Mold is both highly unattractive as well as dangerous to the health of those within the home, particularly the elderly and young children. Mold spores are typically quite small and therefore easy to inhale. The common symptoms of mold inhalation are difficulty breathing, congestion in the nasal passages and the sinuses, asthma attacks, skin irritation, coughing, and soreness in the throat. Mold requires moisture to grow so rooms such as the bathroom and kitchen are more susceptible than others. Additionally, houses which frequently flood and are in areas of high humidity are also more likely to experience mold. In short, the only sure way to avoid mold is to ensure that there is no lingering moisture within the home.
When preparing to remove mold, one should wear either a mask or a respirator to prevent mold inhalation as well as rubber gloves and clothing which can be easily washed. Some method of eye protection is also recommended as mold can cause irritation in the eyes. It is also a good idea to use heavy plastic to separate the contaminated room from the rest of the rooms in the house.
Before one removes the mold, it is best to moisten the area so that the spores are dampened and not able to become airborne. The mold can then be removed using ammonia-free soaps and detergents, which can be used on surfaces such as metal, plastic, glass, and countertops. Do not, under any conditions, combine ammonia with bleach to use as a cleaning agent as these two form a highly poisonous mixture. If the moldy object is a porous material, it will not be possible to clean. In this case, the only solution is the disposal of the item. In the case of wood materials, it is likely that the wood will need to be sanded to remove any mold spores.
After the mold has been removed via sanding or scrubbing, the area should then be disinfected with water and bleach. A solution containing one part bleach to five parts water is usually sufficient although this is dependent on the extent of mold contamination. However, higher concentrations of bleach are usually recommended for objects composed of wood or concrete as these materials are usually more difficult to clean. After the bleach mixture is placed on the surface, the solution should remain in place for a period of 15 minutes at the minimum. This allows for the complete disinfection of the surface. Keep in mind that simply because there is no visible mold does not mean that there are no spores. Even if all the mold seems to have been removed, do not shorten the period of bleach disinfection.
After the bleach finishes disinfecting, the object or surface should be thoroughly washed using water and then swiftly dried. If the moisture is able to sit, this would promote the growth of additional mold and unhealthy bacteria. Using windows, natural ventilation, dehumidifiers, and fans are a great way to accelerate the process of drying out the area.