How To Remove Mold From Walls
Mold on your interior walls doesnt just look unpleasant; it can be a health hazard for your family. Depending on the amount and location, its presence also suggests a larger problem in your housewater infiltration.
For this project, we will focus on solving the mold problem. The remedy is two-fold: 1. Control moisture and 2. Kill the mold. While the former may take a more involved approach, depending on the situation, the latter often can be done with some bleach, water and a bit of elbow grease.
Natural Ways To Remove Basement Mold
There are numerous different ways to get rid of mold, but some chemicals used in the process have the potential to be harmful. Below are a few steps to remove mold naturally.
Make sure the area in which the mold is growing is dry. Mold thrives on moisture, so fixing any leaks, cleaning up water, and ensuring that theres no humidity in the area should be your first step in removing mold.
After ensuring that the area in which the mold was growing is dry and has plenty of air, your next step should be cleaning the air.
Mold spores can be transported through your HVAC system or air ducts in your home. Because of this, it may be best to use an air purifier to ensure that no mold spores end up in other areas of your basement or anywhere else in your home.
Create a mold cleaning solution to remove and clean the area the mold was on and around.
Fortunately, theres a wide variety of natural solutions that will successfully remove mold.
Below are several solutions that will remove mold while not spreading harmful chemicals in your home.
So Why Are Basements Moldy & Damp
1) The National Building Code now insists on basement insulation , and it needs to be done before delivery to homeowners, which will be years before the concrete in the basement walls has fully dried.
2) Decisions on wall assemblies and the materials that will be used are most often made based on initial building costs, not future repair costs, energy performance or protecting the health of occupants by mitigating mold formation. They most certainly are not based on the laws of physics,that is the one thing we know for sure.
3) The cheapest way to insulate a basement is on the inside, and using finishing materials that are moisture and therefore mold formation sensitive. This is a big problem, given the potential for mold problems building like in 1 and 2 above.
With wet or humid soil on the exterior, concrete cannot dry to the outside. With the inclusion of a polyethylene vapour barrier on the inside, concrete is prevented from drying inwards as well. That leaves a sealed waterproof cavity containing untold thousands of litres of water along with moisture-sensitive and organic materials that are the perfect breeding ground for fungus and mold.; Does this sound like a good idea to you?
What Building Science Corporation has to say about this type of basement wall assembly –
For a basement to have any chance at doing what you want it to do without growing black stinky and unhealthy mold, it should be finished with respect to the regarding moisture movement namely;
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How To Clean Mold From Concrete Basement Walls With Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is a versatile and effective cleaner thats a fungicide, virucide, and bactericide. There are dozens of peroxide uses for around the home, both inside and out.
Disinfecting with hydrogen peroxide will kill virtually anything thats growing on your basement walls, including mold! Its also ideal to clean concrete basement floors, too.
- Bristle brush
To kill mold on concrete basement walls or for an ideal DIY mildew remover, pour 3% hydrogen peroxide into a spray bottle. Saturate the walls with the peroxide, then let it sit for up to 30 minutes. Clean mold off walls by scrubbing the area thoroughly with a bristle brush after about ten minutes to help to lift any residual mold out of the pores in the concrete.
If you can, hose off the walls or scrub them down with warm water to remove any cling-on spores when you finish and leave the walls clean and shiny. Dry with a clean towel to eliminate water spots that could encourage more mold to grow.
Peroxide is an excellent option not only for mold removal but to get rid of other types of stains, as well, especially for how to clean white walls that may have mold or mildew.
Is This A Diy Project
In most cases, getting rid of mold in your basement can be done on your own. However, there are always exceptions to the rule. If you have serious mold allergies or notice that the mold is extremely pervasive, you might need to have professional mold remediation done. Moreover, if the root cause of the mold is something that involves a leaky foundation or a sump that keeps flooding your basement, you might want to call a plumber.
The guide below is primarily focused on light mold problems. If you have serious mold issues that managed to penetrate sheetrock, or a major flood, do not use this guide. Call your homeowners insurance for flood insurance purposes, then get professional mold remediation. Its far better to get the major stuff done via professionals, rather than to try to do it on your own.
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Different Types Of Mold
Molds come in many different forms; in fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are probably tens of thousands of types of molds, if not more. Molds play an important role in breaking down leaves, plants and trees. While many molds are harmless, harmful types in enclosed places can lead to respiratory distress, manifesting itself in symptoms that include stuffy noses and wheezing. The effects will be more intense for those who are allergic to that mold or have asthma. Molds responsible for breaking down natural materials, like wood and leaves, can damage the structure of your home. Everyone has an aversion to that.
