Can You Remove Mold Yourself?
When you spot mold in the home, it’s understandable that you want to eliminate it immediately. Early detection and intervention are the best way to stop an infestation from taking over the home.
But not all types of mold removal are safe or recommended for the average homeowner. A DIY removal is an option, but it depends upon the type of mildew.
At All Dry USA, we’re experts in mold remediation. We’ve seen our fair share of attempts at removal gone wrong. To help homeowners avoid unpleasant or even hazardous situations, we’ll share our tips for DIY mold remediation, the way the pros do it, and mistakes to avoid so that you can remove mold yourself the right way.
When Is It Safe to Remove Mold Yourself?
DIY removal is an option if it is a regular indoor mold, which you can detect using a simple bleach test.
Visible patches that remain even after the bleach test are a type called black mold.
Black mold is toxic, so it is usually safer to ask professionals to remove it, especially if people in the household have respiratory conditions like asthma or allergies.
Experts should tackle black mold infestation because of the risk to human health.
However, it’s crucial to note that the danger is not just about what you can see.
Some spores are invisible in the air and can cause serious health issues, including respiratory and allergic reactions. Incorrect cleaning will release more spores into the atmosphere in the home.
If you live in a household where there is someone with health problems or a reduced immune system, then it is better to leave testing and removal to the experts, or you risk compromising your loved one’s health.
DIY Mold Remediation Process
If you have mildew mold and want to remove it yourself, you’ll need to follow proper and safe protocols for its removal.
Step 1: Test It
The first step will be determining if you’re dealing with mildew or black mold. You can test for this using a bit of bleach.
If you see the spots that go away or lighten up when you pour bleach onto them, this is mildew. It is easy to remove.
The mold species could be any type, ranging from black spots to grey, green, or white fuzzy growths. The most common types of indoor mold are Aspergillus, Penicillium, and Cladosporium.
The initial testing results will tell you if you can move on to step two or if you should call the experts.
Step 2: Gear Up for Safety
It is vital to use the correct equipment to avoid inhaling the spores. A thin mask will not cut it.
Use a thick, proprietary mask specifically recommended for the task of mold removal. If you only have thin masks at home, then wear several layers of these, at least three.
Wear clothes you can wash immediately or, better still, discard. Full disposable PPE suits are an option, too.
Other essential equipment includes goggles to protect your eyes from tiny particles, liquid cleaners, and protective gloves. Remember to cover your hair. Most PPE suits have an integral hood for this purpose.
Step 3: Choose the Right Cleaning Products
For clean-up, gather cleaning solutions, brushes, rags, and disinfectants.
Many people opt for bleach to clean mold. After all, it easily removes mold-mildew when you test it. However, while bleach is a strong chemical, it does not eliminate the mold all the way. It is only effective on non-porous surfaces where the spores have not penetrated the affected area.
For a deep clean that eradicates the spores, buy a proprietary mold remediation product online or at your local hardware store.
Most specialists usually use Borax, which is readily available. You simply mix the powder with one gallon of hot water and apply the solution to the surface using a rag or a brush for stubborn areas. There is no need to rinse as Borax leaves a protective layer that will discourage the mold from returning.
Baking soda and vinegar are alternatives to Borax that most people have in their cupboards. You can apply the vinegar directly without diluting it, but you will have to wait an hour. A plant spray bottle is the best way to do this.
Step 4: Contain the Spread
If the mold is in one room, then you want to seal up other adjacent rooms so the spores don’t spread. If you have more than one room to tackle, work through them one at a time, keeping all the other rooms closed.
Seal door gaps using simple masking tape.
Turn off central heating or air conditioning to prevent spores from spreading.
Step 4: Eradicate the Mold
Make sure you have identified all the areas of mold and their source before you start cleaning.
Scrub all the surfaces thoroughly with the mold cleaner and then leave the solution to penetrate for a while. Wipe the mold cleaner away using clean rags or cloths.
Dry the surface. This step is essential as mold is a fungus that loves moisture and dampness. Common moisture problems that put the home at risk of mold infestation include roof leaks, leaking pipes, and high-humidity zones. Good ventilation should help the drying process.
Step 5: Manage Ventilation
The room you are working in needs to be well ventilated, but remember, you don’t want to open that door. Otherwise, you will spread the mold spores into the rest of the house.
Open any windows wide and use a fan to improve air circulation.
The fan you use will need to be cleaned and disinfected within the room and when you have finished cleaning.
A dehumidifier can help remove any humid air at the end of the cleaning process.
Step 6: Follow Proper Clean-Up Protocol
If you do wear your own clothes rather than a PPE suit, wash them afterward. Remember that spores can stick onto your clothes and spread to other garments in the machine. Wash these items on their own and then run the machine through empty on a service wash afterward.
4 Mistakes to Avoid While Removing Mold
1. Using the Wrong Products
Many people use bleach in the mistaken belief that this will permanently remove mold.
While bleach is a strong chemical, it does not remove mold. It just improves the appearance superficially.
2. Not Taking Time to Prepare Properly
There is nothing worse than not having the correct products or equipment. In some situations, you could put yourself or others at risk of health effects.
Make sure you plan the cleaning process properly. Choose a time when no one else is in the house, and you know you won’t be disturbed.
3. Failing to Protect Against Cross Contamination
Cleaning without proper protective measures can aggravate the problem. It is essential to isolate the room in question by sealing off the rest of the house. Otherwise, you will just spread the spores.
Many people fail to realize that mold remediation continues right through to washing or disposing of their clothes and throwing away cleaning rags and brushes.
There’s no point dumping your clothes in the washing machine with other garments or leaving dirty cloths and brushes in the middle of the kitchen.
Take bin bags with you into the room you are cleaning so you can bag up dirty items and tie up the tops before moving them out through the rest of the house.
4. Not Identifying the Source of the Mold Correctly
The infestation may originate from a leaking pipe concealed behind drywall, shower, or underneath the bath. Areas with high humidity are at higher risk of black patches.
Just cleaning the affected area will not cure the problem. You need to remove it entirely, which is where proper identification from a specialist is necessary.
When Is Removing Mold Yourself Not a Good Idea?
Removing mold yourself is not a good idea if you are unsure of the origin, cannot find the source, or don’t know how far the infestation has spread.
These circumstances will require specialist intervention as opening up enclosed areas behind drywalls or sanitary ware and releasing spores is especially dangerous.
If you don’t have time to do the job thoroughly and correctly, then you will cause more harm than good. It’s best instead to call an expert.
It is also not a good idea to try and remove mold if you or someone in your household has pre-existing respiratory conditions or immune system problems. Always call in an expert to tackle the problem.
Mold removal can be a monumental and hazardous task. With all the effort involved, it can be easier to just call in an expert team.
At All Dry USA, we are experienced in mold removal. We have the right equipment and take all safety precautions to protect you and your family.
Call All Dry USA for prompt and professional service for mold problems large and small. We take the worry out of mold removal.
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