A mold remediation process isn’t as easy as it looks. While you might be able to take care of it, there are several steps involved in ensuring you get rid of the mold once and for all. Ready to attack the mold growing in the dark, damp corners of your home? Here’s what you need to do:
5 Steps for Effective Mold Removal
First Step: Understanding How Moisture Leads to Mold Growth
If you think you can easily spot mold growing in the corner of your room or on the walls, that’s where you’re wrong. Mold has a few cards up its sleeve and can fool you by growing around or behind the objects you can see with ease. Such trickery requires a shade, at the very least, of Sherlock’s inquisitive and cunning nature.
But before you start scraping off mold and getting rid of it, you need to understand the root cause. Behind every mold problem is a moisture or water issue. The next task is to identify the source of moisture, whether it’s a pipe leak or seepage. Once you’ve tracked the location and pinpointed the exact spot, you’ll be able to locate precisely where the mold is. So, become a moisture master, and you’ll also become a mold master.
Once mold starts to grow, it releases its reproductive spores from which new mold can arise. The spores find a comfy spot that has abundant oxygen and adequate moisture. Since you can’t see a spore, that’s why you have to locate the moisture source because even if you remove the visible mold, new spores will be contaminating a whole new area. Drywall, fabrics, insulation, wood, and tiles are the perfect breeding ground for mold.
Second Step: Record Mold Growth and Devise a Remediation Plan
Now that you’ve identified the source of mold, the next step in the mold remediation process is to document the problem, record the mold growth, and make plans on how to get rid of it. Usually, a mold remediation company sends a team that takes pictures, videos, and notes. From the data collected, the professionals decide the date at which they start their work and the expected completion date while also addressing questions like whether the homeowners should relocate temporarily, and whether there’s a need for any prior testing.
Moreover, the documentation helps the mold remediation company manage liability, especially in the long term. In addition, it can also help in finding and exploiting more prominent trends in mold growth.
At this point, you may start to wonder why you’re bothering about the mold in your home. Well, here are a few reasons why you should. Firstly, the sight of mold is very unpleasant, and no one would want any part of their home, even the bathrooms, to look like that. Secondly, the mold, especially spores, produces irritants, allergens, and toxic chemicals whenever they start to grow in wet places. These harmful substances affect air quality and can prove significantly hazardous for the residents. If you don’t do anything about the mold infestation, you’re bound to make your pre-existing health conditions even worse.
Third Step: Determine the Damages From Mold Contamination
Before you hop onto removing the mold, determine the damages from mold contamination. Calculating the extent of the infestation and the consequent damage makes it easier to create an effective remediation plan. Once you’ve measured the area of mold contamination, you can consult The New York City Department of Health’s (NYC DOH) guidelines. NYC DOH has set 6 different levels of mold remediation. Each level consists of a plan that works best for a specific surface area range.
Fourth Step: Enact Upon the Mold Remediation Process
Complete mold removal not only includes getting rid of the mold while keeping yourself and the occupants safe but also eliminating the mold and moisture source so that there’s no chance for any recurring infestation. Most proficient mold remediation companies who know what they’re doing first measure the size of the affected area. Based on the size, the company’s employees perform remediation Level 1 or 2. Level 1 is for small spaces that constitute an area of 10 square feet or less, while level 2 is for 10-30 square feet of contaminated surfaces.
Since the cleanup process for both of these is the same, we’ll discuss the general procedure that most mold removal companies follow:
- Get rid of the water problem: The first step is to locate the moisture source and deal with your water problem, preventing new mold from growing.
- Isolate the mold-infested area: The second step is to completely seal the room or place where the mold has grown. Close all the windows and doors to isolate the room from the remainder of the house. For Level 2 remediation, you’ll have to take extra precautions and cover all the possible openings, including doorways, with a 6mm polyethylene sheet. Duct tape all the seams of the sheet so that there’s no crack or opening left uncovered.
- Suppress dust: This step is pretty simple. All you have to do is mist the contaminated areas.
- Dispose of affected materials: If you’re confused about which materials are contaminated enough to throw away and which are safe enough to keep, consult your supervisor or check the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) document on mold removal. Nonetheless, make sure you remove any wet or porous material damaged by mold.
