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How to Get Rid of Mold in the Basement

How to Get Rid of Mold in the Basement

Mold, also known as mildew, is a type of fungus. It reproduces by disseminating mold spores. Mold requires certain conditions to breed in any area. They prefer damp, moisture, nourishment, organic feeding material, low temperature, and humidity to grow. And unfortunately, our basement has it all, making it their little heaven.

You should get rid of Mold as soon as possible, whether they are in the basement or elsewhere in your home. Because the WHO (World Health Organization) recently published a report on how Mold impacts air quality. They even emphasized how these tiny particles can multiply in numbers in no time and cause health-threatening poor air quality in the surrounding.

So, to get rid of them, you must first figure out what causes Mold in the first place. Once you’ve figured out what’s causing the problem, you may walk your way through to eliminate it and even take steps to ensure they don’t come back ever again.

Causes of Mold in Basement

causes of mold in basement

It is very important to figure out the cause and stop the source when dealing with mold colonies. ways to cope with basement mold growth. It is important to stop the source so that they don’t come back again. Some of the major causes of Mold in our basement are listed below.

  • Excess moisture in the basement: Due to condensation, leakage, and various reasons, there is usually excess moisture in the basement. Insufficient ventilation, electrical appliances like AC, and water heater failure can be the reason for mold build-up over time. And that makes the best reason for molds to breed and habitat in the basement. 
  • Pipe penetrations or leakage in a basement: Leaks are common in basements. Burst plumbing or weak foundations can cause leaks. Even the best-built foundations can leak over time due to wear and tear, aging, and infrequent maintenance. And can be the reason for mold building. 
  • Leakage in your roof and walls: Roof and wall leakage are common during the rainy season. Mold in basements is most commonly caused by water leaking from your roof, walls, or pipes. Because most pipes and roofs are surrounded by drywall and insulation, they are ideal areas for Mold to thrive. So don’t leave your roof or wall leakage untreated once you notice it, as it can cause mold infestation. 
  • Sump pump failure: A sump pump gathers water around the foundation of your home, removes water from the pit, and directs it away from your home. The sump pump keeps the foundation dry. But the failure in the sump pump will cause a build-up of water around your foundation, resulting in basement leaks and creating an ideal habitat for Mold to thrive. Sump pump failure might be caused by a power outage or a pump that has not been properly maintained.
  • Flash flooding: Hydro-static pressure is generated by the soil’s water label rising higher than normal beneath a foundation. As a result, this can cause large amounts of water to accumulate in the soil against your basement’s foundation, and flash flooding will occur. And when there is water, there will be moisture and Mold. 
  • Poor ventilation and HVAC: Mold can grow in the basement area with a poor ventilation system. Mold and mildew can grow in your HVAC system’s dirty filters. Poor ventilation and HVAC cause moist, stagnant air, creating Mold in basement areas and your ventilation. 
  • Egress window: Egress windows are the big openings that can be used as a secondary exhibit. Since the construction of such opening is done in a way where they are directly in contact with the soil. Sometimes when there is heavy rainfall, this too can be the reason for moist build-up in your basements’ roofs.
  • Porous concrete: If you didn’t pay much attention to the finishing of your basement and if it has porous concrete, that can be the reason for the moist build-up in your basement. It is very simple for water to pass by from such porous concrete and will usually keep your wall wet. 

How to Get Rid of Mold in Your Basement

Once you figure out the exact cause it will be easier for you to choose your fixes, Mold can lead to some serious health issues if they remain unattended. So try to remove them as soon as you notice them around. Getting rid of Mold from your basement is not so hard. This can be done with some easily available household products or some commercial Mold removing cleaners if the mold-affected area is large. There are simple ways to get rid of them. 

Tools and Materials Needed

GlovesWhite vinegar
MaskBaking soda
Safety glassesHydrogen Peroxide
Contractor bagsDiluted bleach
Scrubbing brush or spongeBorax
Pry barTea Tree solution
DehumidifierConcrobium
HEAP Vacuum MachinesCommercial Mold removing cleaners

Protect Yourself 

Prepare yourself

It’s critical to take precautions to safeguard yourself before attempting to remove the Mold. Put on your safety equipment like your old clothes, closed-toe shoes, mask, and safety glasses.

Wear long gloves as Mold can cause an allergy if they come in touch with your skin. Make sure your whole body is covered with clothes. And ensure your mask is in N-95 as it can stir up airborne spores.

Inspect the Mold 

inspect the mold

Firstly you need to be sure whether you can get rid of Mold on your own or if you need expert assistance. The EPA( Environmental Protection Agency advises that you should try to remove the Mold on your own if it is in less than 10 square feet area. 

