Once you have discovered a source of indoor mold using your MoldCheck™ Mold Test
Kits and The Building Detective Guide™,
you’ll need to carefully clean it up as soon as possible – using extreme care
when cleaning in order to protect your lungs and eyes and not to spread the tiny
- Once you've found the source of growing mold the biggest
mistake you can make is to haphazardly clean it up or pull
out moldy materials.
- Do not try to dust, brush, blow or vacuum the mold –
this will only spread the mold spores.
- Do not let an allergic or asthmatic individual do the
clean up or remain in the room during the mold clean-up.
Make a Repair Plan:
- Repairing water leaks and replacing building materials
is ordinarily routine work. However, the most important part
of the repair of mold contaminated areas is the initial
careful cleaning of the visible surface mold and the proper
covering, removal and disposal of the contaminated material
in order to protect the worker, inhabitants and the rest of
the building from contamination (see Health and Safety
- Therefore prepare an action plan to conduct this work.
This plan will guide you in the cleaning and repair or serve
as the basis of your contract with your repair contractor.
In order to protect yourself against improper, inadequate,
or unnecessary mold remediation repair, you may want to hire
a home inspector (found in the Yellow Pages) to conduct your
investigation and to specify, in writing, the work needed to
be done to correct the water problem and repair the damaged
Health and Safety:
- In order to protect your health during a mold clean up
or repair project, the work must be done properly so you do
not release mold spores into the air and accidentally
contaminate new areas or injure yourself or others.
- Require that your contractor conduct the mold clean up
and sanitization part of the job according to the "New York
City Department of Health, Guidelines on Remediation of
Fungi in Indoor Environments (Section 3 - Remediation)."
This information can be located at
Don't procrastinate. All mold, whether toxic or not should be cleaned
up the same way - carefully and safely to protect your health and not spread
harmful spores into the air. If you find mold growing on a surface, plan to clean it
up right away. Learn how to carefully clean up the surface mold prior to
conducting the leak or other problem investigation.
Educate yourself first by
reviewing these educational guidelines:
- Moldcheck.com/Clean-Up Guide
- "A brief guide to mold, moisture and your home."
- Big Jobs: For big jobs (more than 10 sq. feet) read "Mold Remediation in
Schools and Commercial Buildings." (www.epa.gov/iaq/molds/mold_remediation.html)
or call (800) 438-4318 for a free hard copy.
- Another standard industry reference is the NYC Department of Health's
"Guidelines on Assessment and Remediation in Indoor Environments."
- If you use a contractor, make sure the contract states
that the contractor will use the appropriate health and
safety recommendations set forth in the New York City
Department of Health Guidelines referred to above to protect
you and the workers.
Safety Dress for Cleaning:
- Wear long rubber gloves, old clothes, protective goggles
(to keep spores and splashes out of your eyes) and OSHA
recommended filter-face mask rated N-95 or better. This mask
costs about $4.00 - $5.00 US dollars in a hardware or paint
store and are essential when cleaning up mold.
- The key thing to remember when cleaning mold off any
surface indoors, is to gently, slowly moisten the mold with
the cleaner so it does not get brushed off the surface onto
the floor or into the air.
Soap and Water:
- If the mold is on a hard, non-porous surface like
plastic, tile or metal, any household cleaner is adequate
to remove the thin film of surface mold. Mold growing on
hard non-porous surfaces is usually the result of high
humidity at the surface.
- If you are going to discard moldy cardboard boxes and
other mold-contaminated materials, mist everything down with
a soapy cleaner so that spores do not become dispersed into
- If you have discovered a water leak in the wall and you
are going to remove the wet, moldy wallboard, then soap and
water household cleaners are good enough to clean and wet
down the surfaces (front and back) before you bag and
discard the material.
- Porous, moldy surfaces, which will remain in place after
the remediation, cannot be effectively cleaned by a
household cleaner. Thousands to millions of “live” spores
will remain on wooden beams and wall studs, etc., even after
they are completely dried out. These spores are dormant but
ready to begin growing into colonies again as soon as the
humidity gets high enough for long enough on the surface.
