Removing black mold from your home can sound like a daunting task. Just the term “black mold” sounds scary enough. If you’re willing to buy the proper safety equipment and can stomach scrubbing and removing mold damage for up to a few weeks, you can save hundreds and possibly thousands of dollars.
Deciding when to call in a professional is a personal decision, but there are two signs that black mold has progressed too far to easily remove it yourself, says Cory Poulsen of Superior Restoration and Construction, a property damage restoration company.
“Let odor and your conscious be your guide. If you can not take the smell, call a professional. If you lose sleep and worry about it, call a professional. If the smell is so bad and you get a headache, always call a professional.”
Removal is charged by the square foot and varies by where you live, Poulsen says.
Want to give it a go? Here are some ways to remove black mold in your home on your own:
Determine What it Is
A musty smell under a sink may not be black mold, it may just be simple mold, Poulsen says. The difference is that mold is a live spore, while black mold could be toxic. Mildew, for example, is often confused with being mold, but it can be easily cleaned with bleach or other surface cleaners.
Find the Source and Stop the Damage
If you see or smell black mold in your house, it’s probably in an area of high moisture, such as a bathroom that isn’t vented well enough, or from a water leak such as a leaking pipe. Always, repair the leak before deciding if you’re going to repair the damage yourself.
Once moisture from water damage or condensation has been provided, mold will use a food source such as insulation, fabric, drywall or carpet to grow and cause damage.
Get an Inspection
Hiring a professional to determine the amount of damage can be the safest way to figure out how much black mold is in your home and help you understand how to fix it.
If you decide to go with a professional mold removal company, their experts will tell you what steps to take next, such as possibly leaving the house while they do their work. To protect your family’s health, a professional mold removal company is the best way to go.
So you want to give it a go yourself? Follow these steps for best and safest results.
1. Wear Protective Gear
You will need to start by buying mold removal gear to protect yourself from airborne mold spores. Use an N-95 respirator. You’ll also need gloves, goggles, long-sleeved shirts and pants. Everyone else should leave the house during cleanup.
2. Seal Affected Areas
Water damaged rooms and rooms with potential mold growth should be sealed with heavy-duty plastic sheets to contain airborne spores. Force mold spores out windows with negative pressure from an exhaust fan.
3. Discard Water-Damaged Material
After the water damage has been contained, allow the area to dry for up to 48 hours. Porous materials such as carpet, drywall and fabric may retain moisture. Toss water-damaged materials that show signs of mold growth.
4. Scrub Away
Visible mold can be scrubbed off hard surface with water and detergent. Then allow the surfaces to dry thoroughly. If mold has dried, lightly spray the area with water before cleaning to prevent the release of airborne spores. Commercial mold removal products can be used, but the EPA discourages using chlorine bleach to remove mold. Natural mold removal agents include hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, tea tree oil, and baking soda.
5. Clean All Surfaces
To prevent mold from returning, clean all surfaces thoroughly to remove residual spores. Allow all surfaces to dry. Dry vacuum the room with a HEPA filter vacuum to remove embedded spores.
6. Toss Mold-Cleaning Equipment
Put anything that was used in the black mold cleanup in a heavy duty, sealed garbage bag. This should include clothing, sponges and other cleaning material.
Superior Restoration and Construction – www.kcsuperior.com – are experts at smoke, fire, mold and water clean up and restoration located in Kansas City. Serving the Greater Kansas City area, Superior Restoration and Construction have been restoring property damage and doing apartment renovations since 2014.