Mold has a bad reputation, which is mostly well deserved. While there are types of mold that are useful to humans, like penicillin, mold is an unwanted invader in our homes, capable of ruining belongings and causing allergic reactions that include watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, skin rashes, and even asthma attacks. In particular, the dreaded black mold has been known to cause respiratory problems, including pneumonia, in people with chronic illnesses. That's why it's so important to know how to get rid of mold safely.
While it's best to keep places like your shower, tile grout,and dishwasher spick and span, small spots of mold here or there—no matter how unsightly—shouldn't cause dire health issues. But it is crucial to keep mold from spreading further. Give it an inch and it could take 10 square feet. That's the amount of mold you can try to eliminate yourself before you need to call in a professional. Likewise, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, you should hire a pro if the mold damage was caused by contaminated water like sewage. Otherwise, chances are you can do the job yourself—especially with these handy tips. But when in doubt, call a professional.
Of course, a good defense does nothing but help the offense, and because mold needs moisture to grow, unless you cut down or even banish damp from your home, mold will keep coming back. Here are some of the best methods to dry out your house:
How to Eliminate Mold on Walls, Ceilings and Floors
Unfortunately, there are some materials, like carpeting and ceiling tiles, that you will almost always have to replace if they've grown mold. Generally, the more porous the substance, the better the chance you'll have to ditch it. To clean surfaces like drywall and plaster, mix dishwashing liquid (one part) with bleach (10 parts) and water (20 parts) and wipe it over affected areas, allowing it to air dry without rinsing.
To kill mold on wood, begin by vacuuming the affected surface and the area around it with a vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter. Mold that hasn't deeply penetrated the wood can probably be taken care of with a solution of one teaspoon of dishwashing liquid and a spray bottle of water. Spritz the mold and carefully scrape it away with a soft-bristled brush, drying the surface with a soft towel when finished. If this doesn't work, try equal parts undiluted white vinegar and water. Should the mold return, use a teaspoon of borax combined with a cup of water. Scrape away the outer layer, allowing the borax to permeate the wood, inhibiting future mold growth.
How to Eliminate Mold on Household Appliances
Just like you need to keep an eye on bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms for mold growth, so should you make sure that you're regularly cleaning the appliances in them to keep mold in check. Refrigerators can be wiped down with distilled white vinegar; for coffee makers, fill the reservoir with half water and half vinegar and let stand for a half-hour. Run the mixture through a brewing cycle, toss it, and then run plain water through several more cycles.
Washing machines should be cleaned every month. Run them empty, with bleach, on the hot water cycle. Check both washers and refrigerators for mold on door seals.
How to Eliminate Mold on the Exterior of Your House
Just like it is indoors, mold is a serious problem on the outside of your home. Over time, mold can damage your siding and decks, so it's best to nip it in the bud before it gets established. Bleach works well to clean everything from siding to brick, stone, and concrete, but it will kill plants, so be sure to thoroughly cover them with plastic before beginning any project using it.
To rid your home's exterior of mold, apply a 1-to-10 mixture of bleach and water on problem areas. Scrub stubborn stains with a stiff bristle brush, and be sure to leave the solution on for 20 minutes before rinsing.Jill GleesonJill Gleeson is a travel journalist and memoirist based in the Appalachian Mountains of western Pennsylvania who has written for websites and publications including Good Housekeeping, Woman’s Day, Country Living, Washingtonian, Gothamist, Canadian Traveller, and EDGE Media Network. This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io