Health Issues

Do-It-Yourself Mold Removal

Safe if Mold problem is Non-Invasive

If a mold problem is small and non-invasive, cleanup can be done safely by the homeowner - provided they use the right products and wear adequate protective equipment. If mold covers an area less than 3 feet by 3 feet and water damage isn't serious, a professional mold removal service generally isn't required.

Remember, water-damaged items or areas can be completely dried within 24 to 48 hours, before mold spores have a chance to take hold, to limit the chances of mold growth.

Here are some cleaning tips for items and areas prone to water damage:

Materials with water damage

How to fix it

Carpet and underlay, concrete

Use an extraction vacuum to remove most of the water and a dehumidifier and fans to reduce humidity and speed the drying process. Heaters can be used around concrete, but not on carpet.

Ceiling tile

Drying isn't practical, so replace wet ceiling tiles. Don't keep damaged tile.

Insulation

Throw out and replace damaged insulation (both fiberglass and cellulose).

Vinyl, linoleum or ceramic tile (porous surfaces)

Dry underlay if needed. Soak up excess water and scrub with a mild detergent before drying.

Plastics and metals (non porous surfaces)

Soak up water and wash with a mild detergent before drying.

Furniture

Use an extraction vacuum and speed things up with dehumidifiers, fans and heaters. Some furnishings may require the services of a professional as they can be difficult to dry.

Wood surfaces (hardwood floors)

Soak up water and dry surface with dehumidifiers, fans and low heat (be careful using heat with wood floors). Finished surfaces can be cleaned with mild wood cleaner and water before drying. Wall paneling should be removed to dry.

Drywall

If seams are intact and no swelling is visible, dry drywall in place. Otherwise, discard it. If possible, ventilate the wall cavity.

Clothing, bedding and drapes

If the item can be machine washed or dry-cleaned, do so immediately before drying. Make sure to follow manufacturer instructions.

Paper (magazines, books and documents)

Make photocopies of anything valuable and throw the rest out.

Getting rid of mold

Simply covering mold with paint or caulking won't do. Paint will peel, and the problem could get worse. Hard surfaces should be treated with non-chlorine-bleach solutions to kill mold. A spray of one part 3-percent hydrogen peroxide and three parts water could also be used on mold. Many say natural ingredients like tea-tree oil, grapefruit-seed extract and vinegar can do the job almost as well as chemicals. Whatever you use, be sure never to mix your methods (vinegar with bleach, for example), as it can be very dangerous.

Personal Protective Gear

Wearing protective gear is essential when doing mold removal. Nonporous gloves, goggles and N95-approved respirators/masks should be worn at all times. N95 means a filter efficiency of at least 95 percent in stopping particles 0.3 microns in size or greater. N stands for "not resistant to oil".

If you or others in the home are sensitive to mold or suffer from allergies, strongly consider calling in professional help.

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