Basements are often neglected hence prone to getting affected by mold. If you walked into your basement only to discover unappealing, black spots on the walls, ceiling, or floor, you’re probably dealing with a mold invasion.
While mold can emerge in any part of the home, basements have the most conducive conditions for the fungus to flourish.
Consequently, basement mold can at times be hard to eliminate, especially if you are not addressing and rectifying underlying issues. Knowing the ways to eliminate mold from basement walls is also essential, and you have to clean both basements and basement walls at the same time to bring you the best results.
In this informative guide, I give you the deets on how to eliminate basement mold, the equipment required for the job, and how mold reacts to various materials.
This guide will help you tackle your mold problem, help you keep it in check to prevent it from spreading to other parts of the house since that can pose health risks. Keep reading for effective and simple ways of getting rid of basement mold fast.
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Addressing the Basement Mold Problem
Basement mold is most often the outcome of moisture source-condensation caused by appliances or leaky foundations. Therefore, the first step in preventing basement mold is ensuring that the basement doesn’t retain moisture and does not support a humid setting where mold can flourish.
If basement mold is a continuing problem in your home, there are various effective mold and mildew cleaners you can try out for its elimination and control. Based on the severity of the issue and the mold type, you may have to explore choices for mold removal professionally. From my experience, severe cases of mold growth will especially need expert care.
When it comes to nontoxic mold species and less severe mold development, there are numerous DIY solutions not only to get rid of mold in the basement but for its control and prevention as well.
Although basement mold is a common issue, understanding how to recognize problem areas and control mold development will help you prevent the detrimental spread of mold.
Eliminating Mold on Various Materials in the Basement
Mold can develop and flourish on virtually any basement material. Here’s a look at how the fungus affects various materials and how you can get rid of it.
You’ll find wood in the basement in the form of furniture, wood framing, and various other items. Wood is highly susceptible to mold development because it has pathways in which mold can develop. This should also be a cause of concern because your wooden items might not survive mold.
Plus, if you don’t clean mold on wood framing appropriately, it could progress into a serious and costly affair. After all, if you allow the spread of the fungus on unfinished wood, say for example your wooden floor or ceiling, the material may eventually disintegrate leading to structural issues.
Keep in mind that mold development can remain hidden from view beneath planks, making it difficult to detect.
If mold has affected the furniture in your basement, you will first need to shift them outdoors for better ventilation and faster drying.
Carpeting your basement may make it feel cozy and comfortable but from what I’ve seen, it is also risky because basement flooding is always a possibility. Mold can develop in a carpet the same way as a fabric. If it is not possible to clean it thoroughly you will need to consider taking it out and getting it replaced.
Fabrics in the basements can be found in the upholstery of chairs and couches. Remember, fabrics are porous, and this makes them more susceptible to considerable mold contamination.
If your basement has a moisture problem consider moving all fabric-made furniture outdoors in the sun. This will help your furniture air out faster.
Removable fabrics from furniture can easily be tossed in a washing machine to get rid of the mold. However, depending on the extent of damage, I would recommend you to consider replacing the fabric on certain furniture.
Basement flooding can occur for various reasons. If not addressed immediately and correctly it can lead to the formation of mold.
At times, basement mold can occur behind the walls and the foundation. This could cause serious problems since it remains concealed and therefore it may be a while before it is discovered. In the interim, it would have spread fast due to the absence of ventilation.
One way for professionals to establish whether there’s mold developing behind the drywall is by drilling a hole in the wall and inserting a tool for mold testing. If they discover mold, you may have to replace considerable segments of drywall and perhaps some wood framing as well.
Basements frequently have HVAC ducts. Make sure you examine the drip pan regularly because if left unchanged for a prolonged period, it can become a breeding ground for basement mold.
Condensation can develop along the interior and exterior of HVAC ducts, offering a source of moisture for mold. This is especially challenging in the basement segments of the HVAC because the room usually has poor ventilation and condensation doesn’t dry as fast as it should, all favorable factors for the formation of basement mold.