Lets take a look at a few different types of mold that you might commonly encounter in various areas of your home.
Get Rid Of Basement Mold With Vinegar
Vinegar is a well-known household cleaner that does an excellent job of removing visible mold. The best type of vinegar to use for natural mold removal is white vinegar.
White vinegar in a spray bottle doesnt have to be diluted with anything you can simply pour it right over the mold. You can also add a bit of baking soda to the mix.
And, the vinegar should have anywhere from two-five minutes to sit on the mold or mildew, at which point it can be wiped off with a cloth or sponge.
In our experience, chlorine bleach is not a safe solution, many professionals do use it, but we couldnt recommend it as a DIY solution.
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Common Events That Will Lead To Mold In Basement
- Excessive Moisture in Basement: In order to grow, mold requires oxygen, moisture, and organic material. Often, basements may have excessive moisture due to condensation or sometimes even foundations that are leaky.
And, often enough, moisture problem in basements are a result of appliances stored in the area.
- Leaks in Basement Piping: Basements are often the site of frequent leaks. While even the best built foundation can eventually leak from years of wear and tear, one of the most common causes of basement leaks is a faulty or damaged foundation.
That being said, natural causes can also contribute to leaky foundations. Hydro-static pressure typically caused by the soils water table rising higher than normal underneath a foundation is one of the main causes of foundations leaking.
Additionally, if a basement has windows, water can sometimes accumulate in the window wells sometimes the result of a drain being clogged that can result in leaks.
If any of these types of leaks occur in a basement, mold growth is an imminent possibility.
- Flash Floods: As previously mentioned, hydro-static pressure can cause basement leaks or even flooding that can and will lead to mold surfacing.
Flash floods that occur in your area can cause high amounts of water to build up in the soil against your basements foundation.
- Sump Pump Failure: Nearly all basements have a sump pump, and if your sump pump fails, you may be looking at serious water damage.
Smell The Basement For Mold
If youve been noticing constant and strange smells in your basement, it may be a sign of mold growth. Mold has a unique odor, consisting of a strong, musty, damp, earthy, and tangy smell.;
The mold smell originates from the microbial volatile organic compounds it releases. The bigger this fungus gets, the stronger it smells. You can tell the smell is coming from mold as its odor is overpowering. And its especially potent when confined to one area.;
Moreover, if you or your family have asthma or allergies, mold can trigger your conditions. Thats because mold is a common allergen, and its smell can trigger allergic reactions.
If youve been dealing with allergies at home, you may have a mold problem.
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Mold Is Annoying But Treatable
Having mold in your basement is one of the most common issues homeowners face everywhere. Dealing with it is demanding and time-consuming. Luckily, once you remove it entirely from the wall, it can take a while until it appears again, even if you dont control the humidity in your basement.
For example, if you used borax or vinegar, it will stay in the wall for a while and prevent new regrowth.
However, it isnt a permanent solution.
The only solution for mold in the basement is controlling the humidity and consistent inspection for leaks and damage control as soon as they happen.
Did you find the article useful? If you answered yes, dont forget to like and share it!
Also, share your experience with mold in the comments.
Tips For Preventing Mold Growth
The biggest threat that contributes to mold growth is an excess of moisture. To prevent mold from growing in your basement take these steps to maintain your space.
If you can, leave the dehumidifier in your basement or crawl space to consistently maintain the air and climate quality. These are especially useful and recommended if your space does not have any windows or means of proper ventilation.
Insulate your pipes. Hire a plumber or contract a professional to properly insulate your pipes that were leaking or sustained damage. Its also a good idea to insulate the walls and around windows if your basement has any. This will help minimize condensation from occurring.
Keep the space maintained. Make a habit of checking out the basement a little more often to inspect for any potential problems such as leaks. Inspect appliances periodically and have them maintenance once or twice a year for best results.
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Remove Any Items Damaged By Mold
Mold is a living organism that feasts on the stuff in our homesfood, furniture, books, everything. If you have small items or papers that have been affected by the mold, you should remove them immediately. In most cases, you will be best off clearing out the entire room affected by mold.
When youre cleaning out the room, its best to sort items into three piles: destroyed, salvageable, untouched. Anything that is destroyed should be taken to the local dump or recycling center. Salvageable items can be fixed or tossed on a case-by-case basis.
Tips To Get Rid Of Basement Mold
Reducing mold in basement spaces is particularly tough for any of us with poor ventilation and high moisture content.
Generally speaking, basements are dark and temperate areas, have little air-flow and are subject to rapid mold occurence even when kept clean. People with mold allergy should avoid basements with excess moisture.
