How Do Professionals Remove Mold? | A Step-By-Step Guide

November 24, 2020

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How professionals remove mold from behind walls and under carpeting is different than how a homeowner might scrub away mold from bathroom showers! Thick black mold growing along a home’s framework or subfloor is more dangerous than everyday mold developing in tubs, or that you might find in that laundry bin you’ve been neglecting for a few weeks.

Knowing how professionals remove mold ensures a homeowner does so safely if you should try DIY mold removal. However, it’s also good to note some commonly asked questions about mold remediation and cleanup, including when you should rely on the services of a pro rather than tackling black mold in the home. This information will ensure your home is clean and safe for occupancy, and keep you and your family safe as well!

homeowner stressing over mold in his kitchen


How Is Mold Removed Professionally?

Professional mold removal involves more than just scrubbing away spores. Efficient mold cleanup includes replacing damaged building materials as needed, while ensuring a structure is safe for reoccupation and little risk of mold returning. Note the most common steps involved when mold is removed professionally.

  1. The first step in proper mold removal is documentation! A mold removal contractor will typically inspect an area affected by mold, noting how far spores have spread, its depth, and so on. This inspection alerts them to how much work will be involved in complete cleanup as well as factors contributing to that mold growth.
  2.  Mold remediation is another vital step, before cleanup. Remediation means to stop something before it begins or correct something in progress; mold remediation refers to correcting the environment that encouraged mold growth in the first place!
  3. Mold remediation, before cleanup, includes taking humidity measurements and checking for water leaks and other sources of excess moisture in the air. Without plumbing fixes or proper dehumidifying measures, that mold will simply return after the initial cleanup.
  4. After remediation, a mold repair contractor will usually isolate the contaminated area with plastic sheeting and other protective measures, to keep airborne mold spores from spreading.
  5.  Some items are better replaced than cleaned, as mold might grow right through wood and other porous materials. A mold damage cleanup company evaluates the depth and moisture of mold and then removes framing, subflooring, and drywall as needed, bagging up these items for proper disposal.
  6.   Cleaning nonporous materials such as plumbing pipes requires a specialty detergent solution and wire brushes, to ensure all mold is killed and removed properly. These materials then need wiping with a clean, damp cloth.
  7. All cleaning materials are disposed of in plastic bags; this includes brushes and rags, which can harbor mold spores even after they’ve been cleaned!
  8. A mold cleanup contractor will want to check for dust; vacuuming the area with a commercial-quality vacuum with a HEPA or other strong filter is often needed, to ensure clean and safe air conditions.
  9.   The cleaned area should be dried thoroughly, to discourage new mold growth. This might require dehumidifiers, fans, and even strong lights.
  10.   Once the space is clean and dry, removed materials are replaced and a final check of humidity levels is done.

Note that most professional mold cleanup companies will also perform site checks long after the cleaning is finished, to monitor humidity levels and check for new mold growth. If new mold forms, he or she will check again for sources of excess humidity or work with a property owner to keep humidity levels down and keep mold levels minimal and safe.

Which Kills Mold Better, Bleach, or Vinegar?

For small patches of mold, you might wonder which kills mold better, bleach or vinegar. While both materials kill mold quickly and efficiently, you might note some differences between the two, as well as alternative methods for cleaning mold from the home.

One reason to use vinegar to kill mold versus bleach is that vinegar is often less bothersome to your skin, eyes, and sinuses. Vinegar is also not likely to damage dyes in fabrics or paints; using bleach on painted walls or underneath carpeting can mean unsightly blotches and spots left behind. To use vinegar to kill mold, pour it undiluted into a spray bottle and saturate the affected area, and then wipe it with a clean, damp cloth.

Baking soda is another natural yet effective mold killing tool! Not only does baking soda remove mold but it also absorbs moisture that leads to new mold growth. Sprinkle baking soda onto mold-affected areas and rub it in with a damp cloth, then use another clean damp cloth to remove all that residue.

Hydrogen peroxide also kills mold with fewer irritating fumes than bleach. As with bleach, however, it can damage dyes and coloring, so use caution when cleaning mold off carpeting, painted walls, and other such surfaces and materials. Use a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution undiluted in a spray bottle and use a clean damp cloth to remove it.

Another effective, natural mold killer is lemon juice! The acidic properties of lemons scrub away dirt as well as mold spores; saturate a rag with lemon juice and rub it on the mold, then wipe it with a clean, damp cloth.

Do You Need a Professional to Remove Mold?

