Quick Tip: DIY Mold Removal

Safely remove mold yourself with a cautious approach.

Cleaning Mold

Blue Mold. Photo: moldfighter.com

Can You Tackle Mold Removal on Your Own?
Mold problems are present in about 4 out of 10 American homes. With the often prohibitive costs and dubious results of professional mold remediation, more and more homeowners are looking for ways to take care of mold problems themselves. If mold is affecting an area less than 10 square feet and your household doesn’t include anyone who is very young, very old or immune-compromised, you can tackle the problem yourself if you’re careful.

Do Your Homework
First, consult the EPA’s Web site and read about the different levels of mold infestation and the levels of protection they require, both for you and for the rest of your house. Mold spreads by sending out millions of airborne spores. Disturbing a mold infestation can send the spores flying and make your problem worse and more widespread unless you seal off the area and protect yourself.

Take Precautions
Seal off any heat or air vents to the affected area, and install a window fan to pull air to the outside. Seal off the area with plastic sheeting taped over the doorway. Never touch mold with your bare hands, get it in your eyes, or breathe it. Wear a disposable work suit or clothing you can throw away after the job is done. Wear a respirator, gloves and goggles, and shower well after you’ve finished.

Follow the Right Approach
Contrary to popular belief, you cannot kill mold with bleach. It might remove the appearance, but it won’t get the roots, which will re-bloom in a matter of days, sometimes hours, if the area remains wet. In general, the best way to get rid of mold is to remove the affected materials altogether and rebuild. Removal is your only option if the moisture came from grey water or sewage. If the moisture source was clean, use a wet vac or steamer to remove wet or loose debris first and double-bag it in heavy trash bags. Then damp-wipe or scrub with detergent and water, but don’t soak the surface. When it’s thoroughly dry, vacuum again with a HEPA vacuum.

Dispose of Materials Carefully
Double-bag the vacuum contents and thoroughly clean or replace the vacuum’s filter. You can dispose of the bags of debris with the rest of your trash. If the moisture problem that invited the mold in the first place has been fixed and the area remains completely dry, the mold may not re-grow.