If you notice mold developing on the interior of your system, note that the issue has become serious because mold-contaminated air will spread throughout your home. In this case, I would certainly engage professional services.
A typical basement is the site of numerous pipes and faucets for home systems. They could be associated with various purposes, including a bathroom and basement drainage. These areas are probable spots for mold development because of minimal ventilation and moisture. Therefore, you should monitor them frequently.
Step-by-Step Guide on Mold Elimination in the Basement
Depending on the extent of contamination, you will need to decide whether to get rid of the mold yourself or call in the experts.
No matter how you do it, you need to follow certain precautions, so you should educate yourself on the mold removal process.
Watch this video to know more:
This step-by-step guide will walk you through the steps involved in removing mold safely.
1. Damage Assessment
Performing damage assessment is perhaps the most significant task when eliminating basement mold. An invasive infestation that developed in your absence for a week or two will probably need a mold remediator to tackle the problem. However, if you discover that the growth is less than 10 sq ft, you can undertake a DIY project and clean it up yourself.
The same applies if you discover mold in small sections generated by a leaky AC or some minor issue. You’ll need to examine the affected sections. Remember that porous surfaces will typically be harder to clean. You’ll especially have a difficult time in cases where the spores have infiltrated beyond the surface.
Keep in mind that you might need to dispose of ceiling tiles, carpets, and comparable materials. On the same note, you want to avoid harsh solutions, which will only cause further damage.
You can buy an affordable test kit, which incorporates the lab charges as well as a comprehensive report. Alternatively, a professional contractor could conduct an assessment and issue a comprehensive bid for accomplishing the task. Whichever route you take, it is important to first understand the degree of mold infestation in your basement.
2. Use Protective Gear
If you decide to undertake a DIY approach, you’ll need protective gear. At the minimum, you should wear goggles, rubber gloves, and a face mask. Depending on the extent of the manifestation, you might even need a bodysuit.
You must decrease your exposure to mold spores, particularly if you have a compromised immune system or allergies. It’s equally important to note that mold exposure can aggravate the symptoms of asthma or lung diseases. It can also cause respiratory issues. For this reason, you must prioritize safety.
3. Determine the Water Source and Fix the Issue
Before you embark on a mold elimination project, you must first establish the source. Remember, mold needs moisture and darkness to develop. In other words, mold cannot exist without a water source.
Moisture could originate from various places, including a broken pipe within the walls of your home or a hole in the siding that permits the rainwater to penetrate. If you can’t trace the source of the problem, you might want to engage a specialist or contractor to determine the root cause. The last thing you’d want is to perform expensive repairs only for the mold infestation to recur.
4. Eliminate Infested Carpets
You’ll need to eliminate any mold-infested carpet in your basement. In numerous cases, you’ll discover the fungus has penetrated the carpet’s underlayer. When this occurs, the problem might not be evident, but it’s worse than surface mold.
You’ll need to rip your carpet into segments along with any underlayers before double bagging it for removal from your residence. You’ll need to pay extra attention when hauling moldy things from your home because spores could easily escape and subsequently spread into other areas, including the kitchen and living room.
5. Remove Infested Drywall
This step entails tearing down infested drywall. The possible cause of infested drywall is rain seeping through your home’s foundation. Many people use a mold killer to spray infected spots hoping this will resolve the issue. At times, this approach might work, particularly if the infestation isn’t severe.
In numerous instances, however; such products, especially bleach, merely change the mold’s color without addressing the problem that lies within the walls. The ideal approach is to take out at least 24 inches of drywall patch to examine inside the walls and evaluate the situation.
On evaluation, you may realize that the insulation needs removal or you might stumble upon a hole in the exterior that’s causing leakage into the home. Another significance of eliminating portions of drywall and examining inside is that you can evaluate whether there’s any internal damage.
If you find mold on plywood sheeting or wall studs, you can expect their integrity to be compromised. It will just be a matter of time. In such cases, any material with mold on it will need replacement.
