrate the drywall through the paint.
If there is mold in the wood, complete removal of the material is usually required as well. However, you may be able to kill the mold by applying a mold-killing solution to the wood. If you apply the chemical on a regular basis, overtime the chemicals will seep into the wood and, with any luck, kill the mold. In many cases, however, you’ll need to remove and replace the wood that has been effected. This can be difficult, especially if the boards are load-bearing in any way.
Mold in Appliances and Household Items: Clean or Replace?It can be very tough to decide whether to replace items that have been infected by mold. Even if you clean them, there can still be mold present in the tiny cracks of dishwashers, refrigerators, and other appliances.
If the appliance has porous surfaces or was under water or significantly saturated, it’s probably best to simply replace the item. This includes mattresses, box springs, couches and cushioned chairs, and pillows. Paper products, such as books and magazines, will have to go too.
You may be able to keep items like the refrigerator, assuming they are properly cleaned. Many of the household cleaners can be used, but be sure to thoroughly rinse and wipe your fridge so absolutely no chemicals are left behind.
Mold in the Carpet: How to Clean Without Ruining the FloorsWith tiny fibers and endless nooks and crannies, carpet presents a perfect home for mold. Cleaning mold in carpet can be a problem as well, because you run the risk of ruining the fabric with bleach and other chemicals.
First, it should be stated that if the carpet was heavily saturated, from a flood or major leak, it’s wise to simply replace it. Drying it out and returning it to its original quality is nearly impossible, but there are a few measure you can use.
Spot Removal Guide, which provides information on home cleaning, recommends that you start by sweeping the areas affected by mold, which will loosen up mold particles and make them easier to remove. Next, vacuum thoroughly over the area and make sure to empty the vacuum immediately into the garbage. Next, they recommend creating a mixture of dishwashing liquid and water, then scrubbing the solution into the affected area. Finally, pat-dry the area with a towel and leave a fan blowing over the space to make sure it is thoroughly dried.
In some cases, you may want to consider hiring a professional or renting a carpet shampooing machine, which can thoroughly clean the carpet and maintain its quality appearance.
Extreme Mold Remediation: Ozone and other MeasuresWhen you research mold remediation, you’ll likely come across suggestions to use extreme measures such as ozone generators. While it’s true that ozone generators are effective for killing mold, we don’t recommend these products for regular household use, as ozone can be harmful to our health. If you feel the need to use ozone generators, it’s best to hire a professional team who is trained in the proper use of these appliances.
Tips for Preventing Future Mold GrowthNow that we’ve removed mold from the home, we need to take steps to ensure it never comes back. For the most part, this means removing things that cause mold, especially the moisture that mold needs to survive. It also includes removing or lowering their nutrient source and killing any mold spores that may be floating in the air.
Keeping a dry home is often the first and most critical step to mold prevention. Make sure there are no leaky pipes or seepage in the basement, which can lead to mold growth. Check under dark and damp areas to make sure mold is not present, and consider using a dehumidifier if the humidity or dampness in your home is high.
Ventilation also helps regulate moisture, so open windows when possible and keep a few fans running throughout the home. If your bathroom and kitchen have fans, keep them running on a regular basis. This helps circulate air and maintain a cleaner indoor environment. Keeping doors open also helps with air circulation throughout the home.
On a routine basis, have a heating and air conditioning expert check your HVAC system for mold. Regular cleaning of the system is recommended; this not only helps maintain the appliances, it can keep down dust, mold spores, and other air pollutants.
Mold-Fighting Air PurifiersMold reproduces from airborne spores. In high concentrations, these spores can create respiratory heath issues. However, the fact that mold reproduces through airborne particles means that air purifiers can be used to mitigate their growth.
HEPA air purifiers are highly effective for removing mold spores. These machines can not only trap spores, some, such as the Finn HEPA UV Air Purifier, use UV light to destroy the spore’s DNA structure, rendering them ineffective.
Find the Right Air Purifier for Your HomeNo matter what your specific needs, the team at Oransi can help you find the right purifier for your home or office.
With a full range of products and the knowledge to help you make the right decision, Oransi has the trusted source for world-class air purifiers or all sizes!