If you’re wondering, “Can I clean mold myself,” first note that your safety and that of your family should be the most important consideration! Never underestimate the health hazards of airborne mold as well as fumes from cleaning solutions, dust created during cleaning, and other such dangers. Even for smaller jobs, a professional mold cleanup contractor will ensure they have proper breathing apparatus and protective clothing, and that they have isolated a contaminated area properly before work begins.

It’s also vital for property owners to realize that mold spores are always present in the air, so buying a mold detection kit from the hardware store isn’t the best choice for determining mold levels in a home. That kit will almost always test positive for mold spores but can’t evaluate mold damage around building materials or hazards that increase the risk of mold growth.

As said, mold can also penetrate porous materials such as wood studs and subflooring, drywall, carpet fibers and padding, and some insulation types. Cleaning mold from the surfaces of these materials is insufficient for removing it entirely, and a mold cleanup repair contractor ensures damaged materials are removed and replaced as needed. If mold has penetrated more than a 10 square foot area, it’s best to call a pro and have building materials inspected properly.

One last reason to avoid DIY mold cleanup is that improper disposal of mold-infested materials, including cleaning equipment and rags, can result in steep fines from your city or county! As mold spreads quite easily, most cities or counties have strict ordinances for its disposal. Professional mold cleanup costs can even be cheaper than those fines, and are an excellent investment in ensuring your health and safety of your structure.

How Long Does Mold Removal Take?

One average, mold removal takes one to seven days. While a full week might seem like a long time to clean mold, keep in mind all the needed steps mentioned above. Simply washing away surface mold won’t stop it from returning and might leave behind dangerous, damaging mold in porous materials.

A mold removal contractor might also want the cleaned space to dry thoroughly and return to a normal environment before they test for humidity levels and residual mold growth one last time. This is especially vital after serious floods or fires needing copious amounts of water to extinguish, or after cleaning large mold patches. The more water removal and detergents needed for mold cleanup, the longer it might take for the room to get back to normal!

A homeowner or commercial property owner should also remember that mold grows quickly and is dangerous to your health when airborne. If a mold cleanup contractor needs added time to ensure a thorough cleanup job and to perform full-scale remediation, remember that this added time and work is an investment in your structure’s condition and your health and safety!

Is It Safe to Live in a Home During Mold Cleanup and Remediation?

Before professionals remove mold from a space, they typically isolate it and section it off with thick plastic sheeting, as said. Most professionals will also take proper precautions against dust, often misting an area needing cleaning and using air purifiers and other equipment needed to contain airborne debris. In most cases, these precautionary steps allow you to stay in your home during mold cleanup and remediation, as long as you don’t disturb those containment materials.

However, if your mold removal professionals will be using commercial grade dehumidifiers, strong lights, and other equipment to remove excess humidity and kill mold spores, note if this might disturb you during the day and interfere with quality sleep. If bright lights and the hum of machinery will interfere with your daily schedule, consider staying in a hotel or with friends during mold cleanup and remediation.

If you do stay in your home during mold cleanup, do everything possible to avoid that area of the home. If the mold cleanup is in or near the kitchen, for example, move your coffee machine, toaster, a plug-in burner, and small refrigerator to another room in the home, and wash the dishes in the bathroom sink! Staying as far away as possible from the cleanup area reduces the risk of dust inhalation and other such irritation.

mold growing in a home

Is It Okay to Buy a Home With Mold?

As with any other needed repairs and cleanup, there is no “one size fits all” answer about whether you should buy a home with mold. A mold cleanup company can note the extent of mold growth in a home, if the mold’s location and extent of growth is not likely to cause a health hazard, the cost of mold cleanup, and the like.

Once you’ve consulted with a mold remediation contractor you can then decide if their estimated cost of mold removal is affordable, or puts the home out of your budget. You might also note if you can delay occupancy until after professionals remove mold in the house, or if there is simply too much mold for you to manage! Whatever the case, don’t assume that mold itself means that a home is a poor purchase, as cleanup and repairs can ensure a safe space for you and your family.

This information is proudly brought to you by 24/7 Water Damage Atlanta. If you still have questions about how professionals mold removal or if you need water cleanup in Atlanta and surrounding cities, give us a call! Our team offers full-scale water removal, fire damage repair, and mold remediation service for Atlanta area structures. We ensure a thorough clean and stand behind our work with an ironclad guarantee. Whatever your needs for water, fire, or mold cleanup, call the pros at 24/7 Water Damage Atlanta today!



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