When we think about mold removal, we get the willies. When we see mold in our homes, we get scared and start asking questions about how to get rid of it. Hire someone to get rid of mold? Clean it up for me.
If you find mold in your home, stay calm but act quickly. DIY cleaning may get rid of the mold and mildew smell, and things will be fine. Finally, you have to deal with moisture control. If you don’t deal with water or dampness, you won’t be able to get rid of the mold. As soon as possible after putting something in the water or after cleaning, you should dry all wet furniture, building materials, and areas. This will help stop mold from growing. If you don’t include this in your plan, the problem will just come back.
Dress for the Job
If the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says it’s OK for you to remove mold on your own, you’ll need to wear protective clothing and safety gear.
To keep mold and mold spores from getting into your air, wear a well-fitting respirator, whether it’s one with removable cartridges that block spores from getting in or an NIOSH-certified N95 filtering-facepiece respirator that comes with a nozzle. Keep mold spores from getting in your eyes by wearing non-ventilated safety goggles and wearing rubber gloves that reach your forearms unless you’re using extra-strength cleaning solutions or bleach. A glove made of natural rubber, PVC, nylon, or natural rubber and nitrile is the best for this job. In the event of a flood, wear waterproof boots. Finally, to avoid bleach splatters, find your nastiest old clothes and get rid of some of them.
Gather Your Supplies
A simple cleaning kit should be enough to get rid of mold if you don’t have flood damage but only have mold in a small area of your home. You’ll need these:
- Stiff-bristle brush
- Paper towels
- Household bleach, distilled white vinegar, 3-percent hydrogen peroxide or borax
- Nonphosphate dish detergent
- Old cloths
The following items are needed to clean up mold after a flood or other major damage:
- Wet/dry vacuum
- Large plastic resealable bags
- Large plastic trash bags
- Old towels
- Vacuum cleaner with a filter
Know Your Cleaning Products
We think of bleach when we think of mold removal, but the EPA usually doesn’t recommend bleach. Instead, they usually suggest wiping mold with water and a mild detergent, not bleach. A lot of other natural and less harsh products are also good at killing mold, so it’s a good idea to learn about them first.
You should think about these things if you use household bleach to get rid of mold on your home.
- To use household bleach, you should mix 1 cup with 1 gallon of water, then spray it or sponge it on.
- A lot of mold can be killed by bleach. Because it makes the surface more resistant to mold growth, only wash it after you use it if it’s a surface where food is made or something that kids might touch.
- Keep in mind that bleach should never be mixed with other household cleaners, such as ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, or acids, such as vinegar, because this can make the bleach more acidic and make it more dangerous.
I don’t want to use bleach. Strong cleaning products can still get rid of mold from any surface, but there are a lot more of them out there.
- If you don’t want to dilute hydrogen peroxide, you can spray it on, let it sit for a while, and then wipe it off. Keep in mind that peroxide can change the color of fabrics and other materials, so you should first try it out on a small area of your clothes or other things.
- It can be mixed with 1 cup of water for every gallon of water. If there is any loose mold, use a vacuum cleaner with a filter to clean it up before you use the vacuum cleaner. Clean the mold with a brush and don’t rinse. To keep it from spreading as it dries, wipe it up.
- Undiluted white distilled vinegar should be sprayed on the moldy surface and left there for an hour before it can be cleaned up. Take a damp cloth and wipe it down. Let it dry.
- To get rid of mold, you can mix nonphosphate dish detergent with water to make a nontoxic, soapy solution. Bleach is harsher than this, but this isn’t as bad for your health.
How to Remove Mold From Household Surfaces
Homeowners should only handle mold removal when there is clean water damage and less than 10 square feet of actual mold in the home. Finally, it’s up to you.
Step 1: Remove the Mold-Infested Debris
If you don’t want to deal with a lot of flood damage on your own, you’ll start by taking out water-damaged, mold-infested items in sealed plastic bags that will keep mold spores from spreading. Wrap any items that are too big for resealable bags in polyethylene sheeting and tape them shut before you take them out of the house.
