Now that you’re transitioning into living alone, you’ll find there are several new responsibilities that you’ll need to look out for. Having mold in the house, for example, or any indoor space is a serious problem that needs your attention. Even if you have just a few spots of black in the basement or shower, it’s worth taking care of before it spreads. Mold is a kind of fungus that grows on any damp surface and causes major health risks. While black mold is the most common, mold can be white, green, purple, or orange. Mold infestation can cause respiratory problems, asthma attacks, eye and skin irritation as well as allergic reactions when left unattended. That’s why it’s important to educate yourself on the matter and know how to tackle mold as soon as you spot it.
Before we dive into mold removal, there are some safety precautions to take into consideration. First, you should wear clothes that you are willing to throw away after you are done with the mold removal. Second, you’ll need to wear gloves, goggles, and N-95 or P-100 respirators. Have a fan set up nearby for ventilation but be prepared to throw it afterward since the spores trapped inside will be impossible to clean. Make sure you turn off your air conditioner and furnace and seal all ducts and doors to keep spores contained.
Where to Begin with Mold Removal?
The first step of mold removal is to identify and document the mold. You can find out where the moldy areas are by putting drops of bleach on damp areas and if they disappear easily. they are mildew. There are two types of molds, mildew-mold and dirt mold. The first one goes away simply with bleach while dirt mold does not. Once you identify the type of mold you’re dealing with, it’ll be easier to know how to remove it. Next, you need to document the mold situation with pictures, writing, or video. This will help you remember the areas that need to be cleaned and put a schedule for work. It will also be useful for developing a remediation plan.
Another important aspect of mold removal is getting the right cleaning products and tools. You’ll need bleach, garbage bags, plastic sheets, hydrogen peroxide, painter’s tape, oil-based primer, baking soda, vinegar, Tea tree oil, and detergent. Finally, the most important step before starting the clean-up process is to dry the infected surfaces since moisture is the number one reason behind mold infestation.
Steps to Remove Mold Safely
1. Remove Moldy Carpets
Use a utility knife to cut the infected carpet into sections then use a pump sprayer to wet the surface with water and control the spread of spores. Roll up the sections and double wrap them in plastic, taping them with tape before disposing of them.
2. Open Moldy Walls
With a pry bar and piece of wood, pry off baseboards and trim the contaminated areas. Using a screwdriver, probe stained or moist walls to open up any mold-affected area in the wall framing or insulation.
3. Moisten and Bag Moldy Materials
Once the wall is open, you’ll have easy access to the mold inside, just make sure to remove all the drywall to find all hidden mold. Remember to first locate electric wires by poking a hole in the damaged area to avoid ruining them. Use the pump again to mist the drywall and the insulation to make sure mold spores will not spread. Bag the moldy material in the plastic bags and tie them tightly.
You might encounter rot in this process if moisture damage was left for too long. You can treat the affected areas with wood preservatives after cleaning them and letting them dry and if possible, replace the spongy studs and wall sheathing.
4. Clean & Repair
For the final step, use a vacuum to get rid of moldy debris. It’s safer to have an extra hose length to keep the vacuum outside, preventing more spores spread. After vacuuming, dispose of the filter and wash the tank thoroughly as well as the hose and attachments using a mixture of bleach and water.
Use a solution of one-quarter water and half a cup of bleach mold cleaner to scrub surface mold stains from the walls and wood trim. It’s important that you do not rinse afterward but allow sunlight to dry them. As for concrete, use TSP or automatic dishwasher detergent to scrub it. You can use dehumidifiers and new fans for the clean areas for around three days. Proceed to then seal the wood areas using pigmented shellac before applying a regular latex paint but make sure that it contains a mildewcide to prevent future mold growth. All that would be left is to install new drywall and insulation.