Effective Black Mold Removal Options for Your Home
When you’re looking at a new house or apartment, there are a few issues you should keep an eye out for as you tour locations. At the top of your list to investigate are structural issues, pest problems, broken systems (like heating and plumbing), and black mold. Of those four common problems, black mold can cause the most fear because it can impact your health.
Read on to learn more about black mold, its dangers, and the best ways for you to get it out of your house.
What causes black mold?
Three elements can cause black mold to grow: the presence of mold spores, constant moisture, and a place for the mold to grow. Mold spores are common in the air outside and can come into your home through openings (like windows, doors, air conditioning systems, etc.), on pets, and on your clothing.
If there’s an area inside your house that’s exposed to constant moisture, the mold spores can land there and start to grow. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) points out several materials that are golden opportunities for black mold growth, including paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles, wood products, dust, paints, wallpaper, insulation, drywall, carpet, fabric, and upholstery.
Black mold is likely to appear in areas that are susceptible to excess moisture, like bathrooms, kitchens, and areas surrounding doors and windows. A leaky roof can also lead to the appearance of black mold in insulation and drywall.
Whether you’re walking through a home for the first time or the thousandth, keep a keen eye out for black mold and monitor spaces where it’s likely to grow.
Is black mold dangerous?
Black mold can be dangerous, especially for people who are sensitive to molds, have mold allergies, or who are already in poor health. The potential negative health effects of black mold range from mild to serious.
Black mold can cause respiratory issues such as coughing, wheezing, and a stuffy nose. Other annoying, but mild, side effects of black mold exposure include a sore throat, burning eyes, and a skin rash. More serious and potentially dangerous reactions to black mold are possible for people with allergies, those who are immune-compromised, as well as infants and the elderly.
The appearance of black mold in your home isn’t a cause for panic, but it should be addressed once you discover it. And make sure to keep an eye on members of your family who could be more susceptible to black mold side effects — both mild and major.
How to remove black mold from your home in 6 steps
Discovering black mold in your home can be scary. Fortunately, black mold removal is not complicated, and learning how to clean black mold on your own is possible. If you discover black mold that’s contained in one or just a few areas of your house, then follow these six steps:
Step 1: Invest in protective gear.
You need to protect yourself from the black mold and the substances you’re going to use for removal. You’ll need a face mask with a respirator, rubber gloves, eye protection, and rubber boots.
Step 2: Make sure the area is well-ventilated.
The fumes from the chemicals you use to clean up the black mold (as well as the mold itself) can irritate your eyes, skin, and airways. If possible, open windows and doors in the area where you are working to allow in fresh air during the process.
Step 3: Purchase or make a mold-killing solution.
Does bleach kill black mold? This is a common question. The CDC says yes, and recommends using a mixture of bleach and water, one cup of bleach to every gallon of water. You can mix bleach and water on your own or purchase pre-mixed mold killing solutions online or at your local hardware store.
Step 4: Apply black mold removal solution to the infected area.
Scrub the moldy area with a strong-bristled brush and the mold removal solution. Do not wipe the solution away immediately; let it sit and permeate the moldy area. When it has dried, do not rinse this area (you don’t want the moisture to invite the mold back).
Step 5: Get rid of moldy materials.
If you’ve removed any moldy materials (like carpet or insulation), make sure to place them in a sealed bag and remove it from your house immediately. Use a wet/dry vacuum to pick up any moldy debris. Empty the vacuum in a trash bag, seal it, and take it outside immediately.
Step 6: Address the moisture problem in the area.
Black mold cannot grow without constant moisture. If you discover black mold in your home, it’s an indication that you have a moisture problem. Address the moisture problem, so the mold doesn’t return in the future.
Products and tools you’ll need to remove black mold
In order to properly remove black mold, you’ll need to purchase or gather a few products and tools. See the list below:
- Safety goggles. It’s essential that you protect your eyes from the strong fumes that can occur when you treat mold with bleach or a pre-mixed removal agent.
- Respirator mask. A respirator will protect you from breathing in mold spores and fumes while you treat the area for mold.
- Chemical-resistant rubber gloves. The proper type of gloves will protect your skin as you handle potentially harsh cleaning agents.
- Bleach or pre-mixed mold removal solution. Mix bleach with water to create a mold-killing formula. You can also use pre-mixed solutions on the market designed to kill black mold.
- Trash bags. You will want to get any moldy materials out of your house immediately. Get large trash bags that can be filled then sealed.
- Wet/Dry vacuum. This will help you pick up any leftover debris from the removal project.
Don’t want to use chemicals? Here’s how to get rid of black mold naturally
The most natural way to deal with black mold is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. Regularly inspect your home for signs of moisture and then fix and seal any areas that let water or condensation in. The mold must have moisture to grow and thrive, which is why preventing moisture is the best way to protect against mold without chemicals.
If you already have a mold problem, there are some products on the market that can treat it without harsh chemicals. Micro Balance EC3 Mold Spray-All-Natural Botanical Surfactant is designed to remove mold without chemicals. There are also products and devices designed to remove moisture from the air and prevent the conditions that allow for mold growth. Examples of moisture-reducing products include activated bamboo charcoal and electric dehumidifiers.
The bottom line
Black mold has the potential to cause annoying and potentially dangerous health issues. As soon as you notice black mold growth, you need to take steps to remove it and then address the underlying issue that allowed it to grow. Black mold requires moisture to grow, so its presence means that you have a moisture issue somewhere inside your house. Eliminating leaks and excess moisture in your house are the two most important things you can do to prevent black mold.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does bleach kill black mold?
The combination of bleach and water can be effective for killing black mold. Be sure and use a gallon of water for every cup of bleach.
Should I move out if I find black mold?
If you have a mild black mold problem, it’s not necessary for you to move out of the house as long as you address it quickly. Widespread black mold is a sign that you have serious water issues and may require professional intervention. The CDC recommends getting help if you have a mold problem that extends beyond the size of ten square feet.
What does black mold look like?
Black mold can appear black and possibly have a green tint. It can show up as dots or as a large area of discoloration.