|How To Repair Mold Damage – A Homeowner’s Guide|
The first step in any mold clean-up is to determine the location of the mold growth(s), and the source of the moisture. For more information on how to find your mold problem, refer to our homeowner’s guide “how to find your mold problem.
“Small areas” of mold (less than 3 patches of 10 square feet or less each) can easily be treated by anyone. You should always wear protective equipment when cleaning mold, which should at minimum include:
Examples of “Small Areas”
Infants and other family members with asthma, allergies or other health problems should not be in the work area or adjacent room until the mold problem has been alleviated.
To Clean Small Areas of Washable surfaces:
Scrub with UrthPRO™ and allow to dry. Wipe with a damp cloth if cosmetically necessary and dry quickly.
To Clean Small Areas of Moldy drywall:
Wet the surface with UrthPRO™ and wipe with a clean, damp rag or cloth. Do not over-saturate the drywall.
Mold that comes back after cleaning is usually an indication that a source of moisture has not been removed. Seek professional help from a trained Restoration Professional.
If you follow the proper procedures and use the proper protective equipment, a do-it-yourselfer can easily clean up “moderate areas” of mold. “Moderate” means more than 3 patches of mold, each smaller than 10 square feet, or one or more isolated patches larger than 10 square feet but a total area smaller than 32 square feet (size of a 4 x 8 foot sheet of plywood or drywall).
A small clean up should take minutes (not hours) to finish. When the clean up takes hours to a day to finish, it is suggested that you upgrade to a better filter, such as a half-face respirator with charcoal cartridges. An exhaust fan installed in a window in the room being cleaned would prevent contamination of other areas of the house as well as provide ventilation.
For Moderate Area General cleaning
Vacuum surfaces with a vacuum cleaner which has a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter or is externally exhausted. Scrub or brush the moldy area with UrthPRO™. Rinse by sponging with a clean, wet rag. Repeat as necessary. Dry quickly. HEPA vacuum the surfaces that were cleaned as well as surrounding areas.
Cleaning Moderate Area Wood Surfaces
Vacuum loose mold from wood surfaces using a HEPA or externally exhausted vacuum. Clean the surface of the wood with UrthPRO™. Rinse with a clean, damp rag and dry quickly. If the staining does not come off, wet the surface with UrthPRO™, then sand and vacuum the surface of the wood with a vacuum/sander combination. It is important to vacuum at the same time to prevent mold spores from being dispersed into the air. Clean the surface of the wood with UrthPRO™, rinse with a clean damp rag and dry quickly. Note that wood affected by rot may need to be replaced.
Cleaning Moderate Area Concrete Surfaces
Vacuum the concrete surfaces to be cleaned with a HEPA or externally exhausted vacuum cleaner. Clean up surfaces with UrthPRO™. If the surfaces are still visibly moldy, saturate the moldy concrete surface with UrthPRO™ using a sponge or rag. Keep the surface wet for 15 minutes. Rinse the concrete surface twice with clean water. Dry thoroughly, as quickly as possible.
The paper facings of gypsum wallboard (drywall) grow mold when they get wet or repeatedly wet and don’t dry quickly. Cleaning with water containing detergent not only adds moisture to the paper but also can eventually damage the facing. If the mold is located only on top of the painted surface, remove it by general cleaning (see above). If the mold is underneath the paint, the moldy patch and other moldy material behind it are best cut out and the surrounding areas should be cleaned with UrthPRO™. A mold clean-up contractor should do this. New materials may become moldy if the moisture entry has not been stopped. If this is the case, replacement of the materials should be deferred until the source of the moisture is corrected. The affected areas should be temporarily covered with plastic sheeting and sealed at the edges.
Any areas that show new patches of mold should be cleaned promptly.
If your problem is greater than those discussed here, you encounter a persisting problem or see adverse health effects of family members that appear to be inside your home, you may need professional help. Learn How To Hire A Mold Contractor.
Bleach is NOT recommended for ANY mold clean-up
The presence of organic (humic) materials, the pH (acidity/alkalinity) of the water, the surface material and contact time affect the effectiveness of bleach for disinfection. Since these factors are not generally controlled, bleach cannot be relied upon for disinfection. The most compelling reason for advising against bleach is that fumes are harmful but in addition, overuse of bleach will result in increased releases of chlorinated effluents which can be harmful to the environment.