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It can start with a slow leak inside the wall or an area in the bathroom that always stays damp. You might not notice it until it turns into unsightly splotches, but black mold can begin growing on surfaces in as little as 24 hours. While you want to clean it up right away, you have to be careful with Stachybotrys chartarum (a.k.a. black mold).
It’s very important to understand that mold exposure can endanger your health. When you tackle mold cleanup, you have to take proper precautions before, during and after the project. Still, you don’t want it in your home, so how do you get rid of black mold?
Know What You’re Dealing With
In an earlier blog, we covered guidelines that help identify different types of mold in your home. That post also included a simple test to determine if your mold problem might be mildew instead. You need to know what you’re dealing with because some types of black mold are very toxic.
There are commercial kits available for DIY mold testing at home. However, the samples that you gather must be sent off for further tests to determine their exact mold types. It’s often safer and quicker to have a certified mold testing and inspection service here in Chicago or your vicinity to take care of it for you.
Once you’re sure that you have a black mold problem, you have to decide if you really want to handle the job. If you feel comfortable taking on the project, we strongly recommend that you carefully follow these 10 steps.
How to Get Rid of Black Mold
1. Assemble OSHA-rated protective gear before you begin working. You’ll need a respirator or face mask and non-vented goggles as well as disposable coveralls and gloves.
2. Identify all sources of moisture that support the mold growth, and take care of necessary repairs. Otherwise, the mold will return in spite of your hard work.
3. Seal off doorways and vents into the room with 6-millimeter plastic sheets secured with duct tape. This reduces the spread of airborne mold spores to other areas in the house.
4. If possible, place exhaust fans in windows to pull contaminated air outside as you work. Running the fans constantly also helps speed up the drying process.
5. Before you start scrubbing, identify any dry moldy areas, and lightly spray them with water. This helps contain microscopic particles as you work.
6. Clean up visible mold with a bleach and water solution. However, if this mixture isn’t suitable for affected surfaces, you can substitute ammonia, borax or vinegar for the bleach. (Note: never combine bleach and vinegar as this can results in extremely toxic fumes!)
7. After removing the mold, disinfect surfaces with a commercial product formulated for mold cleanup.You can find these products at most hardware and home improvement stores.
8. Treat all areas adjacent to freshly cleaned surfaces with the same sanitizing product. Assume that they’re contaminated even though you don’t see mold.
9. Seal protective gear and all cleaning equipment in heavy-duty garbage bags for disposal. Remove them from the house through the nearest exit.
10. Give the treated area several days to thoroughly dry. You can speed up the process with dehumidifying equipment.Continue running the window fans to vent moist air.
Power Tip: By the time the drying process is complete, the window fan blades and motors are contaminated with mold spores, so bag them up for safe disposal.
Always Proceed with Caution
We hope that our overview gives you a clear picture of how to eliminate black mold in your home. However, you should never try any type of DIY mold removal if the following conditions exist:
• You need to clean an area larger than 3 square feet.
• The surface doesn’t clean up easily.
• Mold growth permeates beneath affected surfaces.
• You or members of the household have respiratory issues.
If you have any doubts about tackling the job, call in a professional cleaning service. A certified specialist thoroughly inspects your property and takes samples to determine exactly what kind of mold problem you’re facing.
We’re Here to Help
Taking care of mold remediation as a DIY project often gives homeowners second thoughts. We’re always happy to answer your questions, and we look forward to your input through our Comments Section. It’s our goal to share as much information as possible so that you can make the best decisions with confidence.
It’s important to know what you’re dealing with, so we offer certified mold testing and inspection for Chicago homes and businesses. ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba stands ready to handle any type of mold removal in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. Our teams are always here to help you with the big jobs, so just give us a call.