6. Clean Up
After the removal of the moldy drywall and carpet, you’ll need to clean up what’s remaining. A solution of water and bleach is suitable for linoleum and concrete surfaces. You shouldn’t use the solution on wood because it might promote mold development.
If you discover considerable mold development on studs or drywall, simply discard and substitute them. Once you complete the cleanup, allow the area to dry while ensuring there’s considerable air supply throughout.
7. Replacement of Damage Materials
This step entails the replacement of the damaged materials you’ve eliminated. Upon identifying and removing any drywall and studs, you’ll have to substitute the materials. If you have the required skills, you can do the job yourself and save some money.
On the other hand, if you aren’t certain, you should hire a contractor to reassemble the basement. After all, precision is of the utmost importance when undertaking this task.
The cost of getting your basement back to rights will depend on the extent of the work involved. However, an experienced contractor/team can do a quick and efficient job. Moreover, an experienced contractor will give you tips on how to prevent recurrent mold infestation.
Tips to Eliminate Basement Mold Naturally
Mold removal from a home’s surfaces can occur in various ways, based on the location and size of the infested area. Unless you want the remediation task done professionally, you can purchase most supplies from your local hardware or home improvement store.
Nevertheless, you might want to hire an inspector before you start tackling it because some organic materials are typically more hazardous than others. It’s worth noting that mold removal from wood differs from eradicating the issue from concrete, so be mindful of the base material you’re working on before applying any kind of cleaning solution.
Similarly, painted walls need special care. After all, you wouldn’t want to damage the surface while attempting to eliminate mold. Some commonly used products for mold removal are:
You probably have this effective and versatile cleaner in your medicine cabinet. It might surprise you to discover that hydrogen peroxide isn’t merely an antifungal and anti-bacterial solution. Rather, it’s safe for mold removal on various surfaces, for instance, kitchen appliances and even wall surfaces in the basement.
To destroy mold on concrete basement walls, you’ll need 3% of the cleaner in a spray bottle. Consider testing an inconspicuous surface area first to avoid damage or discoloration. Once you’re certain, you can saturate the walls with the solution and allow it to sit for about 30 minutes.
You’ll need a bristle brush to remove mold off the walls by scrubbing the affected area thoroughly for approximately 10 minutes to lift any mold from the concrete. If possible, consider using a hose or scrubbing the walls with warm water to eradicate water spots that are likely to promote further mold growth.
While it isn’t as non-toxic as other solutions, it’s a better substitute than potent chemical solutions. The effective cleaner is recognized for its deodorizing and cleansing properties. Since the cleaner works to inhibit mold development, it is excellent for mold removal from large areas.
You won’t even need to clean off the solution once you’re done. To use this approach, combine a cup of the cleaner with a gallon of water and apply it to the fungus. You should scrub the surface using a sponge or a scrub brush to eliminate visible particles and allow the solution to settle on the surface for some time.
From odor absorption to heartburn alleviation, baking soda has various uses around the home, including coming in handy for mold removal. The safe cleaner doesn’t merely destroy black mold. It absorbs moisture, which is the primary cause of mold development.
Add ¼ tablespoon of the cleaner to a spray bottle and shake the bottle until it dissolves. Spray the solution onto the moldy area and remove any surface mold with a scrub brush.
Subsequently, use water to rinse the surface to eliminate any residue of baking soda and mold. Lastly, you’ll re-spray the area and allow the surface to dry naturally. This will destroy any persisting mold and prevent them from recurring in the future.
For tough removal, combine 1-part white vinegar and two parts baking soda. Stir the combination until it thickens into a paste. Then proceed to spread the mixture generously onto the surface and allow it to dry. Finish by scrubbing the mold and any accompanying stains before wiping down with water.
Besides being a great disinfectant, bleach can equally function as a mold killer. The only problem is that it’s not effective on porous surfaces. Since it does not infiltrate surfaces well, it is not as effective on drywall or concrete.
