How to Get Rid of Unhealthy Black Mold
Removing black mold from your home can sound like a daunting task. Just the term “black mold” sounds scary enough. If you’re willing to buy the proper safety equipment and can stomach scrubbing and removing mold damage for up to a few weeks, you can save hundreds and possibly thousands of dollars.
Deciding when to call in a professional is a personal decision, but there are two signs that black mold has progressed too far to easily remove it yourself, says David Olson of PuroClean, a property damage restoration company.
“When the odor is becoming so bad that it’s giving them a headache,” or a finger can be pushed through drywall damaged by black mold, Olson says.
Removal is charged by the square foot and varies by where you live, he says. Removing mold from and repairing a standard shower can cost from $1,600 to $4,500, Olson says.
To avoid such costs, here are some ways to remove black mold in your home on your own:
1. Determine What it Is
The musty smell under a sink may not be black mold — which is a mold that has been left for quite awhile — and may just be simple mold, Olson says. The difference is that mold is a live spore, while black mold could be toxic. Mildew, for example, is often confused with being mold, but it can be easily cleaned with bleach or other surface cleaners.
Not all visible molds that are black are dangerous, and mold testing may be needed to confirm if toxic spores are in your house, according to the website BlackMoldRemoval.com.
Homeowners should test their homes every three to five years for potential mold problems, says Caroline Blazovsky, a healthy home expert.
“Not all mold problems are visible,” Blazovsky says. “Sometimes, you get lucky and see mold growing on areas like basement walls or bathroom walls to know there is a problem. But, many times mold is in between walls behind showers, underneath flooring and under kitchen appliances — places we cannot get to.”
She recommends doing a mold air test with a professional air pump sampler, either with a certified inspector or a DIY kit.
2. Find the Source and Stop the Damage
If you see or smell black mold in your house, it’s probably in an area of high moisture, such as a bathroom that isn’t vented well enough, or from a water leak such as a leaking pipe. Repair the leak before deciding if you’re going to repair the damage yourself.
Once moisture from water damage or condensation has been provided, mold will use a food source such as insulation, fabric, drywall or carpet to grow and cause damage.