How to Clear Your Home of Mold and Mildew

Earth tones might be your décor palette of choice, but if splotchy patches of black, grays, and greens take over your white walls, or the smell reminds you of your last spelunking trip, you’ve may have a mold problem. Most molds aren’t dangerous, but certain molds can cause asthma attacks, bloody noses, rashes, headaches and other problems. These molds are particularly dangerous to children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with respiratory issues.

Mold doesn’t take long to settle in. It grows on damp surfaces in 24 to 48 hours and spreads quickly. If your home has had flooding, a sewage backup, a plumbing leak, bathtub overflow, roof leak or a damp basement or crawlspace, mold is likely to take up residence. High humidity, or simply the damp area around a humidifier or a dryer vent, can be enough for mold to see an open invitation.

If you have more than 25 square feet of mold in your home, you shouldn’t attempt to tackle the problem on your own. Some molds release spores when they are disturbed, and in this quantity, they can be quite toxic. If there is only a small amount of mold present, you might be able to eliminate the problem yourself using the following steps:

  • Ensure the area you are cleaning is well-ventilated. Wear a mask, gloves and eye protection throughout the process, and clean or dispose of these items afterward. Remove any damp objects from the area. Dispose of wet or moldy carpeting without exception; you can disinfect other objects if they have been damp for less than 48 hours. Throw out any food in the area that is not sealed in a water-tight container, even if it does not appear to have mold growing on it. Use a dehumidifier to dry out the area as much as possible. Avoid using a fan, which can spread mold spores.
  • Apply a disinfectant chlorine bleach to the moldy area. Carefully read the instructions and ingredients of all cleaning materials you use. Do not use ammonia, and NEVER MIX BLEACH AND AMMONIA! Allow the bleach to sit on hard surfaces such as wood, metal, glass or plastic for at least 10 minutes before wiping. Throw out porous materials such as furniture upholstery, bedding, clothing, curtains, books and paper if they show any signs of mold. “When in doubt, throw it out,” is the rule to follow here. Clean and dry other objects that do not show signs of mold, and then monitor them for several days for any signs of mold growth.
  • Allow the area to dry completely before replacing any objects. Usually, this takes two to three days.

If you have a mold problem, we’re happy to offer our assistance. Feel free to contact us with any questions at (503) 207-0334, and after a consultation, we will let you know whether it’s a job you can handle yourself or if you’re better off leaving it to the professionals at S.T.O.P.