Mold lives on any organic material, including cotton, drywall, wood, paper and linen. It thrives in damp, dark conditions, including closets and basements. After a leak or flood, mould grows on carpet padding and behind walls in drywall. If left unchecked, mould spreads, destroying any material with which it comes into contact. All moulds, including green mould, pose health hazards, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Young children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems may be more sensitive to mould, exhibiting signs such as headaches, nausea, respiratory illness, dizziness and cold symptoms, for instance.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Trisodium phosphate (available at janitorial supply stores)
- Scrub brush
- Chlorine bleach
Mix 8 tablespoons of trisodium phosphate with 1 gallon of warm water. Trisodium phosphate is a bio-cleaner available under many brand names and sold at janitorial supply stores. It kills the fungus that causes mould.
Scrub hard surfaces, such as tile, countertops, cement and wood with the trisodium phosphate mixture.
Open windows and run fans to dry thoroughly.
Sand unfinished wood surfaces with an electric sander to remove any remaining mould.
Shake mouldy clothing outside to remove mould spores.
Wash the clothing in a regular wash cycle, with 1/2 cup of heavy-duty liquid detergent. Add 1/4 cup of chlorine bleach, if the garments are bleach-safe.
Hang outside to dry in the sun.
Shake lightweight rugs and cushions outside to remove mould spores.
Vacuum larger pieces, such as mattresses or furniture.
Mix 1/4 cup of mild detergent with 1 gallon of warm water. Scrub pieces gently to remove mould. Add 1/8 cup of chlorine bleach to the water, if the items are bleach-safe.
Dry cushions and rugs in the sun. Air-dry larger pieces inside. Open windows or run a fan to increase ventilation.
Tips and warnings
- Hire a professional to remove mould from large areas (more than 10 square feet).
- Sprinkle chlorinated lime on basement floors to remove any musty odour. Once the odour is gone, sweep up and dispose of the chlorinated lime in a sealable dustbin.
- Mold can't be removed from drywall. Replace affected pieces.
- Eliminate the cause of mould to prevent reinfestation. Improve ventilation and run a dehumidifier. Ensure basement drainage is adequate, through proper soil grading around foundation and rain gutters.
- Protect yourself when cleaning mould by wearing goggles, a respirator, rubber gloves, and long sleeves and trousers. Remove and wash clothing after mould containment.
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