Can I Do My Own Mold Cleaning?

Can I Do My Own Mold Cleaning?

Many customers ask me about mold cleaning in their home. Is it safe? How do I go about mold removal? Should I get a professional for mold remediation? These are all great questions and it pays to know where to draw the line between DIY and professional help. If it is determined that you do, indeed, need professional help for your basement or crawl space mold problem, HealthyAir USA can work with you. We service the following areas: Atlanta, Marietta, Sandy Springs, Alpharetta, Smyrna, Lilburn, Stone Mountain, Lawrenceville GA, and surrounding communities.

Identify the source

If water intrusion or a plumbing leak caused the mold to grow, you will need to completely dry the area first. Fix leaks and use portable dehumidifiers to bring the humidity down to 45%-50% and dehydrate wet building materials.  If you cannot determine the cause of the mold growth, elevated humidity levels may be causing the problem. You will want to correct this and keep the humidity to around 50% in order to prevent future mold growth.

Small areas are OK

If the area is less than ten square feet, it should not be a problem for a homeowner who is taking reasonable precautions. Small areas of non-porous surfaces, such as metal air vents or plastic furniture, are easier to clean because the mold is living on the dust and dirt on the surface. Drywall, fabric and unfinished wood are all harder to clean because the mold is embedded in the material and is actually feeding off of this substrate. Porous materials frequently need to be discarded when contaminated.

Larger areas need a professional

If the area in question is greater than ten square feet, you should look for a professional mold remediation team to help. Large mold cleaning projects create greater health risks to the occupants, and can lead to cross-contamination of other areas of the building if not handled properly The potential risks from mold exposure are much greater in an enclosed area that is contaminated, and mold counts in these areas can be 10-1,000 times higher than normal. Professional mold removal processes include isolating the contaminated area, using commercial drying and HEPAair scrubbing equipment, safely removing contaminated materials, thoroughly washing and treating the area, and then cleaning behind with a vacuum that includes a HEPA filter.

Health risks with mold removal

Removing contaminated materials dislodges mold spores, which can irritate skin and eyes—mold spores can even cause eye damage. Inhaled spores can create health problems for people with allergies, asthma, respiratory disease or suppressed immune systems In general, people with health problems should not participate in mold removal or mold cleaning; healthy people engaging in these activities should take the necessary precautions.

Take precautions if you do your own mold cleaning

If you decide to do your own mold cleaning, you will need to protect yourself from touching or inhaling the mold spores. Always wear gloves and clothing that can be washed or discarded after the project is complete. Protect yourself by wearing eye protection and an N-95 particulate respirator approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Securely wrap contaminated materials in plastic and carefully remove them from the building; avoid distributing the mold spores around non-contaminated areas. Clean non-porous surfaces with all-natural mold cleaners, such as products made with citrus or tea-tree oil. When finished, clean with a vacuum that has a bag, discarding the bag when done.

To speak with a mold cleaning or mold remediation specialist, call 678-HEALTHY.

Original author: Steve Andrews

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