Mold and mildew are not only unsightly but are also a health hazard. Therefore, it is important to clean and remove mold as soon as one spots it. Here are some simple yet effective mold and mildew removal tips and ideas. Homeowners can use these cleaning tips to remove these unsightly blackish-green patches from bathrooms, basements and other damp areas in the house.
Before Starting to Clean Mold and Mildew
Before beginning to clean mold from any part of the house, it is important to examine the area and detect the reason for the mold. Most often, mold and mildew are found in dark and damp parts of the house, such as the bathroom and the basement. Using a dehumidifier or ensuring adequate ventilation and sunlight can usually help to prevent mold from recurring. In fact, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services strongly recommends getting a thorough inspection done to determine the cause of mold growth.
Before starting to clean mold, homeowners should be sure that they are not allergic to it. Also, it is advisable to wear gloves and a mask, especially if the moldy area is deeply infested. The EPA recommends wearing an N-95 mask and long gloves that extend to the middle of the forearms.
How to Clean Mold at Home
Mold can be cleaned at home using relatively safe cleaning products like vinegar and bleach. However, the EPA recommends cleaning mold at home only if the moldy area is less than about 10 square feet. Some instances are shower curtains, grout in bathroom and kitchen tiles, small patches on the basement wall and so on.
Shower curtains are usually left damp and rarely dried out completely. As a result, they often get moldy or mildewed. To remove mold from shower curtains, either simply remove and wipe clean with a damp clean before airing them out. However, this will work only for small infestation of mold. According to experts, one can remove mold and mildew from shower curtains by spraying a solution of equal parts of vinegar and water on the curtains and letting it soak for a few minutes before wiping clean.
Expert recommends using a bleach and water solution to clean up mold. Simply mix one part bleach to 10 parts water and add a bit of dishwashing liquid. Apply the solution and let it sit for 15 minutes before rinsing clean.
To clean mildew stains from grout on tiles, homeowners can use a toothbrush dipped in pure vinegar and scrub away the mildew away. Moore also suggests using rubbing alcohol to clean mildew from grout.
When to Call for Professional Mold Removal Help
In cases of deep and extensive mold infestation, it will be a good idea to get professional help. Even in hidden mold cases, which is where one can smell mold but not see it, a professional mold removal operation may be needed. Since killing and removing large amounts of mold may require the use of strong chemicals and biocides, professional mold remediation may be the best option.
More Tips for Mold and Mildew Removal and Prevention
While it is important to clean up the mold in the bathroom and basement, it is even more important to ensure that mold does not recur. Here are a few steps to prevent mold and mildew from attacking again.
Since mold and mildew occur because of excessive moisture, it is important to keep the home as dry and ventilated as possible. The EPA recommends keeping indoor humidity below 60 percent.
Keep bathroom, basement and kitchen surfaces as dry as possible. Check regularly for any plumbing leaks, water stains on walls as well as the first appearance of mold.
Use dehumidifiers to reduce the moisture in the air. Keep air conditioning drip pans clean.
Wipe off any condensation on window sills and other surfaces immediately.
Noelle Lord recommends ensuring that the roof is water-tight and properly ventilated.
Lord also recommends that home owners air out carpets regularly and use vacuum cleaners and air conditioners with HEPA (high energy particulate air) filters.
Mold and mildew can be quite a problem for homeowners. Tackle it right by reducing moisture, checking leaks and cleaning up mold as soon as it appears. These simple and easy mold removal and prevention tips will surely help to keep the ugly green-black patches away.
Mold and mildew spores in homes and buildings can cause respiratory diseases, asthma, allergies and other illnesses. It is difficult to remove mildew and mold from softer surfaces such as carpets, furniture and drywall and odors may not always reveal where hidden mildew is growing. To avoid allergies and illnesses, prevent mildew by checking areas that it is likely to grow in and removing it quickly. Rotting wood, carpets and drywall with extensive mold and mildew should be removed and safely disposed of. When cleaning, a mask and gloves should be worn to avoid inhaling spores.
Environmentally Friendly Ways to Prevent and Remove Mold and Mildew
Turn down the heat in rooms that are not in use and when no one is home, especially in high humidity areas such as bathrooms, laundry rooms and basements. Colder temperatures discourage the growth of mold and mildew on floors and walls.
Molds and mildew thrive in humid areas. Turn on ventilation fans or a dehumidifier, or open a window to properly ventilate a room with fresh cool air. Indoor humidity levels should not exceed about 50 percent.
Check for damp areas around the home, such as in the basement, in closets, under sinks and around hot water tanks and plumbing. Also ensure that clothes dryers are vented to the outdoors. While drying clothes indoors is economical, place them in a well aired area to prevent humidity.
Even putting wet dishes in your kitchen cupboards will increase the moisture content that molds, mildews and bacteria like to grow. Let dishes air dry, clean up any spills, don’t put away wet umbrellas and avoid leaving damp laundry piles or wet towels in the bathroom. In the summer time, an outdoor laundry line is the best way to dry wet laundry – not to mention the cheapest and most environmental friendly.
Also check for leaks in plumbing, around bathtubs and shower stall and under sinks.
Replace Carpets and Wallpaper
High moisture areas such as kitchens, bathrooms and basements should never have carpets installed. Area rugs should be aired out regularly. Carpets and other absorbent surfaces cannot be cleaned of mold and mildew effectively and should be disposed. Also try wood flooring with area rugs in bedrooms and living areas to prevent molds, mildew and dust from accumulating.
In the same way, wallpaper also attracts humidity and it is better not to wallpaper walls to prevent mold and mildews.
Clean Mold and Spores from Showers, Bathtubs and Floors
Avoid wearing shoes indoors. Shoes track in dirt, toxins and spores from the outdoors. In a warm home, these may flourish into mold, mildew and bacteria colonies.
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