Does your home smell musty and unpleasant? This is a likely sign that mold or mildew are thriving somewhere in your home. Generally, mold and mildew prefer to grow in moist and relatively dark areas.
While you expect to find mildew in the shower stall and throughout the bathroom, you can also find it around window trim, air vents, and any other areas that may be exposed to high humidity. In fact, it can also grow in the bottom of a filthy trash can, in your laundry hamper, underneath the carpet, in your crawlspace, and in many other undesirable places.
Do You Need to Call a Professional?
The presence of mold or mildew in your home may cause intense anxiety. After all, extensive mold growth can cause serious property damage and requires professional mitigation services. The best time to tackle a mold problem is before it gets out of hand. Can you get rid of your home’s mold yourself?
First, identify all of the areas where it is growing. If the area is relatively small, you can consider cleaning it on your own. Before you do, however, you must consider your personal health. Some people have severe allergies to mold. Through the process of scrubbing the moldy area, some of the spores will become airborne. It is possible that you could inhale these spores and become moderately or seriously ill.
Second, pay attention to the types of surfaces that the mold is growing on. Cleaning some surfaces is much easier to do than others. For example, drywall is a porous material, and the mold growth may be deep. On the other hand, it may be growing on a hard surface in the bathroom that is much easier to clean. The cleaning processes for these and other types of surfaces vary. If you are not comfortable doing the work yourself, you should reach out to a professional.
Preparing for the Project
While the goal of cleaning the moldy area is to remove the filth from your home, the unfortunate reality is that the cleaning process could actually spread to other areas. This is because mold spores can become airborne very easily. Before you start cleaning, you must prepare yourself and your work area properly. You should wear long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. Gloves, face mask, and eye protection are also beneficial. After you finish your cleaning project, all of your apparel should go straight into the washing machine. You also should hop in the shower for a thorough scrub-down.
In addition to preparing yourself for the project, you must create a containment area around the mold. Turn off the HVAC system and ventilation system. Ideally, you will have no airflow in the space throughout the project. If possible, use plastic sheeting or other materials for further containment. This will reduce the chance of the mold spores spreading throughout the home.
Select Your Cleaning Method
The primary solutions that are used to clean mold are chlorine bleach, hydrogen peroxide, distilled white vinegar, baking soda, and borax. Here is a closer look at the methods:
Chlorine Bleach: Bleach is very strong, so it should only be mixed with a small amount of water for dilution purposes. Do not mix it with any of the other products mentioned here or with ammonia. You should wear gloves and avoid inhaling the bleach.
Hydrogen Peroxide: This product has a bleaching effect, but it is much milder than chlorine bleach. Because of this, you generally do not want to dilute hydrogen peroxide before applying it to the mold. It can kill mold and may lighten some of the staining associated with mold on hard surfaces. If you have dark or deep stains, however, bleach maybe your best option.
White Vinegar: The acidic nature of vinegar will kill mold by breaking it down at the cellular level. While this method can kill the mold, it will not remove the stains. After you have killed the mold with white vinegar, you will need to use a general cleaning product to lighten or remove any stains.
Borax: This is a household cleaning product that is commonly added to the washing machine for cleaner clothes. Its unique properties can kill mold. This product may also remove some lighter stains associated with mold growth. You can sprinkle this substance directly on the moldy surface. If the surface is vertical, you can create a thick paste using Borax and water.
Baking Soda: Baking soda works similarly to borax, but it is not as strong. This solution is best for smaller areas that may not be heavily stained. You can use it in the same manner as the borax.
The Cleaning Process
Regardless of the product selected, you will apply your preferred product directly to the moldy surface. Allow it to remain on the surface for at least 10 or 15 minutes. Then, use a clean brush or sponge to scrub away the mold. Wipe the surface with a clean, damp rag to see how well your effort worked. You may need to repeat the process several times until the mold is completely gone. While you do want to remove most of the cleaning agent when you are finished, leaving behind a trace of the anti-mold agent can reduce the likelihood of the mold returning soon.
If you are not comfortable with these processes or if you have already tried them without desired results, it is time to call a professional. Remember that it is best to deal with mold at the first sign of growth.