Step 2: Discard Mold-Infested Porous Materials
Next, find and get rid of any mold-infested porous materials in the affected area. Carpets, rugs, wallpaper, drywall, and acoustical ceiling tiles are some of them. Mold grows on and fills crevices and empty spaces in these things. Make sure you don’t have these things in the way. You can’t clean the mold from them.
Step 3: Scrub All Surfaces
Now, the elbow grease part of your cleaning has begun. Water and dish detergent should be used to clean all the hard surfaces in your home, such as the floor, tile, stone, countertops, sinks, molding, and furniture (wood and metal). A stiff-bristle brush and bleach solution can help you get rid of more stubborn mold stains in your home.
Step 4: Dry Thoroughly
After you clean, start drying the surfaces right away. Use fans, dehumidifiers, and air conditioners if you can. The goal is to get the house completely dry in 48 hours so that mold doesn’t grow again. A fan and a dehumidifier can be used to dry wood, but it’s better to use space heaters if you don’t dry it quickly enough to avoid mold. Place these on a low setting.
Cleaning Mold From Different Items and Surfaces
When you clean mold off of your home’s surfaces, the basic steps are the same, but different materials may need extra attention so that you don’t damage them.
Hard-Surface Floors (Wood, Laminate, Linoleum, Tile, Vinyl)
Spray water and mild dish detergent on the surface of the mold, then use a vacuum or mop to clean it up (bleach does not penetrate wood to kill mold). First, figure out what kind of finish you have on your floor and whether it’s safe to try to remove it. When it’s dry, it’s done.
Rugs, Carpeting and Padding
A lot of mold can grow on wet carpets and pads if they aren’t taken up and dried thoroughly in the first 48 hours after they get wet. Otherwise, throw them away. Use a water extraction vacuum, then fans, dehumidifiers, air conditioners, or heaters to get rid of the water. Clean moldy areas with a sponge and a carpet cleaner, or have it cleaned by a professional. Hydrogen peroxide can be used to remove stubborn mold stains after testing them for colorfastness. If that doesn’t work, toss the carpet.
Normally, you’ll throw them away. If there isn’t a lot of mold growth, you can clean with a damp cloth and a solution of water and mild nonphosphate detergent. They should be dried quickly.
Drywall and Wallboards
If there isn’t any swelling and the seams aren’t broken, these can be dried in place. Within 48 hours, thoroughly dry and get rid of any wet insulation. They should be cleaned with nonphosphate cleaner and a vacuum cleaner. Do something to make sure the air in the wall cavity isn’t blocked when drywall and wallboard are left in place while they dry. Mold on hard-surface furniture can be cleaned with a damp rag and a solution of water and nonphosphate cleaner. If there was sewage water, use bleach and water to clean it up. Items should be dried thoroughly, but not in direct sunlight, to avoid warping.
Reupholstering only if it has sentimental value or if it came into contact with clean water for only a short time is a good way to try to save it. Items that have even a small amount of mold damage can’t be cleaned.
A clean cloth can be used to get rid of mold spores. Then, use a solution of water and nonphosphate detergent to clean. To remove any soapy residue, wipe it off with a paper towel, dry completely, and then apply a leather conditioner. A 50/50 mix of water and isopropyl alcohol can also be used to wipe down leather items before they are dried and put on conditioner.
Curtains and Draperies
If mold stains can be cleaned, use a detergent that doesn’t have ammonia to clean them first. Wash in the hottest water that the fabric label says is safe. Oxygen-based bleach should be used for colors and delicates, and chlorine bleach should be used for color- and bleach-safe items.
Use a vacuum cleaner or, if there is water, a wet/dry vacuum to clean up the mess. Then, use the wet/dry vacuum to clean the area with bleach or vinegar. After you clean the nozzle, use it again to get rid of the water that came from the scrub. The best way to dry things is to use fans and dehumidifiers.