Written by Timothy Crasnick
Black mold removal is essential if you have a serious toxic mold problem and you don’t want to suffer any sort of negative consequences to either you, your home, or your family. The removal of black mold however is no easy job, and even if you take the time to learn how to do it yourself, it may still be a smart idea to contact a mold removal company or service to take care of the issue. This of course depends on the severity of the problem within your home, along with your ability to successfully get rid of the mold yourself. In the end it is up to you to determine whether or not you’re up to the task, and if you do in fact decide to attempt the black mold removal project on your own, you should always keep in mind the following black mold removal tips before you do anything else.
Is It Black Mold?
You first need to diagnose whether or not what you are experiencing is because of black mold. There are many different kinds of mold, most of which are harmless. Black mold, or Stachybotrys Atra, is the classic form of toxic black mold that you have probably heard about, and it is indeed one of the most harmful, and deadly forms of mold that can grow in your home. The way to identify if you truly are experiencing a bout of this type of black mold is to take into consideration the various indicators that may be present with your particular case.
There are several things that set this form of mold apart from other kinds of mold and can act as clear indicators of the presence of this type of mold. Black mold has a characteristic “musty and mildew” smell that can be a real giveaway. It also normally displays a unique greenish-black color that is not often seen with other kinds of mold growth. Black mold usually manifests itself as a result of an unwanted moisture accumulation in the home, and if you examine the areas in your residence that may have been recently exposed to moisture, and you find a greenish-black substance that is growing on the walls, floor, or ceiling, then there is a good chance that your home has been infected by black mold. If a musty smell is also present, then this is another supporting piece of evidence, and you should immediately make the decision to do whatever it takes to remove the black mold safely.
Many times people don’t have a clear idea of the most common indicators that may be present when this kind of mold begins to proliferate, and unfortunately they have to get sick before they realize that their home has been infected with black mold. The majority of mold species can cause minor health problems if they become widespread enough, but with black mold, the health consequences can be much more severe, and can even cause death in infants, and with people who may suffer from respiratory problems. The most common health effects you may experience include the typical cold-like symptoms, such as cough, sneezing, and itchy-eyes. These don’t necessarily indicate the presence of black mold, although they are most likely a clear indication of a serious problem. Symptoms such as shortness of breath, trouble breathing, hearing loss, and any type of psychological condition such as depression, or memory loss may be clear evidence of black mold, and if you experience any of these symptoms you need to immediately resolve the problem before you continue live to in that part of your home.
Black Mold Removal: Diagnosing the Problem
You should now have a general idea of whether or not you may have black mold, and if you have made the determination that you do, then you must immediately take the necessary black mold removal steps to eliminate the problem. The good news is that there are several things that you can do in order to get rid of the black mold, and while it may seem like a daunting task at first, it doesn’t have to be as long as you can follow directions and not stray off course.
Black mold most often occurs as a result of the buildup of unwanted moisture in some part of the home. The first thing that you need to do is identify the location of the problem, along with its root cause. This means that you need to find out exactly where the mold has grown in your home, and where the moisture is coming from that is feeding it. Once you have determined where the mold is growing exactly, you can then take the necessary steps to remove the moisture problem, and clean up, or remove whatever mold is leftover in that particular area of your house.
The most common areas of the home that classically experience the growth of mold include the bathroom, the basement, the attic, vents, and anywhere that there may be a continuous exposure to moisture. Are there any areas of your home that are uncharacteristically humid on a regular basis? Has your home recently experienced a flood? Is there any water, or pipe leaks that you don’t know about? These are the questions that you should be asking yourself that can give you a good idea of where the mold may be growing in your home.
You need to also be aware of the location in your house where you may have smelled a musty and mildewy smell, experienced any sort of ill health effects, or actually saw the presence of a greenish or black growth. These are the clear indicators of black mold that can tip you off as to where it is thriving within your home, and it is important that once you find an area that has experienced some level of mold growth that you fully explore all of the associated areas to ensure that it is only limited to that one area. Not only that, once you have established that you have some degree of mold growth in your home you should not hesitate to perform a comprehensive search of your entire house in order to identify any further areas that may have been affected, and to give you the appropriate piece of mind.
Taking Care of the Moisture Issue
Now that you know exactly where the mold growth is taking place within your home, it will be much easier to go about following-through with the proper black mold removal steps that can help eliminate the mold for good from your place of residence. Do it yourself mold removal is actually not that complex, and really involves the removal of the root cause of the mold problem, which is typically the buildup of some kind of unwanted moisture, with the proper removal of the actual mold that has grown throughout the affected areas of the house.
