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Clean, Dry, Repair and Disinfect Basements
By the RestorationSOS Educational Staff
It isn't at all uncommon to find mold and mildew in the basement of your home. Basements are generally more humid than other areas of the house and are prone to water damage due to their low-lying location. The lack of ventilation in most basements only aggravates the problem. Since mold destroys organic matter, it can wreak havoc on carpeting, furniture, and drywall.
Fortunately, mold is treatable (in most cases anyway), and once that is done, it can be prevented from returning. They key is to take the proper steps in the correct order.
Steps to Removing Mold in the Basement
Safety is the first order of business. You do not want to come into contact with mold or mold spores, so gloves, eye protection, and a filtration mask or respirator are highly recommended. You do not want to run even the slightest risk of inhaling mold.
Any doors leading from your basement to the rest of your home should be closed and sealed. Any doors leading to the outside of the home should be opened. The reason is that you donít want mold spreading to other areas inside your home.
Any items with serious mold damage should be removed and discarded. It is highly unlikely that they can be salvaged. Even if they could be, mold spores would likely remain within the piece, allowing the growth to return within a very short period of time.
Avoid using bleach solutions to kill mold. While it does kill some surface mold, it will not penetrate porous surfaces where much of your mold problem resides. The water portion of the bleach solution will, however, which means that the hidden mold is not killed, but actually fed. This may cause the problem to actually get worse instead of better.
Vinegar solutions are preferred, spraying all affected surfaces completely and allowing it to sit for at least 20 minutes. This loosens the spores and allows them to be removed. Some judicious elbow grease may be required to thoroughly cleanse the affected area.
After treatment, make sure the walls and surfaces are completely dry. If any moisture remains, then there is the possibility that the mold may in fact return.
Finally, remember that it is never enough to simply kill or remove mold. Mold occurred as a result of conditions being favorable to its establishment and growth. If you do not take steps to improve the ventilation and reduce humidity levels, then you will eventually end up with the same problem.
Take the time to properly treat the area and improve airflow. Humidity levels should be reduced to between 40-45% for maximum protection.