All molds are fungi that can grow indoors and outdoors on painted surfaces. Exposure to mold can result in respiratory and skin irritation, but individuals with certain health problems are at greater risk. At risk populations include individuals with asthma, allergies, respiratory conditions, and conditions resulting in immune deficiency. Like many other health risks, children and the elderly are also at an elevated level of risk.
Signs of Mold
Black mold, a toxic type of mold that can grow indoors on paint can be identified by a musty smell and a somewhat greenish tint to the black mold. This mold needs to be removed from the building as quickly as possible. Black mold removal should only be performed with great care.
Causes to Grow on Paint
Black mold grows on painted surfaces due to unintended accumulation of moisture through leaks or cracks in the structure. Areas that experience frequent flooding might also have black mold growth. Humans also generate a great deal of moisture through regular activities such as taking a shower or bringing moist items such as firewood into the home.
Tools and Materials
Before attempting to remove black mold from a painted surface, it is important to have the appropriate tools and materials on hand. To prevent the inhalation of it’s spores, a respirator should be worn for the entire removal process because live spores and dead spores both pose a hazard to human health. Protective eye wear and disposable gloves should be worn. Additionally, a long-sleeve shirt and full-length trousers should be worn. When mould removal is complete, the clothes should be washed immediately to prevent the spread of remaining spores.
Steps to Remove Black Mold on Painted Surfaces:
- Step 1. Despite moisture being the initial problem, it is important to lightly dampen the area prior to removal. This should prevent many of the spores from becoming airborne. A respirator and other protective gear must still be worn.
- Step 2. If there are other surfaces such as carpeting that might be discolored by bleach, these surfaces should be covered with towels or plastic sheets, which can be obtained inexpensively at most home improvement stores.
- Step 3. In a sturdy container mix 1 gallon of water with bleach. For areas with slight mold, use 1/2 cup and for areas that are heavily covered in mold, mix up to 1 1/2 cups of bleach. To prevent ill effects from it’s fumes, make sure that the room is properly ventilated.
- Step 4. Saturate a regular household cleaning sponge with the bleach solution and thoroughly cover the affected area. If the sponge is too stiff, the paint may be damaged, so it is more important to make sure that the area is saturated than it is to roughly scrub the area.
- Step 5. Allow the solution to remain on the affected area for at least 15 minutes.
- Step 6. Use a mixture of dish detergent and fresh water to clean the area thoroughly, but do not soak the wall with water. The wall should appear clean. This step should remove the traces of mold and the bleach solution. If the cleaning mixture is not properly washed off the painted wall, the wall will very likely become discolored.
- Step 7. Attempt to dry the area with a towel. In some particularly damp areas, it may be necessary to use a fan or dehumidifier to ensure that the area dries properly. Simply killing the mold is not enough- you must eliminate the situations in which the mould thrives, and that includes damp surfaces.
- Step 8. Ensure that the cause of the mold has been resolved. If the cause is not fixed, mold will continue to grow and structural damage may occur as moisture seeps into the walls. In areas of a building where moisture is inevitable, a dehumidifier can decrease the risk of fungi growth.
Mould Resistant Paint
Many types of paint are easily damaged by mold, and it is possible that a new coat of paint or touch-ups may need to be applied once the mold is removed. Some brands of paint claim to be more resistant to mold, but prevention is still the most reliable method for avoiding damage to the painted walls.
Preventing mold is less troublesome that removing mould. Even small amounts of moisture can contribute to mold growth, so it is important to clean-up moisture. Running an exhaust fan in bathrooms during baths and showers can drastically decrease the risk of mould in bathroom settings. Overall, proper building maintenance to fix plumbing problems and leaks is one of the most important measures to preventing build up and structural damage. Maintenance and proper building should also prevent condensation.
It is important to take all warnings into consideration before attempting black mold removal. Black mould is dangerous to the human and animal inhabitants of the building, and every effort should be made to remove and eliminate the cause of the fungi as soon as the mold is discovered. All protective gear should be worn for the duration of the removal and materials taken from the area should be disinfected before being moved to other areas of the building. Long-term exposure to black mold and some other types of mould has been linked to many health conditions, including numerous illnesses of the lung.