Mold Removal Objectives
To avoid health problems related to mold, mold removal should be initiated as soon as possible. Black mold should be handled with the utmost caution. The work area should be isolated (contained) as much as possible from the rest of your home, and if you or anyone in your family has mold sensitivities, hire professionals to handle all mold remediation work.
Whether the mold infestation is very small and you can clean it up yourself, or if it is a larger area requiring professional help, the goals are the same:
- Deal with the source of the moisture that is causing the mold
- Remove the mold itself in a contained way so that mold spores can’t spread to other parts of the room or house.
- Protect the person doing the mold removal from exposure
- Follow up with regular maintenance and inspection to prevent mold from returning.
Consider the size of the mold infestation. If it’s very limited and accessible and you are not sensitive to mold allergies you may be able to handle the job yourself using the proper safety precautions. If it’s a bigger area and/or has invaded your heating, ventilating and air conditioning system, mold removal should be handled by a professional.
Level 1 Mold Removal
Small infestations involving no more than ten square feet of moldy area are classified as Level 1 out of five levels designated in the often-quoted mold removal guidelines developed by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. These small mold problems are most often on the surface only of a ceiling or wall, on shower tiles or other materials. Remember, you must remove the source of the moisture before you attack the mold or it will just come back again.
If you’re planning mold removal from a small, contained area where the mold has not gone into or behind the wall, subflooring, insulation etc., take the following precautions:
- Use protection – gloves, eye protection and a NIOSH 95 disposable respirator
- Keep children and the elderly as well as allergic and immune-compromised individuals, away from the area
- Seal mouldy materials in a plastic bag before carrying them out of your home for disposal
- Hang plastic sheeting to separate the work area from the rest of the home
- Take a direct route to the outside of the house when removing mouldy items. If you have to go through hallways, remove any area rugs so you don’t track mold spores on them.
- Clean the area with an EPA-approved fungicide. Leave all cleaned areas to dry thoroughly
- Wash moldy clothing or linens in hot water ion a washing machine
Mold Removal in Small Areas
Begin by drying any materials that are wet. For severe home moisture problems, use fans and dehumidifiers and move wet items away from walls and off floors (rental companies often have industrial strength equipment).
Remove and dispose of mold contaminated materials. Porous materials or items which have absorbed moisture or have mold growing on them need to be removed, bagged, and thrown out. Such materials may include sheet rock, insulation, plaster, carpet and carpet padding, ceiling tiles and paper products. Non-porous materials with surface mold may be saved if they are cleaned well and kept dry.
Use vinegar or lemon juice, or a solution of tea tree oil or grapefruit seed extract in water. Wet a cloth with the the solution and then blot the moldy area. Turn up the heat and, if possible, run an air filter designed to trap mold spores for a few days to take the spores out of the air.
Levels 2 – 5 Mold Removal
Levels II – V of mold removal involve increasingly larger areas, more precautions and the need for professional mold abatement.