How To Remove Mold From Your Basement
ByHelen Alexander18 October 2021
Damp, water leaks and excess moisture in the air can all cause mold to grow. Heres how to remove mold from your basement.
If you want to know how to remove mold from your basement, this article takes you through the tools you need to get rid of it. According to the Environmental Protection Agency , it only takes a little moisture to cause mold spores to grow and this can result in damage to your property and to your health.
We explore the mold-removing solutions that can protect your home in the long term, as well as the preventative measures designed to reduce the risk of mold starting its rapid growth.
Having successfully removed mold from your basement, its important to consider long-term solutions such as purchasing a dehumidifier that will ensure it doesnt reoccur. For more information on air quality issues relating to mold check out our features on what causes dampness in a house and is condensation on windows bad?
Fix Any Fixtures Damaged By Mold
With that said, there are some occasions where you might be able to save and restore items affected by mold. Some items that are considered to be prime restoration options include:
- Furniture. Wooden furniture can be restored if you are willing to sand away the portion eaten away by mold. You will need wood filler and a wood stain, but its still possible.
- Ceramic. Soaking ceramic in white vinegar will remove the mold and the stains.
- Plastic. Most plastics will be easy to wipe down. Just make sure its not porous!
- Sheetrock/Walls. If you have mold-damaged walls, you will need to call professional mold remediation crews to fix this. Either way, you will need to address this to prevent mold from re-entering your room.
Note: You still need to remove the restorable items from the room and treat them to continue your clean-up. When theyre mold-free, you can re-introduce them to the room.
How To Fix Basement Walls With Mold
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Should I Install An Hvac Ultraviolet Light
When the entire mold removal process is finished , then installing an HVAC UV light is highly advisable.
Here is an article I wrote on my best picks for HVAC UV lights to kill mold.
An HVAC UV light is a special type of light bulb that is installed inside your furnace, and it shines 24-hours to kill and prevent mold growth. The UV light shines a special light frequency known as UV-C that has been proven to kill mold organisms.
It actually disrupts their cellular DNA. Hospitals have been using UV lights for years to sanitize operating rooms.
Can You Use Bleach To Get Rid Of Mold In A Basement
Many homeowners automatically think of bleach as a way to remove mold from walls and other surfaces. However, it is not an effective tool. In fact, the EPA does not recommend using bleach in most cases. It is incredibly harsh to breathe and is highly toxic when mixed with certain other household chemicals.
Bleach can also leave behind a small number of living organisms after treatment. Once sealed back up inside your walls, provided they have food and the right amount of moisture, these residual molds will continue to grow. Over time you will be left with the same situation you were trying to resolve. Our technicians use professional-grade treatments to kill the existing mold. They also apply an inhibitor to prevent a resurgence of mold growth.
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Removing Drywall And Carpet
If you mold growing on drywall or carpet, and you can’t just wipe it off , then you really should just cut it out.
Mildew is usually powdery and just surface coats drywall and carpet which can be easily wiped off. Mold however will grow deeper into drywall and you can’t just clean it or paint it over.
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.
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Getting Rid Of Mold Smell In Basement
Mold in basement can often leave behind a moldy, musty smell in your basement that can be difficult to get rid. Below are a few methods that may help get rid of any unwanted mold odors.
Healthy Home Myths Debunked
Basement mold is often the result of a source of moisture leaky foundations or condensation from appliances are typical culprits. One of the first steps in the prevention of basement mold is to ensure that your basement is free of any moisture and doesn’t support a damp, humid environment where mold can thrive.
If mold in the basement is already a problem in your home, there are many options for the control and removal basement mold. Depending on the extent and severity of the problem, and the type of mold, you may need to explore options for professional mold removal. In particular, cases of severe toxic black mold growth may require professional care.
For nontoxic species of mold and less severe mold growth, there are many DIY solutions for the prevention and control of mold in the basement. After removing any mold-covered debris, such as dry wall, insulation, carpet or sub-flooring, hard surfaces can be treated with commercial products containing ammonia and bleach. Basement mold removal on tile or linoleum can also be performed with vinegar or a borax and water solution.
Mold in the basement is a common problem, but by understanding how to identify problem areas and prevent and control mold growth, you can avoid the potentially costly and unhealthy spread of basement mold.
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Where Do I Start
The first and most important thing to know is that mold most commonly affects peoples health through the inhalation of the spores. Even if the mold you see is limited to your basement, the spores from that colony can move throughout your entire house and stay airborne for a very long time. Even if you dont smell a moldy odor upstairs, heavy concentrations of mold spores can be floating in the air your breathing right now.
Mold is everywhere in nature, it is vital to the ecosystem and plays an important role in the breaking down plants into soil. The outdoors is a big place, and mold has plenty of room to blow around, disperse, and dilute in all that space. The problem starts when it becomes concentrated in an enclosed space, like your basement. Many mold spores contain mycotoxins, small amounts of toxic compounds that help them survive in nature. Its these mycotoxins that create the health effects people suffer when exposed to elevated levels of mold spores in the air.
