Mold is a microscopic fungus that grows on dead organic materials when they come into contact with water and moisture. Within residential and commercial buildings, mold can be identified by black, blue, or green stains. Mold will grow on wood within walls, ceilings, and floors as well as carpet, fabric, paper, drywall, insulation, tiles, grout, and food. Outside of residential and commercial buildings, mold can grow on materials such as wood, dirt, leaves, and plants.  

Health Symptoms of Mold Exposure - Mold can be a serious health hazard to humans and animals. Exposure to high levels of mold can result in the following symptoms:

  • Sinus congestion.
  • A runny nose and continuous sneezing.
  • Itchy, watery eyes.
  • Difficulty breathing deeply.
  • A raspy cough that will not go away.
  • A sore throat.
  • Sore ear canals.
  • Headache.

If you find that you have any of these symptoms, it is best to see your doctor and tell him that you have been exposed to mold contamination. 

Protective Clothing - Once mold has been confirmed to exist in a structure, it must be removed to prevent health problems to human beings and animals. To clean mold contamination inside of a residential or commercial building, wear the following protective clothing:

  • A disposable jumpsuit that covers your entire body and head.
  • Disposable boots that completely cover your feet and ankles.
  • Goggles with an attached dust mask or respirator.
  • Rubber gloves.

Effective Cleaners - Several products can be used to kill and remove mold on interior building surfaces. Mix cleaning solutions in the proportions below and decant into spray bottles for easy application. Some of the most effective mold removal products include:

  • Chemical Cleaners:
    • Bleach - Mix a solution of 1 part bleach with 10 parts water. 
    • Borax - Mix a solution of 1 part borax to 16 parts water. 
    • Vinegar - Use undiluted, white, distilled vinegar.
    • Ammonia - Mix a solution of 1 part ammonia to 1 part water.
    • Hydrogen peroxide - Use 3% hydrogen peroxide undiluted. 
    • Detergent - Mix a solution as per product instructions to clean and get rid of mold on non-porous surfaces.
  • Natural Cleaners:
    • Baking soda - Mix 1 part baking soda to 32 parts water. 
    • Tea tree oil - Mix 1 teaspoon of oil to 1 cup of water. 
    • Grapefruit seed extract - Mix 10 drops of extract in 1 cup of water.

Cleaning Application and Trash Disposal - Use a sponge and textured scrub pad to apply the above solutions onto the mold growth. Once the mold growth has been wetted, use a scrub brush to thoroughly clean the mold from the small pores and crevices on surfaces. Let all freshly scrubbed surfaces completely dry and then seal the surfaces with shellac or interior latex paint. Dispose of all tarps and plastic sheeting that was used to protect floors and furniture by rolling them up and containing them in large, industrial-strength trash bags. Seal the bags that contain the tarps and sheeting. Do not carry the sealed trash bags through the residence or commercial business. Instead, dispose of the plastic bags by throwing them out of a window and retrieving them later. If possible, do not dispose of this trash in the regular city trash collection bins. It is better to deliver the bags to a city or county trash yard and alert the staff that the bags contain mold-contaminated plastic sheeting so that the trash can be safely destroyed. 

Cleaning mold contamination takes preparation, work, and prevention methods. Given some time, this clean up can be done fairly inexpensively. Tackle one area at a time and you will soon have a mold-free residence or business.