If the Mold is in a large area than 10 square feet, it is strictly recommended to seek assistance from a professional mold removal service. As it has a high chance of inviting health hazards to your home, let the expert deal with it. 

Mold removal costs around $1000 to $6000 depending upon the severity of the Mold and the area it occupies. And most Mold, removing service providers even provide the free service later if the Mold shows up again.

Prepare the Area Around the Mold

Prepare the Area Around the Mold

Now, if you are sure you can deal with the Mold in your basement on your own. Start by clearing the nearby space. Get the contractor bags ready where you can dispose of all the contaminated things. Remove all the contaminated objects from the area. Dispose of the objects like paper, cardboard, wet clothes, or any such items.

And for heavy items like furniture, woods, carpeting, and drapes, take them out for the time being. You can clean them and place them back when the whole Mold removing process is done. Butt cleaning them before placing them is a must. Try not to store things like firewood or wood in your basement.

Don’t throw wet clothes in the basement directly, as it can be the major cause of mold growth. Overall, clear up the space around the Mold so you can easily do the Mold removal and cleaning process.

Stop the Source of Mold

Stop the Source of Mold

Figuring out the source of Mold and fixing it is way too important. Else it will gradually come back. Find the source, figure out what caused the Mold to grow first, and fix the issue. 

Check around the mold area and see if there are any plumbing leaks, foundation leaks, or plump slump failure. Check the roof, walls, ventilation, and humidity levels, find out the exact cause and start working on fixing it first.

 Each of these issues necessitates a unique method of resolution. Call a plumber to fix the leakage or slump plump failure. Use a pry bar to remove the drywall and replace it again. Hire a foundation specialist for foundation leaks. Get a dehumidifier to remove the moisture due to excess humidity in the room.

Remove the Mold

Remove the Mold

Now that you have stopped its source. It is time for you to remove the existing Mold from your wall or floor. There are several creative ways to deal with the problem of how to get rid of Mold in your home. You can make your cleaning solutions or buy a commercial one from the store. But no matter which cleaning agent you opt for, conduct a little test area on it first to make sure the cleaning agent won’t harm the thing you’re cleaning. Some of the most used cleaning agents for Mold are:

White Vinegar

Vinegar is an excellent all-purpose cleaner that may also be used to get rid of Mold. White vinegar, to be precise, is the best for removing Mold. Use undiluted white vinegar on tiles and other nonporous surfaces only. You can mix vinegar with water or apply the vinegar to the Mold. Let it sit for 2-3 minutes, and with the help of a scrubbing brush or sponge, scrub the mold area.

  • Vinegar should never be mixed with bleach. 
  • Don’t apply vinegar on concrete because it can cause the concrete to deteriorate. 
  • Don’t put vinegar on porous materials like drywall, insulation, or concrete because it will break them down.

Baking Soda

Baking soda too can be used for removing Mold. It is acidic, so it will also kill the Mold. You can either make a paste of baking soda and water or fill a spray bottle halfway with water and add two teaspoons of baking soda. You can lather the paste or spray the mixture onto the Mold. Let it sit there for 2-3 minutes and scrub it.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is another best nontoxic solution to remove Mold from your basement. You can make the mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water in a spray bottle. Spray the solution in the Mold and let it sit there for around 3-4 minutes. Then with the help of a scrubbing brush, scrub the area.

Tea Tree Solution

Tea tree solution is a fungicide that is considered best for removing Mold. To use tea tree as a cleaning agent, mix it with water. Add a few drops of tea tree oil to a bottle and shake it well before applying it to the mold area. Let it remain there for a few minutes, and scrub the Mold away with the help of the brush. 

Grapefruit Seed Extract

The grapefruit seed extract is another fungicide oil, like tea tree solution. So this oil too is considered best for removing the Mold. This will even stop Mold from coming back. You can apply the same process to grapefruit seed. You can add a few drops of water. Spray in the affected area. Let it sit for 2-3 minutes, and scrub the Mold with the brush. 

Diluted Bleach

Bleach is the quickest and most cost-effective solution to get rid of Mold in your basement. Combine a gallon of water with a cup of bleach or one part bleach to sixteen parts water for hard surfaces. Then apply the bleach to the surface and scrub with the brush or sponge.

  • Bleach cannot be used on fabrics or carpets.
  • It can only be used on hard surfaces like tiles, bathtubs, and other items.
  • Bleach should be used with caution if your basement has insufficient airflow.

Borax

Borax kills Mold and stops them from returning and removing the unpleasant smell they give. And another best thing about Borax is that it can be used on porous and nonporous materials. Mix a cup of Borax with a gallon of water to make a Borax solution. Lather the solution onto the Mold and rub it with a brush. Scrape the Mold away and repeat the process if needed.

