One of the most disheartening discoveries you can make is finding mold in your home, but you can eliminate it for good by following these steps.
Removing mold in your home can be difficult because it’s a living thing. That means it will continue to grow as long as conditions are right. The most important thing you need to do is eliminate the moisture in the area as much as possible. Then you need to disinfect the surfaces where the mold is growing and where it may have spread.
No one wants to deal with mold in their homes. It smells and looks dirty, and it can have health consequences for people with allergies and irritate most of us. Let’s look a little deeper into how to deal with mold in your home so you can minimize the problems it causes and avoid them in the future.
How to Get Rid of Mold in Your Home
Getting rid of mold isn’t easy once it gets a foothold, especially on a porous surface like carpet, paint, or drywall. But you can do it with a thorough cleaning.
Step One: Find the Mold
Sometimes, the hardest part is locating the mold in your home. You will recognize its strong, musty odor, but you may not be able to see it right away if it’s hidden on the carpet or behind the wallpaper. It will be in a damp place, so feel for wet surfaces, look for water damage in ceilings and walls, and search around pipes.
When you see mold, you’ll recognize it. It can come in various colors, including green, yellow, blue, brown, gray, black, and white. It may have a slimy or fuzzy texture.
Closely related to mold is mildew. It’s usually gray, white, or yellow but can become brown or black. Its texture is typically powdery or fluffy.
Step Two: Dry the Area
Mold can’t survive without moisture, so the first step should be to cut off the source of humidity if possible. It may be a one-time thing like a flood or snow being tracked over carpet, or it might be a slow leak from a pipe or a compromised roof or cracked foundation. The sooner you can identify the source of the water, the sooner you can stop it.
Once you’ve stopped the water source (or at least blocked it temporarily), you’ll need to remove the water already there. If the area is soaked, you may need a wet vacuum or a carpet shampooer. Sometimes a towel will do. A blow dryer can also be helpful. You will also likely need to dry the surrounding air by opening windows and running dehumidifiers.
Hold off using fans to circulate the air if you already have mold. You may inadvertently spread the spores throughout your home.
Step Three: Contain the Mold
Because mold reproduces with airborne spores to reproduce, it can spread far from its original spot pretty quickly. So it’s a good idea to cover surfaces where you’ve found the mold. For this, plastic drop cloths or tarps work well. Using an air purifier can remove spores directly from the air.
Step Four: Some Things Will Have to Be Replaced
Sometimes mold can inundate things to the point that they cannot be cleaned sufficiently and may not be salvageable. This is often the case with porous surfaces like drywall and carpet. If the mold outbreak is extensive, it may be best to get rid of the components, wrap them securely in plastic and dispose of them.
Step Five: Remove the Visible Mold
Now it’s time to start removing the mold in your home from surfaces that you can clean. For this, you may need a scraper, a stiff brush, and a bucket of soapy water. You’ll also want protective equipment, including rubber gloves, eye protection, and a good-quality respiratory mask. It may take a few passes to remove all of the visible molds.
When cleaning a carpet, you may need to go over it several times with a shampooer. If you can lift the affected area, do so to help it dry faster. Then apply baking soda and leave it overnight to absorb any remaining moisture.
Step Six: Disinfect
If the surface you’re cleaning is remotely porous, such as concrete, unfinished wood, unglazed tile, drywall, carpet, and acrylic paint, it’s likely that the surface cleaning didn’t get to all the mold. Mold can quickly come back if you don’t kill it beneath the surface.
While bleach is excellent for surface disinfecting, it’s not as effective under the surface. You can kill mold below the surface using hydrogen peroxide or vinegar at full strength or borax or baking soda dissolved in water. Generally, you want to spray the surface liberally and leave it for an hour or so to allow it to reach the deep mold. Then wipe the surface dry.
How to Keep Mold from Returning
The primary key to avoiding mold in your home (assuming you killed it deep under your surfaces) is to keep your home dry. This may be problematic if your water source is a leaky roof or a cracked foundation. That may be an expensive fix you can’t avoid, but the sooner you get it done, the better.
Often you can reduce the moisture in your home in the following ways:
- Use a dehumidifier.
- Ensure your house plants have a saucer under them when watering them.
- Open windows to circulate air when it’s dry outside.
- Use moisture absorbers.
- Ensure weather stripping and caulking around doors and windows are intact.
In areas frequently moist, such as window panes and the shower, or if you need to maintain a specific humidity level, you can prevent mold by cleaning regularly. Use a disinfectant to wipe down moist areas daily. Apply baking soda to the carpet often, giving it enough time to absorb moisture before vacuuming.
Because mold reproduces with airborne spores, it can spread far from its original spot. This means eradicating it may require a deep clean of the surrounding area.
Utah Disaster Clean Up & Restoration Can Get Your Home Mold-Free
If you’ve found mold in your home, know that it happens to everyone. But if dealing with invisible mold is something that doesn’t sound fun to you, or if you are allergic to mold or mildew, you don’t need to face it yourself.
We have enough experience with mold removal and remediation to make your home mold-free. As soon as you see or smell mold, or if part of your home has flooded, contact us right away so we can deal with the drying, containment, and mold removal before it spreads any farther.