Therefore, you may choose to sanitize the surface or seal the surface
with a mold retarding paint or coating.
- Sanitize the area using commercially available
sanitizers for mold and mildew such as Tilex™ or Behr™ "Mold and Mildew Cleaner"
or a mixture of bleach in water (one cup of bleach per
gallon of water is adequate). CAUTION: Do not use any
other cleaning product containing ammonia - ammonia may
produce harmful gases when mixed with bleach cleaners.
Bleach is also known as sodium hypo chlorite. Remember to protect your
hands, lungs and eyes. Keep plenty of fresh air circulating
in the room. Keep windows open; put a fan in a window
blowing toward the outside. Take frequent fresh air breaks. Follow the safety guidelines of the
- Apply the sanitizers as directed, gently and completely
moistening the mold with the sanitizing applicator. Gently
mist and wipe so mold spores and particles do not escape
into the air. Example: Moisten a paper towel with sanitizer
and press it onto the visible mold growth – then wet the
towel with a gentle mist spray or sponged on sanitizer.
Allow the area to stay wet with sanitizer for at least ten
to fifteen minutes.
- Apply sanitizer two or three times to assure the
- Let the area air dry – do not blow dry! If the wood was
wet for a long time, you must let the wood completely dry
out – otherwise remnant mold spores may begin to grow again
if the area is sealed too soon.
- If the mold was growing on a moist, porous material
which is still moist under the surface, the sanitizer
cleaning will not likely have penetrated deep enough to kill
all the hidden "root-like" parts of the mold colony called
The mold will continue to grow back until the material is
completely dried out or replaced.
- Place the paper towels, clothes, sponges, etc. into a
plastic bag and seal it before you leave the clean up area
and then discard in the trash.
Water Leak Search:
- HIDDEN MOLD / HIDDEN LEAK – Large quantities of mold can
grow behind wallpaper, in damp walls, ceilings, under rugs
and linoleum, or in wet insulation due to a hidden leaky
pipe, gutter, roof flashing, etc.
- The Building Detective GuideTM is designed to
help you find the source of the water leak, drip or
condensation, which may be causing the mold to grow in this
- Once you find a source of mold you may have to remove
some building materials to get at the source of the leak.
CAUTION - (see Removing Moldy Materials below).
Repair - Removing Moldy Pieces and Drying Out:
- Before you start to remove moldy materials make your
overall repair plan (see Make a Repair Plan and Health and
- If the mold is on wood paneling, wallpaper, wallboard,
carpeting or some other porous material you should discard
it. You (or your contractor) must isolate the area with
plastic tenting, prior to removing and bagging or wrapping
the affected material to prevent the spread of spores into
the air in the rest of the room (see Health and Safety
- Don’t remove any moldy materials from a room unless they
are bagged in plastic or wrapped in plastic and taped shut
(i.e., a rug).
- If you must remove the materials, use the same safety
procedures for protecting your eyes, lungs and skin as you
did while sanitizing (see Safety Dress above).
- Sanitize again – once you have removed moldy wallboard,
wall paneling, ceiling tiles or wallpaper, etc. you must
re-sanitize and let the area air dry - do not use blowers.
- Now repair the leak or the cause of condensation.
Post Repair Cleaning:
- Use a vacuum with a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate
Air) filter to clean up the immediate repair area and the
protective plastic before you remove the plastic. If you do
not have use of a HEPA vacuum for cleaning then wipe down
the plastic with the sanitizer and fold it up while it is
still wet, place in a plastic garbage bag and discard.
- Use a HEPA vacuum to clean all the surfaces in the room
in which the repair occurred.
Re-Test After Cleaning and Repair:
After you have completed your sanitization, cleaning, repair and final HEPA
vacuum of all the room(s) surfaces on which mold spores may have settled prior
to and during clean up, you may want to re-test the air to confirm a reduction
in the spore count.