Photo by Breanna Sisk
The unthinkable has happened, and you have discovered mold in your home! It is okay, take a deep breath, not near the mold of course, and lets clean this up! Now you are wondering how to handle this tragedy. Fear not, for as long as your mold growth is contained within a small area, you can most assuredly handle the removal yourself—and do so safely and effectively.
The first step is to assess the problem in its entirety. Find out what moisture is feeding the mold and allowing it to grow. Next collect and don personal protective equipment, including but not limited to gloves, mask and eyewear. Ensure that you have proper ventilation in the work area. You will then prepare your cleaning supplies. Some suggest ammonia-free soap and hot water. For small areas, you can use a simple household cleaner such a Lysol and wipe and clean the surface. There are specific mold removal and cleaning products that can be found in the cleaning aisle of the big box construction stores.
If the area is only contaminated by surface mold, it may be able to be cleaned by just wiping it off with a paper towel and the cleaning solution. If the mold is growing into the material, you may need to scrub the infected area using a brush or cleaning pad to adequately scour the infected walls and floor, or other surfaces. Rinse the area with your cleaning solution; it may be helpful to use a wet/dry vacuum in this step. Once the area is clean, it must be disinfected. A solution of 10% chlorine bleach is okay if you do not have a commercial mold removal product available. If you are making your own mold removal solution, please note to never mix bleach and ammonia, as the reaction will release a toxic and deadly fume. Once the disinfectant is applied, allow the area to air-dry naturally, as this is the most sanitary method. Make sure to properly dispose of moldy items.
Once clean, it is important to maintain the area in order to prevent recurrence. See How to Prevent Mold In A Bathroom