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Your walls can become damp from leaky pipes or persistent humidity. This built-up moisture often leads to mold growth if left untreated. Mold exposure can cause your family to feel sick. To keep your family safe, here is a guide to effectively removing mold from your walls.
1. Take Safety Precautions
Before you can start removing mold from your walls, make sure you have the proper safety gear. You want to wear old clothes and shoes you don’t mind getting dirty. Consider wearing long sleeves and long pants for better coverage. You may even want to swap out worn-down sneakers for waterproof boots for better protection.
Along with goggles and gloves, wear special N-95 respirators. This can help keep you safe from breathing in unpurified air. Once you have your outfit picked out, you also need to prepare the space. Set up a fan to provide proper ventilation while working. You may want to tape plywood around the window opening to prevent spores from coming back in.
To protect yourself from airborne spores, dampen moldy areas with a garden sprayer. Also, before getting started, turn off your furnace and air conditioner. Also, cover ducts and doors. Have plastic bags and tape on hand for when it’s time to dispose of the mold.
2. Remove Any Moldy Carpeting
If your carpet has also become stained, you want to cut it into sections using a utility knife. Then use a pump sprayer to mist the surface with water to slow down the spread of spores. You also may want to run an exhaust fan from the window. Then double-wrap the spores in plastic and tape for proper disposal. If vacuuming up loose spores, use a HEPA vacuum for higher efficiency.
3. Seal off Damaged Area
To keep the rest of your house protected from the exposed area, seal the room. This entails covering your doorway with a plastic sheeting barrier. Also, enclose your air ducts with plastic and tape. You may want to use polythene sheeting for its water-resistant properties.
4. Open Up Your Moldy Walls
When it’s time to remove the mold from your walls, you will need to open them up. Before you open them, locate all your wiring, plumbing, and HVAC lines. Turn off the power to all electrical circuits in that area.
First, take off the baseboards and trim from affected areas using a pry bar and a piece of wood. Examine stained sections using a screwdriver to expose hidden mold and moisture damage.
5. Moisten and Bag the Moldy Materials
Keep in mind you will need to repair the wall anyway, so you may want to cut beyond the affected places to find all the mold. Also, first, poke a hole through the area and locate the wires, so you don’t accidentally cut them.
Once you find the mold, mist the drywall with a pump sprayer to keep the mold in one place. Then for proper disposal, double bag the material in heavy-duty plastic bags.
If the moisture has gone undetected for a while, rot may have started to form. So, try to detach and replace soft studs and wall sheathing. For more challenging areas, use a wood preservative after first cleaning the material. To prevent rot in the future, use pressure-treated lumber, and clean your gutters regularly.
6. Clean Up and Repair
Once you’re done removing mold from your walls, it’s time for the clean-up stage. The first step is to vacuum the debris using a wet/dry vacuum. After disposing of the filter, wash the tank, hose, and attachments. You want to use a bleach-and-water solution.
When cleaning, make sure to unclog the hose and passageways of any hair or lint. To soak the attachments, first, take them apart. Another essential part of the vacuum to clean is the roller brush.
7. Scrub Moldy Surfaces With Mold Cleaner
Even after removing mold from your walls, there may be stains left behind. Scrub these using a mix of one gallon of water and one cup of bleach mold cleaner. Use a soft brush to help remove mold from the surfaces. After you are done scrubbing, let the bleach solution continue to soak in. You can wipe it off, but don’t rinse the surface.
Then place the trim in direct sunlight to dry. For your concrete, consider using automatic dish detergent.
8. Seal Moldy Areas
To dry out the site for a few days, set up dehumidifiers and fans. After a few days, be sure to check and see if there are any signs of unremoved mold. Also, use your other senses, such as smell, to detect hidden mold. After determining there is no more mold, seal the surfaces with shellac primer. Shellac primers are good for killing bacteria and dry quickly.
If you can’t remove all the mildew, especially from wooden studs, you may need a mold sealant. It uses antimicrobial ingredients to help fight mold growth. The adhesive also holds in any remaining mold, so it doesn’t spread to other areas. You can pick up these products, such as a Foster 450, at your local home improvement store.
Make sure you are wearing safety gear when working with these products. Before applying the sealant, you may need to sand the wood. If this is the case, consult a professional first. If not, just thoroughly clean the surface before applying the sealant.
9. Clean Off Additional Surface Mold
Check other areas in your house for mold growth. Mold can quickly form on any damp surface, especially in your bathroom. Take a look at the grout lines in your shower. If there is any, you can remove it using a mix of 1/4 cup of bleach, one gallon of water, and a little detergent. The bleach helps kill the mold, and the detergent allows you to rinse it away quickly.
When cleaning, still wear protective gear, such as long-sleeved clothes and gloves. If after lightly scrubbing, the mold is still there, reapply and let it sit for a few minutes. Then try washing again. Once the surface is mold-free, seal it by applying a grout sealer to the tile joints. Keep in mind you don’t want to mix ammonia with bleach since it can cause the release of unsafe gases.
10. Prevent Mold Growth in the Future
Once you have removed the mold, you want to take preventive steps to ensure it doesn’t reappear. Reducing dampness in your home is the most critical way to do this. Mold often spreads in moist attics or basements because of poor drainage or outside leaks.
This is why stopping leaks, properly insulating attics, and protecting your foundation are all good steps to take.
Also, look for mildew-resistant paints to control mold growth on surfaces. These often contain mildewcide, an effective mildew treatment. Consider using this paint in your bathroom where water quickly accumulates. Ask your paint supplier about the different types of mold removal products available.
Here are more tips for preventing mold in your home:
- Keep humidity levels low
- Use exhaust fans for proper ventilation
- Clean and dry out your home immediately after a flood
- Wash bathrooms with mold-killing products
- Remove or replace soaked carpets and furniture
Tips for Effectively Removing Mold From Your Walls
Damp areas in your home can lead to a build-up of mildew. If left untreated, it can be unsafe for your family. So, follow these steps for successfully removing mold from walls. Also, consider sharing these tips with your friends and extended family. They may be just the thing to save their home from costly repairs down the line.