Nevertheless, it is effective on sealed surfaces. You’ll need to dilute bleach, approximately a cup, with at least a gallon of water. You can wipe or spray the solution onto any mold-covered surfaces in your basement. It’s worth noting that bleach functions effectively on non-porous surfaces such as sealed tiles.
When working with the solution, ensure you wear protective gear, for instance, eye protection and rubber gloves, particularly in poorly ventilated areas such as a basement. Never combine bleach with ammonia or vinegar.
The mildly acidic component disinfects, cleans, and destroys mold on non-porous and porous surfaces. A major advantage of this ingredient is that it’s safe for use on most surfaces and the odor disappears fast.
Ensure that the white vinegar being used is undiluted. Since white vinegar comprises about 20% acetic acid, you don’t want to dilute it with water, decreasing its efficiency.
Spray the solution onto the affected surface and leave it for one hour. Complete the process by wiping the area with water and permit it to dry. Any smell emanating from the vinegar will clear within a couple of hours.
Beware that vinegar doesn’t destroy all mold types, so research a small segment first. Alternatively, you could spray a mixture of water and baking soda onto vinegar-saturated spots to enhance the mold-destroying potency. To complete the task, use water to wipe the surface.
While essential oils are commonly associated with aromatherapy, they have various other uses. In addition to being an antiseptic and insect repellant, the compound is one of the safest for eliminating black mold. The natural fungicide cleans up mold fast and helps prevent spores from recurring.
Mix a teaspoon of the compound with a cup of water in a bottle and shake the mixture thoroughly. Spray the mold-affected area and allow it to dry for at least an hour before wiping with a dry towel or microfiber cloth.
In case of skin sensitivity, ensure you wear gloves. The following essential oils or natural ingredients work wonders when it comes to mold removal:
Tea Tree Oil
Surprisingly, tea tree oil is efficient at killing mildew and mold on various surfaces, including basement walls. If you’re seeking a healthy method of killing mold, this might just be what you need.
If the area you’re cleaning has visible mold, you might want to use a rag or sponge soaked in the solution. In both instances, allow the cleaner to remain on the surface and don’t rinse. This will prevent future mold development. You want to be cautious when using this cleaner especially if you’re a pet owner.
While lemons work as an antiseptic, natural deodorizer, cleaner, and stain remover, they can eliminate black mold as well. Lemon has a high acid concentration, which breaks down mold, allowing easy removal while leaving a disinfected surface. Take 3-5 lemons and juice into a cup before pouring onto the mold-affected spots. Allow it to sit for about five minutes and wipe the surface using a damp towel. For tough stains, consider reapplying and scrubbing the surface for mold elimination.
The aforementioned natural remedies are excellent non-toxic substitutes for chemical-based mold removers and several are equally efficient against mildew. Furthermore, they’re safe for use besides being environmentally friendly and more affordable than commercial brands.
If your basement has a severe mold infestation, you might want to consider professional assistance. This is because black mold, in particular, can be dangerous if inhaled in huge quantities. If the mold issue is extremely severe, removal specialists might opt to fumigate to eliminate the infestation.
Whichever approach they take to address the issue, you can be confident that they’ll carry out a thorough job to prevent a recurring mold problem. The failure to eliminate the moisture source that produced the mold will result in increased mold development.
On the other hand, an expert will eliminate all spores from an infestation to prevent the same colony from growing back in a similar area.
Household mold is a common basement invader, particularly in the presence of sump pumps or water damage. Even exterior walls and air conditioners aren’t impermeable to mold infestation.
That’s why it’s vital to establish how to eliminate basement mold. You just need the appropriate removal methods and cleaning products. This will make the process straightforward and easy.
You’re probably among many homeowners who’ve just discovered basement mold but don’t know where to start. Ignoring the issue will only make it worse leading to further problems. Sharing this post will enlighten others on this topic. Feel free to like it, leave feedback, and share your opinions on the subject matter.