What Do I Do If I Find Mold?
Don’t panic if you find mold in your house or apartment. But don’t ignore it, either. It won’t go away–and it will only get worse.
Some homeowners have received estimates ranging from $5,000 to $9,800 to clean up relatively small areas of mold in basements or crawl spaces. Fortunately, there are ways to clean up minor mold problems and make corrective repairs for a fraction of those estimates.
One of the simplest methods is to wipe down the area with a diluted bleach solution and then improve the ventilation in the area.
Mold can grow in any damp area. The water can come from almost any where–from a roof, plumbing or groundwater that penetrates basement floors or walls. It spreads rapidly on moist or water-damaged paper, sheet rock, cardboard, ceiling tiles and wood products.
If you have small amounts of visible mold, you can probably deal with it yourself. There are two things you have to do: kill the mold and eliminate the source of the water.
- Wipe walls where mold is growing with a solution of one cup bleach mixed with one gallon of water.
- Ventilate kitchens and bathrooms to the outdoors with fans.
- Open windows in the bathroom and other moist rooms.
- Maintain humidifiers properly, especially if you use room units. Room units are more prone to grow mold because they use a stagnant basin of water, while central humidifiers operate with a continual stream of fresh water.
- Empty the condensate collection trays under dehumidifiers, air conditioners, and refrigerators frequently.
- Thoroughly clean or replace water damaged things.
It’s a different story if you have extensive amounts of mold, which can occur from extensive water damage or when a minor problem is ignored for a long time. In those cases, it can be dangerous to attempt to clean up the mold yourself. It’s safer to call in professional help.