Situated firmly on the list of battles to fight inside the home is mold. While finding mold in the typical places is not uncommon, a small amount of visible mold is usually an indicator of a lot more hiding, unseen behind walls and underneath surfaces. Because of its potential harm to the home and human health, mold in the home should be dealt with swiftly. The size of the mold infestation will help you figure out whether you can treat it yourself or you need to call in a professional. Any growth the size of a small bedroom or less could be treated without the help of a professional. Any growth larger would be best treated by a professional who has equipment able to handle larger jobs.
If you do choose to go DIY, make sure you have proper equipment ahead of time such as goggles, an OSHA certified respirator, gloves, old clothes and shoes, plastic sheeting, duct tape, cleaning solution and equipment, a razor blade cutter, and fans. You’ll want to begin by clearing out all furniture in the room that is not affected by mold and bag up any moldy items. Seal off the room by covering all vents and openings with plastic sheeting sealed with duct tape. If you have not rented or own dehumidifying equipment, then you’ll want to place a fan surrounded by a seal (cardboard and duct tape) in a window to kick out airborne spores floating around. Wearing appropriate protective gear, throw out what you cannot salvage, and wash thoroughly what you can. After shutting off power to the room if needed, cut away affected pieces of drywall, insulation and other material including carpet, and double bag with sturdy trash bags. Next you’ll want to treat any remaining affected areas with a cleaning solution that will neutralize any remaining spores.
Several options for DIY cleaning solutions are most likely already at your disposal. Vinegar or baking soda solutions are the safest, but not the most effective. Baking soda is one of the only DIY solutions you can use on porous surfaces. Other more effective solutions such as bleach/water mix, ammonia/water mix, or borax/water mix are preferable, but care must be used since they can be toxic. One effective method to neutralize mold is to scrub the area with a solution of one cup dish detergent to one gallon water. After letting the area air dry, apply a one cup bleach to one gallon water solution. You may want to repeat this step a couple of times, letting the area dry completely in between applications.
Any mold infected area larger than about 100 square feet may best be treated by a professional mold mitigation crew. You can expect a professional to use air movers, dehumidifiers, and HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Arrestance) air scrubbers to remove mold and moisture from the air and affected surfaces. The rest of the process will be similar to a DIY removal, except that a professional may have different tools to handle larger areas of infestation. They will also apply a fungicide on any material left behind, especially porous materials that cannot be cleaned by other solutions.
Author’s short bio:
Wendy Michaelis founder of fixAIRx is an indoor air quality testing professional in Dallas, TX. With 5 years in business diagnosing and correcting Poor Air Quality conditions. We offer a wide range of customized environmental & mold testing services and at the same time we help find the best solution that fits your family’s unique needs and budget.