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Free Encyclopedia of Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, Repair
ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARDS - INSPECT, TEST, REMEDY
MOLD: A COMPLETE GUIDE to TEST CLEAN PREVENT
ACCURACY vs PRECISION of MEASUREMENTS
ACTIVITY of MOLD in buildings
AGE of MOLD - Old is the Mold?
AIR POLLUTANTS, COMMON INDOOR
AIR TEST SAMPLING CASSETTE STUDY
AIRBORNE MOLD COUNT NUMBER GUIDE
AIRBORNE PARTICLE ANALYSIS METHODS
ALLERGEN TESTS for BUILDINGS
ALLERGENS in BUILDINGS, RECOGNIZING
ALLERGY & MOLD IAQ PRODUCTS
ALLERGY TESTS for PEOPLE
ALLERGY TEST ACCURACY
BASEMENT MOLD WATER IMPACT
BIBLIOGAPHY for ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH, MOLD, IAQ
BIOLOGICAL POLLUTANTS in the HOME - EPA
BLACK MOLD, HARMLESS COSMETIC
BLACK MOLD, TOXIC & ALLERGENIC
BLEACHING MOLD, Advice about
BOOK MOLD, Moldy Book Cleaning
BOOKSTORE - ENVIRONMENTAL
CAR MOLD CONTAMINATION
CARPET DUST IDENTIFICATION
CARPETING & INDOOR AIR QUALITY
CARPETS & PADDING ODORS IN buildings
CHINESE DRYWALL HAZARDS
CLEARANCE INSPECTIONS - MOLD CLEANUP
DIRECTORY of MOLD / ENVIRONMENTAL EXPERTS
DIRT FLOOR MOLD CONTAMINATION
DISINFECTANTS & SANITIZERS, SOURCES
DISINFECTING BUILDINGS with BLEACH
DO-IT-YOURSELF MOLD CLEANUP WARNINGS
DRYWALL MOLD TESTING
DUCT SYSTEM & DUCT DEFECTS
DUST, HVAC CONTAMINATION STUDY
EFFLORESCENCE, Salts & White / Brown Deposits
EMERGENCY RESPONSE, IAQ, GAS, MOLD
FEAR of MOLD - MYCOPHOBIA
Fiberboard Insulation Sheathing Mold
FIBERGLASS INSULATION MOLD
FIND MOLD, ESSENTIAL STEPS
MOLD in BUILDINGS
FLOOD DAMAGE ASSESSMENT, SAFETY & CLEANUP
FLOODS IN buildings-mold
FLOOR & SUBFLOOR MOLD, HIDDEN
HIDDEN MOLD, HOW TO FIND
HUMIDITY CONTROL & TARGETS INDOORS
INDOOR AIR HAZARDS TABLE
Indoor Air Pollution Book Online CPSC
INDOOR AIR QUALITY & HOUSE TIGHTNESS
INDOOR AIR QUALITY IMPROVEMENT GUIDE
INDOOR AIR QUALITY METHODS COMPARED
LAB PROCEDURES MICROSCOPE TECHNIQUES
Legionella BACTERIA & HVAC Equipment
MEDIA BLASTING for MOLD REMOVAL
MILDEW in BUILDINGS ?
