Mold is a common problem affecting many households in the U.S. Mold issues are even more common in hot climates where recurrent flooding creates damp and humid environments.
Having mold in your home can be problematic due to several reasons. Its colonies appear as dark-colored spots, which are unsightly and can spread spores that lead to health problems, especially for those with allergies or weakened immune systems.
Leaving mold unaddressed can cause it to spread further, worsening the problem. To help you avoid more complicated issues, this blog shares practical tips on home remediation to keep your home mold-free.
Keep Yourself Protected
Protection is always crucial when it comes to home remediation. From performing a comprehensive mold inspection to removing toxic mold, you must protect yourself when dealing with mold as a barrier against its potentially harmful effects. This includes wearing protective clothing, masks, and goggles to avoid inhaling spores and directly touching mold.
If you’re specifically dealing with water damage and mold at the same time or moldy water after a disaster, wear long pants and waterproof boots. These are especially important to avoid coming into contact with contaminated water during cleanup.
Most property owners who discover mold will often take it upon themselves to clean up their homes. Unfortunately, in doing so, they often need to include a crucial aspect of home remediation: proper airflow management. Adequate ventilation is vital to improving indoor air quality and preventing the cross-contamination of areas otherwise unaffected by mold.
There are three ways to manage airflow effectively:
- Negative Air Pressure: established when air is removed from a space, eliminating mold spores inside the area while preventing migrating mold spores from entering your location.
- Positive Air Pressure: when negative air pressure is challenging to achieve, you can direct air into the affected space to introduce movement.
- Neutral Air Pressure: airflow is restricted inward or outward to contain the space being remediated and inhibit the movement of mold spores. This can be done by setting up barriers. High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters are placed inside to facilitate air cleanup.
Scrub Surfaces With Detergent and Bleach
If you spot a surface contaminated with mold, begin cleanup by scrubbing it down to remove the toxic mold colonies. Depending on the degree of contamination, it may be difficult, but with the proper cleaning solution, the task becomes much more straightforward.
One effective way to eliminate toxic mold is to use bleach solution. At least five minutes of direct exposure to bleach is more than effective in eliminating more than 99.9% of mold. All you need to do is dilute 1 cup of bleach (8 oz) in 1 gallon of water to take advantage of its potent antifungal properties.
You may be wondering why it’s necessary to dilute bleach. Experts do not recommend undiluted bleach as it releases strong fumes that irritate the eyes, skin, and lungs. It’s also a strong alkali, which can damage any surface it comes in contact with. Finally, it’s strong enough to eliminate mold and effectively disinfect any surface in diluted form. A study at the University of Arizona found that even a 2.4% bleach solution can effectively kill 99.9% of mold.
After disinfecting the mold-contaminated surface with the bleach solution, follow it up with detergent to clean the surface and eliminate mold completely. The inactive mold may still cause allergic reactions in some people, so it’s not enough to kill it — it must also be removed.
Don’t Mix Cleaning Products
When disinfecting mold-contaminated surfaces, it is important to avoid mixing cleaning products, especially bleach and ammonia-containing cleaners. The chlorine in the bleach and ammonia from these cleaners can develop toxic fumes, such as chlorine gas, which is highly irritating to the eyes, skin, and respiratory system and can be quite deadly.
Additionally, some cleaning products are not designed to work together and may cancel each other out, making them less effective in removing mold. To avoid potential issues when cleaning mold, it’s best to follow the manufacturer’s recommended usage recommendations and use one cleaner at a time.
Discard Anything That Can’t Be Cleaned Thoroughly
As a general rule, contaminated items that are porous should be thrown away immediately. These include materials such as wood, paper, cardboard, drywall, ceiling tiles, and insulation, among many others. While the surfaces of some of these materials can be cleaned, mold can penetrate deeply into the material and can be quite difficult to clean thoroughly.
Complete disinfection is critical to ensure your home stays mold-free. Any surviving microbes may still be active enough to reinfect the contaminated surface and give off spores that infect other surfaces. If you suspect that a mold-contaminated item hasn’t been thoroughly cleaned, it’s best to dispose of them properly.
Remove It, Don’t Cover It
In addition to the previous tip, if a surface can’t be thoroughly cleaned, just throw them away. Do not attempt to cover up the surface with paint, caulk, or any other substance you feel can help salvage the item. Any of these substances won’t be able to hinder mold from growing and will instead only mask the problem while it wreaks havoc on your property.
If the mold problem is caused by a leak or any other water damage, then the issue should be fixed first and the contaminated items removed before any attempts to apply paint or caulk over the surface.
Make Sure Surfaces Have Dried Adequately
After any disastrous event that causes considerable water damage, mold grows soon after under the right conditions. In as little as 72 hours, a single spore can develop into an entire colony, deal considerable damage to your property, and pose a significant threat to your and your family’s health.
To keep this from happening, the best course of action is to make sure all surfaces are sufficiently dry. Remove all standing water immediately and fix any other sources of water that may contribute to your water damage problem. Open all doors and windows to improve indoor ventilation. Place all salvageable items outside to allow them to dry quickly.
Remember: mold thrives in warm, damp environments. Ensuring all your surfaces are clean and dry can eliminate the conditions that facilitate microbial growth, creating a mold-free home.
Keep Your Home Mold-Free With Restoration 1 of Chicago North Shore
Home remediation solutions are best applied when dealing with minor cases of mold. When dealing with large-scale contamination, it’s best to call the experts at Restoration 1 to avoid exposing yourself to the mold spores’ harmful effects and spreading the spores to other unaffected areas.
Our mold experts handle your mold woes the right way. We set up barriers to isolate the contaminated space, locate the source of the issue, and ensure the complete removal of all mold colonies to keep your home mold-free. Contact Restoration 1 of Chicago North Shore today!