Don’t let a major mold infestation can ruin your health — or your home! The first step in eliminating a mold infestation is learning how to safely remove black mold.
How to Identify Mold
Almost every home gets mold infestations, even in hot, dry climates like las Vegas. Mold is everywhere. It’s a fungus that grows from tiny spores that float in the air. It can grow almost anywhere that spores land and find moisture and a comfortable temperature, between 40 and 100 degrees F. That includes almost every damp place in your home.
Mildew is a common type of mold which begins as tiny, usually black spots but often grows into larger patches. It’s the black stuff you see in the grout lines in your shower, on damp walls, and outdoors on the surfaces of deck boards and painted siding, especially in damp and shady areas. It is often hard to distinguish a mildewed surface from a dirty one. An easy way to test for mildew is to simply dab a few drops of household bleach on the blackened area. If it lightens after one to two minutes, you have mildew. If the area remains dark, you probably have dirt.
If you have a high concentration of mold, you may smell it. If you detect the typical musty odor, check for mold on damp carpets, damp walls, damp crawl spaces and wet wood under your floors, wet roof sheathing and other damp areas. Clean up these infestations right away before they get worse.
Removing Large Mold Infestations Requieres Precautions
A few types of mold are highly toxic. If you have an allergic reaction to mold or a heavy infestation inside your home, call in a pro to analyze the types. Or call your local public health department and ask for mold-testing advice.
You can commonly find surface mold in bathrooms, decks and siding.This can be scrubbed off in a matter of minutes with a cleaning solution made up of a half-cup of bleach for each quart of water. But often mold grows and spreads in places you don’t notice until you spot surface staining, feel mushy drywall or detect that musty smell.
If you have to remove big mold concentrations or perform any black mold removal of more than a few square feet, or where you have extensive water damage, or where the musty odor is strong, the following special precautions are recommended to avoid contaminating the rest of the house and protecting yourself from breathing high concentrations of spores and chemicals.
Wear old clothes and shoes that you can launder or throw away after the cleanup work.
Wear special N-95 or P-100 respirators, in addition to goggles and gloves.
Set an old box fan or a cheap new one in a window to ventilate the room while working. Throw it out when you’re done cleaning, because the spores are almost impossible to clean off of it.
Tape plywood or cardboard around the window openings so the spores can’t blow back in.
Wrap and tape moldy carpeting in 6-mil plastic, and double-bag mold-infested debris in garbage bags for disposal.
To control airborne spores, moisten moldy areas with a garden sprayer while you work.
Turn off your furnace and air conditioner and cover ducts and doors to contain spores.
Keep your wet/dry vacuum outside when you vacuum.
Use Common Sense When Removing Mold
If you are going to do your own mold removal project, here are a few tips to help you succeed.
Make sure your fan is blowing air out of the window so you don’t spread more mold through your house.
Seal the room from the rest of the house. Cover the doorway with a barrier made of overlapping plastic sheeting and tape it to the wall and floor. Cover all air ducts in the room with plastic and tape.
If you have to take up moldy, musty carpet, cut it into pieces approximqtely 6 feet by 8 feet sections with a utility knife. These are easier to handle and bag. Use a pump sprayer to mist the top and bottom surfaces with water to control the spread of spores while rolling up the sections. Double-wrap them in 6-mil plastic and tape them with duct tape for disposal.
Pry off baseboards and trim from contaminated areas with a pry bar and block of wood. Probe heavily stained or moisture-swollen walls using a screwdriver to discover and open up moisture damage and hidden mold in the insulation and wall framing.
You have to open up the wall to get at the mold growing inside. To avoid cutting electrical wires, poke a hole through the damaged section and locate the wires first. Turn off the power to the outlets before you cut. Since you have to repair the wall anyway, don’t hesitate to cut the drywall back beyond the obvious damage to find all the mold and let the wall dry out. Mist the moldy drywall and insulation with the pump sprayer to avoid spreading mold spores. Double-bag moldy material in heavy-duty plastic bags and tie them shut.
If the moisture damage has been neglected or gone unnoticed for long, you’re likely to find rot. Where possible, remove and replace soft, spongy studs and wall sheathing. Where removal is difficult, treat the affected areas with a wood preservative (available at home centers), after cleaning the wood and allowing it to dry. Then double up rotted members with pressure-treated wood.
Mold Remediation Cleanup and Repair
Complete the initial cleanup by vacuuming up the debris. Vacuum up moldy debris with a standard wet/dry vacuum. Buy an extra length of hose and run it out the window so you can keep the vacuum outside to avoid further spore spread. Thoroughly clean the wet/dry vac afterward by disposing of the filter and washing out the tank, hose and attachments with the bleach-and-water solution.
Scrub the surface mold stains from walls and wood trim with a mixture of 1 qt. water and 1/2 cup bleach mold cleaner to kill the mold. Use a soft brush and work until signs of the mold disappear. After scrubbing the surfaces, simply allow the bleach solution to continue to penetrate the surfaces and dry. Wipe off, but DO NOT RINSE these surfaces. Set trim in direct sunlight to dry. Scrub concrete with TSP or automatic dishwasher detergent.
Set out dehumidifiers and new fans to dry the now-cleaned areas for at least three days, then check them (by sight and smell) for mold. If you discover more mold, clean again with bleach for mold remediation. When you’re sure the mold has been eliminated, seal the wood surfaces with pigmented shellac like BIN or an oil-based primer like KILZ. Repaint cleaned wall surfaces with a regular latex paint that contains a mildewcide to help stop future mold growth. Then install new insulation and drywall and nail the trim back on. And keep in mind that if the moisture returns, mold will return.
It's Your Choice
Now you know the hard way to do a mold removal and remediation project and an easy way.
I’d choose the easy way if I were you. Call the flood restoration specialists at 702-736-1000. We are here for you.
Almost every home gets mold. In this article, you will learn how to identify mold and how to remove mold — with a focus on black mold removal that gets out of hand so easily.