Many of todays homes provide plenty of organic material for mold to feed on. And, any mold growth seen on concrete walls may be the result of a colony of mold growing behind the walls. Ceiling tiles are another problematic spot. Mold damage is mostly visible on both concrete and drywall.
If youve ever walked into your basement to find unsightly, black spots growing on your walls, floor, or ceiling, youve most likely had a run in with mold spore.
Mold and mildew can show up in any area of the house. And, basement spaces often provide the most favorable living conditions for this fungus to thrive.
As a result, mold in basements can sometimes be difficult to get rid of it without first addressing and correcting the underlying issues allowing the mold to flourish.
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How To Get Rid Of Mold In The Basement
Mold is unpleasant to look at and can be unhealthy, no matter where it grows.; We dont think much about it when we see it outside on plants or in the wild.; However, we do pay more attention when we find it in our home, especially the basement.;
In fact, when you add a little moisture, low airflow, humidity, and darkness, the spores find places to land and grow.;How do you get rid of mold in the basement?;
You need to find the source and fix it, whether it is a leaky window or pipe, and then try to clean the areas that have the mold such as carpet and furnishings with vinegar and baking soda.; Lastly, dry the surfaces.; As always, you can call in a professional.
Lets take a look at what mold is, preparing to search for the mold, types of mold, areas to check in the basement, how to get rid of the mold, and when to call in a professional.
How To Measure Humidity
A hygrometer is a tool people use to identify the levels of humidity in rooms. There are different models on the market, and most of them are quite affordable and available in stores and online.
Condensation is a visual sign that the humidity in your basement is high, but a hygrometer is the only way to get precise measurements.
Where Mold Comes From And How To Prevent It
Mold is a fungus that releases spores into the air. Mold spores are everywhere, floating in the air and landing on surfaces. Every house and building in the world has mold spores in it, and there is no way to get rid of every mold spore in your home. So why doesnt mold grow everywhere? Mold spores need specific conditions to grow into mold: moisture and darkness. That means you can avoid mold by preventing those conditions from happening in your house.
Mold is most common in basements, where groundwater seepage and humidity can make things damp . It is also common in bathrooms and kitchens where moisture is not properly vented. Anywhere you have a leak that is not promptly cleaned up and fixed is a good home for mold as well, whether it is a roof leak leading to mold in the attic or a plumbing leak that causes your kitchen cabinets to get moldy.
Preventing mold requires a little work now, but you will avoid a lot of work getting rid of mold later. Here are some things to start with:
- Fix all leaks promptly.
- Clean up spills and dry out wet carpet.
- Run a dehumidifier in damp areas.
- Improve ventilation in bathrooms and in the kitchen.
- Direct drainage away from your house to reduce basement seepage.
Techniques For Cleaning Surface Mold
Surface molds grow in just about any damp location, such as the grout lines of a ceramic tiled shower. They’re easy to scrub away with a mold cleaner mixture of 1/2 cup bleach, one quart of water and a little detergent. In mold remediation, the bleach in the cleaning mixture kills the mold. The detergent helps lift it off the surface so you can rinse it away and it won’t return as fast.
- Even for simple cleaning, protect yourself from contact with mold and the bleach solution by wearing a long-sleeve shirt and long pants as well as plastic or rubber gloves and goggles.
- If the mold doesn’t disappear after light scrubbing, reapply the cleaning mix and let it sit for a minute or two. Then lightly scrub again for;mold remediation.
- Seal the clean surfaces when they’re thoroughly dry to slow future moisture penetration. Apply a grout sealer to tile joints to help your how to remove mold project
Note: Do not mix ammonia or any detergent containing ammonia with bleach. The combination forms a poisonous gas.
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How To Clean Mold In A Basement
This article was co-authored by Mike Kapur. Mike Kapur is a home inspector and the owner of Sonic Home Inspections, a home inspection company in Westchester, New York. With over 15 years of experience in pre-inspecting properties, Mike specializes in mold, radon, asbestos, lead, water, and air quality testing as well as hazardous materials, pest, infrared, and general home inspections. Prior to founding Sonic Home Inspections, Mike worked pre-inspecting apartments. Mike holds a BS in Accounting from Queens College and is a Certified Mold Assessor in the state of New York.There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 74,664 times.
Put on protective gear before inspecting or cleaning mold. Find out the size of the affected area, then decide if you prefer to hire a professional. To clean it yourself, apply a mold-killing cleaning agent such as diluted bleach, undiluted vinegar, or 3% hydrogen peroxide. Let the solution sit briefly, then scrub and rinse the area. Eliminate any leaks, condensation and excess humidity, since reducing moisture is the most important way to combat basement mold.