MILDEW ERRORS, IT's MOLD
MILDEW REMOVAL & PREVENTION
MOISTURE CONTROL in BUILDINGS
MOLD: A COMPLETE GUIDE TO MOLD
MOLD CLEANUP GUIDE- HOW TO GET RID OF MOLD
MOLD COUNT NUMBER GUIDE
MOLD CULTURE TEST KIT VALIDITY
MOLD DETECTION & INSPECTION GUIDE
MOLD or INDOOR AIR EMERGENCY RESPONSE
MOLD LEVEL IN AIR, VALIDITY
MOLD ODORS, MUSTY SMELLS
MOLD PREVENTION GUIDE
MOLD RELATED ILLNESS GUIDE
MOLD SAFETY WARNINGS
MOLD TEST KITS
MOLD TESTING METHOD VALIDITY
MSDS Material Safety Data Sheets
MYCOPHOBIA, STAINS MISTAKEN for MOLD
ODORS GASES SMELLS, DIAGNOSIS & CURE
OZONE for MOLD OR ODORS
PAINTS & COATINGS ODORS IN BUILDINGS
PARTICLE SIZES & IAQ
Particulates & Allergens Indoors
RADON HAZARD TESTS & MITIGATION
RENTERS & TENANTS GUIDE TO INDOOR HAZARDS
SMELL PATCH TEST to Track Down Odors
SEWAGE BACKUP TEST & CLEANUP
STAINS on & in BUILDINGS, CAUSES & CURES
STAIN DIAGNOSIS on BUILDING EXTERIORS
STAIN DIAGNOSIS on BUILDING INTERIORS
STAINS & Thermal Tracking
THERMAL IMAGING MOLD SCANS
THERMAL TRACKING & THERMAL BRIDGING
TRAPPED MOLD BETWEEN WOOD SURFACES
TRAPPED MOLD BETWEEN WOOD SURFACES
UV LIGHT BLACK LIGHT USES
VOCs VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUNDS
This article describes how toxic or allergenic mold is removed from buildings - mold cleanup, or mold remediation. We discuss how to physically remove problem mold (don't just spray over it), what cleaners can be used for mold removal, and use of bleach in mold cleanup and removal jobs. We also list related mold cleanup or remediation articles that address special problems such as mold odors, mold removal from irregular surfaces, and stains or odors on roofs or in cars. This is article is part of our series starting at ACTION GUIDE - WHAT TO DO ABOUT INDOOR MOLD, a document which provides an easy to understand step-by-step guide for dealing with toxic or allergenic indoor mold and other indoor contaminants: what to do about mold.
The steps in this document will be sufficient for many building owners who want to do their own mold investigation, mold testing, mold cleanup, and mold prevention in their home or office. Readers should also see MOLD CLEANUP with BLEACH and MOLD CLEANUP - WOOD FRAMING & PLYWOOD and also MOLD CLEANUP - MISTAKES to AVOID. Also see see TRAPPED MOLD BETWEEN WOOD SURFACES for a discussion of the question of need to remove mold from mated and inaccessible building surfaces.
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How to Clean or Remove Mold, Moldy Debris, Other Indoor Environmental Contaminants - a Homeowner's Guide
Please see ACTION GUIDE - WHAT TO DO ABOUT INDOOR MOLD for a detailed procedure on mold cleanup in buildings. What follows below is a succinct guide to mold cleanup for homeowners or tenants. Renters may also want to see RENTERS & TENANTS GUIDE TO MOLD & INDOOR HAZARDS.
Protect the occupants and yourself from mold, demolition dust, debris, cleaning chemicals, etc. Where a large area of cleanup is involved (more than 30 sq.ft.) a professional is usually called to establish negative air in the work area and to install containment barriers of plastic or other material to protect cleaner areas of the building from cross-contamination during the cleanup.
If you used a building environmental specialist to inspect and define the scope of work, you should have baseline mold test samples of both the work area and other building areas which will permit you to state definitively, at the end of the cleanup, whether or not the cleanup has caused cross-contamination of other building areas.
The spotless cleaning produced for the second photo above was obtained by using a professional who used media blasting to clean these surfaces. Such measures may be needed for large or complex surfaces, but quite often the necessary steps are less technical and less onerous, as we describe next.
Clean or remove mold and moldy debris: The most succinct Mold Remediation or Mold Cleanup Guidelines one could state would be this: the objective is not to sterilize your environment or "kill" mold, steps which are ineffective anyway - the operative words are "clean" or "remove" problem mold and then to correct its cause.
