How to Treat Homes With Basement Mold

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Mold is a fungus that thrives in moist environments. It is not uncommon to find mold growth in a basement. It is important to properly remove mold from a basement not only for aesthetic purposes, but also to protect the health of the people living in the home. Mold exposure can cause a variety of health problems such as wheezing, coughing and respiratory problems. Effectively treating a home with basement mold will eliminate the chances of adverse health reactions to mold exposure.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic sheeting
  • Duct tape
  • Plastic bags
  • Spray bottle
  • Bucket
  • Non-ammonia dish soap
  • Rags
  • Fans (optional)
  • Sandpaper
  • ¼ cup chlorine bleach
  • Borate-based laundry detergent
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Steam cleaner

Seal off the basement area from the rest of the home. Hang plastic sheets in stairways or doorways that lead to other parts of the home that cannot be blocked off with a door. Cover heat vents and air ducts with duct tape to prevent mold spores from traveling to the rest of the house. Place any molded items from the basement into a plastic bag or discard them right away if they cannot be cleaned.

Open up as many windows in the basement as possible prior to beginning to clean the mold. This will reduce your exposure to potentially harmful mold spores.

Fill an empty spray bottle with plain water. Dampen all molded areas of the basement prior to cleaning. Ensuring that the molded area is damp will minimize the amount of mold spores that will be released into the air.

Fill a bucket with warm water and a few squirts of non-ammonia dish soap. Scrub hard surfaces that are moldy with the soapy water and a rag. This is an effective cleaning solution at removing mold from glass, hard plastic, countertops, metal and other hard surfaces. Allow the surface to air dry. Turn on overhead fans in the basement and set up free-standing fans, if you can, to aid in the drying.

Use sandpaper to remove mold from wood surfaces. Scrub the wood with the soapy water first, allow it to air dry, then lightly sand the wood to remove the mold. Discard porous materials such as drywall, paper and carpet padding that are infested with mold. It is not possible to remove mold completely from these types of materials.

Mix ¼ cup of chlorine bleach into 1 gallon of warm water. Go over the molded areas with a rag saturated in the bleach solution to disinfect the surface. Wait about 20 minutes and then go over the area again with the bleach solution. After another 20 minutes has elapsed, do a final wipe of the surface with the bleach solution.

Clean the surfaces with a borate-based detergent. Look for a laundry detergent with borate listed in the ingredients. Add about 1 cup of the detergent to a gallon of water and wash down the surfaces with the cleaning solution. Do not rinse the detergent.

Vacuum and steam clean any carpeting that has mold.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wear rubber gloves and a protective face mask when cleaning up mold to avoid exposure to mold spores and cleaning products.
  • Never mix bleach and ammonia or products containing ammonia. This combination can be toxic.

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