Black Mold Removal in 6 Steps

1. Determine source of the mold

Black mold removal is not usually done until the source of the mold and the moisture causing it has been determined. In the case of black mold it is advisable to have professional mold testing or a mold inspection to determine the extent of the damage, the toxicity of the mold. Mold inspectorswill be able to lay out the tactics for the black mold removal and advise if you can do it yourself or if you need to bring in a professional mold abatementteam. In areas greater than 10 square feet you need to bring in the pros or you are putting yourself and family at risk.

2. Resolve the Moisture Problem

The source of moisture causing the mold must bed fixed or mold growth will continue to occur. Refer to What is moisture? If you have had flooding or a water leak, remove or pump out the standing water, followed by drying the area using fans and dehumidifiers. The quicker you deal with the problem, the less extensive the damage will be. It can take as few as 24-48 hours for black mold to establish its growth.

Tyvek Suit is part of Black Mold Removal in 6 Steps3. Suit up

Wear protective clothing that is easily removed and covers all areas of the body to prevent against exposure to mold spores.  You may even want to choose a protective outer layer that can be discarded such as a Tyvek suit. Other personal protective equipment that should be worn is rubber gloves and eye goggles. Wear a medium-efficiency or high-efficiency filter dust mask or respirator to protect against the inhalation of mold spores. For the best protection during black mold removal, choose a respirator designed for particle removal such as the model N95 or TC-21C particle respirator.

4. Isolate the Area

Each contaminated room or area should be cleaned separately and sealed off to prevent the spread of the mold. Black mold removal will disturb and stir up the mold, causing mold spores to become airborne allowing them to spread to other areas to germinate and colonize, unless the area being cleaned is properly sealed. The HVAC system should be turned off before the black mold removal is initiated.

Mold containment is done by using plastic sheeting sealed with duct tape to cover doorways, vents, and other openings to occupied areas of the home or building. An exhaust fan should be used to create negative air pressure, directing airflow outside to carry any airborne mold spores with it. Just make sure the door or window is not near an air exchange that brings outdoor air into the home.

Keep dust levels as low as possible during cleaning to prevent spores from becoming airborne and spread to other areas. It may be helpful to use an air purifier to minimize the airborne particulate.

5. Black Mold Removal

If the contamination is not too severe, some porous material may be cleaned and rescued.  However, if the damage is extensive and the mold growth has visibly contaminated items beyond repair, they need to be disposed of.  Examples of porous materials are ceiling tiles, wallboards, carpet, cushions, clothes, papers and books. In the case of black mold removal, remember, this stuff is toxic so err on the side of caution. Cut out contaminated drywall and throw out the carpets — it simply is not worth the associated health risks.

6. Cleaning Black Mold

Vacuum surfaces using a special High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter vacuum cleaner. Mold can normally be cleaned off of wood and other solid non-porous products using detergent or specialized products as well as wiping, wire brushing and, in some cases, soda blasting or dry ice blasting. For tough stains on wood use a vacuum/sander set-up that will suck up mold spores preventing them from spreading in the air. For washable surfaces scrub with an unscented detergent solution; then sponge with a clean, wet rag and dry quickly. Using an unscented detergent will make it easier for you to detect residual moldy odors. Don’t use bleach because the pH levels can be affected by  surface materials reducing effectiveness.

For moldy drywall, use baking soda. The paper facings of drywall grow mold when they get wet so don’t get it soaking wet. Trying to remove mold with detergent and water simply makes things worse by adding moisture. When mold is underneath paint its best to completely cut it out and replace the surrounding area. A professional mold remediator should do this.

Concrete surfaces should be cleaned with a HEPA or externally exhausted vacuum cleaner. Clean up surfaces with detergent and water. If the surfaces are still visibly moldy, use TSP (trisodium phosphate). Dissolve one cup of TSP in two gallons of warm water. Stir for two minutes then saturate the moldy concrete surface with the TSP solution using a sponge or rag. Keep the surface wetted for at least 15 minutes. Rinse the concrete surface twice with clean water. Dry thoroughly, as quickly as possible.

There should not be any visible mold and musty/mildew odors present after black mold removal. There should not be any more signs of additional moisture/water damage or any recurring mold growth. Black mold that comes back after removal is usually an indication that a source of moisture has not been properly repaired.