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Mold’s commonly found in properties and usually doesn’t cause problems. But if the spores are left unchecked, then it can affect your health. Symptoms can be pretty unpleasant, such as sneezing, skin rashes, and even asthma attacks.
You’d expect to find mold in damp places like your kitchen and bathroom, so you’ve been diligent in cleaning those areas. But you’ve gone into the basement to store stuff away and your heart drops: you’ve spotted the tell-tale signs of mold.
How are you supposed to remove mold in the basement when it’s such a large space? Can you clean basement mold up without hiring anyone and spending big money?
Read on to find out how to get rid of mold in the basement.
Find and Eliminate the Culprit
Mold doesn’t grow wild for no reason. There’s usually a culprit, such as a leaky pipe or a crack in your door or window.
Examine your basement thoroughly and determine what’s causing the mold growth. From there, you can get the proper professionals in to make repairs. For instance, you can make an appointment with an HVAC specialist to fix your leaky unit or have a carpenter repair your cracked window.
If you find mold on your basement wall and there’s no noticeable source of growth, then run a dehumidifier to keep it from getting worse.
Get the Right Equipment
We’ve already mentioned running a dehumidifier. But you’ll need more equipment to handle mold safely.
Get yourself HEPA N95 masks, a P100 hood, safety glasses, latex gloves, disposable coveralls, and shoe covers. You want to safeguard as much of your body from mold exposure as possible.
You’ll also need a sponge, bleach, mold remover spray, and plastic sheeting in some cases. If you need plastic sheeting, then get some duct tape too so you can secure it on the ground.
Clean up the Area
Use the wet/dry vacuum to get rid of any standing water. Otherwise, run your dehumidifier to dry things up faster and circulate the air. Don’t use a box fan though, as this will just spread the mold spores everywhere!
Spray down the area with mold remover (or a diluted bleach solution) and then wipe everything down with your sponge.
Once everything’s dried, you can remove the leftover mold with a mix of hot water and dish detergent. You can also paint over the wall with an encapsulating product.
Do note that if there’s a large amount of mold in your basement, you’re better off hiring a mold remediation company. They’ll be able to treat the area fast and effectively.
Remove Damaged Items
There’s a good chance that your items in the basement have been ruined by mold. If so, then carefully remove them.
This doesn’t only include things you’ve stored away; remove things like ceiling tiles, carpet, and wall material if it’s not load-bearing. The good news is, you can do this all yourself and not have to pay a professional for removal services. Just be safe and wear the proper protective equipment.
Before discarding these objects, make sure you take pictures first. That way, if you need to file an insurance claim, you’ll have evidence.
After taking pictures, you should dispose of these things carefully. Don’t try to keep anything, as they can contaminate other objects in your home. If you have something that’s irreplaceable, then you can try the next steps.
Clean Irreplaceable Items
Some things can’t be replaced, whether they’re family heirlooms or your walls or floors.
For the former, you’ll want to air out the items as best as you can. For example, with books, you can flip them open and dry them slowly by flipping the pages over time. Or with things with hard covers, you can scrub them down with a bleach solution.
For the latter (like walls and floors), you can use a bleach solution as well. Mix 1 cup of bleach per gallon of water, then scrub with disposable sponges. Make sure you wear all the equipment we listed above so you’re not exposed to any mold spores.
If you don’t want to use bleach or other harsh chemicals, then a good alternative is vinegar or baking soda. Mix together 1 part water with 1 part vinegar, shake up in a spray bottle, and apply to the affected areas. Leave it on overnight and then scrub away with soap and water.
If you want to use baking soda, mix it together with water in a 1:1 mix and use as a scrub. For a spray, dilute 2 tablespoons of baking soda with 2 cups of water.
Have Your Basement Waterproofed
After you’ve completed basement mold removal, you need to prevent this scenario from happening again.
You can do so by getting help with moldy basement issues from a waterproofing company. They’ll inspect your basement and propose a solution that’ll protect against water damage. If you have foundation failure, then they’ll be sure to find the source and seal it up.
Eliminate Basement Mold Fast
Basement mold can get out of control and ruin your property in no time flat. So be on the lookout for it and take action quickly if you find anything.
Most importantly, you need to keep this from happening again. Make sure you contact a professional to waterproof your basement and prevent damage in the future! They just might find foundation failure that you’d never even suspect.
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