Mold: How to Eliminate it and Prevent it from Coming Back
Discovering mold in your home can be horrifying. You’re wondering how it got there and if it’s harmful to your family’s health, right? We’re no stranger to homeowners feeling this way, which is why we work so hard to take care of this nasty problem and ensure it never comes back.
What about you though? Can you DIY this type of thing? Believe it or not, there are a few methods you can take to get rid of mold in your home, but be aware that the best answer is to always call a mold remediation specialist to make sure the job is done right. For those minor growths that you find, here are the steps you can follow to handle them.
1. Get Rid of Moisture
Most mold growths thrive in dark, moist locations, so you should check your home regularly for leaks or areas that fit this description. You can do this with fans or basic rags to wipe up any standing liquid. Do any necessary repairs to make sure the water doesn’t come back.
2. Use a Cleaning Solution
You can use a specialized mold remover, or you can choose a more natural cleaning solution to remove minor cases. Like any major cleaning project, you should first put on a pair of rubber gloves, a respirator mask, and safety goggles if possible. Some of these solutions can irritate the skin, and cleaning mold can release spores that are harmful to breathe in.
Hydrogen peroxide is a non-toxic and safe solution to kill mold. It works effectively on porous and non-porous surfaces, but you should always test it in a small area to make sure it doesn’t stain what you’re trying to clean. Here’s how you can use it to remove mold:
- Put 3% concentration hydrogen peroxide in a spray bottle.
- Spray the moldy surface and let it sit for 10 minutes.
- Scrub down the surface and rinse off the hydrogen peroxide.
- Spray a solution of borax or white vinegar to prevent it from coming back.
Vinegar is also a natural way to remove and stop future mold growth. While it may have strong fumes, the fumes are non-toxic. With proper ventilation, the fumes should go away after a little time. with proper ventilation, depending on the surface you’re washing, you might not even need to rinse it off after you’re done!
- Put white distilled vinegar into a spray bottle.
- Spray the moldy surface liberally.
- Let the vinegar stay on the surface for at least an hour.
- Scrub the surface with a scrubbing brush or scouring pad and wipe it off with warm water.
- Spray vinegar on the surface again and let it air dry.
While borax is toxic when consumed, it naturally kills and prevents further mold growth. Unlike bleach, it doesn’t emit toxic fumes and it can kill mold on porous surfaces. In fact, borax can also be used as an insecticide, as well. Here’s how you can use borax effectively:
- Mix a ratio of 1 cup powdered borax with 1 gallon warm water.
- Spray or wipe the borax solution on the moldy surface.
- Let it sit for a few minutes before scrubbing.
- Scrub and wipe the surface off. You don’t need to wash off the borax, as borax is a natural deterrent.
Do Not Use Bleach
As much as bleach may be an effective cleaning agent, it shouldn’t be used to remove mold. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency doesn’t recommend it. Using bleach can cause toxic fumes that can harm your respiratory system. Plus, bleach doesn’t soak into porous substances, so even if you use bleach to remove it, there could be spores lurking down below.
3. Watch for Further Growth
Doing DIY methods to get rid of mold growths can successfully keep it away, but more often than not, it will come back. Porous surfaces, including carpet, drywall, or wood could have hidden spores lurking in them, so it’s important to keep checking for it to come back. If it does come back, you may want to hire a professional to get rid of the source.
Read More: Where Is Mold Hiding in Your Home?
To help you handle small mold problems, you can download this handy graphic and put it on your fridge for quick reference!
How to Prevent Mold Growth
If you’ve successfully gotten rid of the mold growing in your home or want some tips to make sure it doesn’t grow in the first place, there are quite a few ways you can prevent it. The first thing you should remember is that it thrives in moisture. No water, no mold. Here are a few ways to keep moisture levels down in your home.
Use a Dehumidifier
If your home is consistently humid, your home could benefit from a dehumidifier. It will remove the excess water in the air and make it harder for mold to grow.
Seal any Cracks in Windows and Doors
You can purchase a crack sealant at any hardware store. By tightening up those small entryways you will prevent a lot of spores from coming in as they travel on the air.
Rake and Clear Fallen Leaves
Mold easily grows on wet leaves. If you have any near your home, make sure you clear them out. Additionally, don’t let anyone track anything wet in your home on their shoes.
Check Your Basement and Attic for Leaks
You can either have a specialist come check your home for mold, or you can do it yourself. Either way it needs to be done. At least once a year you should pull things away from the walls (including molding and stucco if you can), to check for growth. If you know that a wall is facing outside and could be retaining water, check that area more frequently.
Clean Up Any Water Immediately
Got water on your bathroom floor? Dealing with a flooded basement? Don’t let the water sit, even if it’s on non-porous tile. Clean up any standing water as soon as possible. If it’s a leaking pipe or a broken appliance, get the issue fixed as soon as possible so it doesn’t happen again. Mold can start growing in as little as 24 hours.
Read More: What Should You Do After a Water Disaster?
Hopefully you won’t have to deal with mold any time soon. It can be a pain and a hazard to deal with, which is again why we suggest calling a specialist to take care of it. So be vigilant about looking out for leaks and areas where it can grow, and handle it correctly when you do find it.
Have Mold or Want to Learn More?
At Rapid Restoration we are equipped and experienced enough to handle your mold problem. You can learn more about what to do if you find it with our complete guide or you can give us a call anytime at (612) 294-0886 and we’ll be happy to get your home back to being a safe, mold-free environment.