How to Clean Mold

Mold is a common and unsightly problem that can be tricky to get rid of. Not only does it look nasty, but it can also be potentially dangerous for your health. Depending on the type of mold you are dealing with, there are things you can do to combat the problem.

Here, you’ll discover more about the different types of mold, and how you can combat it once and for all. 

What is mold and what causes it?

Mold is basically a fungus that contains small organisms. In nature, it helps to break down dead trees, leaves, and plants. In order to thrive and multiply, it needs moisture, making it a common problem in areas of the home like the basement and bathroom. 

There are different types of mold, and some types are more dangerous to your health than others. The most common type of mold found in the home is mildew. This is a type of surface mold that tends to look like soil. While it can be a pain to get rid of, it doesn’t tend to cause any serious health issues. However, it can cause a mild allergic reaction, or trigger asthma symptoms.

So, what about the more dangerous types? Here’s a brief look at some of the more serious types you may encounter:

Aspergillus Niger 

This is the most common type of black mold found in the home. It is mostly black in color, with yellow or white underneath. You’ll typically find it on damp walls, and while rare, it can cause serious lung problems. 

Cladosporium

You can find Cladosporium on practically any damp surface. It can be black, green, or yellow in color and may lead to allergic reactions. You will typically notice it develops in little clusters that appear fluffy in texture. 

Stachybotrys Chartarum

One of the most dangerous types of mold is Stachbotrys Chartarum. This greenish-black fungus develops on damp, high-cellulose surfaces. It appears as soot-like or slimy, and is commonly found inside walls. When left untreated, it can lead to neurological and respiratory problems, and potentially even death. 

If you suspect you are dealing with one of the more dangerous types of mold, it is better to call in the professionals to remove it. 

What to know before cleaning mold in the home

Understanding the type of mold you are dealing with is just one thing to consider before you attempt to clean it. When cleaning mold, you will need to:

  • Wear a mask and rubber gloves
  • Ensure it doesn’t cover more than 10 square feet
  • Eliminate any loose spores
  • Open the windows to provide ventilation

If you breathe in the mold spores, it could cause you to fall ill. Therefore, you’ll want to ensure you are wearing protective clothing, including a mask and rubber gloves. You will also want to take care to remove any loose spores before cleaning. This will prevent them from flying around the room and settling somewhere else. 

Also, consider how much mold you are dealing with. The recommendation is that you don’t attempt to clean mold that covers more than 10 square feet. If you are dealing with a large amount, it is safer to call in the professionals. Finally, make sure you leave the windows open to properly ventilate the room. 

How to clean mold safely and effectively

Now that you have a better understanding of what you are dealing with, it’s time to tackle the problem. Discover how to clean mold safely and effectively using the methods below.

Fix the underlying issue

To fully fix your mold problem, you are going to need to fix the underlying issue. If you don’t, mold will keep coming back no matter how many times you clean it. The main causes of mold to form in the home include:

  • Insufficient ventilation
  • Maintenance issues
  • Failing to clean up spills and dry the tracks in the shower door

Identify what is likely causing the problem and then fix it as soon as you can. Once that has been taken care of, you can get on with removing the mold from your home. 

Removing mold from walls

Mold commonly grows on walls, especially in the bathroom. How you remove it will depend upon the type of wall you are cleaning. For standard walls, you will need:

  • White vinegar
  • Bleach
  • Water
  • 3% Hydrogen peroxide
  • A couple of spray bottles 
  • Scrubbing brush

Step 1: Pour 1 part bleach and 3 parts of water into a spray bottle. 

Step 2: Spray the mold with the solution until it is well saturated. Leave for 10-15 minutes.

Step 3: Begin removing the stains with the scrubbing brush. Repeat steps 1-3 until all the mold has disappeared. 

Step 4:  Pour equal parts of vinegar and hydrogen peroxide into another spray bottle.

Step 5: Spray over the clean wall and leave it to airdry.

The use of vinegar and hydrogen peroxide helps to tackle mold at the root, making it less likely to grow back.

Removing mold from wood

If you are dealing with mold on wood, it can be a lot trickier to clean. However, with the right tools and technique, it isn’t impossible. You will need:

  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Dust mask
  • Vacuum
  • 1 tbsp Borax
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tsp dish soap
  • Paper towels
  • A dehumidifier or box fan
  • 100-grit sandpaper (optional)

Step 1: Wearing a dust mask, vacuum up any loose mold spores, being careful to use a vacuum with an HEPA filter. 

Step 2: Add the dish soap and 2 cups of water to a spray bottle and shake well to combine.

Step 3: Spray the mold and use your soft-bristled brush to scrub the mold away. Any excess water can be cleaned up with paper towels.

Step 4: Mix a cup of water with the Borax in a bowl. Now use a soft-bristle brush to apply it onto the area. Leave it to absorb fully into the wood.

Step 5: Run a dehumidifier or box fan in the room to help the wood dry faster.

Step 6: If you are dealing with stubborn patches or mold that won’t budge, use sandpaper to remove the affected wood. 

Removing mold from fabric and leather

It’s a lot easier than you might think to remove mold from fabric and leather. If the fabric is bleachable, you can use a hydrogen peroxide to shift it. If it isn’t bleachable, you can use white vinegar. With leather, a specialist leather cleaner or soapy water and a cloth are all that is needed. 

While cleaning mold can be a time-consuming task, if you follow the methods above it will reduce the chances of it growing back. Don’t forget, you should always aim to fix the source of the problem as quickly as possible. This will ensure the mold doesn’t start to negatively impact your health. 

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