Its important to understand that finding mold in your basement is a consequence of some type of water damage to that area. The water damage may be from liquid water, or from extended periods of high humidity . The water caused conditions in your basement to be favorable to mold growth. Mold needs four things to survive and grow:
Remove Mold And Mildew Spores Immediately
The next step after controlling your basements humidity levels is to remove any mold or mildew spores. Follow these steps to remove the spores safely and effectively:
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Common Types Of Basement Mold
Unfortunately, there isnt just one type of mold that can be found in your basement. While all mold is unsightly, certain types of mold can also be toxic for humans.
Furthermore, different breeds of mold will appear in different colors and specific types of mold grow on certain surfaces better than others.
Below are some of the most common types of mold that may be found in your basement area.
Also, please keep in mind that there are two different kinds of molds: Allergenic and mycotoxin molds or black molds that produce mycotoxins .
Allergenic molds are molds that arent typically a health risk unless youre either highly sensitive to mold or have asthma.
And, in contrast, mycotoxin molds are toxic for humans and pets and should be handled and removed with extreme care.
If you are unsure of what type of mold that you suspect is in your home or basement, it is recommended to call your local professional to identify the mold or mildew growth and take it from there.
- Aspergillus: There are several different types of aspergillus mold, but the majority of the different types thrive in indoor environments. In fact, aspergillus is one of the most common household molds.
While some types of aspergillus molds are allergenic, others are mycotoxin and should be handled by a mold removal specialist.
Aspergillus mold thrives in damp, warm environments. It has also been found to grow in areas that are relatively dry, but simply have higher levels of humidity and or condensation.
Locate The Source Of Your Moisture Problem
Locate the source of any moisture. Where theres mold, theres moisture. While there are a number of ways that water can get into a basement, the most common ways are flooding, gutters, cracks in the foundation, leaking pipes, and a dryer in the basement that is not vented to outside the home. Reducing moisture is probably the single biggest factor in basement mold removal.
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Health Risk Of Basement Mold
Mold can cause health issues, especially to children, the elderly, and people with the compromised immune system. The most common health problems caused by mold are respiratory issues, including coughing, wheezing and sore throat.
Further, prolonged mold exposure can lead to headaches, nausea, eye irritation, skin rash, and in severe cases heart, and neurological problems.
Easy Ways To Remove Mold From Basement Walls
The most typical type of mold youll find in your house is mold in the basement. The basement is underground and is typically not as well developed as the rest of the house, making it the perfect breeding place for mold. Its often a storage space with little heat, and its also a place where moisture can accumulate due to condensation on pipes or even a leak. If you do not watch the conditions, such as excess moisture and dampness, which are good breeding grounds for basement mold, mold can really grow in the basement.
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Basement Mold Removal Do It Yourself Style
Once youve found and eliminated the source of moisture that is causing the mold problem, and after drying out the damp area and removing those mold growth conditions described above the best you can, its time to remove the mold. Be sure to wear protective clothing and gear when removing mold, including safety glasses, a respirator mask, gloves, and protective clothing.
Next, bag and remove all removable, contaminated items, such as furniture, boxes, clothes, and building materials, such as carpet in finished basements. These can be taken outside and either cleaned or discarded. Building materials and any cellulose products such as cardboard boxes, newspapers, etc. should be thrown away. Clothes can be thoroughly washed and dried. Other mold-resistant material can be scrubbed with your mold removal solution and air-dried.
Now, take your mold removal solution and get to work. Remember to scrub not only those exposed surfaces, but also those harder-to-see places, such as cracks and crevices, where mold loves to hide. Be sure to rinse your scrubbing tool regularly to prevent recontamination. Once the mold removal solution has been applied and the contaminated areas have been scrubbed clean of all mold, wipe down the areas with fresh, clean water, changing your rinse water regularly.
How To Get Rid Of Mold
If you find mold in your basement it is important to take care of it right away by removing the infection and sanitizing the area. If you find mold on furniture or carpets its safer to completely remove and replace these items instead of trying to save them. There are a number of commercial brand and natural products that can be used to remove mold from hard surfaces.
One of the best ways to get rid of mold in your basement is to tear out the contaminated areas and replace them with fresh materials. If you cant do that then you can just as effectively remove the infection with bleach, borax and vinegar. Bleach reduces the mold count and neutralizes harmful bacteria, but it doesnt completely kill it. Another solution for removal is vinegar or borax.
After you have checked every corner and crevice in your basement for mold and cleaned it all out, then you have to go back and make sure to sanitize each area multiple times until you are satisfied that everything is clean. Once your basement is clean make sure it gets completely dryotherwise you may end up with another mold problem sooner than you expect.
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How To Get Rid Of A Musty Smell In The Basement
Does your basement have a musty odor that you cant seem to eliminate? You can spend hours scrubbing, mopping, and spraying your basement with an air freshener, but thats not going to cut it in most cases. You may even start to think that theres no way to make your homes lower-level smell good.
Dont worry theres good news. All you need is the right strategy and little patience.
Continue reading to learn how to get rid of that musty smell in your basement once and for all.
Once You Have Mold You Cannot Avoid It
Due to the phenomenon known as the stack effect a large amount of the air you breath inside your home comes directly from the basement or crawl space. As cool, damp air rises from the lower levels of the home and is circulated up and out. This air can carry harmful mold spores and allergens, like dust mites. Insects and rodents are also attracted to conditions where mold thrives. Simply shutting your basement door and ignoring the problem wont improve the air quality issues that can affect the living areas of your home.
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