Getting rid of Mold
Keeping in mind that:
• If mold growth areas are touched, scrubbed, dried out or otherwise disturbed, mold spores may become airborne and became part of the breathable air. This may cause ingestion or inhalation of potentially toxic mold spores which could lead to a variety of serious health effects.
First, Assess the Size of Mold Contamination
•That both viable and non-viable (alive or dead) mold can be dangerous to your health.
• It is impossible to get rid of all mold spores indoors, some mold spores will invariably be found floating through the air and in house dust.
• Mold spores will not grow if a moisture source is not present.
• Indoors, mold growth can and should be prevented or controlled by controlling moisture sources indoors.
• When there is mold growth found in your home, it must cleaned up and whatever is causing the moisture problem must be repaired.
• If, you only clean up the mold, and you don't fix the moisture problem, the mold problem will come back.
There is a significant difference in the approach to be used for a small mold problem with a total area affected is less than 10 ft2, or a large contamination problem more than 100 ft2.
In a small area case <10ft2, the clean up could be handled by the homeowner if desired, using personal protective equipment, and using EXTREME Caution.
However, in cases larger areas, it is highly advisable that an experienced, professional contractor be used.
For in-between sized cases, the type of containment and personal protection equipment to be used will become a matter of experience and good judgment.
Clean up should begin only after the moisture source is fixed and excess water has been removed. Wear gloves when handling moldy materials.
1. Identify and eliminate the source of moisture (this is Key).
2. Identify and assess the magnitude and area of mold contamination.
3. Clean and dry moldy areas, isolate the affected areas, (using all appropriate safety gear).
4. Carefully bag and dispose of all material that may have moldy residues, such as rags, paper and debris.
During the cleaning process, you may be exposed to mold, mold spores, strong disinfectants, and detergents. Spore counts may be 10 to 1000 times higher than background levels when mold-contaminated materials are disturbed.
Take steps to protect you and your family’s health during clean up. When handling or cleaning moldy materials, it is important to use a respirator to protect yourself from inhaling airborne spores. When attempting to clean less porous items (i.e., solid items such as floors, cabinets, solid furniture), the first step is to remove as much mold as possible. A cleaning detergent is effective for this purpose. Remember, disinfecting agents can be toxic for humans, not just molds. They should be used only when necessary and should be handled with caution and only after cleaning with detergents.
Wear gloves, mask and eye protection when doing this cleanup. Use non-ammonia soap or detergent, or a commercial cleaner, in hot water, and scrub the entire area that is affected by the mold. Use a stiff brush or cleaning pad on cement-block walls or other uneven surfaces. Rinse cleaned items with water and dry thoroughly. A wet/dry vacuum cleaner is helpful for removing water and cleaning items.
After thoroughly cleaning and rinsing contaminated materials, a solution of 10% household bleach (for example, 1½ cup household bleach per gallon of water) can be used as a disinfectant.
Keep the disinfectant on the treated material for the prescribed time before rinsing or drying; typically 10 minutes is recommended for a bleach solution.
*Using bleach straight from the bottle is actually LESS effective than diluted bleach.
*Bleach fumes can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat, and damage clothing and shoes. Make sure working areas are well ventilated.
*Never mix bleach with ammonia; toxic fumes may be produced.
You should discard moldy items that are porous and from which it will be difficult to remove mold completely: paper, rags, wallboard, rotten wood, carpet, drapes, and upholstered furniture. Contaminated carpet is often difficult to thoroughly clean, especially when the backing and/or padding can become moldy.
Bag and discard moldy items; if properly enclosed, items can be disposed with household trash.
Solid materials, glass, plastic, and metal can generally be kept after they are thoroughly cleaned.
Dry affected areas for 2 or 3 days.
Spores are more easily released when moldy materials dry out, hence it is advisable to remove moldy items as soon as possible.
If there was flooding, sheetrock should be removed to a level above the high-water mark. Visually inspect the wall interior and remove any mold-contaminated materials.
Can Ozone Air Cleaners remove indoor mold?
Can air ducts become contaminated?