Mold growth in your home is a serious problem that can damage your belongings and compromise your health. Usually, I wouldn’t hesitate to throw out anything that has been damaged by green things… but what about that box of old family photos?
For more sentimental items that have been victimized, it is important to know what is salvageable. This guide will help you figure everything out after you mold removal.
Should I clean or throw away my belongings after removing the mold?
The answer: it depends. Sure, there are some things you should throw away after you’ve been exposed to mold, but there are some items you could save.
Here are some guidelines to follow if your home has (or had) mold damage.
What belongings should I throw away:
- Porous: carpet, cardboard, upholstery and stuffed animals*
- Paper: documents, books, photo albums, etc.
- Food-based or used to prepare food: Basically anything you would eat or items that come into contact with food.
- Submerged in water: Items that have been soaked are at higher risk of deep mold absorption and should be discarded.
*Linens and bedding are technically considered porous and therefore should be discarded or thoroughly inspected and cleaned before use.
Belongings I must you can keep
- Items are made of plastic, metal, ceramic, or glass.
- Fabric that has been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.
- Electronics and appliances
Why should I throw away items after removing mold?
Unfortunately, mold releases toxins that create free radicals (unstable atoms that damage cells) when eaten by humans, which can lead to many different health problems. In fact, eating certain types of mold (including black mold) can make you very sick and can even be life-threatening.
This is why many toxicologists recommend that homeowners treat moldy belongings as soon as possible. Damaged items should be discarded without hesitation, and items that are easy to replace or inexpensive (ie clothing, food) should be discarded as a precaution. Basically, prevention is better than cure.
- How to Clean Items Exposed to Mold: If any of your household items have been exposed to mold, you will need to assess and address the situation as quickly as possible as mold removal. Some items can be saved if cleaned properly, while others cannot.
- Clothes and Fabrics: Unfortunately, mold can cause permanent damage to some clothing and fabrics. To clean washable items, pretreat them with non-ammonia detergent, then wash at the highest temperature with detergent and the appropriate bleach. Check your product label to determine the highest wash temperature.
- Furniture Items: Cleaning furniture after exposure to mold depends on the type of material. Follow these steps if your hard surface item is made of laminate, wood, veneer, steel, resin, or bamboo. Start by removing mold spores with a damp cloth and mild phosphate-free detergent. Dry completely but not in direct sunlight. If the mold was caused by sewer water, disinfect your furniture with a mixture of bleach and water.
- Leather Furniture and Clothing: It is essential to clean your leather clothing or furniture as soon as you discover its exposure to mold. Use a clean cloth or soft bristle brush to remove mold spores. Then clean with a solution of phosphate-free detergent and water before wiping and drying completely. You can also clean items with a mixture of water and rubbing alcohol. Finally, dry the leather items well and then use a leather conditioner.