Black mold isn’t just nasty, it can be dangerous. Black mold is a fungus that grows from spores and requires a food source, a place to grow, oxygen, and moisture to grow. Yes, there are associated health risks and it’s important to tackle the problem early, but finding black mold doesn’t have to be a reason to panic.
While potentially harmful to your health, black mold removal doesn’t have to be scary if you are well prepared and know what steps to take. âWhile there are many types of mold in the home, the dreaded ‘black mold’ is the one people seem to fear the most. For some people, who are only mildly sensitive to it, it can cause a runny nose or For those who are more sensitive to allergies or have asthma, mold can worsen already serious problems, âSara told w & h Ashdown, Brandrated cleaning expert.
If you follow these specific steps below to be safe when cleaning black mold, you will protect yourself and make sure it is gone for good. In addition to the suggestions below, try using an air purifier and limit excess humidity in the home to prevent black mold from returning (you can check out our guide to the best air purifiers if you are do not already have one).
If you need more cleaning tips for those tricky areas of the house, check out our guides on how to clean toilets, remove carpet stains, and clean a washing machine.
Preparation for cleaning black mold
Like a tough cleaning job, prep is key and you’ll need the right tools to get the job done right. It is important to wear proper protection when it comes to removing black mold, as there are serious health risks associated with its ingestion. âBlack mold or Stachybotrys Chartarum is a type of toxic mold that can cause several health problems, including inflammation of the eyes and damage to the eyeballs. It has also been shown to kill neurons in the brain, leading to neurological issues that can lead to seizures and tremors, âsaid Heather Barrigan, cleaning expert at MyJobQuote.co.uk.
Follow these steps to help you identify your source of black mold before cleaning.
1. Find the source of the mold
You don’t always see black mold before it’s a problem. Often times you will smell mold before you see it. Sources of humidity can occur in many spaces, but below are a few common ones.
- Faucets and taps on showers– as well as tubs and sinks can develop black mold over time from water leaks.
- Leaking or damaged pipes-especially if located in warmer temperatures, can create black mold in places like basements.
- Leaks in your water heater– it can create black mold in the basement or wherever your water heater is.
2. Identify it as black mold
Black mold can be identified by its distinctive qualities. Black mold is black or dark gray and often has a damp, musty odor. It grows in areas with high humidity and can cause a burning or itching sensation in the throat or lungs. It will be black or dark green in appearance. Black mold doesn’t require a different cleaning method than other types of mold, but due to the health risks associated with it, you’ll want to get black mold removed quickly.
3. Make your own black mold cleaner
While there are many chemical solutions you can find at a hardware store, some natural ingredients can also remove black mold without the added toxicity. Popular choices are tea tree oil and grapefruit seed extract.
To create your DIY cleaning solution, mix a ratio of one cup of water to one teaspoon of tea tree oil or grapefruit seed extract. You can also use bleach to treat the area, mixing one part bleach with two parts water.
4. Prepare and prepare the area
Before treating the mold, you should prepare the area and make sure that you are protected during the cleanup to avoid inhaling the mold or letting it spread.
Start with these steps:
- Wear a breathing mask to protect yourself from spores.
- Wear as much clothing as you need to cover your skin. Disposable coveralls are a good way to make sure black mold doesn’t attach to your clothes once you take them off. If you don’t have one, wash your clothes after you’re done.
- Wear safety glasses and rubber gloves.
- Once you are properly dressed, turn off your air conditioner, heater, or central air system. You don’t want the air moving while you are removing black mold.
- Seal all room doors to prevent mold spores from moving around as you work.
- Use an exhaust fan near exterior openings to remove airborne spores from your home.
- Check the humidity in the area. If there is none, spray water on the mold to prevent mold spores from spreading into the air.
Four-step black mold removal
Cleaning black mold should be done carefully. Skipping steps or rushing can cause mold spores to spread, which can lead to health issues for you and your family, as well as the added headache of cleaning up another infected area in your home.
Once you have put on your safety clothing and prepared the area, here are the steps to follow:
1. Spray the area with your cleaning solution.
Armed with your water spray and tea tree oil or grapefruit seed extract, or bleach, identify the area to be sprayed.
Shake the bottle to make sure the solution is well mixed as the oils and water tend to separate after a while. Completely saturate the area with the solution and let sit for five to ten minutes to allow the solution to kill the spores.
2. Scrub the area with black mold using a nylon bristle brush.
It is important to avoid splashing or sending the cleaning solution containing black mold into the air. Scrub with firm, slow strokes, picking up as much mold as possible. Spray with your freshly shaken solution and rub again. Black mold can be stubborn, so be patient and repeat if necessary. Wipe up any dislodged mold with a paper towel and throw it in a heavy-duty garbage bag.
3. Re-spray and air dry
Since the essential oils or bleach in the cleaning solution will continue to fight any remaining black mold, spray the area thoroughly and allow the area to air dry. It will also help remove any lingering odor caused by black mold spores.
4. Clean the area and your cleaning equipment.
Since black mold can spread very easily from surface to surface, as well as through the air, it is best to isolate all cleaning agents used until they are properly disinfected or thrown away. Disposable coveralls can be tossed in the trash along with any other rags or paper towels you wish to throw away.
Tie the bag securely to prevent air from escaping and immediately dispose of it in a designated trash can outside your home. Don’t leave it lying around in your garage or basement.
After removing the goggles, plastic gloves, and coveralls, soak and wash the set – with your scrub brush – in hot water.
Black mold should be taken seriously, but don’t let it scare you. With the proper cleaning tools and precautions, you can say goodbye to this annoying fungus.