A major mold infestation can ruin your home—and your health! The first step in mold remediation is learning how to remove mold and perform black mold removal. Almost every home gets mold. We’ll show you how to identify mold and how to remove mold, as well as the big ones, like black mold removal, that have gotten out of hand.
1: How to Get Rid of Mold Overview
Mold is a major-league nuisance. It blackens the grout lines in your shower, discolors drywall, shows up as black spots on the siding, darkens decks, and grows on and rots damp wood everywhere. Even worse, it can be bad for your health. Mold releases microscopic spores that cause allergic reactions, runny noses, and sneezing, as well as irritating, even injurious, odors. We’ll cover how to remove mold, how to get rid of black mold, how to kill mold on wood and what kills mold in a few steps.
How to remove mold and how to perform black mold removal can be done with ordinary household cleaning products. But disturbing big infestations of mold on bathroom walls and other places can be bad for your health, particularly if you are an allergy sufferer or have a weakened immune system. When you discover an extensive mold problem, we recommend that you use the rigorous protective measures we show in Photos 1 – 6, or consider calling in a professional, who knows what kills mold, to handle the problem of how to remove mold. (Search “Industrial Hygiene Consultants” or “Environmental and Ecological Consultants” online to find out how to remove black mold and black mold removal cost. Or call your local public health department on how to get rid of black mold.) And even if you hire pros, read through this article and make sure they follow similar precautions on how to get rid of mold and to keep the mold from spreading throughout your house.
A few types of mold are highly toxic. If you have an allergic reaction to mold or a heavy infestation inside your home, call in a pro to analyze the types. Or call your local public health department and ask for mold-testing advice.
2: How to identify mold
Mold is everywhere. It’s a type of fungus that grows from tiny spores that float in the air. It can grow almost anywhere that spores land and find moisture and a comfortable temperature, between 40 and 100 degrees F. Typically that includes about every damp place in your home.
You can easily spot the most visible type of mold, called mildew, which begins as tiny, usually black spots but often grows into larger colonies. It’s the black stuff you see in the grout lines in your shower, on damp walls, and outdoors on the surfaces of deck boards and painted siding, especially in damp and shady areas. A mildewed surface is often difficult to distinguish from a dirty one. To test for mildew, simply dab a few drops of household bleach on the blackened area. If it lightens after one to two minutes, you have mildew. If the area remains dark, you probably have dirt.
Mildew is a surface type of mold that won’t damage your home’s structure. But other types of mold cause rot. Remove mildew from wood when you probe the suspect area with a screwdriver or other sharp tool (Photo 3). If the wood is soft or crumbles, the fungi have taken hold and rot has begun. We’ll show you how to remove mold from wood in a few steps.
If you have a high concentration of mold, you may smell it. If you detect the typical musty odor, check for mold on damp carpets, damp walls, damp crawlspaces and wet wood under your floors, wet roof sheathing and other damp areas. Clean up these infestations right away before they get worse, and see the following photos for prevention measures on how to remove mold.
3: Removing large infestations requires precautions—and work!
You can scrub away the surface mold common to bathrooms, decks, and siding in a matter of minutes with a 1-to-8 bleach/water mold cleaner solution as one way on how to remove mold. But often mold grows and spreads in places you don’t notice, until you spot surface staining, feel mushy drywall or detect that musty smell.
If you have to remove mold concentrations or perform any black mold removal covering more than a few square feet, where the musty odor is strong or where you find extensive water damage, we recommend that you take special precautions. You want to not only avoid contaminating the rest of the house but also protect yourself from breathing high concentrations of spores and VOCs.
- Wear old clothes and shoes that you can launder or throw away after the cleanup work.
- Wear special N-95 or P-100 respirators, in addition to goggles and gloves.
- Set an old box fan or a cheap new one in a window to ventilate the room while working. Throw it out when you’re done cleaning because the spores are almost impossible to clean off. Tape plywood or cardboard around the window openings so the spores can’t blow back in.
- Wrap and tape moldy carpeting in 6-mil plastic, and double-bag mold-infested debris in garbage bags for disposal.
- To control airborne spores, moisten moldy areas with a garden sprayer while you work.
- Turn off your furnace and air conditioner and cover ducts and doors to contain spores.
- Keep your wet/dry vacuum outside when you vacuum.
Moisture damage and large mold infestations go hand in hand. The photos below demonstrate cleaning under an old leaky window where wind-driven rain frequently got into the wall and gave mold a foothold. Learn how to clean your bathroom with bleach here.