There’s no room for sentiment with black mold, it’s just got to go. Black mold settles where it’s comfortably cool and moist, with no pesky drafts to disturb it. Your first job is to make your home an unhappy environment for mold.
There’s no need to rush out immediately and pay thousands to your friendly neighborhood mold contractor. Make sure you’ve taken all the affordable action to free your home of black mold described here first. Most cases of black mold can be cleaned up and shipped out by you without breaking the bank. Here’s how.
Preventing Black Mold – For Free
Before you spend big money on a black mold problem, make sure you’re not causing it through poor household management. Black mold is often caused by condensation which occurs because of poor ventilation. People spend a lot of money insulating their homes and preventing drafts, only to end up with an expensive damp problem.
Start with the bathroom – make sure the window is open as often as possible, without compromising security. Close the door when having a shower or bath to prevent condensation working its way through the house. If you have a bathroom fan switch it on, if you have an air brick or vent keep it open. Let the moisture out.
In other rooms that have black mold make sure air is moving through, open windows when you can and keep vents clear. Mold often builds up behind furniture, and if this is the case for you move that furniture a little further from the wall, let the air get in and circulate.
Black mold loves junk and clutter, it stops air moving and gives the mold something to hide behind. Now is the time to chuck out your junk and get organised. Think of your black mold as a mean old vampire. It hates light and fresh air. Make it suffer.
Mold does not like Mold Armor, it does not like it at all. I hate to think what’s in here, and I certainly wouldn’t want it on my skin, but it kills mold fast. Open all the windows, put on some safety goggles and a mask before using it, then spray and chuckle to yourself as you watch your mold die before your very eyes.
Black Mold Clean Up – Be Brutal
It’s important to clean up your existing black mold, it will help your prevention efforts, and you’ll be able to see your progress. Black mold is gross stuff though, and it knows how to hang on to a wall, so use the right kit and make a good job of it. You don’t want too much floating around the air, so send children and pets outside to play during clean up, and make sure anyone with respiratory problems is out of the house. Invest a few bucks in protective equipment for yourself, it costs less than the clean up products and your health is worth it.
Shopping list: Safety goggles, rubber gloves.
Unshopping list: Some old clothes that you will be happy to throw out.
You don’t need to spend a fortune on safety goggles for black mold removal, but it is a good idea to wear a cheap pair if you’re using heavy duty cleaning materials. You don’t want black mold in your eyes, but you really, really don’t want products that kill living organisms on contact accidentally getting in you eyes either. You’ll likely have some form of latex or rubber gloves to keep your hands free of killer goo, if not, add them to your shopping list.
Preventing Black Mold – Cheaply
If you only have a little black mold, or if you want to test the prevention waters before investing to heavily, then there are some cheap and cheerful ways to prevent black mold. Make sure you’ve worked through the free options first, otherwise your small investment go to waste if you are pumping more moisture in to feed the beast.
First up you need to check your humidity levels – get a cheapo humidity monitor. Do a tiny experiment if you can and test the levels in a nearby home that has no mold. It doesn’t need to be a neighbor, it can be a relative or friend across town, provided they are in the same weather zone as you and no nearer to a lake, river or ocean. Next test the levels in your mold free rooms, then the mold zones. If you’re up above 60% then look for ways to take the humidity down in those areas.
Preventing Black Mold – Affordably
So you’ve done the free stuff, and your problem needs a bit more work than the cheapo solutions could offer. You have two choices. Spend a little more money to try and get the problem under control, or call in a contractor. You need to take moisture out of the air if you can’t stop it from getting into the air, or you can’t get it to move around enough.
A dehumidifier will take moisture out of the air and will warm the air slightly. I’ve found that buying a dehumidifier is cheaper than just the call-out fee to get a contractor to look at the problem, let alone doing any work, and it has brought the problem under control.
There’s three main things to consider. The first is the size of unit you want – a large unit will take a lot of water out of the air, but it will be big, taking up more space, and it will be more costly, both to buy and run. Think about buying a unit that is right for the size of space you want to dehumidify. Next is whether you want to plumb the unit in, run a drainage line to allow the water to continuously drain, or if you’re happy to empty out the tub of water the unit generates each day (and if it’s running all day and night it could be several times a day. I’ve found that running the unit only during the day works best for me, so emptying the tub is no big deal. If you choose this option there’s no need to worry about overflows, the dehumidifier will automatically cut off when it is full. Finally noise. Have a listen, you want something quiet enough that it won’t bother you, particularly if you want to run it at night.
If your mold is just in one room, or a small space like a closet and you’re taking steps to improve the airflow, then a single room refresher can help by pulling the moisture in. Use an individual mold sucking tub. It can only cover a small area, but it will take water out of the air before it condenses and will get rid of that musty smell too. Remember, it will need to be replaced now and then, check when it’s full rather than waiting for the mold to re-appear.
A big daddy of dehumidifiers and will pump the moisture out of big spaces, either continuously if you set up the drain hose, or into a tub for manual removal. Pick one that is well designed so no spills, and despite a big capacity, check that the whole unit is easy to move around. Bigger units have antibacterial filters too so can be ideal for cleaning up the air, removing smells and nasty beasties.
Clean Your Filter
If you have pets, hairy housemates of plenty of fluff in your house the filter on any dehumidifier will struggle to cope. Check the filter once a week at first. You probably won’t need to clear it any more often than quarterly, but you’ll soon learn your filter pattern. It’s easy, like clearing a tumble dryer filter. You should not have to keep buying filters so do check that any unit you buy has a permanent, cleanable filter to minimise ongoing costs.