Tips on Mold Clean-up
This information is from the Indoor Air Quality office at the Indiana State Department of Health.
As mold is featured more and more on television shows such as “60 Minutes” and “20/20”, more mold remediation (clean-up) companies pop up. Some of these companies may be unscrupulous; only out to scare you and eager to take your money. Be aware that there is no licensing for mold remediation companies – be sure to ask for credentials!
NOTE: There is no scientific or governmental minimum/maximum standard for mold levels in a home. Therefore a home cannot be deemed unfit for habitation because of mold.
If you decide to clean the area yourself:
- Moisture contributes to mold growth – to control the mold, you must stop the source of moisture.
- Sometimes the way your home is constructed can lead to mold growth. For instance, if your walls are constructed of uninsulated concrete blocks, moisture may gather on the interior walls during cold weather -- just like a soda can sweats in a warm environment. Use a dehumidifier to reduce moisture in your home.
- Both living and dead molds can release spores. Dead mold may still cause allergic reactions in some people (runny nose, watery eyes, asthma-like symptoms, etc.), so it is not enough to simply kill the mold; it must also be removed.
- Be sure to protect yourself.
- Wear a dust mask carrying, minimally, the NIOSH N95 rating.
- Wear plastic or latex gloves.
- Wear goggles to protect your eyes.
- Wear long sleeves and long pants.
- Isolate the area – when the mold is wetted, it will release spores into the air.
- Cover registers; cover doors leading to other parts of the house.
- Mist the mold-covered area with water mixed with dishwashing liquid. The dish soap will help bind the spores to the surface material.
- Cover and remove the mold-covered items from the house.
- The EPA does not recommend the use of bleach as a biocide, but others do endorse its use. If you choose to use disinfectants or biocides, always ventilate the area and exhaust the air to the outdoors. Never mix a chlorine bleach solution with other cleaning solutions or detergents that contain ammonia because toxic fumes could be produced. Mix 1 cup of bleach per gallon of water. Dab on the molded surfaces. Let air dry.
- Ozone generators are NOT a good idea for mold removal – they can be asthma triggers.
- Timbor ® is a boric acid insecticide that also inhibits mold growth.
- Encapsulation (with a product such as Kilz) is only effective if you can keep the area dry. It only seals in dead mold.
- If venting crawl spaces or attics to remove moisture, blow air OUT to create negative pressure so moisture/mold is not forced into living spaces.
- If you cannot completely eliminate mold (such as in rental housing), DO filter bedroom air (where you spend 8 hours per day) with HEPA room filters. A dehumidifier will also help as long as the water is dumped out regularly.
For more information, visit http://www.epa.gov/mold/moldguide.html
Basic information on mold, moisture, asthma, flooding, airborne mold/spore limits, etc. from the EPA: http://www.epa.gov/mold/moldresources.html