- Home Improvement
Quick and Safe Black Mold Removal
Black mold also known as Strachybotrys Chartarum is a toxic fungi that breeds in moist areas in the home. Humidity, moisture, wet spots, or flooding if not properly taken care of can harvest black mold. Encountering black mold can be a scary thing-since it can be harmful or even toxic to your health. The first step to eliminating black mold is to know what it is and to identify where it grows.
Mold in general likes to grow in dark or damp places, bathrooms, basements, between the walls, or tiles, near a leaky pipe, or in windows where moisture is trapped. As a fungi-its spores can spread through the air, or travel in from the outside where it then finds a moist spot in the home to live and grow. Black mold looks like a greenish black fuzz or a slimy black mildew. A monthly inspection of these areas will keep you aware of any black mold that may be growing, and if you see black mold remove it as soon as possible before it gets out of hand. If you are unsure if you are dealing with black mold or some other household mold you can purchase a toxic mold kit. These kits ask for a mold sample, the sample will be mixed with a liquid solution, then measured for toxicity, after which a test strip will let you know if it is toxic mold.
If you do find a black mold problem in your home and depending on the severity of the growth, you can take care of the removal of black mold yourself, or call in a professional to take care of it for you. Either way the removal of black mold should be handled carefully so as not to contaminate other areas of the home or harm yourself.
Removing black mold yourself
Removing black mold yourself
Safety is important while cleaning black mold. Gloves, a mask, or a respirator, and a long sleeve disposable suit should be worn to protect your hands, eyes, lungs, and exposed skin.
To prep the area before cleaning it is important to dry the area where the mold is growing. A de-humidifier is the best tool to suck the moisture out of the room--stopping the chance of more mold growth. Once the area is dry, it will need to be closed off from other parts of the house. For instance if your problem is in the bathroom, you can block air vents, or spaces beneath or around a door with duck tape and plastic trash bags. This will confine the airborne spores to the room where you will be working as to not contaminate the rest of the home.
What does black mold look like?
Your mold will either be dry-this looks like a dirty grayish black thin layer of fuzz; or moist--which will look a little like black thick mildew. If the mold is dry you will need to spray the mold with some water to keep the spores from dispersing while cleaning.
Removal of black mold
Use a soapy detergent to clean and scrub the mold off of the infected area, once that is clean, a disinfectant like Clorox or a Lysol spray can be used to kill the remaining spores. It is not necessary to use a disinfectant because the spores cannot be 100% removed. The EPA says that using a detergent with water will be sufficient as long as the area is kept dry afterword.
Disposing of infected items
To ensure that black mold does not spread, it is a good idea to dispose of items that came into contact with the mold, a sponge, or cleaning brush, the protective clothing, the carpet, drywall, or tiles that may be infected, before opening up the quarantined area. These items can be placed in large garbage bags--so as not to contaminate other parts of the home while discarding the black mold debris.
When to hire a black mold remover
If you think a black mold area is too much to for you to handle; or if there was a flood, or a leak that infected a big area in your home you may want to consider hiring a professional. The EPA says that if the infected area is more than 3 feet by 3 feet a specialist should be hired. Their service usually cost anywhere from $500-2,000 for a small crawl space, $2,000 to $5,000 for a basement, crawl space, or a bathroom, and for bigger areas, perhaps if a flood damaged the first level of a home and there was black mold, it may cost anywhere from $10,000-$15,000 dollars. Black mold removal can be pricey but in the end having a toxic-free living area may be worth it.