Cleaning mold

It seems like nearly every week someone calls and wants to know how to kill mold. We then explain why cleaning surfaces to remove mold is more important than killing mold.

Always remember that unless you correct the moisture problem that led to mold growth, then it will return whether you kill it or clean it.

Why do we care about mold in the first place?

Before we can address cleaning mold vs. killing mold, we first have to understand why mold is a problem. It is a widely known fact that breathing or coming into contact with mold is unhealthy.

Mold is an allergen, similar to pollen, dust mites, dander, and pet hair. But mold is also a sensitizer, meaning that the more you’re exposed to mold, the more sensitive you may become. People with existing health concerns such as allergies and asthma, as well as infants and the elderly, may be more sensitive to mold.

While certain types of mold are more dangerous than others, all mold is unhealthy. Some molds produce microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOCs), which can be highly toxic if inhaled or ingested.

Allergens should be removed from your environment, not “killed”

Mold, like other allergens, should be removed from your indoor environment. If you had pet hair, dust, pollen or any other allergen present in your indoor environment, would you simply spray it with bleach or some other product to “kill” it?

Of course not, you would remove the allergen by cleaning. The point is that even dead mold spores present a health concern. Stay tuned for our next post on how to clean mold for more information on the process.

What happens when you “kill” mold instead of cleaning mold?

We recently performed a mold and indoor air quality inspection for a customer who had purchased a home, and within the first month of living in the home, was experiencing odors and breathing problems.

Prior to the purchase of the home, a home inspector found mold in the crawl space. The sellers hired someone to perform a mold remediation. Come to find out, the mold “remediation” consisted of a guy spraying the mold in the crawl space with some unknown chemical. No cleaning or mold removal was involved.

Our inspection revealed a crawl space full of mostly dead mold and several issues with the HVAC system that were allowing the system to draw in dirty crawl space air full of mold spores and supply this air to the home. We recommended that an HVAC contractor seal all the penetrations in the system, clean the ductwork and air handler, replace the filter with one sized appropriately for the unit and seal where the duct boots pass through the subfloor.

Following the HVAC work and installation of a sealed vapor barrier, we cleaned the entire crawl space to remove all mold, dead or alive. The homeowner no longer smells moldy odors inside the home, and is breathing easier thanks to a thorough mold remediation and properly functioning HVAC system.

How Branch Environmental can help

A complete mold remediation involves cleaning mold, not killing it, and a successful remediation relies on correcting the moisture problem that led to mold growth in the first place.

Branch Environmental is a full-service mold inspection, assessment, and remediation company. Contact us today if you would like to schedule a mold inspection, request a remediation estimate, or simply have questions regarding mold cleaning.