Mold thrives in damp, warm environments such as bathrooms, but it can be found anywhere there’s high humidity, condensation (such as from poorly insulated windows) and/or water leaks.
Also, if there’s not enough ventilation, mold spores can easily take root and quickly grow out of hand.
While removing mold can be a DIY job, if the infestation is severe enough there are professional companies who specialize in removing mold and repairing the damage it’s done.
For example, if your windowsill has mold, it could extend into the insulation inside the wall, the wall frame itself as well as the inner and outer walls of your home.
For areas of extensive damage or infestation such as this, it may be simpler to call in a mold remediation company to deal with the problems.
Whether you DIY or hire out, remember…if you don’t address the hidden mold it will return, so it’s important to address the problem as soon as you discover it.
Gather your tools
If you’re ready to tackle the mold in your home, begin by gathering the tools you’ll need to get the job done right.
- ⬥ Bleach
- ⬥ Sponges
- ⬥ Scrub brush, if needed
- ⬥ Dish soap
- ⬥ Spray bottle or bucket
- ⬥ Long rubber gloves
- ⬥ Protective eyewear
- ⬥ Heavy duty respirator
Other tools, if needed
- ⬥ Drywall saw
- ⬥ Heavy-duty cleaner
- ⬥ Paintbrush
- ⬥ Shop vacuum
- ⬥ Utility knife
- ⬥ Window fan
- ⬥ 6 mil plastic garbage bags
- ⬥ Painters tape
- ⬥ Plastic sheeting
- ⬥ Shellac- or oil-based primer
After assessing the damage begin mold removal by spraying it with the bleach and water solution.
A ½ c of bleach per quart of water is strong enough to do the job.
Don’t forget to use goggles to protect your eyes from any splashing of the bleach-filled water and from any spores that might be disturbed when you begin to clean the area.
Note that while bleach does kill mold, it only does so on hard, non-porous surfaces such as walls or trim.
Don’t bother trying to clean porous surfaces such as carpets, drywall or insulation.
For moldy, stained carpets, spray them first with the bleach-water, then using your utility knife tear it out in sections and put in large plastic bags sealed with duct-tape for disposal.
Wearing your protective clothing place a fan in the window to exhaust any spores that are likely to fly out as a result of removing the carpet.
Next, seal off the room before carefully opening up the wall after locating any electrical or water lines within the walls.
Begin by prying off trim and baseboards. Next, probe around heavily stained or moisture-swollen walls with a screwdriver to locate areas of hidden mold and moisture damage in the wall framing and insulation.
Spray the insulation and drywall to keep mold spores from spreading and bag them up tightly.
Be sure to cut the drywall back beyond the visible areas of damage to ensure that you’ve found all of the mold and to let the wood inside the walls dry out.
If the area has been exposed to mold for a long time there may be some damage to the wood studs, requiring their replacement.
For difficult to treat areas spray them with a wood preservative after you’ve cleaned it and allowed it to dry.
Use pressure-treated wood to double up any rotted wood that cannot be removed to maintain the integrity of the structure.
After everything has been cleaned, use a wet-dry vac with a long hose extension fed from outside the home through a window to clean up all of the debris.
When you’re finished with the vacuum be sure to clean it well with the bleach-water solution and discard the filter.
Thoroughly clean the trim and baseboards with the bleach solution then set them outside to dry.
For concrete, use TSP or automatic dishwasher detergent to wipe out the mold.
After cleaning the area help it to dry well by setting out dehumidifiers and new fans for 3 days at the least.
Then, do a visual inspection of the area and check for any musty smell to ensure that you’ve gotten rid all of the mold.
If you find more mold, clean the area with the bleach solution, allow to dry and inspect again.
Once you’re certain the mold has gone, use an oil based primer such as Kilz or pigmented shellac such as BIN to seal the exposed wood before adding new insulation and drywall.
Then, paint the cleaned wall surfaces with a paint that has a mildewcide added to it to help prevent any new mold growth.
Finally, add the trim, baseboards and new flooring to finish the room.
The most important way to prevent mold from taking hold is by controlling dampness.
Areas prone to dampness such as bathrooms or basements need proper ventilation to prevent spores from accumulating and spreading to other areas.