How to get rid of Household Mold

mold on skirting board

Household mold isn’t just unsightly, it can be dangerous. People that suffer from respiratory problems are most at risk, as they may experience worsening of their symptoms. But even healthy homeowners can start feeling sick and dizzy due to mold spores contaminating the air.

If you notice mold on your walls, ceiling, floor, windowsills, and other areas, it’s time to take control of the situation. These steps can help you get rid of mold and enjoy a clean household environment.

Part 1: Identifying Problem Spots

Before starting the fight against mold, inspect your home for all the possible mold growth areas.

1. Check the bathroom. The most common places to check for mildew in the bathrooms are:

  • Shower and bathtub – Including shampoo bottles, curtains, around faucet and showerheads
  • Sink and toilet – Underneath the sink, around toothbrush caddies and other bathroom supply items, behind the toilet
  • Walls and floor – Along grout lines and joints, anywhere there could be leaks as well as bathroom rugs

2. Check the Kitchen, keep an eye on:

  • Kitchen sink – Look on top, bottom, and inside the sink. Leftover food in disposals, old and dirty sponges, and leaky faucets are excellent mold sources
  • Refrigerator – Expired food can cause mold to grow around it and then settle on the walls of the fridge. water dispensers and drip trays also create an excellent environment for mold growth
  • Microwave – Spilled food and spattered grease allow the mold to grow faster than you can imagine. Inspect the microwave’s nooks and crannies to ensure mold isn’t growing there already
  • Trash can – Trash cans collect dirt and moisture, allowing the mold to grow inside and around them
  • Windowsills – Improperly installed windows or lack of regular window cleaning can lead to mold growth on the windowsills and around the frames

3. Check the Bedrooms. Even though mold doesn’t usually grow in bedrooms since it doesn’t have many sources of moisture, you should still inspect the following places:

  • Windows and windowsills – High humidity leads to condensation collecting around windowsills and providing a good mold growth environment. Lack of window maintenance can lead to mold spreading to other parts of your bedroom
  • Mattress – Unless you’ve invested in a mold-resistant mattress, you may find mold growing on it. When you sleep, you provide what mold needs the most: organic matter (hair and skin cells) and moisture (saliva and sweat)
  • HVAC vents – Check the vents for possible mold growth on your own or call in the professionals

4. Check Your Attic. The majority of mold homeowners struggle with is in their attic:

  • On the roof – If the roof is leaking even slightly, it creates a nurturing mold growth environment
  • In the insulation – Old or improperly installed insulation may house mold
  • Vents from kitchen, bathroom or laundry rooms – May have high humidity levels and feature mold
  • Water heater or furnace – These appliances provide a great environment for mold growth around them

5. Check The Basement: Do you know the typical basement smell? It comes from mold spores flying in the air. You should check:

  • Pipes and ducting – Look for mold where there are leaks, excess moisture, and condensation
  • Sump pumps – Provide an excellent environment for mold
  • Windows and vents – Places for condensation gathering

6. Check if it’s mold or not. Mildew is the most common type of mold attacking homes. It appears as black stuff stuck along grout lines in the shower or on damp walls. Some homeowners believe that it’s dirt and overlook the problem. A simple test can show you whether it’s dirt or mildew:

  • Using a cotton ball or an eyedropper put a couple of drops of household bleach on the area
  • Wait for two minutes
  • If the area lightens, you have mildew. If it stays dark, it’s dirt

Part 2: Put on Protective Gear and Clothing

Mold on walls
  • Protective clothing – If you don’t have professional gear, such as coveralls with attached hood and booties, you need to put on a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, and a hat to cover your hair. Wash all your clothing in hot water (preferably with bleach) after you are done
  • Mask – Invest in an N-95 respirator mask, which deals with 95% of all airborne contaminants, including harmful mold spores. Change the mask every hour. Other types of masks are N-99 (removes 99% of particles) and N-100 (removes 99.97% of particles)
  • Gloves – Wear disposable gloves. If you don’t have any at hand, you can use regular gloves. But make sure to wash them in hot water after the job is done
  • Goggles – Ideally, you should also protect your eyes while removing mold. Simple goggles may let mold spores through, so consider investing in goggles without ventilation

