How To Get Rid of Mould
Lets look at the complete mould removal process and all its elements. There is no shortcut if you want to get rid of mould for you, you need to follow the process thoroughly. Remember that you should always trust a mould remediation professional. However, if you have less that a few square metres of mould, you may want to remove it yourself.
Mould Removal Steps:
- Inspect and assess the damage
- Correct the source of the mould
- Wear appropriate PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)
- Contain the damage
- Mould Cleaning
- Structural drying and Air Filtration
- Post remediation testing
Correction of mould source
As mentioned in our previous articles, you will need to deal with the mould source first, or the mould will come back again. And in 100% of cases, moisture is contribution to the mould growth. So track down the moisture source and correct it then proceed onto the next step.
Have a look at our mould prevention article for some ideas on what could be causing the mould.
You will most likely will be exposed to mould spores throughout the mould removal process. Your immune system is like a cup, the mould may not affect you straight away, but constant exposure can fill your cup to overflowing and you can make you very sick. What PPE should you wear
- Tyvek Style suite
- Gloves taped at the wrists
- Full face mask or at least a P3 rated mask
Contain the Damage
You will need to install containment barriers to ensure the mould is not spread during the remediation process. Mould spres travel through currents and can easily spread throughout the house
You may want to consider using negative air to suck clean air into the environment and to dispel some of the mould spores out of the environment. This is best done with a HEPA air Scrubber.
How we remove mould from walls, ceilings structure usually uses the following process (or a variation of it):
- HEPA vacuum all of the surfaces — No shortcuts here, vacuum all of them!
- Damp wipe surfaces with mild detergent
- HEPA Vacuum again.
Have a look at our how to kill mould article which will talk about the various mould cleaning solutions / chemical we use.
Removing Mould From Wood
Again this is a variation of the HEPA sandwich process as mentioned above.
Cleaning mould from wood is done by
- HEPA vacuuming the surfaces first with a brush head
- Sanding down the surface
- HEPA vacuum again to remove residual mould spores
- The surfaces can then be cleaned with detergent and surfaces rinsed
- The wood should be dried back to its natural valueIt is now ready for its final clean
Notice there is no use of antimicrobial here. In some cases you may want to consider spraying it on to have some residual effect.
Removing Mould from Carpet
It is very difficult to remove mould from carpet and as such we always recommend the carpet is replaced. Do not try to dry carpet mould with fans. This can spread the mould spores throughout the property.
Mould Removal Air Conditioner
It is vitally important to remove mould from your air conditioning unit as well. If you do not remove mould from the air conditioning you could be spreading mould spores throughout the property after the remediation is complete
Removing mould from Contents and belongings
There are 3 levels of mould contamination to contents
- Condition 1 — typical mould levels
- Condition 2 — active mould growth settled scores
- Condition 3 — visible mould growth
Bare these conditions in mind as I explain the contents remediation process:
Cleaning Mouldy Items
All belongings should be HEPA vacuumed thoroughly first then wiping with a detergent with the use of minimal water. The items should be dried properly and stored in a non-contaminated area while the mould remediation is being completed.
By porous materials I generally mean things like carpet mattresses carpet underlay, fabrics and curtains. Generally we will dispose carpets and underlay but we have had a lot of success by recovering items such as clothes, stuffed toys, curtains and blinds. Have a look at this video we did a few years ago which shows our mould remediation process for soft contents
For toys and clothes we generally wash them in the washing machine with warm water and enzyme based cleaning. In our experience, if you are removing mould from contents items you really need to aim to have them fully submersed in water with the right amount of agitation, heat and correct chemical. This is why the washing machine really helps out here.
For blinds and curtains, you may want to find a professional to do these because you will need a fairly large washing machine. Not to mention, some curtains can be dry cleaned only. Whatever way you choose to clean them, you should ensure that the method will physically remove the mould that has penetrated the fabric. If you cannot confirm this, then the restoration efforts have failed and the item may need to be disposed.
If you refer to the conditions I have noted above, you will need to understand that, the majority or restoration we do of mouldy contents are condition 1 and 2. We can recover items that are condition 3, but it may take a lot more time and may not be economically viable.
What about mould damaged papers and documents?
These items are porous and would need to be fully submersed in water and antimicrobial then dried. But how do you do this without wrecking the paper? There are all sorts of home solutions which may work, but I have never seen near perfect results. The only method I have seen work well first hand is through freeze drying. This is where you completely submerse the document and then it is dried in a freeze dryer.
Now this method is costly, so what most people do these days is just scan in the documents into a digital format.
Are You Packing Out The Contents?
Sometimes you will need to pack the contents and belongings out of the premises to clean them. If you are doing this, make sure that you are storing them in an area where it will not be affecting the other contents in the area. What I mean is, you are cleaning the walls and ceiling in a room and you need to remove the mouldy contents, it would be wise to move those affected contents into an area with negative containment or into an outdoor area for remediation.
Structural drying and air filtration
Now much of the building material inside may still be retaining moisture, especially if there has been some sort of water damage event which has caused the mould problem in the first place. You should therefore dry these areas with air movers and dehumidifiers.
You should also “scrub” the air with a HEPA air scrubber as a final step. This will help capture any remaining mould spores foating in the air.
Post Remediation Testing
This is one of the most important steps, you should employ the services of a qualified mould inspection to do a post inspection of the area which includes air sampling and mould testing. If the remediation was not successful, the test results should confirm this and help you locate areas which may need more attention. It would be a shame if you went through the whole process to get rid of mould only to have it come back again because some mould spores and moisture was left behind.
What Should You Do Next
This is an overview of how to get rid of mould and certainly some elements of this you may be able to do yourself. But we find in most larger cases, a professional should at least be consulted before spending you money and time removing the mould. If you would like to have a chat on the phone and are based in Brisbane, we would like to help just call us on 1300 346 988 or fill out a quick enquiry form.