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Clean, Dry, Repair and Disinfect Basement Walls
By the RestorationSOS Educational Staff
The average basement tends to be heavy with humidity and stale air, which is the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew. This problem is quite common and can be extraordinarily difficult to get rid of. The good news is that mold is preventable and can be properly remediated with some common sense problem solving.
Mold appears quite often as the result of water damage or flooding, but it does not require a major water damage event to spur the growth of mold. Basically, anywhere there is higher than average humidity or moisture levels can be subject to mold growth. Since moisture feeds the problem, mold will continue to grow and spread until it is removed and the area where it was found is properly dried out and treated to prevent it from returning.
Many people spend a lot of money to have their homes tested for mold when it isnít necessary. Mold is normally a very obvious problem Ė a greenish-black growth accompanied by a musty smell. If you suspect that you have mold in your home, in all likelihood, you do.
Where to Begin with Basement Mold Removal
Actually, removing the mold isn't the first step. You will want to dry the affected area thoroughly, using towels, fans, blowers, dehumidifiers, etc. Mold lives and thrives in moist, poorly ventilated areas. Once the affected area has been properly dried out, then you can begin the actual removal process. Allow for at least a full day for total drying to be completed.
Before scrubbing any mold, be sure to protect yourself. Long sleeves, pants, gloves, eye wear and filtration masks are imperative to prevent exposure to mold spores.
Resist using a bleach solution to kill the mold, no matter how many websites tell you to do so. Bleach will not kill mold growth and, in fact, may actually cause it to grow back even faster. Use a vinegar solution instead, spraying the affected area thoroughly and then allowing it to sit for about a half hour. This will loosen the mold and make it easier to remove.
Use a stiff bristled brush to remove the mold from the walls. It may take some scrubbing as mold is quite resistant, but take your time and make sure that all traces of the growth have been removed. The area will then need to be disinfected, sanitized, and dried out again. It is the only way to prevent the problem from returning.
If you have a dehumidifier, you should run the unit on a regular basis to help ensure that mold problems do not return. Remember that basements are prone to high humidity levels, so keeping those levels in check (between 40-45%) will go a long way toward making sure you do not have future mold problems.
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