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Mold Removal

Exposure to mold can cause severe health problems. Needless to say, it is unsafe to live in homes where any level of mold exists. Children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with respiratory sensitivities are at higher risk than other people when exposed to its harmful effects. To avoid health problems related to mold, the process of mold removal should be initiated as soon as its existence is suspected.

Protect yourself
Take the necessary steps to protect yourself during mold removal by using a mask or respirator that filters out mold spores (particles). Wear protective eye glasses, rubber gloves and clothing that can be discarded as soon as you are done. If the damage is extensive and requires several hours of cleanup, work over short periods of time and rest in a fresh air location.

One room at a time
To prevent mold spores from spreading, before cleaning an area, seal it off as best you can with plastic sheeting and duct tape to cover doorways, vents, and other openings. Dampen moldy materials before removal in order to minimize the spreading of mold spores. Each affected area should be cleaned separately.

What can and cannot be saved
Since it is impossible to completely eliminate mold from porous materials such as paper, sheetrock (drywall) and carpet padding, these materials should be discarded. Mold can be removed from hard surfaces such as plastic, glass, metal and counter tops. For structural wood, scrubbing may not completely remove mold growth, therefore, sanding is recommended.

Mold removal
If the surface to be disinfected is dry, lightly mist it with water before removing the mold. (dry mold spores can become airborne). Then, thoroughly clean the affected area with soap and water to remove as much of the mold as possible, including surfaces that do not show visible mold – it can be too small to be seen by the naked eye. Next, disinfect the area using a bleach and water solution. The recommended amount of bleach per gallon of water varies depending on the severity of the case. Usually one part bleach to four or more parts water, depending on the concentration of the bleach, will do the trick. The surface must remain wet for about 15 minutes to allow the solution to disinfect. Finally, rinse the entire area with clean water and rapidly dry the surface.

Carefully discard mold and mold-infected materials into sealed, sturdy plastic bags. Do not transport the bags throughout the house in order to avoid infecting other areas; use the nearest door or window. Air out the area after the mold removal process is completed.

A special note about carpets
Generally, it is not recommended to install fixed carpets over concrete floors; they trap mold more easily than other materials. If carpets smell slightly moldy, vacuum them, brush in a large amount of baking soda and leave for three or four days; thoroughly vacuum the area again. You can also steam clean carpets lightly and dry them rapidly. Be sure not to soak the carpets as it will stimulate mold growth. Instead of carpets, area rugs are more practical as they can easily be removed and washed. If you plan to install carpeting over a concrete floor, use a vapor barrier (plastic sheeting) over the concrete, covered with sub-flooring (insulation covered with plywood) to prevent a moisture problem. Whenever possible, lift the carpet to ensure that it is dry beneath.

A step-by-step recap of an effective mold removal process:

1. Protect yourself
2. Clean surfaces to remove mold
3. Disinfect
4. Rinse and dry
5. Discard any hazardous material

Mold removal is not a difficult undertaking when the mold is not widespread. If the above steps fail or if the mold growth is too severe, contact a certified contractor to help you deal with the problem. The presence of mold in your home should be taken seriously and addressed immediately upon its discovery. Whether you undertake the work yourself or seek help from a mold removal expert, proceed with meticulous caution: your health may depend on it.


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