Mold Removal | A How-To Guide

As soon as we think winter will never end, we wake up and suddenly spring has arrived. The snow melts, the flowers grow and the warm weather arrives. And with it, come humidity and mold. In addition to the general hassle of mold, and the hardship it can put on our allergies, mold can also cause financial stress. Unfortunately removing mold is an all too common chore. So we want to help you better prepare for the situation. Check out our how-to guide to help you get stated on the mold removal process.

mold removal

Should You Test Mold You See In Your Home?

Usually it is obvious that you have a mold problem because you will be able to smell it and you might even be able to see it. Despite this, we DO recommend that you have someone come in and give your home a detailed inspection simply to determine what caused the mold growth in the first place. This will help get rid of the mold and also help prevent mold growth in the future. We also recommend that you hire an outside specialist who does building evaluations to review and appraise your home. Here at Paragon we offer these very services.

Cleaning Up Mold

Mold can be found almost anywhere in your home. Sometimes it can be found on the walls, on shower curtains, on windowsills, or in the bathrooms. Mold in these places can usually be wiped off these surfaces with a damp cloth coupled with a cleaning agent. Recommended cleaning agents are window and bathroom cleaners.

If you are trying to prevent mold growth in the future, you will need to find out where the moisture is coming from and learn how to control it. Sometimes the solution is simple, such as fixing a small leak or installing a dehumidifier. If your mold problem is too big for those solutions, you will want to follow the steps below. (A large mold problem is usually considered 10 square feet or more.)

Preparation Stage

During the preparation stage you will want to assemble the following:

  • Plastic sheets to cover door openings, windows, floors, and vents. The plastic should be at least 4 mm thick.
  • A breathing respirator with HEPA cartridges. These are available at most home improvement stores.
  • At least 3 spray bottles or plant misters.
  • Paper towels and disposable rags.
  • Heavy duty plastic garbage bags.
  • A general household cleaner. Make sure to ONLY use cleaners WITHOUT ammonia.
  • Regular household bleach with between 1-5% of chlorine. Remember, you do NOT have to use bleach unless a sewage release happened. Mold and bacteria can be reduced or eliminated using a bleach solution as a final disinfectant.
  • Latex, non-latex, or rubber gloves. Also be sure to have some goggles. Keep in mind what you are allergic to when collecting gloves.
  • One cup measuring container.
  • 3 1-gallon buckets.
  • Commercial grade HEPA-vacuum. Do NOT use a home vacuum. They are not designed to remove mold. You can contact your local health department to figure out where you can rent or buy a HEPA-vacuum in your locality.
  • A dehumidifier. Do NOT use fans. They can cause mold spores to be released, contaminating your home.

Mixing Stage

  • Mix the general household cleaner with water in a bucket, then transfer to a spray bottle. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when mixing.
  • If you are using bleach because of a laundry or sewage release, these molds will be gray and black respectively, then you’ll want to prepare a bleach solution in a separate bucket. Wearing your gloves and goggles, add one 1 cup of bleach for every gallon of water. Bleach can reduce bacteria and mold on treated surfaces.
  • Transfer the bleach solution into the 2nd spray bottle while still wearing your gloves and goggles.
  • Pour warm and clean rinse water into the 3rd spray bottle. Do NOT add bleach or household cleaner.

NOTE: Do NOT mix the bleach with other general household cleaners. Some cleaners can contain ammonia, which, when mixed with chlorine bleach, can develop a toxic gas that can cause serious injury or even death.

mold removal

Application and Cleaning Stage

Before Starting

  • Seal the room off from the rest of the house with plastic and tape.
  • Keep children and animals out of your work area while you are cleaning.
  • Do NOT, at ANY time, chew gum, tobacco, or smoke.
  • Use the dehumidifier before, during, and after the clean-up to keep areas dry and prevent mold from happening again.

Cleaning Up

  • Spray then remove visible mold with the general household cleaning solution. Start with the top and work your way down. Be sure to change towels often, discarding contaminated towels into a plastic bag. Rinse the same area with clean water on a damp towel or lightly spray with warm water in a spray bottle. Then wipe with a clean towel.
  • Repeat the previous step until all the mold is gone. Realize that there could be some discoloration of the surface from the mold, the cleaning solution, or both. Keep this in mind when cleaning; cleaning too hard can cause discoloration. Unfortunately, if the mold is bad enough there won’t be much you can do to prevent this.
  • If you are using a bleach mixture, wipe the affected area then let it sit for 15 minutes. If you are using fungicides outside of bleach, then make sure you follow the manufacturer’s directions. Rinse the area with a moist towel using warm, clean water. You can also lightly spray the area with warm rinse water in a mist bottle and then wipe with a clean towel.

Finishing Up

  • Once the surface is dry and you collect no moisture when running your hand across it, vacuum with the HEPA vacuum for at least 1 minute per square foot of mold. This is necessary to remove any remaining dead mold, spore bodies, and mold fragments. This is VERY important because some people could be highly allergic to the dead mold and spores. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using the HEPA vacuum and put the HEPA vacuum bag into a garbage when you are done.
  • Tie the garbage bag TIGHTLY and dispose of it as you would your everyday garbage.
  • Flush any remaining waste water down the toilet, a utility sink, or a floor drain.
  • Clean up. Change out of your clothes and wash your hands and face very thoroughly.
  • When washing your clothes, wash them separately from your normal clothes. It should be its own load.
  • Once you are COMPLETELY done and all mold and remnants of mold are gone, you can now paint or apply other coating to the surface. If you are wanting to prevent mold from happening again, then you will want to use a paint or coating that contains a mildew-cide or fungicide. Again, follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using these products. Also realize that these are also considered pesticides, so they could have a negative effect on some people. ALWAYS be aware of this.