Remove Mold & Mildew In Your Home

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According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), mold is a part of our natural environment - but that doesn't mean we want it to run amuck in our homes. The types of mold that cause damage in homes can also cause infection, allergies, skin irritation, asthma and more. 

Mold requires water, oxygen and moisture to grow, making bathrooms, kitchens and basements the perfect place for mold to spread. The darker the room, the more mold you're likely to find. This means areas of your home you may not see often (think under the sink or a deep, dark corner of your basement) are exactly where you need to look for a mold infestation. It's also important to check inside your walls. Sometimes a home can be completely overrun with mold without much, if any, being immediately visible.

removing mold and mildew

How To Prevent Mold And Mildew

Mold becomes a problem indoors when the right conditions meet with the right mold, so the EPA recommends taking the following steps to prevent mold in your home or office.

  • The first place to start in mold prevention is avoiding conditions that make mold grow: keep moisture out. Make sure you clean and dry your home and places where mold are likely to grow, including bathrooms, basements and kitchens.
  • Fix plumbing leaks and any water problems immediately. Since mold likes water, you don't want to give it an easy environment in which to grow. Make sure you dry everything well.
  • When you find mold on hard surfaces, scrub the mold with detergent and water. And, as always, make sure you dry it well.
  • Bathrooms tend to be a common place for mold to show up, so if you see it in the shower or on the tiles, make a note to ventilate the bathroom better. Open a window or, if needed, put in a running fan. Cleaning the room more often will help keep mold away, too.
  • Test your home for mold. There are a number of test kits you can do yourself, or if you suspect a more serious problem, you can call a mold specialist. They can charge roughly $150-$600 dollars, and up. 

removing mold and mildew

Removing Mold And Mildew

You should be able to get rid of mold yourself if the area isn't very large, otherwise seek professional help. Remember that you can't get rid of all mold because some is natural and will exist in a home. Here are some guidelines recommended by the EPA to help you rid your home of mold.

Chemicals that remove mold include: bleach, borax, vinegar, ammonia, hydrogen peroxide and baking soda.

  • Before you begin mold clean-up, make sure you are wearing the proper gear. You will want to wear long gloves that extend up the arm, and make sure the material they are made out of can withstand the cleaning products you use. You should also wear goggles without ventilation holes so you don't get chemicals in your eyes.
  • Since you don't want to breathe in mold, the EPA suggests an N-95 respirator. You can check with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for their guidelines.
  • If you have mold in rugs, the ceiling or tiles (anything absorbent or porous,) you'll likely have to throw it way. Since mold grows and can get into crevices it might be impossible to remove it completely from the material.
  • Don't paint or caulk moldy surfaces. Clean up the mold and dry the area first before you do work.
  • If you are unsure of how to clean an item, get professional help.
  • If you have a leaking faucet, pipe or roof that is supplying the water that grew the mold, get it fixed immediately. 

Mold is a naturally occurring substance,but with awareness and persistence to keep moisture out of your home, you can reduce the chances of having mold invade your space. 

Last Updated: October 15, 2013
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About Leah Gillis Leah Gillis has worked for several major news outlets, as well as a television series on home buying and decor. Having grown up in New England, she has lived in New York City, Los Angeles and Milan. When not trying to get a great deal, she is often found reading something, writing something or talking to someone.

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