A mold growth that starts in the basement can easily spread to the rest of a home. And even if it doesn’t, the spores that it releases in your home will be just as dangerous. They can still trigger allergic reactions and cause severe respiratory complications in loved ones.
The good news is that mold in the basement can be fixed. This can be done by first fixing the underlying cause of excessive moisture in the basement, discarding mold-infested items, and then killing the existing mold.
Thereafter, taking preventative measures like installing a good dehumidifier, improving aeration by investing in a decent fan, and then routinely cleaning the area with mold-killing, will go a long way towards preventing a regrowth of mold in the basement.
Here is what you should know about fixing a mold problem in the basement.
Step 1: Discard items that have been heavily infested with mold
Items that feature extensive mold infestation are challenging to completely restore. This is so especially if you are dealing with rugs, mats, cardboards, and items made from mold-friendly materials. For such items, trying to simply restore them might end up leaving your basement with traces of mold. Therefore, discarding them is always advisable.
Step 2: Identify and fix leak sources
A leading cause of mold in basements is moisture leaks. This may result from plumbing leakages, condensation leaks from air conditioning units, and water seepage as a result of flooding or rainwater. Therefore, finding and fixing these leaks will go a long way towards fixing your mold problem.
Step 3: Invest in exhaust systems for cooking and showering areas
Steam from cooking areas and vapor from showering areas are a common contributor to high humidity in a home. This includes the basement. When you invest in good exhaust systems for these areas, you can get rid of the excess moisture before it has time to spread to the basement. Doing so will help to make your home less mold-friendly and it will thus help to keep your basement mold problem at bay.
Step 4: Improve air circulation in your home
Better air circulation reduces the odds of condensation. As a result, the chances of moisture settling on surfaces in the basement will reduce. And since mold loves surfaces that are moist or wet, this will help to stem your mold growth problem.
Therefore, investing in a fan is advisable. Making sure that you always leave your windows and doors open, especially after taking a shower or cooking, will also help.
Step 5: Install a good dehumidifier
Dehumidifiers are great at reducing humidity in homes. Installing a good one in your basement will reduce the overall moisture content in the basement and this will discourage mold growth.
Step 6: Avoid overcrowding items in the basement
Crowding reduces air circulation. It also tends to mean more surfaces on which mold can grow. Therefore, by reducing overcrowding, you will improve air movement in the basement, reduce opportunities for mold growth, and eventually fix your mold problem.
Can mold in the basement be completely removed?
Yes, mold in the basement can be completely removed. In order to do so effectively, one has to first remove items that have severe mold growth and discard them.
Thereafter, they have to scrape off mold from affected surfaces and then vacuum it with a vacuum that is fitted with a HEPA filter. They then have to soak the surface with a mold-killing solution like undiluted vinegar, diluted bleach, or commercial mold-killing solutions. Scrubbing the surface, applying more solution, and then wiping the surface to dry it should then follow.
Taking extra steps like installing a dehumidifier, investing in a good fan, and always opening doors and windows after taking showers, can go a long way towards keeping the mold from growing back. Some homeowners also find that occasionally spraying surfaces with mold-killing solutions helps to prevent mold regrowth.
3 Ways to get rid of mold in the basement
As a homeowner, you have several options as far as getting rid of mold in the basement is concerned. The following are the most common, and most effective, ways of ridding yourself of mold from the basement.
- Use distilled vinegar – Undiluted vinegar has been shown to kill over 80% of mold species. Therefore, whichever species you have growing in your basement, chances are that it can be killed by vinegar.
All you have to do is to pour the vinegar into a spray bottle. And after cleaning and vacuuming the area, simply spray.
- Use a bleach solution – Diluted bleach is also incredibly effective at killing mold. To create the perfect solution for mold removal, pour a gallon of water in a bucket and then mix it with a cup of bleach. Fill a spray bottle with the solution and then start spraying and scrubbing the affected area. Use a sponge or a piece of dry clothing to get rid of any excess moisture and to speed up the drying process.
