The topics of how to get rid of mold, how to kill mold, how to clean mold, and how to remediate mold are controversial and loaded. There is SO MUCH INFORMATION on the internet about the methods you can use to get rid of mold. Sadly, a lot of it is flat out wrong. Some of it is even dangerous.
Its hard to know who and what information to trust which is why over time, this site will be fully loaded with information about how to properly, effectively, and safely remove mold as well as when you should just walk away. We will even discuss that pesky “how to kill black mold” myth.
Although all of my posts about removing mold are at the bottom of this page, one of the most important pieces of advice I can give you right now has to do with using bleach on mold. NEVER use bleach on mold. If a professional tells you to use bleach or wants to use bleach, run. If you are reading information on a website and they mention cleaning mold with bleach… run.
You see, bleach does two things when it comes mold. It bleaches it so you can’t see it. However, the mold is still there. Beyond that, and even scarier, mycotoxins (the evil spawn of mold) go into fight or flight mode when they come in contact with bleach. This means they begin reproducing like wildfire. You DO NOT want mycotoxins reproducing.
Also keep in mind that there are a lot of terms used related to mold removal. Mold abatement, mold mitigation, mold removal, and mold remediation, are interchangeable terms that essentially mean fixing a mold problem in a structure.
Read on for more information about mold removal or click a heading below to jump straight to that section.
Is DIY Mold Removal A Good Idea?
Do you have any health issues? Don’t do it.
Is the mold contaminated area small? If so, then maybe DIY mold removal is a good idea.
Is the mold contaminated area over 100 square feet? Don’t do it.
Do you fully understand HOW to properly contain the moldy area and seal off the rest of your house? No? Don’t do it. Yes? Maybe do it.
In my humble, experienced opinion, DIY mold removal is very rarely a good idea. Unless you really, really know what you are doing and are potentially up against, mold remediation should typically be left to the experts. There are just too many things that can go wrong. The last thing you want to do is unintentionally cause a bigger issue or send mold spores flying into other parts of your home.
I remediated a small area of my home once and what should have been a very cut and dry process turned into quite the mess. While I definitely knew what I was doing, I won’t do it again. There is a reason that there are mold remediation professionals out there.
When Should You Hire A Professional Remediation Company To Remove Mold?
If you read the section above, you know that I am a proponent of leaving mold remediation to the professionals. At the very least, get a consultation and see what they have to say. There are a LOT of companies out there so make sure you read reviews and ask them a lot of questions. If you aren’t comfortable with their responses, remediation plan, or pricing, then keep interviewing companies until you find one that is a good fit for your situation and budget. You don’t want to take too long to hire a company however. Time if of the essence with mold.
Every mold damage scenario is different, and requires a unique solution, but the general mold remediation process stays the same. The steps listed below illustrate a “typical” remediation process:
- Inspection and Mold Damage Assessment
- Mold Containment
- Air Filtration
- Removing Mold and Mold-Infested Materials
- Cleaning Contents and Belongings
If a professional mold remediation company does not include any one of these steps, DO NOT HIRE THEM.
You can read my post on what Every Homeowner Needs To Know Before They Hire A Remediation Company here.
Types Of Mold Cleaning Products
Do an internet search for products that remove mold, mold cleaning products, or any variation of those two and you will get an endless list of products guaranteed to kill mold.
Here’s the deal. You don’t want to clean mold. You don’t want to just kill mold. You want to remove mold and remediate the entire home and everything in it. Typically that means you need to remove whatever the mold is growing on be that a wall, flooring, window frame, etc… There are some instances where there is a little surface mold that can be “cleaned” but most mold events require some sort of removal process followed by remediation.
When you look for a reputable product to kill mold or remove mold, you also want something that deactivates or neutralizes mycotoxins. This is VERY important seeing that mycotoxins are more dangerous than the mold itself.
