Top Mistakes to Avoid When Cleaning Mold

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Top Mistakes to Avoid When Cleaning Mold

We are all subject to making mistakes. However, if possible we try and learn from the mistakes of others to prevent from making them ourselves. Some homeowners when they first find out that they have a mold problem, may try to take the endeavor into their own hands and may want to attempt a Do It Your (DIY) project to save money. However, attempting to remove the mold yourself could make the problem worse and cause potential health hazards. Here are some of the most common mistakes to avoid when attempting to clean mold yourself.


DO NOT USE BLEACH
There is a widely-believed myth that bleach kills mold. We get so many customers inquiring about why this treatment didn't work and their mold came back hardier than it was before. Bleach will change the color of your mold to a clear and/or white color, as it would your clothing. Unfortunately, all you have done is to create a biosphere for the mold to grow in and you may have possibly ingested the bleach fumes & airborne mold spores (never healthy). Usually, within three to four months, the mold will return and do so with a vengeance.

The only cleanser that Comprehensive Mold Management recommends is Borax. For the cleaning solution mix, together 1 cup of “20 Mule Team Borax” with 1 gallon of hot water. Borax can be purchased at most local grocery stores in the laundry/detergent section. Once you have mixed together your solution, apply the borax solution to the area with mold. Do not apply the solution to a porous material, such as drywall. These types of surfaces are porous and absorb water easily, this will only exacerbate the mold problem by keeping the area moist. After you apply the solution, scrub the area with a rag or a wire brush until the mold is gone. Wipe the area off and make sure it dries thoroughly. You can repeat the application of the solution and lightly rinse it as well, however it does not need to be completely rinsed. Borax prevents new mold from growing so it does not need to be fully rinsed away. Once this is complete, run either a dehumidifier or a fan to dry out the area within 24-48 hours. 

Mold Resistant Paints
Some people may think a quick fix for mold would be applying a mold resistant paint over the mold, however this is not the solution. Although, it may look better temporarily, the problem was never resolved and down the road the mold issue could be even harder to resolve. The mold can continue to grow underneath the coat of paint and sooner or later will make itself visible again. In addition, any health symptoms you may have been having will still occur, seeing as the mold is still there. A mold proof coating or resistant paint should only be used once the surface has been cleaned properly and the moisture issue rectified to ensure that the mold growth will not return.

Make Sure to Get It All
A mistake that is often made by DIYers is that there is no way for them to know if they completely got rid of the mold. In addition, the root of the moisture problem may have not been resolved, which would mean that it is inevitable that the mold will return. Mold spores are so small and can spread easily, therefore while cleaning if the proper containment was not set up then it can spread to another area of your home. 

Improperly Cleaning Materials with Mold
Removing mold from non-porous items such as metal, tile or glass can be handled by homeowners in some situations when it is a smaller amount of mold. We would recommend using the cleaning solution described above. However, for porous materials such as wood, carpeting, drywall or insulation that is best handled by a mold professional. Mold professionals can clean most items, however in certain circumstances it is recommended to dispose the item all together. 

Mold Cross Contamination & Proper Attire
A mistake that is often made by homeowners attempting to clean mold is that they are unaware that they need to set up the proper containment to prevent the mold spores from spreading to other areas of the home. Once you begin scrubbing or wiping off the mold, the spores will become airborne and can contaminate other rooms throughout your house. The proper containment and negative air need to be set up, as well as materials disposed properly to ensure that your mold problem will not spread. Professionals have their crew members wear protective cover all suits and are fit for a high-grade respirator. Purchasing a paint suit and dust mask from the hardware store is not enough nor is it the proper protection.


Overall, when it comes to mold it is best left to the professionals. New York State requires for any area of mold more than 10 square feet to be removed by a licensed mold remediation contractor. It is worth the investment to have the mold removed properly to ensure the integrity of your home and your family’s health. If you are concerned you may have mold growth in your home call Comprehensive Mold Management today at 585-235-6182.