It’s black, it’s green, it’s slimy and it can hide just about anywhere. It causes all sorts of health issues from allergic reactions to asthma and other upper respiratory problems. There seems to be no way to permanently get rid of this hideous troublemaker in your home. We’re talking about mold, and if you’ve got it hidden away in your basement or behind the bathroom stool, or slinking along the edges of the shower stall, you’ve got to be asking, “Just what can I do to get rid of this mold, for good?”
The answer to that question begins with understanding that short of tearing out and replacing affected walls and floorboards, there is no way to effectively get rid of all the mold spores that exist in your home. Your goal will be to get rid of as much as possible- a vast majority of the mold and then take control of the environment so as to reduce the growth of any remaining spores while preventing the growth of any new mold.
To begin the mold removal process you’ll want to have protective eye-wear and rubber gloves. This will minimize your contact with the mold spores as you are cleaning.
If you are removing the mold from hard surfaces such as glass, metal, plastics and counter tops you should scrub the area with hot water and a detergent. You do not need to use ammonia or bleach to wash mold off these types of surfaces.
Surfaces that are porous such as drywall and carpeting are difficult, if not impossible to clean completely. Your best option is to just replace them.
If you have mold on wall studs or other interior support structures that would be difficult to replace, you will want to first scrub with detergent and hot water and then sand the affected area. Here, again, be sure to wear eye-wear, gloves and even a breathing mask to reduce your risk of coming in contact with airborne mold spores.
After this initial phase of mold removal you’ll want to disinfect the area with a solution of bleach and water. For most mold removal situations a ratio of 1/3 cup of bleach per gallon of water should be adequate, but if you are trying to remove mold from a porous surface you could use up to 1 ½ cups of bleach. You’ll also want to keep the surface you are cleaning wet with this solution for at least 15 minutes. Then, rinse the surface with water and turn on the fans and even a dehumidifier. The faster you get this area dry the better.
Unfortunately, you may find that mold has chosen to settle on a special piece of furniture, or work of art, or other object that doesn’t seem like it would benefit from a bath in detergent and bleach. If this happens, check your phone book for a person or company that specializes in this type of cleaning so as to prevent even more damage to an heirloom or sentimental piece.
After you’ve cleaned up the majority of the mold, you’re going to want to prevent further growth and prevent new growth. The best way to do this is to reduce the moisture in your home. Stop the leaks and drips. Use a dehumidifier to keep your indoor humidity between 30 and 60 percent. Vent the bathroom and your clothes dryer to the outside. Use insulation to prevent condensation.
Once you have gone through the cleaning process and controlled the moisture in your home, you’ll find mold removal to be a thing of the past.