When a home has been “diagnosed” as having a black mold problem, the next step is to begin clean-up and removal. However, there is an important distinction to me made here. Cleaning up black mold is the process of scrubbing the mould infected areas with warm soapy water until it is no longer visible. Removal on the other hand is a much longer, complicated, and expensive method that typically requires a professional. We will take a closer look at each of these methods later in this article, but first, there are certain steps that need to be taken prior to employing either of these methods.
Determine The Mold Problems
There are three very important steps that need to be performed prior to engaging in any type of mold removal.
Step 1. Determine if you have a mildew problem by hiring a professional mold inspector to determine the type and quantity of mold growing in the home. By doing this, you will not only learn if the mold is dangerous but you can get an estimate on how much the cleaning and removal will cost.
Step 2. Determine the cause of the mold. Pinpointing the exact cause and fixing it is the only way to ensure that mold will not reoccur in the future. For example, if the mold is a result of a leaking pipe, then that pipe needs to be fixed as soon as it is discovered. If the mold is the result of a natural disaster, such as a flood, then the standing water needs to be pumped out of the room as quickly as possible. Once the water is gone, allow the room to dry completely. Then the process of mold removal can begin.
Step 3. Determine the humidity in the room or rooms that have mold growth. If the humidity level is above 55%, then it is time to invest in a dehumidifier because mold will thrive in this type of environment. Only once the humidity level has been lowered and is at a steady, healthy level should you begin mold removal.
After all three of these steps have been completed, it is then time to begin either cleaning or removing the fungus.
Black Mold Removal and Clean-Up Precautions
Regardless of whatever method is chosen, clean-up or removal, there are three precautionary things that must be done.
First, turn off the HVAC system before starting any mold removal efforts. Secondly, each room that needs to be cleaned should be cleaned separately, therefore the room or rooms that need to be cleaned must be completely sealed off from all the other rooms. The reason this is so important is because once clean-up begins, mold spores will become airborne. If the spores travel into rooms that are otherwise mould free, they can begin to grow. The best way to seal off a room is to cover all doorways and vents with plastic held in place by duct tape. Another good idea is to prop an exhaust fan in an open window to direct the air outside. Finally, try to eliminate as much dust as possible because this is the primary transportation method for mildew spores. The simplest way to do this is to put an air purifier in the room that is being cleaned. After all the precautionary measures have been taken and the rooms are prepared, it is time to begin clean-up and removal.
Black Mold Clean-Up
This method is typically reserved for homes and rooms that have small amounts of mold and fortunately, it is rather simple. Begin by lightly misting the area to be cleaned with water. Next, scrub the moldy area with warm water and soap. Finally, spray the area with a disinfectant to kill any remaining mold spores that may not be visible. Some of the best disinfectants to use are ones that contain the following:
- Quarternary Ammonium Compounds
- Hypochlorites such as Clorox Bleach
- Hydrogen Peroxide
Black Mold Removal
Often this method is done by a professional mold removal company and can be very expensive and time consuming. However, if mold is a major problem in your home, then the cost is well worth the benefit that you will receive. This process involves removing and/or tearing down anything that has or was exposed to mold. This can be anything from furniture to wall paper to actual walls. That’s right–If the mould growth is that severe, it can result in entire walls being torn down and removed. Once a mold infested object has been removed, it should be tightly sealed in plastic trash bags. These bags can then be discarded at any landfill; however it is imperative that they are not carried throughout the house because it is possible for mold spores to escape the bag. Therefore, try to pass them out of an open window that is in the room you are cleaning.
Black Mold Removal Protective Gear
Another important aspect of black mold removal that is often overlooked is the protective gear that should be worn and the techniques to ensure your safety. Black mold is after all, extremely hazardous to your health. The following is a checklist to ensure the safety of all those who are involved in the clean-up and removal efforts.
- Wear a respirator. The single most deadly way to come into contact with black mold is through inhalation. Therefore, purchase and wear a respirator that is specifically designed for particle removal.
- Wear goggles. Mould spores are very small and easily distributed through the air. Wearing goggles can prevent these spores from getting into and infecting the delicate structure of the eye.
- Wear rubber gloves. Both cleaning and removal involves direct contact with the fungus. Disposable rubber gloves will prevent skin exposure.
- Wear protective clothing. Be sure to wear clothing that covers your entire body that can be easily removed and cleaned after removal is finished.
- Evacuate all persons not involved in the clean-up process so that they do not become exposed or ill as a result of the removal process.
- Work in short intervals and take periodic breaks in a separate room that provides fresh air–preferably outside.
Remember to remove all protective gear and clothing before taking a break to prevent contamination of other rooms.
Evaluate The Black Mold Removal and Clean-Up
After the clean-up and removal has been completed it is then time to begin the process of verifying that the mold is truly gone. Unfortunately, this can take weeks or months. Usually the first way to verify that the clean-up and removal was successful is to see if there is any more mold growth. If you don’t see any visible mould, then the removal process was a success. Another way to verify that the fungus is truly gone is to watch the physical symptoms of the people living in the home. If no one is exhibiting signs of black mold health effects or if symptoms are improving, then your mould problem is probably gone.