Proper Mold Cleanup : 5 Steps
Mold is a nuisance in every sense of the word. Not only does it give your home an unpleasant, musty smell, but it is also a health hazard. Left to spread for a long time, it can seriously impact on the respiratory health of all those living in your home.
It is an allergen and can particularly cause people suffering from asthma and lung diseases untold misery. This is why you should remove mold as soon as you notice it. It will save you plenty of trouble in the future.
5 Steps for Mold Removal
1. Protection and Assessment
The first step is to protect yourself from the mold. Remember that inhaling a lot of mold can wreak havoc in your respiratory system, which is a risk you do not want to run. Before you start working on the mold, you should wear protective gear to keep your body from getting into contact with the fungus. You should particularly ensure that your eyes, nose, ears, mouth, face and hands are well covered. Try to minimize exposure to the spores as much as you possibly can.
You would be well advised to wear some old clothes for the task at hand. Once you are done with the removal, you can then throw these clothes away. This is ideal because mold can easily stick to the clothes only to return once you are done with the laborious task of removing the already- festering mold.
Once you are dressed for work, you then need to identify where the mold is growing. Usually, mold needs moisture to grow. Therefore, you should look for mold colonies in damp areas. Sometimes, the mold will be easily visible, such as the dark kind that grows in bathrooms. Sometimes, it festers in moist, warm and dark surfaces such as beneath the sink and beneath your floor carpet.
As you look for mold, you will also need to identify what kind it is. This will prove invaluable when it comes to choosing the removal technique. For instance, if the mold growth is mild, then scrubbing the surface with a hard brush and water might be all you need to remove it. More serious cases would require the use of stronger chemicals to obliterate the mold colonies.
The importance of documentation during assessment cannot be overlooked. Documentation can be in the form of a list, images or videos. It is important as it serves as a reminder of the areas where you are yet to get rid of the mold. That way, you can rest assured that you will do a thorough job of mold remediation once you begin.
Another advantage of documentation is that it allows you to formulate a plan of mold clean up. That way, you will clean much more efficiently saving you both time and effort. Also, documentation also helps you determine the contamination levels so as to take the right preventative measures before you start cleaning up.
The third step in mold abatement is sealing off of the affected areas. This is done to contain the mold in one area so as to avoid its spreading to others part of the house. You can seal off the room using polythene sheets, ensuring that air from the room does not leak through door and window openings to other rooms. You will also have to seal all ventilation spaces using polythene material and tape.
Another preventative measure you can take is switching off the HVAC system and the cooler fans as well. The last thing you want is for the contaminated air to be sucked into the system and spread throughout the entire house. You can also use negative air chambers to contain the spread of the mold spores. Negative air pressure can also be used to prevent the spores from spreading further.
4. Mold Removal / Abatement
After containment, you can delve right in to the mold removal process. The kind of technique you employ will be determined by the type of mold that is growing in your home. If the mold growth is mild, then brushing it off using water and a detergent may be all that is needed to get rid of it. You have to be meticulous when using this technique of mold removal. Thorough scrubbing using a hard brush is a must if you are to get rid of the mold permanently.
If you discover that the mold growth in your home is far more wide- spread and severe, then you will have to take a more advanced approach to the problem. With the more complicated mold growth, you will need to use bio-chemicals to completely rid your house of the fungus. The most common cleaning agent for such mold growth is biocide.
However, there are certain porous materials that cannot be salvaged after getting infested with mold. These include dry walls can carpets. They have to be thrown away if you are to completely rid your house of mold. Throwing them away is not simply a matter of tossing them in the garbage. You will need to carefully wrap them in double layers of plastic covering, seal it after which you can safely dispose of it in the garbage.
5. Vacuum and Encapsulation
After cleaning up the affected areas, what remains is to dry and encapsulate them to prevent future mold infestation. You can dry out the surfaces using a high- efficiency particulate air (HEPA) vacuum. This not only removes all the moisture, but it also sucks in any minute mold pieces that may have been left behind.
After vacuuming, you can now encapsulate the area. This is done by applying a layer of special whitewash or paint meant to prevent future growth of mold.
Mold can be annoying to say the least. You should get rid of it as soon as you start noticing the signs of mold growth in your home. These could include a musty smell in your house or darkening surfaces. Because mold can be a serious health hazard and can also cause the wooden parts of your house to rot, it is important that you act with speed when it comes to removing it.
There are five major steps of mold removal: assessment, documentation, containment, removal and vacuuming. But perhaps the most important thing is to deprive the mold of moisture, which is essential for their survival. Fix all leaking pipes and taps as soon as you notice the leaks. It will prove to be worth it over the long haul.
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