Do it yourself mold removal? When is it safe to handle mold removal on your own?
Mold has become a health concern for many in recent years. Yet mold has always been an important part of our environment, performing necessary functions in nature. So, why are we afraid of mold? How do we determine what is or is not harmful? What causes this organism to pose a health risk? Does the potential threat posed by mold mean that do-it-yourselfers are at the mercy of professional mold remediators?
Mold becomes a problem inside our living space when organic material and moisture are available. This allows the spores we all have in our homes to root and form colonies. Mold can develop into a serious issue if other circumstances exist such as mild temperatures (no hot or cold extremes), limited light, limited air flow, and a continuous supply of moisture or humidity. Since our homes and offices are built to limit airflow, maintain a consistent mild temperature, not to breathe naturally, and to contain much organic material, Mold can easily become a serious issue inside.
MOLD IN THE BATHROOM
Mold can be common in our bathrooms. Even though bathroom floors, fixtures, even the lower half of walls are typically NOT made of organics, bathrooms tend to collect organic debris. (Mold can not live on tile but it can live on the organic materials that settle on tile.) Bathrooms also tend to be damp, have limited air flow, and limited light. Most commonly mold in bathrooms can be found in tubs, showers, and sinks especially in corners; around the base of toilets on top of the flooring; on any caulked or grouted surface; and on an exhaust fan. If a mold problem has been identified in a bathroom, it is important that all of the tools for control and remediation be implemented.
Do it yourself: You should be able to easily remove surface mold from the areas listed above with a sponge, cloth or scrubbing brush. Many over the counter cleaners remove 99% of all microbials and bacteria. You can also use a 10% bleach/90% water solution or a vinegar based natural cleaner. Cleaning with one of these products is your first step to remediation. Second, dry the area completely. If staining is visible after steps one and two, you may have to remove and replace caulk or grout. Once the clean up is complete follow some simple preventative steps to slow or prevent growth. Always use the bathroom exhaust fan; keep corners and crevices clean and free of organic material; dry the tub, shower, and sink after use; increase airflow by opening vents, windows, or the door; do not leave wet towels piled in the bathroom floor. If mold in the bathroom is more spread out or present on drywall, contact a mold certified company. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends homeowners hire a professional mold removal company to deal with mold infestations large than 10 square feet.
MOLD AROUND WINDOWS – A second common area to find mold is around window sills. In our region, due to the extreme cold temperatures windows tend to condensate. This is because of the difference in air temperature on either side of the glass. In this case, the moisture is not preventable. Also, more is involved in the clean up due to the materials that are typically used in this area, i.e drywall or wood. There are still steps you can take as a home owner to slow growth in this area and to slow regrowth.
– Vacuum the area to remove visible growth with a hepa filtered vacuum
– Clean the areas with a 10% bleach/90% water solution, a detergent, or an antimicrobial
– Fully dry the area
– If stained, sand the wood down to remove the stain
– Reseal or paint the area
To slow or prevent regrowth in this area, keep the windows and the area around the windows dry. This may mean toweling off the
condensation; raise the blinds and drapes so air can circulate around and behind; keep these areas and blinds clean from pet hair, dust, etc.
When cleaning mold in the home, protect yourself. There are many different types of mold. Any can pose a health risk based on your specific allergies or sensitivities. So, wear protective clothing; cover your skin with a long-sleeve shirt, pants and rubber gloves. Wear eye protection and at a minimum wear a good quality dust mask during the removal process.
Unfortunately, mold issues can progress quickly. Once it appears on drywall, wallpaper, baseboards, cabinets, or in your crawl space you have a significant problem that is well beyond the scope of what is recommended for do-it-yourselfers. We are a Professional Mold Inspection firm and we can test to determine if you have a mold problem and what type of mold you have in hidden places. Our professional mold inspector can use tools such as moisture meters and fiber optics to find hidden mold with minimal disturbance to your home. The key is to call quickly. Most insurance companies are limiting or eliminating mold coverage, so acting quickly can save you money and can save your home.