When confronted with black mold in your home, having the black mold removed is necessary to prevent further infestation and growth. Below are the steps and precautions outlined to perform a proper and safe black mold removal and cleanup job.
Black mold is a type of fungus as well as a relatively common household problem. In nature, fungus breaks down dead organic materials and is beneficial to the ecosystem. Unfortunately, black mold can cause health problems when found in an enclosed space, such as a home or business. Mould can cause allergic reactions as well as other health problems. People who have a compromised respiratory or immune system are usually affected more severely. For some, mold exposure can be dangerous. It can also damage materials and leave unpleasant stains.
Identifying The Presence of Black Mold
Precautions and Protective Gear
Before beginning mold remediation, it is important to have appropriate protective gear. Mould can cause irritation or health problems if it is inhaled or exposed to the skin or eyes. This means that steps must be taken to protect against exposure. Anyone who has respiratory issues, such as asthma or emphysema, or a compromised immune system, like that of HIV or lupus patients, shouldn’t be exposed to black mold. Anyone who is especially susceptible to mould should vacate the area until the mold cleanup is complete. Proper ventilation is another necessary consideration to preserve the health of all involved in the removal of black mould.
One vital piece of protective equipment for mold removal is a respirator mask. An N-95 mask should be worn at all times when dealing with mould. This will prevent the inhalation of harmful spores, particles, and chemicals. It is important to be aware that an N-95 mask is the minimum protection that should be used for black mold removal. A stronger mask can be used for extensive damage as well as if strong disinfectants or biocides will be used.
Gloves are vital for protecting the skin during a black mold cleanup. Household rubber gloves that reach up to the elbows are sufficient in most cases. If using strong chemicals, high-quality gloves made of a material like natural rubber, PVC, nitrile, polyurethane or neoprene are recommended. If there is a chance that fungus or it’s spores will become attached to a person’s shoes or pants, such as during flooding, rubber boots should be worn.
You definitely need a coverall with good elastic cuffs so the fungus can’t touch you. Equipped with eye protection, gloves and a mold respirator mask and you are good to go.
Eye protection can help prevent irritation and infection. A pair of appropriately-sized, non-ventilated goggles ought to be worn at all times when dealing with black mold. Loose or porous goggles are not adequate protection.
Other Precautionary Measures
It is important to keep the fungus from spreading to other areas of the building. Small, isolated patches can usually be easily contained with proper handling. If the affected area is larger than ten square feet, plastic sheeting and tape should be used to separate the area from the rest of the building. Any vents near the site of the growth should be sealed. All HVAC systems and fans should be shut off to prevent spreading the spores. If the HVAC system has growth within it, the system shouldn’t be used and one should seek professional assistance. When the mold has spread to affect over one hundred square feet, it must be very carefully contained and usually requires professionals.
Black Mold Removal: Step by Step Guide
Step 1: Eliminating The Moisture Source
People encounter stray mildew spores on a daily basis. There is not a problem until a spore finds a wet area and begins to grow and spread more spores. The first step of mould removal is solving the cause of the problem, which is excessive moisture or wet materials. Without eliminating the moisture, new growth will simply appear after mould has been removed.
Any leaks should be repaired immediately. If something is spilled or a material becomes wet, it is important to dry it quickly to prevent the spores from growing. Even if there are no specific leaks or spills, household moisture can still cause mould to grow. Black mold thrives is a warm, wet environment. Once a home or business owner realizes that a building is excessively humid and producing fungus, he should install a dehumidifier and attempt to improve the building’s ventilation. Proper airflow reduces moisture and can prevent or stop mold growth.
Step 2: Drying The Affected Area
Once the source of the moisture has been eliminated, one needs to make sure the area is dry. A wet vacuum can be used in areas where water has accumulated but is likely to spread spores if used on dry materials. If using a cloth or towel to dry an area, the material should be washed and dried soon after use.
Step 3: Removing The Black Mold
Simply killing or halting the growth of black mold is not sufficient to create a healthy environment. Even dead mildew can cause allergic reactions and other health problems. This makes it necessary to remove all traces of mould from the home. One of the most important parts of mold remediation is to properly remove black mold from affected materials.
Non-porous materials can usually be salvaged. Surfaces should be scrubbed with a water and detergent mixture. A scrub brush with stiff bristles is often useful for removing all of the black mold from a surface. Unfortunately mildew often stains surfaces, and these stains can be difficult or even impossible to fully remove. Paint cannot simply be applied over an affected spot until the area has been properly treated, because the paint will usually just come off.
Cloth items like clothing, sheets, curtains and other such items can usually be cleaned. All loose mould on the surface of the material should be carefully brushed off outside. Most of these materials can be machine-washed or dry-cleaned based on the manufacturer’s directions. They should then be thoroughly dried. Stains are common, and it is usually recommended that severely damaged items simply be discarded. Even carpeting can typically be cleaned as long as it is properly dried and cleaned with either dry soap or a water-detergent mixture.
The removal of black mold from wood can depend on the specific situation. In some cases the wood can be brushed off and scrubbed almost like a solid surface. In other instances it may become necessary to sand the area to remove the growth.
Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to remove black mould from most porous materials. Even tiny pores can be filled with this type of fungus, which cannot be simply scrubbed away on this kind of surface. Items such as books, paper, ceiling tiles and wall board must usually be discarded. The best chance one has to save porous materials is to quickly dry them before mold becomes an issue.
Step 4: Cleaning The Mold Affected Area
Strong chemicals and disinfectants are not usually recommended. Proper drying, water and detergent will be sufficient in most situations. Disinfectants and biocides can be dangerous to the health of people and animals. These chemicals are usually only necessary if contamination is suspected. A disinfectant, such as bleach, is needed in cases where there may have been a health or sanitation problem with the water other than mold growth, such as sewer water or flood water. It is important to never mix cleaning solutions and chemicals, as this may produce toxic fumes. Always follow the manufacturer’s directions when using any type of equipment or chemical. When using any kind of chemical it is vital to properly ventilate the area, and wear protective items like those mentioned above.
Step 5: Black Mold Cleanup
[easyazon_infoblock align=”right” identifier=”B007ULBA4W” locale=”US” tag=”blackmoldcontrol-20″]Once an area has been thoroughly cleaned, it can be rinsed to remove any leftover detergent or disinfectant. The area should then, of course, be completely dried and appropriately ventilated. This is also a good opportunity to check that nothing has been overlooked.
A high-efficiency particulate, or HEPA, vacuum should be used for the final black mold cleanup. This can be used to clean up dust, dirt and anything else that may hold stray spores or black mold particles. Unlike a standard vacuum, a HEPA vacuum has a filtration system that helps prevent harmful materials from being spread during cleaning.
Finally, all affected materials should be handled with care. All ruined items that are being discarded should be carefully sealed in a plastic bag before being removed from the area. If possible, mobile items should be cleaned and brushed off outdoors.
Black mold removal can be a difficult process, and it is a good idea to check the cleaned area in the future to be sure that no new growth has occurred. Prevention is the easiest way to deal with mold. Proper housekeeping, decisive action regarding leaks and spills and the use of a dehumidifier can save a person a lot of time, effort and money.
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