If the total square feet of moldy material is less than 30 sq.ft. it is reasonable to handle the mold cleanup as an ordinary building cleaning or renovation procedure - hiring experts to establish negative air, dust containment, etc. is not required, but you should still take steps to minimize cross contamination in the building and to protect yourself and other occupants from moldy dust and debris.
If the total contiguous square feet of moldy material is large (more than 30 sq.ft.) then you should consult a professional to inspect the building, find all of the problem mold areas, and to prepare a mold cleanup or mold remediation plan which will guide the mold remediation company (who should be a totally independent contractor in order to avoid conflicts of interest).
The mold consultant should also advise on the steps needed to prevent future mold growth - fix the causes of mold contamination. If the mold cleanup is a costly project you should have the independent mold consultant perform a thorough visual and physical inspection of the building after the mold cleanup to assure that it was effective.
Note: some sources have amended the 30 square feet rule to 10 square feet as the size suitable for homeowner cleanup.
Remove and dispose of moldy items that cannot be effectively cleaned: Moldy drywall, paneling, trim, carpets, boxes, junk, are removed and disposed-of as construction debris or trash, either because the item cannot be effectively cleaned, or in some cases because the cost of cleaning exceeds the value of the object. Be sure to remove building insulation that has been wet or smells moldy or has been exposed to high levels of airborne mold. See INSULATION MOLD.
Usually moldy drywall and other debris can be disposed-of as ordinary construction debris or trash.
Scrubbing moldy surfaces - no sprays, no ozone, no sterilization: We're talking about scrubbing here. It's the physical removal of moldy or allergenic debris that's important, not the surface sterilization. The second we permit someone to "spray for mold" we can count on them to fail to do an adequate mold cleanup.
And if the moldy surface to be cleaned is "cleanable" so irregular or inaccessible as to make physical wiping or scrubbing impractical, you may want to consider MEDIA BLASTING for MOLD REMOVAL. The photos at the top of this page show the results of media blasting moldy wood surfaces.
What to use to clean off mold from all of the exposed hard, cleanable surfaces: to clean off a moldy surface, you could use simple clean water, soapy water, spray cleaners, or if you prefer, a commercial biocide (follow their directions) or a dilute bleach cleaning solution. But because so many readers have asked about specific mold "cleaning" or mold "killing" methods we list and comment on these approaches below.
At MOLD CLEANERS - WHAT TO USE we provide a detailed description of different methods people use to "clean off" or "kill" mold.
Bleaching or "killing" mold is not the objective. Bleach will not kill all of the mold anyway - we can tease viable spores out of lots of "bleached mold" samples we see in the lab.
The object of mold removal is to clean the surface, to remove loose moldy material, not to try to sterilize the surface. Certain mold-contaminated materials that cannot be cleaned (drywall, carpeting, curtains) should be discarded. Clothing and bedding linens or towels can be washed or dry-cleaned.
Keep that in mind. If you want to use bleach as a cleaning agent instead of other cleaners (soap and water would work just fine) here are some mold cleanup suggestions for homeowners from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation CMHC. Please see MOLD CLEANUP with BLEACH for details of how to mix and use bleach to clean a hard surface in a building as well as warnings about where bleaching mold is a cosmetic band-aid that just won't work.
How to Deal With Other Mold-Related Problems
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Technical Reviewers & References
Related Topics, found near the top of this page suggest articles closely related to this one.
Here are the Details on How to Clean Up or Remove Toxic or Allergenic Mold in buildings
Mold Cleaning Procedures & Mold Remediation Standards Guidelines
Allergies, Allergens, Allergy Testing in buildings - References & Products
Mold Contamination Testing, Cleanup, Prevention: references & products
OTHER IAQ ISSUES: How To Find and Address Other Indoor Air or Indoor Environment Contaminants Besides Mold
Mold or allergens may not be the only or even the main indoor environmental contaminant. Don't let media attention to mold cause so much enviro-scare fear that other, possibly more urgent hazards go un-addressed.