- Use plastic bags to contain the affected materials: Don’t leave the affected materials you want to dispose of hanging like that. Instead, to properly throw them away so that they don’t affect anyone, keep them in double plastic bags 6mm thick each. Tightly tie those bags close. Then, clean the outside of these bags with a detergent solution and wipe with a damp cloth. After this treatment, the bags are ready to be thrown in the trash can with the rest of the garbage.
- Clean: After you’ve dealt with the mold-infested material, it’s time to clean the contaminated surfaces. Get a wire brush to clean all the moldy surfaces thoroughly. Then, use a disposable wipe on the entire area. After you’ve used these items, don’t throw them in the garbage can straight away. Instead, put them in the same double 6mm polyethylene bags and seal them shut by tying them tightly. Then, rinse the surfaces with a powerful detergent and give them a good wipe with a damp cloth. Finally, rinse with water until all the mold is removed.
- The difference in cleaning in Level 1 and Level 2 remediation: The cleaning process is not the same in both levels of remediation. Level 1 differs a bit in the sense that you have to use a damp cloth, a mop, and a detergent solution for cleaning. Level 2 remediation requires you first use the HEPA vacuum on all the contaminated surfaces. Then, use a detergent solution, wipe with a damp cloth, and mop, just like how it’s done in Level 1 remediation.
- Visibility test: This step is relatively easy to understand. All you have to do is have a comprehensive look across the room and clear all contaminants, debris, dust, and dirt until the room is all clear.
- Dry: The materials and surfaces that you’ve cleaned have water and moisture on them. Make sure you dry them well enough. Otherwise, they’ll attract mold, and your room will become contaminated once again. Using a fan or a dehumidifier can speed up the drying process. You can even increase the temperature of the indoor air for this purpose.
- Replace: Replace or repair all the materials you removed in the initial phase.
Refer to this detailed 10-step plan while you’re removing the mold or have hired the services of a mold removal firm. Your warranty supervisor is supposed to update the plan and make changes accordingly if the team discovers any additional mold.
If the area of contamination exceeds even the limit of Level 2 remediation and is greater than 30 square feet, there’s no choice but to hire a professional mold remediation company. You can assist the company or supervise a qualified contractor in such a case. Knowing the steps involved in Level 3 remediation can prove quite helpful for you. Although you require the services of a mold removal firm for both Level 2 and 3 remediation, don’t hesitate to hire one for Level 1 remediation as well if you’re new to this. To be on the safe side, always use the services of a top-notch and adept mold remediation company. You’ll have the satisfaction of getting the job done, and the risk of harming yourself or your household members is less if a professional does the job.
Fifth Step: Monitor the Progress for Chances of Regrowth
Even after you’ve removed all the mold and cleaned all the surfaces, your job isn’t finished. The last and final step of effective mold removal is to ensure that the complete mold removal was actually effective and the cleanup has been successful. Although you can do this yourself in any method that suits you best, you can also follow EPA’s guidelines in their thorough document “Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings.” To give you a brief insight, here are some of the guidelines:
- To check whether the moisture problem is fixed permanently, revisit the home and check for any recurring water damage.
- Look around for mold, any moldy material or surface, and smell for repulsive odor. If you are not sure how mold looks check here what does toxic black mold look like
- Once the residents move back in and stay healthy and fit, the mold removal has done a great job!
Some companies also offer additional tests, such as an environmental test, to ensure they didn’t wrap things up with an undealt moisture source or mold.
The most critical component in controlling mold growth is to develop a functional moisture management strategy. If the firm gets everything right the first time and successfully removes the mold while dealing with the moisture source, it can save both you and themselves a lot of money and ward off health hazards.
Health and safety should be the top priority, which is why you and the mold removal team should wear an N-95 respirator, rubber gloves (preferably those that extend till the forearm), and goggles.
To show their clients that they’re committed to performing the task efficiently and professionally, mold remediation companies must follow a thorough plan based on these five steps. To effectively tackle mold growth at first sight and reduce the chances of regrowth, hire professionals to carry out these steps while you sit back and relax.