While this is a guide to handling mold cleanup in your home, it’s important to remember that you may need to call in the professionals if the mold covers a large area (generally more than ten square feet), you’ve recently had a flood, it’s in the HVAC system or you have respiratory issues.
Locate The Mold
Before you can remediate the mold you need to first find it. Do a complete walk of your home to ensure you haven’t missed any mold spots as even a small area that is left behind will spread and can grow out of control. There are professional tests available to check for mold and while every room should be checked, there are certain areas more susceptible to mold. For example, the bathroom and laundry room are major areas for mold simply because they are damp. It’s also common to find mold in your basement, attic, crawlspace, and HVAC systems. Once mold has taken hold it can infest carpeting, wallpaper, walls, and beyond.
Now that you have located all of the mold, you need to assemble the relevant supplies. In addition to a strong fungicide, you will need heavy plastic to tape off the area you’re working in. You will also need a face mask, gloves, plastic bags for the moldy material, a scrubber and a spray bottle. Before you get started you will need to remove personal items and cover furniture with your plastic, this is to prevent mold contamination. Sealing the area will prevent spores from traveling to other parts of your home.
Before you remove the moldy items from the sealed area spray them with the bottle you have (which should simply be filled with water). This will help prevent spores from being released into the air. You will need a HEPA filter vacuum to clean up following the removal of drywall or furniture. Don’t carry them through your home unless you have sealed them in heavy plastic bags first.
There will be some infested items you can save, and others that you cannot. It really depends on how big the mold problem was, once it’s on fabric it gets right in and it’s generally better not to take any risks. A professional can provide you with advice on the matter.
Now it’s time to apply the fungicide – you can do this with a cloth or a spray bottle, but it’s only for non-porous materials such as countertops, metal, sinks, tile, and bathtubs. Use a brush to scrub away the mold. For the porous materials in the affected area, you can attempt to remove the mold, for wood it may require sanding. However, this is something that should only be handled by professionals as the risk of mold dispersion is great. Not all porous materials can be cleaned adequately and this may mean having to dispose of it (things like carpeting and furniture). For the wood studs in a wall, you can encapsulate it to prevent the spread of mold. A good encapsulating product will also repel and kill mold.
Now that you’ve done everything else you are safe to carry out any necessary repairs, whether it’s replacing drywall or carpeting.