Mold Cleanup

Follow these tips for safely removing mold from your home.

Have you found mold in your home? The first thing you must know: There's no easy way to get rid of it.

Cleaning up a sizable mold infestation is a job for professionals. Once you start getting into large amounts of mold, you may accidentally release some of the mold into the air. If you don't capture all the mold, you could create a larger problem. Don't attempt to remove mold that's larger than a 3' x 3' patch, recommends the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Anything larger requires professional assistance.

If you've discovered a small area of mold and want to handle it yourself, follow these guidelines to protect yourself and your family:

Safety Materials

  • Goggles without air holes.
  • Filter mask (rated N-95 or higher). The EPA suggests wearing sealed goggles without holes to guard against mold spores coming in contact with your eyes. And to keep from inhaling the spores, it's vital that you wear the mask. The rating of N-95 stands for the percentage of particles that will be captured and stopped from coming through the mask. (For example, with the N-95 filter mask, it captures 95 percent of the particles released when removing the mold.) Make sure the mask is comfortable but tight enough to eliminate any air leakage.
  • Rubber gloves that extend to the middle of the forearm (select gloves made from natural rubber, neoprene, nitrile, polyurethane, or PVC if using a disinfectant, a biocide such as chlorine bleach or other cleaning solution). It's important to have sturdy gloves that have no rips because even the smallest amount of exposure to mold can cause skin irritations or rashes. And be sure to throw the gloves away once you're through. Don't reuse.

Tools

  • Soap and water
  • Scraper or sponge
  • Small drywall saw for removing material that can't be cleaned

To clean mold from a hard surface such as metal, the EPA recommends a scraper or sponge and a mixture of water and detergent.

For a porous surface such as drywall or wood, there's no easy cleanup method. You probably have to remove the actual material — using a saw to cut it away — before replacing.

If you suspect a larger mold problem lurking behind your cleanup, remember to call a professional.

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