Thanks to increased levels of public awareness, most homeowners now know all about the dangers of black mold.
What they are often far less aware of is that unless the proper precautions are taken, undertaking black mold removal on your own can be almost as hazardous as doing nothing at all.
Black mold reproduces and spreads by releasing invisible spores into the atmosphere. Once in the air, these spores can travel throughout your house, from one room to the next, and settle on carpets, walls or other surfaces. If the conditions are favorable, the spores will start to grow and more mold will appear. One small patch left untouched or poorly dealt with can spread and ultimately infest an entire home, often in places you are unable to see.
Spores are released naturally as part of the mold’s life cycle but they can also be stirred up and sent airborne during the process of black mold removal. This is one key reason that the Environmental Protection Agency recommends that patches of mold covering more than 10 square feet should be dealt with by professional mold removal companies rather than the homeowners themselves.
Mold is a living organism and needs food to grow as well as moisture. That food source can be anything organic including wood, paper, fabric and drywall. In the process of growing, the mold can cause major structural damage to your property. It is not uncommon for people who have failed to tackle their mold problem quickly and effectively to find that they end up paying tens of thousands of dollars to repair their homes.
If the patch is small enough for you to tackle on your own, you will save a good deal of money as long as you go about it the right way. The key to effective black mold removal is to ensure you have the proper protective equipment and employ a careful step-by-step approach so that you minimize the chance of any mold being transferred to other parts of your home.
A good respirator mask, preferably with a replaceable filter which is fine enough to stop mold spores, is a good starting point. You should also wear non-porous gloves and goggles without air vents to prevent spores and debris from affecting your skin or your eyes.
When professional mold remediators are called in to deal with black mold removal, one of their first tasks is to seal off the room where the mold is present and use an air scrubber to remove all spores from the area but you don’t need professional equipment to take similar action. Doorways and windows can been sealed off with plastic sheeting while the cleaning is taking place. Pre-soaking the area of mold with a fine water spray will help reduce the number of spores than become airborne. Remember to open any available windows in the room while you are working to keep the air moving.
Once the area has been thoroughly cleaned and allowed to dry, disinfect it with a commercial product or a 1:1 vinegar and water solution to discourage the mold from returning. You should then go over the room with a vacuum cleaner fitted with a HEPA filter. This will ensure most of the remaining spores are removed from the room. Always tightly bag all rags, sponges and filters and dispose of them in an outdoor trashcan.
To ensure your black mold removal plan has been fully effective, try to keep the humidity of the affected room below 55 per cent as it is extremely difficult for mold to grow under such conditions.