Mold spores are everywhere in every type of climate. Mold is fungi and some types are extremely aidful to mankind (think of penicillin), while others can be quite dangerous to crops, respiratory systems, and the integrity of structures.
Dangerous Mold vs. Mildew
The most common type of mold found in houses is mildew. Mildew is a surface mold that develops in warmed, damped places like your bathroom and on fabrics and books in damp basements. Mildew begins as a gray or white powder-like colony. It will turn black or brown if not removed on time and often looks like soil accumulation. To check if the surface is covered with mildew or just dirt, press the stain with a cotton swab dipped in household chlorine bleach. If the stain lightens or vanishes after two or three minutes, it’s mildew. If not, it’s probably just dirt.
If mildew infection is caught early, you can easily handle it with household cleaners.
For extensive mold problems, consider hiring a professional. Some molds are highly toxic and even less threatening molds can cause problems for anyone with mold allergies or compromised respiratory systems.
The unwritten rule is if the mold covers 10 or more square feet, call in a professional
Eliminating large mold colonies requires heavy-duty chemicals and proper disposal of infested building materials. Local public health departments can provide advice on mold testing and refer you to an expert to get rid of mold.
Products That Can Eliminate Mold
- Chlorine bleach: Sodium hypochlorite or regular household bleach works best to eliminate mold and remove any discoloration. It is quite savage and should be diluted before using.
- Warning Caution should be used due to toxicity and dangerous fumes and bleach should never be integrated with ammonia.
- Hydrogen peroxide: Less harsh than chlorine bleach, hydrogen peroxide (3% to 10% solution) will eliminate mold and lighten blemishes. While it does have a bleaching effect, it works more slowly than chlorine bleach but has no toxic smokes or residue.
- Filtered white vinegar: Vinegar is acidic and slowly breaks down the structure of mold and eliminates it. Vinegar is non-toxic but mold blemishes may remain and additional scrubbing with a household cleaner may be needed.
- Baking soda & borax: Each of them has a high pH that inhibits the increase and survival of mold. Both products are cheap, non-toxic, and easy to mix with water. Borax will work better in vanishing any lingering stains but not as effective as a stronger cleaning product.
When using any of these products, do not wash away the cleaning solution completely. Leaving a bit of the cleaner will help inhibit future mold increases.
Removing Mold From Interior Walls, Flooring, and Carpet
If the mold is fuzzy and black, it may be much worse than just displeasing. The area should be opened to check for structural destruction. Wear safety glasses and respiratory protection. All building materials should be kept in heavy-duty plastic bags and disposed of properly. Allow the area to dry out thoroughly and make any needed fixes.
To clean porous surfaces like wood and drywall, a detergent should be added to the bleach and water solution to help it stick. Mix 1 part dishwashing detergent, 10 parts bleach, and 20 parts water. Try with a sponge or mop, not to over-saturate the surfaces. Do not wash away, and allow the solution to air dry.
Carpet with mold or a musty smell should be eliminated completely. Wearing a respirator, cut the carpet and fill it into small sections. Mist the materials and underflooring with water to help prevent the extend of airborne mold spores. Wrap the carpet in heavy plastic for disposal. Use a dry/wet vacuum to thoroughly clean the area and allow to air dry for several days before replacing flooring.
Exterior Home Surfaces
Chlorine bleach is quite productively in cleaning all types of house sidings, concrete, brick, and stone, but it is dangerous to plants and lawns. Be sure to cover any plant in danger with heavy plastic sheeting.
Mix 1 cup of chlorine bleach to 1 gallon of water. That can be used with a garden sprayer, power washer, or for hand-scrubbing. Always wear safety glasses, gloves, protective clothing, and a respirator. The bleach solution will bring color-loss on any type of fabric.
Spray the moldy areas with plain water and then the bleach and water solution and allow it to work for several minutes. If the mold lightens, move to another area. If the stain is still there, scrub the area and then reapply with more bleach and water solution. Allow air-drying completely.
Wash down nearby planted areas with plain water.