How to Get Rid of Mold in Basement
Dark, moist and beyond-freezing describe some unattended basements. While there are homeowners who make the most out of their basements by transforming them into livable spaces, others simply consider the said underground room as storage area for old furniture and other used-up belongings.
A lot of homeowners don’t pay much attention to this room. However, it could transform into a breeding ground for a new house problem: mold. Dark, moist, and beyond-freezing best describe the ideal habitat for these fungi. Once you see signs of mold, don’t freak out. Remember that there are ways on how to get rid of mold in basement.
Indications of Mold Infestation
The first step on how to get rid of mold in basement is to detect the existence of mold. If your basement is the perfect habitat for mold, you should conduct an inspection and look for signs. Make sure the room is well-lit as you inspect. Bring a flashlight so you can also spot mold in corners and other areas that can’t be reached by both natural and installed lighting.
Mold often appears as clusters of black and white. (Other species are brown, gray, green and yellow.) It’s not just unsightly; it could also be smelly. It smells like decaying leaves. The appearance can be upsetting but instead of entertaining stressful thoughts about the matter, be more determined in applying solutions on how to get rid of mold in basement.
You are likely to find mold in materials that absorb water such as wood, paper, clothing, etc. These include furniture and even construction materials such as drywall, sheetrock, and plywood. Materials that are constantly exposed to water are also prone to mold infestation. Follow the pipes located in your basement and look for leaks. The leaks lead to spots in your basement ceiling, walls, and floor that may be infested by clusters black and white fungi.
Why Mold is a Household Problem
Not all fungi are bad. Take edible mushrooms as an example. These are fungi but they can be eaten. Others are also beneficial in the medical field. However, it turns into a problem when the fungi infiltrating your basement are the ones that trigger medical conditions such as allergies, sinus congestion, and rashes. Some are even regarded as poisonous, meaning constant exposure to them might lead to life-threatening conditions. That is why you should apply ways on how to get rid of mold in basement.
To Hire or Not To Hire
It’s not easy to treat a heavily infested basement. However, you have the option to hire professionals to help you treat the mold. That is the easiest solution on how to get rid of mold in basement. By hiring professional cleaners, you don’t have to tackle tricky areas such as the plumbing system.
But since most fungi species found in basements are not that toxic, you can carry out the mold removal by yourself. For the areas that are difficult to clean, you have to be careful. Know the places of the pipes and wires. Consult your contractor or realtor regarding the construction materials used in your basement as well.
DIY Cleaning Materials
Once you decide to perform DIY solutions on how to get rid of mold in basement, equip yourself with suitable cleaning materials. Just like home maintenance practices for the upper rooms, removing mold in the basement could be as simple as using bleach and vinegar. The aforementioned ingredients are a good substitute for cleaning chemicals. Chemicals sought to treat mold may be quicker in killing the fungi but they can be damaging to your health and to parts of your basement.
Other cleaning tools include scrub, broom, brush, rags, spray bottles, pails of water, plastic sheets, vacuum cleaner, and lots of garbage bags. You have to wear proper cleaning gear as well – goggles, gloves, boots, and clothing that cover most of your skin.
Invading the Invaders
Wear proper cleaning gear and bring all the cleaning materials first before you start reclaiming your basement. If you keep going back upstairs to get tools while you are in the midst of removing mold, you are putting the upper rooms at risk of infestation. After you enter the basement, attach plastic sheets on the entryway to prevent spores from escaping the basement and spreading to the upper floors.
Gather items (such as boxes, carpet, old items, tools etc.) in your basement using the garbage bags. Store them temporarily in an area in your basement that isn’t infested by mold.
A DIY way on how to get rid of mold in basement includes the creation of your own cleaning solution. Mix vinegar and water (or bleach and water) and put the solution into spray bottles. Spray the solution onto the mold. The solution is intended to kill the fungi, preventing them from spreading. This may also involve the detachment of drywall, floorboard, and other construction materials that are already infested.
Once you’re done spraying, double check the room to make sure that you covered all areas. Leave the solution for an hour or two to ensure that the fungi are already dead. You can also spray again if you want to. It’s better to do it excessively than to apply too little.
While waiting, carry the garbage bags outside of your house. Inspect the items outside. Plastic and metal that are affected by mold can be reused. You just need to wash the plastic ones in a solution of vinegar and water to remove the mold. For infested fabrics such as clothes, curtains, and even carpets, it is best to discard them altogether. Washing them may not be worth it, especially the carpets. Mold-infested construction materials should be discarded too. You will need to replace them for a safer and cleaner basement.
When you’re done determining which ones to discard, go back to the basement and remove the mold. In this task, you will use the scrub, brush, and rags for areas you can easily reach. For hard-to-reach areas, utilize the broom.
This will involve a lot of water; make sure you collect the water using the rags and put them back in pails instead of leaving them stagnant. Replace the water as you proceed.
One of the last steps is to dry the basement. Open the window and run the dehumidifier. Wipe the wet areas with a clean cloth.
Stopping the Source
The cause for the mold may be an outside source. Fungi multiply when spores are spread by the air itself. It is possible that you accumulated it yourself. Another possibility is that the belongings you stored in the basement may have contacted the spores prior their storage. The location of the basement may be the trigger for the mold invasion as well. Keep in mind that this is located underground. Fungi are mostly decomposers so they are probably present in your lot even before your house was constructed.
Removing the mold isn’t enough if you don’t want to deal with the question of how to get rid of mold in basement again. If you regularly conduct basement maintenance, mold isn’t likely to multiply. Get rid of the factors that make your basement a comfortable living place for these fungi. Install proper lighting if your basement is too dark.
There should also be a way for air to get out of the said room but it should be efficient in preventing winter air from getting inside as well. Air is a big factor to the humidity and temperature levels in your basement. Additionally, treat the leaks therein. Run dehumidifier in your basement regularly to further keep the mold away.
Keep in mind that basement maintenance is easier than mold management by tenfold.