Who should do the cleaning depends on several factors. One consideration is the size of the mold problem. If the moldy area is less than about 10 square feet (less than about a 3-foot by 3-foot patch), in most cases you can handle the job yourself, follow the mold removal Tips and Techniques. Nevertheless:
- If there has been extensive water damage and/or mold growth covers more than 10 square feet, refer to EPA’s guide Remediation of Mold in Schools and Commercial Buildings. Although it focuses on schools and commercial buildings, this document is applicable to other types of buildings.
- If you choose to hire a contractor (or another professional service provider) to do the cleanup, make sure the contractor has experience with mold removal. Check references and ask the contractor to follow the recommendations in the EPA guide Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings, the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) guidelines; Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification Institute (IICRC); or other guidelines from professional or government organizations.
- If you suspect your heating/ventilating/air conditioning (HVAC) system may be contaminated with mold (it’s part of an identified moisture problem, for example, or there’s mold near the inlet to the system), consult EPA guidance. Have you cleaned the air ducts in your home? before taking further action. Do not run the HVAC system if you know or suspect it is contaminated with mold, as this could spread mold throughout the building.
- If the water damage and/or mold was caused by sewage or other contaminated water, call a professional who has experience cleaning and repairing buildings damaged by contaminated water.
- If you have health concerns, consult a health professional before beginning the cleanse.
Tips and Techniques
The tips and techniques presented in this section will help you solve your mold problem. Professional cleaners or remediators may use methods not covered here. Please note that mold can cause staining and cosmetic damage. It may not be possible to clean an item to restore its original appearance.
Fix plumbing leaks and other water problems as soon as possible. Dry all items completely.
Scrub mold off hard surfaces with detergent and water and dry thoroughly.
Absorbent or porous materials, such as ceiling tiles and carpeting, may need to be thrown away if they get moldy. Mold can grow or fill in voids and cracks in porous materials, making it difficult or impossible to completely remove.That is why it is advisable to choose experts in mold removal.
Do not paint or seal moldy surfaces. Clean mold and dry surfaces before painting. Paint applied to moldy surfaces is likely to peel off.
If you are not sure how to clean an item, or if the item is expensive or has sentimental value, you can consult a specialist. Specialists in furniture repair, restoration, painting, art restoration and preservation, carpet and rug cleaning, water damage, and fire or water restoration are often listed in telephone directories. Be sure to ask for and check references. Look for specialists who are affiliated with professional organizations.