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Cleaning, Repairing, and Disinfecting
By Jim Brown
Cleaning mold affected areas in your home or business is just one part of the mold remediation (removal) process. Additional tasks include identifying the moisture source that causes mold growth and eliminating it to assure prevention of future growth.
In some cases a mold test is required to identify the type of mold growing in your property and to apply the right treatment. In addition, removing mold is not enough; the affected area must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected to prevent health related hazards.
The first step is to learn the extent of the damage is and to detect what allowed mold to grow. The most efficient way to determine these factors is by having the property inspected for mold. Even if mold is visible, a mold inspection will provide accurate information about the source of mold and will help detecting additional hidden mold infestations. Learn more about mold inspections
Basic Cleaning Techniques
It is recommended to hire a professional to handle mold cleaning. However, if you choose to do it yourself, start with determining what to keep and what to discard. Be sure to take protective measures before you start and work in a well-ventilated area.
Wash hard surfaces items such as metal, glass, solid wood, plastic and other nonporous materials with a non-ammonia detergent and hot water. For rough surface materials such as concrete, use a stiff brush.
Porous materials such as upholstered furniture made of pressed particle materials must be cleaned, disinfected and completely dried. Monitor these items for several days for any growth and odors - if any mold develops, discard the item or seek professional help.
If the surfaces you are cleaning are dry, lightly mist them with water before cleaning the mold. Wetting mold is important to prevent it from having a better chance of becoming airborne during the cleaning process.
Thoroughly clean all surfaces in the area including surfaces that do not have any visible mold on them, since mold spores can be invisible and remain dormant for months.
Basic Disinfection Techniques
Do not start disinfecting materials before they are cleaned. Disinfecting will kill mold spores that are left after cleaning.
Disinfect all cleaned surfaces with a bleach solution (1 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water). Allow the solution to stay on the surface for at 10-15 minutes before rinsing with clear water.
You may use different disinfectants such as alcohol and bleach, but do not use those two chemicals together.
Once a surface has been cleaned and disinfected, allow it to dry completely. This may usually take two to three days but with some materials it may take even longer. If there are any mold spores left behind, drying the surface will assure that they will not develop and grow again.
Recovering from Mold - What to Keep and What to Discard