The most effective method of mold removal is to prevent it before it starts. Excess moisture promotes mold growth and should be avoided whenever possible. Using ammonia or bleach to clean up mold is also harmful to the environment. To stop mold growth, you must control dampness. The worst places for mold growth are crawl spaces, attics, walls where water has leaked and basements with poor foundation drainage. To avoid mold growth, stop leaks and route water away from the foundation.
Surface molds are easier to remove
Generally, molds do not cause much damage, but they can still pose a health risk. Thankfully, most types of molds are benign and cause only low-level irritation or allergic reactions. Regardless of the cause of your mold problem, it is important to remove it quickly to minimize exposure and liability. In the meantime, there are several steps you can take to get rid of your mold infestation. Continue reading for some of the most important tips to deal with mold in your home.
One of the most common and affordable natural solutions for mold removal is vinegar. Vinegar is effective for killing mold spores because it contains an acidic formula that kills fungi. You can apply vinegar to the mold with a disposable cloth or brush. Then, wipe the area with a clean damp towel. Alternatively, you can also use an undiluted white vinegar solution on the affected area. Regardless of what method you use, you should always wear rubber gloves when working with cleaning products.
Excess moisture is a factor in mold growth
While the main cause of mold growth is excessive moisture, occupant activities can also contribute to mold growth. The presence of moisture in a building can result from a variety of factors, including improper maintenance, design defects, and occupant activity. Excess moisture sources are common, including floods, roof leaks, and drainage problems. Less obvious sources include minor plumbing leaks and temperature gradients that can cause water vapor to condense on building surfaces.
Proper ventilation is critical for controlling moisture. Whether it is in the air, the ground, or the materials inside a building, a mold infestation requires ample moisture to grow. This moisture is referred to as “water activity” by mycologists, and different species of mold will require different amounts of water activity. In general, moisture must be greater than 70% relative humidity in order to grow. Most serious outbreaks of mold occur in porous cellulose-type materials like wallpaper and furniture.
Personal protective equipment is important for mold removal
Personal protective equipment is essential when working with mold, especially if the job requires contact with active mold spores. When engaging in mold remediation, you’re likely to be exposed to harmful substances, including biocides and hazardous materials. Protective gear protects your hands, skin, eyes, and air passages from such toxins. The Environmental Protection Agency offers examples of personal protective equipment you can use while working with mold.
In addition to gloves, mold removal requires protective gear for workers. The minimum required PPE includes gloves, goggles, and an N-95 respirator. A respirator is essential when working with mold and spores. This type of respirator covers your mouth and nose, and goggles protect your eyes from the chemicals. Limited PPE consists of full-face air-purifying respirators with P100 filters and are suitable for small to medium-sized areas. However, this type of respirator does not protect your eyes from the mold spores.
Avoiding exposure to mold spores during mold removal
You should wear gloves and masks when cleaning mold, and also protect your eyes with goggles with no ventilation holes. To avoid exposing yourself to mold spores, you should prevent moisture from entering the house in the first place. Repair leaks and keep gutters clear. If you can, use an exhaust fan in your kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room. You may also want to install a dehumidifier to keep the air dry.
Wearing a N-95 respirator is a good way to limit your exposure to airborne mold spores. You can find them at most hardware stores, and they are inexpensive at $12 to $25. If you are cleaning with mild cleaning solutions, you can use ordinary rubber gloves. If you are using strong cleaning solutions, such as chlorine bleach or other powerful chemicals, wear gloves made from polyurethane or natural rubber.