Concrobium

Concrobium is antimicrobial and also a nontoxic mold eradication agent approved by Environmental Protection Agency. Both professionals and homeowners use it to get rid of Mold. It can be used on any surface like wood, plastic, stone, tile, and other materials. You can simply spray it in the affected area, wait for several minutes, and scrub the Mold away. It not only removes the Mold but also prevents them from coming back. 

High-efficiency Particle Absolute (HEPA) Vacuum Machines

High-Efficiency Particle Absolute (HEPA) Vacuum Machines can also be used to remove the Mold. But always read the label and directions instructed by the manufacturers as some may be harmful to particular materials or porous surfaces.

These types of cleaners are often used to clean the mold off the walls. Vacuuming regularly in high-humidity locations. 

Commercial Mold Removing Cleaners

There are other plenty of Mold removing cleaners on the market. You can apply them to get rid of Mold. But consult a professional before applying it. Be sure whether it can be applied in your Mold affected area or not. Such commercial Mold removal cleaners cost anywhere from $20-$100.

Clean the Surface and Overall Area

No matter which method you opt for cleaning once you have completed the removing Mold. Don’t forget to rinse the whole area with clean water. Thoroughly check if there is any mold left once the area is dry. Make sure you remove them if you find any mold later, as they can multiply in number in no time.

How to Prevent Chances of Getting Mold in Your Basement

how to stop mold from coming back

Mold can return quickly if they find a favorable situation. Ensure that there is no mold left and work on to never let them come back. Keep your basement clean and dry. Also, check the things listed below to stop them from making their habitat in your basement in the first place.

  • Insulate your basement pipes, walls, roof, and windows. 

Check your pipes and walls regularly to ensure they are in good working condition. When you discover water on the pipes, make sure they’re changed and sealed properly. Wrap your pipes in pipe sleeves, fiberglass, or other insulation materials, or cover your windows to avoid condensation during the winter.

  • Control the humidity

Check the humidity level in the room with a hygrometer. If the humidity level drops below normal, increase your basement’s ventilation. Keep the windows open as much as possible, and use oscillating fans. Add Air conditioners and dehumidifiers if needed. Also, clean and sanitize your humidifier with an antibacterial solution now and then if you have one. 

  • Don’t overload your basement and discard clutter.

Try to remove unwanted things from your basement, and don’t overcrowd your basement. Make sure you have only necessary items in your basement, and all the items are dry and clean. Place the items without touching the wall. 

Avoid placing plants in your basement as mold spores can spread through dirt, moisture, and soil from such plants. And if you have to store them, take proper care by not overwatering them.

If there is a leak or a flood, remove everything that has come into contact with water, thoroughly dry it, and then replace it. Wet clothes, books, wood, old furniture, rugs, food, and even cardboard boxes provide the best environment for mold growth. 

  • Check the perimeter around the house and gutters around your house.

Ensure no stagnant water is around your house premises, and don’t overwater your plants. Remove any damp leaves accumulated on the external walls, and don’t let trash accumulate around your house. 

Check your gutters, drainage, and water from your sump pumps as they should be discharged away from your home foundation. Make sure gutters are away from your house. Fix if there is any leakage as soon as possible.

  • Avoid carpeting or wood flooring in your basement.

Never use wood flooring in your basement. As your basement is where there the humidity is low so the chances of wood-decaying is excess there. And anything decomposed thing can be the major source of mold growth. Even avoid carpeting your basement as wet carpet too can be why Mold should breed in the first place. 

Instead, use washable floor surfaces, plastics, or area rugs. They reduce the possibility of Mold growing undetected behind them.

  • Cover any bare earth flooring with waterproof polyethylene plastic

Mostly in your basement, there are unfinished basements or crawlspaces, or bare earth flooring. They are the major reason for moisture and mold growth. Try to cover such space by installing a floor or at least cover such area with waterproof polyethylene plastic. Cleaning your basement daily and keeping it dry are very important for mold reduction. 

  • Check your electrical appliance often.

Your electrical appliances such as air conditioner, washing machine, and water heater are the ones that deal with water. Ensure there is no water leakage and they are vented properly. Check the pan and duct couplings and fix them if you notice any leakage. Before you use the AC each season, thoroughly check it, seal them, and then use them. 

Finally

If you find molds growing or returning back frequently after you have done the removing and tried all the fixes. Then understand the mold infestation in your house is a serious one and you need assistance from professionals. It is best to get your house professionally inspected. Contact a person or organization which specializes in mold examination and removal. A thorough and expert mold inspection can save you money in the long run by preventing major structural damage and costly repairs.