I found toxic black mold in my home. Certainly words you do not want to hear. This brings us back the a few decades to a similar scare of lead paint and then asbestos. But-if you do have a black mold outbreak in your home, what is the logical next step? If the mold is confined to certain areas of your home and has not taken over as the picture above indicates, you can quite sucussfully remove this nasty mold with a little help.
You will minimize the damage of black mold be addressing it very quickly. The mold germinates in 24-48 hours and after that time it sends spores into the atmosphere which can be spread throughout your home.
Things You'll Need
- HEPA Air Purifier
- Rubber Gloves
- Heavy Plastic Bags
- Tyvek Suit
- Mold Disinfectant
- Detergent in a Bucket
- 6 mil Plastic Sheeting + Duct Tape
Make sure that you have lowered the relative humidity within your entire home to below 55%. This includes all unfinished basement areas as well as crawl spaces. Check humidity levels with an reliable hygrometer (also called a moisture meter or humidistat) (see web link at the end of this article). If humidity levels are above 55% bring in dehumidifiers to lower the level. Also make sure that all leaks in your home are fixed such as ice dams on the roof, leaky pipes, moisture coming through basement walls etc.
You will want to contain each space were mold exists. Seal off your first area with 6 mil plastic, sealed with duct tape. Also turn off all HVAC equipment and place plastic around all registers and return air grilles in the space. If possible try to set an exhaust fan in either a door or window opening that opens directly to the exterior of the space. This will create a slight negative pressure within the space, driving any airborne mold spores outdoors. It will also tend to keep the spores from traveling into the un-contained space.
Next you should set a HEPA air purifier within the contained space. The HEPA air purifier will scrub the air of any airborne mold spores. Make sure the air purifier has a HEPA filter, germicidal UV lamp, ionizer and anti-bacterial pre-filter to give you the assurance that all airborne spores have been removed.
If you have properly removed the moisture source that caused the mold, the area of mold should be dry. However when the mold dries is when the spores germinate a spread the quickest. Mist the affected area to prevent any mold spreading into other areas. Now clean the affected areas with a sponge and a bucket with water and cleaning detergent. Scrub all areas thoroughly and leave to dry completely.
Now with the affected area dry, apply a disinfectant to the affected areas. Coat all surfaces in the space completely. Then let all areas dry out completely and leave the air purifier running throughout this cleaning process.
Non-porous materials can be cleaned and reused if the mold buildup is not too severe. Porous materials, which include carpeting, ceiling tile, drywall, furniture, paper, books, insulation, etc. need to be thoroughly cleaned if the mold buildup is not too severe. If the buildup is severe remove all porous materials, place in heave plastic bags and dispose in a landfill. When removing materials from your home take care not to carry contaminated materials through the house, but directly outside.
When all signs of the mold infested area are gone, the area is dry and you have had the HEPA air purifier running in the space, remove he plastic. Keep the air purifier running in the space for several days just to make sure all of he mold spores have been killed.
Tips & Warnings
- Don't overlook your HVAC system in your mold mitigation plan. Spores can be sucked into the ductwork and air-conditioning coils should be cleaned and disinfected, condensate pans cleaned and disinfected and your ductwork may need cleaning by a professional duct cleaning company.
- When cleaning mold, make sure you wear a Tyvek suit, goggles, a high quality respirator and rubber gloves. All exposed skin, eyes and air passages should be completely protected from invisible mold spores.
- All family members should be evacuated from the house during black mold mitigation procedures.
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