Cleaning household mould can be daunting but it can be done with a little care and preparation. Any mould can be cleaned with household items.
Mould is a microorganism that loves damp, cool conditions. It is found in most homes, especially in humid climates. Even in dry climates mould can be found in bathrooms and kitchens because of the high moisture content. Recently, there has been some scare in the media about black mould but the truth is, any type of mould can be black and all have some potential to be dangerous — especially to individuals with allergies. Mould is easy to remove from most surfaces as long as it doesn’t cover too much of the surface and isn’t embedded in it. Drywall and untreated wood are tricky surfaces to clean.
Before starting to clean mould, decide if you think the task is manageable. A professional may be required if the mould damage is extensive or if you are worried about the toxicity of the mould. Always wear gloves and a mask when working with mould.
Remove Destroyed Items
All items that are severely damaged by mould need to be removed. Carpet padding, upholstery and drywall are a few items that are often too difficult to clean if the mould is extensive. Remove these items from the house so they can not send mould spores back into the air as you clean. Replace them only once the mould has been eliminated.
Washing clothes in the washing machine and dryer is a very effective way of removing mould. Especially if you use the hot water cycle. Add 1 cup of bleach to the rinse water to help kill any remaining mould. Air dry the fabric the first time. This will allow you to see if all the mould has been removed. If you put it in a hot drier mould stains can set and be impossible to remove. Once you have determined that the mould is gone, launder your clothes as usual. Color-safe bleach will work for clothes that aren’t bleach safe.
Washable surfaces can be scrubbed with your usual household cleaners. This includes showers, sinks, walls and counters. Use a scrub brush for crevices. Rinse the mould and cleaner away with hot water dry with a soft cloth. .
Use a bristle scrub brush to clean wood surfaces. Use a soft bristle brush for soft wood or precious furniture. A detergent and hot water will work as the cleaner. If mould is still visible after scrubbing you’ll need to sand the wood to remove a layer and take the mould off. For furniture, this will require that you refinish the wood so you need to determine if it is worth the effort. Rinse away any detergent and sand and let the furniture air-dry.
All surfaces should be disinfected to prevent future mould growth. A cup of bleach in a gallon of water will work for bleach-safe surfaces. Wipe down the surface and let it air-dry.
Make sure all areas are dry and well-ventilated. Use slatted doors in closets so the air can move around except in bathrooms where the door should be solid to prevent moisture from moving in. Use a dehumidifier in high-humidity climates to prevent mould. Make sure you don’t have any plumbing or roof leaks that are adding to the moisture problem.