- Use commercial mold-killing solutions – A number of reputable companies manufacture mold-killing solutions that are specifically designed to kill and remove mold. These are the solutions that most mold remediation companies use to get rid of even toxic black mold, and they can thus make for a great way of getting rid of your basement mold problem.
And given that for some of these solutions, you don’t need to even scrub, clean, or even rinse after using them, there is really no reason as to why you shouldn’t try them out. All you have to do is to follow the instructions that come with the given solution.
Should you worry about mold in the basement?
Yes, you should worry about mold in the basement.
This is because mold in the basement can produce spores that will spread throughout your home. These spores will trigger allergic reactions in your loved ones, and if you have loved ones with weak immune systems, these reactions can be dangerous.
You should also worry about mold in the basement because it is dangerous for your health. Stopping mold growth as soon as you can is the best way to keep them from losing value.
There is also the fact that with time, mold growth can gradually spread to other areas of the home. Therefore, even though the mold is just in your basement, if you don’t remove it, it will end up spreading to other areas of your home. This includes the walls, the air conditioning system, the ducts, and other hard-to-reach areas. It may thus cost more to remove it if you don’t worry about it right now.
How long does it take to remove mold in the basement?
It takes 1 – 5 days to remove mold in the basement. The time varies widely depending on the size of the basement, how severe the infestation is, and the size of the crew that is handling the mold remediation project.
DIY vs. Calling a Professional
Once you discover that you have a mold infestation in your home, you will have the option of either removing the mold yourself or calling a professional. The following are the pros and cons of each option.
Do it Yourself
- It can make for a fun DIY project with loved ones.
- It is cheaper.
- No need to vet or schedule appointments.
- You have complete control over which chemicals to use in your home. You can opt for completely non-toxic chemicals.
- It is time-consuming.
- Risk of exposure to toxic mold.
- Carries a higher risk of mold coming back.
- There is a risk of making the mold problem worse by inadvertently spreading mold spores around the home.
Calling a Professional
- Gets the job done faster.
- Does not call for your investment in terms of time.
- You completely avoid getting exposed to toxic mold.
- There are lower chances of the mold coming back since the removal is being. done by trained and experienced mold remediation experts.
- It is more expensive.
- You don’t have complete control over which chemicals they use to kill the mold.
Yes, mold in the basement can affect the upstairs.
This is because mold usually releases spores. These spores get airborne, and when they do, they can travel to almost any part of a home. They can travel even faster in cases where one uses a central air conditioning system since it can easily distribute it throughout the home — thanks to the comprehensive air duct system that usually enables it to condition the home.
Furthermore, mold that grows in the basement can spread gradually to a point where it covers an entire home. Therefore, if you don’t stop it early on, you can end up dealing with an extensive infestation that can only be removed by a mold remediation expert.
What you need to keep in mind is that mold spores are the ones that cause skin irritation, eye irritation, respiratory complications, and all of the problems that come with a mold infestation. These spores are typically airborne, and when their concentration in the basement increases, the chances of the spores invading the upstairs increase.
The best way to prevent mold in the basement is to start by flood-proofing it in order to avoid water infiltration. Fixing any problems in your plumbing is also a great way of keeping mold at bay.
But if you don’t have a flooding problem or a leaking plumbing system, then investing in a good humidifier is the way to go. It will remove excess moisture from the air in the basement, and this will go a long way towards making it a mold-friendly place. A good fan system will help. And so will keeping wet or moist items away from the basement.
Mold in the basement is caused by the presence of too much moisture and the lack of good air circulation.
Basement flooding, leaks from the plumbing system or air conditioning system, and the presence of wet or moist items; are all common causes of mold in basements. The high humidity and poor air circulation that most basements typically have, only make things worse.
If you are looking for help dealing with a mold problem, or you just need advice on which mold-killing solutions to use, the first place you should go to is HomeGardenGuides.com. It offers a free service that quickly matches you with the top-voted local mold remediation contractors.
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