How to Get Rid of Mould?
Dealing with Small Mould Problems
If dealing with a small mould colony (a few feet wide), consider cleaning it yourself:
- Identify the Surface: Determine if the mould is on a porous or non-porous surface. Non-porous surfaces include metal, rock, and tile, while porous ones, like drapes or wood, require more effort.
- Protect Yourself and Space: Wear an N95 respirator, close doors, and open windows to direct spores outside. Consider using an air purifier for added protection.
- Prepare Cleaning Products: Use soap and warm water instead of bleach to preserve air quality. Have two buckets for soapy water and rinsing.
- Scrub and Dry: Remove as much mould as possible, ensuring the cleaned area dries thoroughly. Dispose of porous objects if necessary.
- Monitor for Return: Check the area for several weeks to ensure mould doesn’t return. Replace items like carpet or repaint once the area stays mold-free.
Handling Larger Mold Problems
For larger colonies, consider professional help. But if you would like to do it yourself, make sure to:
- Assess Surfaces: Identify the extent of infestation, especially on porous surfaces, which may require removal.
- Protect Yourself: Wear a respirator and take precautions to prevent spores from spreading.
- Address Moisture First: Solve the moisture problem before cleaning to prevent mould recurrence. Use heat or a dehumidifier to ensure the area is dry.
- Scrub and Remove: Clean visible mould with warm soapy water. For wood, sand down to a non-mouldy layer. Replace soft materials like drywall.
- HEPA Vacuum: Use a HEPA vacuum to remove scattered mould spores. Wipe down areas where spores may have spread.
- Carpet Considerations: Carpets are often unrecoverable after mold infestation. Explore ways to salvage them, but replacement may be necessary.
- Thorough Drying: Ensure the cleaned area is completely dry. Use a hard brush, baking soda, vinegar, steam cleaner, and an anti-fungal coating for comprehensive mould removal.
- Structural Elements: If mould has deeply penetrated structural elements, consider hiring a professional mould remover.
Mould in Air Conditioners
Air conditioners can harbour mould. Prevent mould growth by tilting window-mounted units, minimising dust, and cleaning visible mould promptly. Here’s how you do it:
General Tips for Mold Cleanup: Cleaning mould can be challenging, so it’s important to choose the right method based on the type of air conditioner. Ensure good ventilation, wear non-porous gloves, and use a face mask with goggles, especially if you’re sensitive to mould. Mould on non-porous surfaces can be wiped with a household cleaner and cloth. For porous surfaces like wood or carpet, removal and replacement may be necessary.
- Small mould spots on window AC units may indicate a larger issue.
- Disassemble the unit to clean internal components, but there’s a risk of missing some mould.
- If mould is extensive, replacement of the window AC unit might be necessary.
- Mould in central AC ductwork usually requires professional remediation.
- Shut off the system when mould is detected to prevent further spread.
- Cleaning ducts can be expensive and challenging, especially if mould has spread throughout the system.
- Sheet metal ducts are easier to clean than other materials.
- Avoid using biocides or surface treatments in ductwork, as recommended by the EPA.
- Under normal conditions, car AC systems should drain moisture properly.
- If the car gets wet, promptly clean and dry it, and replace the cabin air filter.
- Mould growth in the AC system is limited, but disassembling the dashboard for cleaning is an option.
- Moldy ducts can be replaced, but the effort and cost vary.
- Exercise caution with chemical products in the AC system, as their effectiveness is uncertain, and inhaled chemicals can pose risks.