Updated: June 8, 2015

What You Should Know About Mold and Mildew Removal

Why Many Homeowners Have to Deal with Mold Remediation
If you are reading this article, chances are you are dealing with a fun-filled problem known as mold. Don't despair, as this is something that many homeowners deal with on a frequent basis. Mold is caused by three main elements: moisture, a food source, and warmth. As you can imagine, the proper environment for mold to grow and thrive can be created quite easily. Often homeowners find that just a bit of water damage to their homes can lead to serious troubles with mold (flooding is one of the most common causes of mold and mildew damage in homes). Normal amounts of mold are found in many homes. After all, it can grow on anything with moisture. The problem arises, however, when there is too much mold in an environment. At that point, it can be hazardous to your health. It can instigate allergies and respiratory issues. Also even more hazards can arise when mycotoxins are produced as they can cause disease and even death, though in most cases mold is non-toxic. Obviously, the bottom line is that if you have mold, you have to do something to remedy the situation.



How to Find Mold in Your House

For real mold to form there must be a water source and then also a material (such as carpet, plywood or drywall) that is sustainable to mold's growth. How can you tell if you have mold? The first step is to inspect your property. Simply look with the naked eye and see if you can see mold growing. You don't even necessarily need to take samples. Also check for areas that would hide mold. For example, you will want to do things like lift carpet, checking behind wallpaper and in vents. HVAC systems have all 3 elements necessary for mold to grow and are a common place where mold hides out. If you suspect you have mold, you definitely should check your HVAC out or hire a professional to do so. Also if you have ever had any water damage to your house, check the surrounding areas for signs of mold.

Mold Removal - Getting Rid of Mold and Mildew

So how do you remove mold? Because mold needs moisture, food and warmth, taking away one or all of these elements can typically get rid of mold (the CDC publishes this simple flyer about mold/mildew clean-up). Common home remedies for indoor mold include sunlight, better ventilation, and using good household cleaners. In the case of very significant mold growth, part of the building may need to be discarded. There are also natural ways of treating mold. For example, you can also use some common plants to treat mold such as peace lily and some others. Using a dehumidifier to reduce mold growth is also highly recommended. In fact, lowering indoor humidity levels below 50% can inhibit mold growth. So what are the best dehumidifiers to treat mold? The Soleus Air DP1-30-03, 30 Pint Portable Energy Star Dehumidifier, with Humidistat is $145 and comes highly recommended. Reviewers say it this dehumidifier not only is quiet but also removes an amazing amount of moisture from the air.
If you don't want to spend that much and are only trying to control mold in a small area, you could try the Eva-dry Electric Petite Dehumidifier which is $34. Reviewers of this product said it was ideal for a small sized room and did a lot of good removing moisture considering its low price. The full list of best-selling dehumidifiers is here.

Mold Remediation - How Much Does Mold Remediation Cost?

You may have heard the term "mold remediation" thrown around. But what is mold remediation? The term mold remediation means removing mold from an indoor environment. In fact, once you see signs of mold, you want to clean it up as soon as possible. This process eliminates not only the mold, but also contaminated materials. Even if you have killed the mold itself, the chemicals in the mold can still be bad for people. For large jobs, many people chose to hire a professional mold remediation contractor. Removing mold from the most common areas of a home (namely attic, crawl space, ductwork, etc.) can cost several thousand dollars (up to $5000), assuming no major structural damage.

Do-it-Yourself mold remediation is possible as well. In fact, you can save a great deal of money by doing a remediation yourself (as a rule, the EPA says for surfaces less than 10 sq ft, it is fine to do the remediation yourself). It is important to be thorough in locating and eliminating all mold and effected areas. Also safety is important, so make sure you wear goggles, mask and coveralls. Kits for mold remediation are readily available. For example, the 3M 67097 Mold Remediation Full Facepiece Respirator Kit sells for $135.

Best Mold Removal Products

There are a wide variety of mold removal products, mostly sprays and liquids, that can be easily purchased. One of the most popular products for outdoor mold is Wet and Forget 1 Gallon Moss, Mold and Mildew Stain Remover. This Wet and Forget product sells for about $30. You can dilute this biodegradable product on your mold stain and it will wash away your mold when it rains. This process takes time, but the mold will continue to get washed away for up to a year. Reviewers really loved this product, they said sure enough the longer they waited the more mold went away. People even said that this eco-friendly formula worked better for them then chemicals. If you are dealing with mold outdoors, Wet and Forget 10587 Moss, Mold and Mildew Stain Remover should be the first product you try. Of course, there are also very cheap spray options like Tilex Mold and Mildew Remover, which is about $3, and WM Barr Mold Armor Instant Mold, and Mildew Stain remover for about $7. Some of these cheaper products may temporarily get rid of mold, but often they don't kill mold for good because they don't take care of the core issue. Of course, for $3 a bottle it is worth a try especially if you are just treating mold in a small area like a shower or tiles.

Mold Removal Books

You can also buy some great books on the subject including The Homeowner's Guide to Mold for about $16 on Amazon.com. The book explains "mold-friendly" materials like conventional drywall and particleboard; newer homes can also be havens to mold thanks to poor circulation and materials. It also offers tips for what to ask remediation contractors. Another good book is called The Mold Survival Guide: For Your Home and for Your Health by Jeffrey May, which sells for $17. This book has received various recommendations from reputable publications. For example, Science News writes, "Jeffrey May is a recognized authority on indoor pollution who focuses here on mold -- how it prospers, how it affects one's health, and how it can be remediated."