Many homes fall victim to mold infestations. Mold can be a nuisance to deal with but it is necessary to remove the infestation before it worsens and affects the health of anyone exposed to it. Some mold problems can be manageable to eliminate alone if noticed before it becomes too large or harmful of an issue. If the mold problem is minor enough, general household cleaning products can be effectively utilized. Found mold in your bathroom? Here is your 5 step guide to remove a minor mold problem:
Step 1: Identify the mold
Mold can be found anywhere - in nature and indoors. If found indoors it is important to address it because it can prove to be harmful to your health. Moisture issues can contribute to mold problems. If ideal conditions are met, mold can quickly grow. Most visible mold can be easily identified, beginning as small, generally black dots and often growing into larger clusters. It can be found in grout lines of your shower, underneath the sink, on damp walls, and other moisture-prone locations. To distinguish mold from simple dirt, dab a few drops of bleach onto the affected area and see if it lightens after a minute or two, which signifies that it is mildew/mold. More damaging types of mold can actually cause rotting in the property structure, so be on the lookout for other signs such as stains, discoloration, warped surfaces, and even a strange, musty odor.
Step 2: Protect your self
Before attempting to clean up the mold, put on protective clothing and make sure you are taking the proper safety precautions. You don't necessarily need a hazmat suit for a small infestation but you should still be armed with protective gear to minimize exposure. Use an air mask or respirator that can adequately block mold spores from entering your lungs. Wear rubber gloves and safety goggles as well to ensure the spores do not come in contact with skin and sensitive body orifices (i.e. eyes, mouth, nose, etc.). In order to protect yourself from possible allergic reactions, it is recommended you wear clothing that protects as much skin as possible, and if you are extremely sensitive to mold exposure, to avoid the task all together and request the help of someone else.
Step 3: Apply the cleaning solution
For minor mold infestations, ordinary household cleaning products such as household bleach, can be used. You can apply your chosen cleaning solution with a spray bottle, lightly damp rag, low-abrasive scrub brush, or sponge. Generously apply the solution to the affected area. Let the solution sit for a few minutes prior to scrubbing. Once it has sat undisturbed for a few minutes, scrub the area in a circular motion.
Step 4: Clean up
After removing the mold, remove excess substance with a disposable towel. Dispose of or disinfect anything that came in contact with the mold. Let the area dry. If you live in an area with higher humidity, utilize a dehumidifier.
Step 5: Keep an eye out for remaining mold.
Make sure mold isn't growing again in the next few days to weeks. If mold does reappear it may mean that your bathroom does not have enough air circulation, which can be resolved by opening a window or running a fan or dehumidifier, if possible. If not possible, it is necessary to clean more frequently to prevent mold growth.
It is important to make sure the mold problem is resolved as soon as possible to prevent the infestation from escalating. Follow steps 1 through 5 to make sure your minor mold problem is properly treated. Have questions that we didn't answer? Not to worry! We have more answers for your pending questions:
Where does mold grow?
Mold can grow anywhere and thrives in warm, dark, moist conditions. It is often found in bathrooms, attics, basements, and bathrooms.
What makes mold grow?
Like all living things, mold can grow with the proper nutrients and conditions. If ideal nutrients, water, oxygen, and temperatures (40-100°F) are met, mold can begin to quickly grow.
What is so dangerous about mold?
Mold gives off toxic wastes, which can affect the health of anyone exposed to the infestation. It can cause anything from mild allergies to life-threatening conditions, depending on various factors, such as period of exposure, type of mold, and even the person themselves. Some symptoms include skin rashes, itchy and watery eyes, headaches, memory issues, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and respiratory conditions.
What are some recommended cleaning solutions?
Some recommended cleaning solutions to tackle your minor mold problem include: rubbing alcohol, commercial mold removal products (follow directions on the packaging), distilled vinegar, and bleach-detergent solution (mixture of bleach, water, and detergent).
How do I know if I can fix the mold problem myself or if I need to hire a professional?
Small mold situations can be removed without professional assistance as long as the mold spores are not disturbed and distributed throughout the home. It is recommended you have a professional mold test conducted by a qualified industrial hygienist if you suspect there may be a larger mold issue, such as mold that isn't visible. This test will be able to identify the affected areas as well as the level of toxicity of the mold. More toxic mold situations need to be handled by a certified professional remediation company, such as SI Restoration, in order to ensure the mold problem is completely removed in a safe and effective manner.