This means that you must first do your best to get rid of the moisture problem that is causing the black mold to grow. If you have determined the cause to simply be the product of a humid room, then the opening of windows, the improvement of air circulation, and perhaps the use of a dehumidifier will do the trick. If the problem is determined to be of a more acute nature, then you need to take the steps to put a stop to such activity. If you have leaky plumbing and pipes, then fix them, if there is leakage stemming from a bathroom, do the things necessary to stop the leakage, if you continually experience the buildup of moisture as a result of a flood or water runoff, perhaps you need to landscape your yard differently, or install a drainage system.
Preparing to Remove the Black Mold
Once you have put a stop to the source of the moisture that is causing your problem, you then have to actually go ahead and get rid of the black mold that has amassed within your home. This essentially involves the use of some sort of cleaning agent, in combination with a heavy-duty cloth or sponge. It is crucial that you first protect yourself with the appropriate cleaning gear and clothing before you decide to follow-through with such a task, as both the black mold, and the cleaning agent that you are using can cause health problems if you do not take the appropriate precautions. This means that you need to be wearing a respiratory mask, gloves, disposable protective suit and the necessary eye protection at all times. It is absolutely not advisable that you take on such a project unless you can acquire these items beforehand.
Once you have protected yourself by wearing all of the appropriate clothing and equipment, you then need to establish what kind of cleaning agent you are going to use. Mold and mildew removal typically requires a fairly potent active ingredient to get the job done, and when you are dealing with a black mold removal project, you are most likely going to need something that is even stronger. You have several options to acquire the black mold removal products that you need—you can decide to purchase a ready-made product at a retail store, you can use an all-purpose disinfectant such as bleach, or you can make your own cleaning substance from either one, or a combination of the different ingredients that may be able to have an effect. While there are countless ways that you can make your own cleaning agent with a number of different ingredients, the best two ways to get your hands on something that can actually get rid of the black mold in one fell swoop should either consist of buying a heavy-duty pre-packaged product from a retail store, or involve the purchasing of pure bleach in combination with a diluting agent such as water. The best ratio of bleach to water to use is one cup of bleach with one gallon of water, as this will give you the optimal potency that will get rid of the mold for good.
Getting Rid of the Black Mold
Now that you’re all set in terms of protective gear, and cleaning agents, you should now begin to plan how you are going to go about cleaning up the black mold. You should first seal off the area that you plan to clean in order to prevent the spread of mold spores throughout the other parts of your home. It is recommended that you use plastic sheeting and even duct tape to seal off each room that you are planning to clean. The bottom line is that you don’t want any spores to leak through the openings that may be present in the particular affected areas, as the mold spores that are present are going to be shaken up and sent airborne once you begin the actual cleaning process.
You should now have the appropriate affected area of your home sealed off from the rest of your house. It is now time to actually go in and proceed with the black mold removal project and clean up the problem. This should consist of four distinct steps. The first step involves eliminating the black mold on a massive scale via the use of a less potent cleaning agent such as water and soap. This will allow you to get rid of the majority of the mold without the overuse of your very potent disinfectant. Once you have removed the majority of the black mold by way of a simple cleaner such as soap and water, it is then time to go over all of the affected areas with your highly-potent cleaning agent. You need to be very meticulous while doing this, as you don’t want to leave any significant areas of mold behind that may cause further contamination later on down the road. Once you feel that you have gone over all of the affected areas in your home with your disinfectant, you then need to allow the disinfected areas a chance to dry. Once everything is dry, you must make sure that you remove and discard all of the materials that you used to clean up the mold. This should include all sponges, shammies, disposable clothing and protective gear, and anything else that may have been contaminated during the cleaning process.
Once you have thrown away all of the appropriate materials you can then rejoice as you have done everything in your power to get rid of your black mold problem without the assistance of a professional. That being said, if the mold continues to fester and return to the parts of the house that you just cleaned, then it may be time for you to contact a professional to see what they can do for you. Remember that black mold can cause serious health issues, and should therefore be treated accordingly. If it continues to be a problem then you should not hesitate to hire a mold removal company, service, or contractor so that it can be taken care of for good. Hopefully you’ll be able to do it yourself, and if your mold removal project was successful then you shouldn’t have to hire any sort of outside party. Just keep in mind that if you experience any sort of the health symptoms, observe that the mold has grown back, or if you smell a musty odor once again, then there is a good chance that the mold is back, and you’ll have to reassess how you want to tackle the black mold removal project once again.