Jan 8, 2019

Can Mold Removal At Home? When to Take Caution and Hire a Professional

Most homes will get mold at some point. While small cases of mold can usually be cleaned up quickly with bleach and a rag, others are more difficult to get rid of. Major black mold infestations can take a serious toll on your home and your health. If you discover a black mold infestation in your house, you should take action right away.
mold removal company
Identifying Mold

The first step in removing a mold infestation is identifying the problem. Mold grows from tiny spores that float through the air and land on moist surfaces. The most noticeable type of mold is mildew, which usually starts as small black spots but can grow into larger colonies. Mildew sometimes looks like dirt, but you can identify it by dabbing a few drops of bleach onto the area. If it lightens after a couple of minutes, it's mildew.

Fortunately, mildew won't damage the structure of your home. Other types of mold can lead to rot, though. If you see mildew on a surface in your home, it may be a sign that the area is moist enough for other, more harmful types of mold to grow. You can test wood surfaces in your home for mold by probing them with a screwdriver. If the area crumbles, you likely have a mold problem.


Mold that spreads behind walls, under floors, or in other internal places throughout your home will require an extensive cleanup process. Before you begin, you should make sure that you have all of the right equipment and that you take the necessary precautions. Black mold and other harmful mold species can easily spread throughout your house and make you sick if you're not careful during cleanup.

When you remove the mold, you should wear old clothes and shoes that you can wash or throw away as soon as you're finished with the cleanup. You should also wear safety goggles, rubber gloves, and a respirator to avoid inhaling the spores or having an allergic reaction.

Open up all of your windows while you work to get as much fresh air in the room as possible. Put an old box fan in the window, or buy a cheap new one that you can dispose of when you're done. Mold spores are almost impossible to wash off of fan blades, so it's important to get rid of the fan after your mold cleanup is finished.

You should also be careful when removing moldy carpeting or debris. Wrap all of the contaminated materials in plastic, or double-bag them with garbage bags. Throw them away immediately to prevent further contamination to your home.

Here are all of the materials you'll need to safely and effectively get rid of mold:

        rubber gloves
        garbage bags
        plastic sheeting
        duct tape
        utility knife
        pry bar
        pump sprayer
        soft bristle brush
        shellac or oil-based primer

Removing the Mold

Once you have all the materials needed and you've taken the right precautions, you can begin the mold cleanup process. Here are the four main steps required for mold removal:

Step 1: Remove the carpet. If your carpet is moldy, it has to go. Use a utility knife to cut up the carpet into six-by-eight-foot sections. Then, use a pump sprayer to wet the surface with water, which will prevent the spores from spreading. Roll up the sections of the carpet, wrap them in plastic sheeting, and tape them up with duct tape.

Step 2: Seal off the affected area. This is especially important if the mold is isolated to one room in your home. Cover up the air ducts and vents in the room with plastic sheeting and duct tape. Then, seal the doorway with plastic sheeting to prevent the mold spores from spreading throughout the rest of your house.

Step 3: Open up the walls. If your walls are contaminated by mold, pry off the baseboards and probe the moldy walls with a screwdriver. Use a pry bar to remove the contaminated areas of the wall and reveal the hidden mold in the wall framing and insulation. You may have to remove the drywall beyond the noticeable damage to find all of the mold on the inside of the wall. You should make a small hole to locate the electrical wires before you start cutting larger sections out of the wall. Turn the power off before you cut, too, just in case you accidentally cut through a wire.

Step 4: Remove the moldy materials. Use the pump sprayer to mist the moldy materials with water and prevent the mold from spreading. Then, place all of the moldy drywall and insulation in heavy-duty garbage bags. As soon as a bag is full, tie it shut tightly. If the mold problem is severe, you may find rot in your walls. Remove as much of the rot as possible, and replace any damaged studs and wall sheathing. If you can't remove all of the rot, use a wood preservative to treat the affected areas.

Cleaning Up

Once you've removed all of the moldy materials, you'll need to thoroughly clean the room to get rid of any remaining mold. This can be done in three steps:

Step 1: Vacuum. After removing your carpet and cutting out pieces of your wall, there will be moldy debris all over the room. Your first step in cleaning up the room is to vacuum up all the debris with a wet/dry vacuum. If possible, buy a long hose and run it out of your window, so you can keep the vacuum outside and only use the nozzle inside. This will reduce the risk of mold spores spreading in your house. When you're done vacuuming, thoroughly wash the tank, hose, and attachments of your vacuum with a solution of bleach and water. Replace the filter to stop the spread of spores.

Step 2: Scrub the surfaces with mold cleaner. To wash away surface mold stains from your walls or wood trim, make a mixture of a quart of water, half a cup of bleach, and a small amount of detergent. The bleach will kill the mold, and the detergent will help lift the mold off of the surface. Using a soft-bristled brush, scrub the area with this mixture until all of the mold has disappeared. When you're done cleaning, don't rinse away the mixture. Let the bleach continue to penetrate the material and kill any remaining spores. Use a fan or dehumidifier to help the surfaces dry, and check for signs of mold after a few days. If the mold isn't completely gone, scrub the surfaces again with the bleach solution.

Step 3: Seal the moldy areas. When the mold is gone, use a pigmented shellac or oil-based primer to seal all of your wood surfaces. Install new, clean insulation and drywall to replace the moldy materials. Then, repaint your clean walls with latex paint containing a mildewcide, which will help prevent mold growth.

Preventing Mold from Returning

After putting in all of the effort to get rid of the mold, you won't want it to return. The best way to prevent a mold problem from returning is to control the moisture in your home. Infestations almost always occur in damp areas with poor ventilation or in areas with water leaks.

If your home gets humid and damp easily, you may need to install better ventilation to prevent mold from growing. All appliances that create moisture, such as your stove and clothes dryer, should vent to the outside. Keep windows open for extra ventilation when possible, and set up dehumidifiers in rooms that are difficult to keep dry.

Mold-resistant products can help control moisture and prevent spores from spreading as well. If you have to replace your walls, you can choose mold-resistant sheetrock or drywall, and you can use paint that's made with mildewcide.

Although it's possible to remove mold on your own, severe infestations can be difficult to control. You might not have all of the equipment or knowledge needed to safely remove all of the mold and prevent it from returning. Consider hiring a mold removal company to help you with the process, so you can be sure that your home really is mold-free. When you trust professionals to handle the mold removal, you don't have to risk getting sick from inhaling the spores, and you can have peace of mind knowing that your home will be properly taken care of.

Aloha Restoration is a family-owned company that offers mold removal, water cleanup, and other home restoration services in the Lake Zurich area. The company’s licensed contractors can inspect your home for mold, safely remove it with professional equipment, and fix any water damage that may have played a role in the mold buildup. The company offers a free in-home assessment to all of its customers.

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