You don’t need harsh chemicals to remove mold. There are a handful of non-toxic, environmentally safe, kid safe, pet safe products out there. A couple of these also tackle mycotoxins. There are sprays, concentrated solutions for a fogger, candles, foams, and mists. Each one works slightly differently. You can find some of my product recommendations here. You can also check out my comprehensive mold remover product guide.
What about things like vinegar, essential oils, ammonia, and good old fashioned sunshine?
Don’t get me started. These all have their place but in my personal experience and rigorous testing, they are NOT capable of performing miracles on mold and they certainly do not touch mycotoxins.
Don’t worry – this is just the tip of the iceberg. Remember, at the end of this page are all my posts related to removing mold including various cleaning product reviews and recommendations.
What Household Items and Furniture Can Be Cleaned and What Should You Throw Away?
Cleaning and saving items exposed to mold is a very touchy subject. The memories associated with various possessions are often more difficult to throw out than the item itself. In addition, financial limitation may make it seem impossible to get rid of many household items.
When you bring any item that has been exposed to mold into a new environment (or a remediated one) there is always the chance of cross contamination no matter how well you cleaned it or what you cleaned it with. It is virtually impossible to get rid of every mold spore and mycotoxin. Having said there, there are a few general rules about what is safer to clean and keep, what should be thrown out, and what items are not advisable to clean and keep but can possibly be saved.
These items are generally safe to properly clean and keep. Non-Porous means that the material does not have the ability to absorb a contaminate such as mold. It doesn’t mean that mold spores can’t get trapped in nooks and crannies though. You have to be very thorough cleaning these items.
What non-porous items can you clean and keep?
- Metal furniture
- Glass Furniture
- Dishes, Serving Bowls/Platter, Decorative Plates that are made of coated ceramic, glass, metal, china, porcelain, or glazed clay
- Metal cooking utensils
- Pots and Pans with the exception of cast iron
- Baking sheets and bakeware
- Silicone cooking utensils and bakeware
- Non-wood cutting boards
- Anything made of glass
- Metal framed glass mirrors
- Any brass or metal instruments
- Eye glasses
- Metal jewelry
- DVDs and CDs without covers or cases
- Essential oil bottles
- Bicycles (best kept outdoors though)
Porous Items That *Might” Be Safe
Porous items in general are able to absorb contaminates around them. Mold spores and mycotoxins can either take up permanent residence in these items OR use them as food. While this list of porous items has the potential to be properly cleaned and kept, there is a risk involved especially if anyone is experiencing health issues.
What porous items can you clean and maybe keep?
- Cell Phones
- Landline Phones
- Bed linens
- Kitchen appliances without a motor
- Weights and barbells
- Exercise equipment without a motor
- Curling irons / flat irons
- Leather furniture
- Leather clothing
- Leather purses, briefcases, and belts
- Office chairs
- Hard suitcases
Hazardous Porous Items
Unfortunately, there are a lot of items that are too hazardous and cannot be cleaned under any circumstance. They should not be given away or sold either. These items must be disposed of safely.
What porous items are too risky to attempt to clean and keep and should be thrown away?
- Anything made of wood or particle board
- Anything made of rubber
- Anything made of cork
- Anything made of foam
- Anything made of cork
- Anything made of hemp
- Anything made of wool
- Anything made of fur
- Anything made of cardboard or paper
- Anything made of cloth that cannot be put in a washing machine on high heat
- Washers and dryers
- Video Game Consoles
- DVD Players
- Other electronics
- Kitchen appliances with a motor
- Wooden cutting boards
- Ironing boards
- Books and magazines
- Hair Dryers
- Electric shavers or hair clippers
- Pens, pencils, and other small office supplies
- Cloth suitcases
- Wooden instruments
- Stringed instruments
- Area rugs
- Couches (non-leather)
- Pet beds
- Stuffed animals
- Wall art / paintings
- Silk plants
- Pictures (photos)
- Sewing and craft supplies including yarn
- Sewing machine
- Space Heaters
- Window AC units
Ready to learn more about how to clean surface mold, general mold removal tips, and even some mold remediation advice? Check out all of the posts about how to get rid of mold here.
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