Part 3: Get Rid of the Mold

cleaning chemicals for mold removal
  • Provide sufficient ventilation – If you want to make sure the majority of air contaminants are filtered out while you remove mold, invest in an air purifier for mold. It deals with 99.97% of mold spores 0.3 microns in diameter. After you remove all mold from your home, you can keep the purifier running to ensure clean air all year round. This appliance can also reduce the chances of mold spreading through your house
  • Turn Your Air Purifier On – Invest in an N-95 respirator mask, which deals with 95% of all airborne contaminants, including harmful mold spores. Change the mask every hour. Other types of masks are N-99 (removes 99% of particles) and N-100 (removes 99.97% of particles)
  • Remove contaminated items – Wear disposable gloves. If you don’t have any at hand, you can use regular gloves. But make sure to wash them in hot water after the job is done
  • Goggles – Such items as carpets, toothbrush caddies, and other disposable things in your home should be moved outdoors for cleaning. Make sure to pack them in plastic bags carefully before taking them outside. The more you disturb the mold, the more mold spores start flying through the air
  • 4. Stock up on Cleaning Agents – Different cleaning agents exist for fighting mold. You can either buy them in the nearest store or prep them on your own using non-toxic ingredients
  • Hydrogen peroxide cleaner – Has anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. Put 3% concentration hydrogen peroxide into a spray bottle. Spray in on a moldy surface, and let it stay there for 10 or 15 minutes. Scrub the surface with a sponge or rag to remove whatever is left. Repeat if necessary
  • Vinegar cleaner – Can kill up to 82% of mold species. Pour white vinegar into a spray bottle. Spray the solution on a surface and allow it to stay there for about 60 minutes. Wipe the surface with water. Don’t worry, the smell will disappear soon
  • Baking soda cleaner – Can deal with the majority of mold in your home and absorb moisture to keep it away. Mix one part of baking soda to eight parts of water in a spray bottle and shake it well. Spray the surface with the solution and use a scrub brush to remove the mold. Rinse the surface with water. You can sprinkle baking soda in highly humid areas, which are prone to mold growth in order to deal with moisture
  • Scrub the Area – Once you apply one of the cleaning agents to the surface and allow it to sit there for up to an hour, you need to scrub the mold away. For that, you can either use a sponge, a rag or a scrub brush. Throw out rags and sponges and clean the scrub brush with the mold-removing agent after you are done
  • Rinse the Surface – After you are done cleaning, make sure to rinse the area thoroughly with clean water and dry it well. Any moisture you leave can create an attractive environment for mold growth in the future
  • Get Professional Assistance – If you discover mold in your HVAC system vents, opt for professional cleaning. While you may be able to scrub the outside part of the vents, you can’t reach deep enough inside

Part 4: Prevent Further Mold Growth

  • Keep humidity low – Increase ventilation, run dehumidifiers, and use air conditioners. If you keep humidity low enough (between 30% and 50 %), mold can’t grow
  • Reduce mold spore contamination – Invest in an air purifier to keep your air clean all year long. It deals with the majority of mold spores, not allowing the mold colonies to spread
  • Repair or reinstall windows – Properly installed windows shouldn’t let moisture through. If you notice moisture appearing between the windowpanes or on windowsills, call professionals
  • Check for leaks – Inspect your home regularly for leaks. Even the smallest leak can create a wonderful environment for mold growth and spreading. Pay special attention to pipes and gutters
  • Replace filters – Make sure to replace your HVAC system, dehumidifier, vacuum cleaner, air conditioner, and air purifier filters on a regular basis. Clogged and dirty filters may harbor mold and send spores flying around your home