To destroy the mold in your basement, first put on work clothes, gloves, goggles, and a breath mask. Then, remove all the items stored in your basement. Throw away any moldy materials that cannot be salvaged, such as paper products and cardboard boxes. Once your basement is empty, tear out moldy carpet, drywall, and ceiling tiles. Then, spray industrial-strength mold killer on the moldy areas to destroy mold spores.
To prevent mold from returning, repair leaky plumbing, insulate your HVAC ducts, caulk around windows and doors, and paint unfinished walls and floors with a waterproof basement sealant. Place a dehumidifier in your basement and run it for 12 hours per day to discourage mold growth. If necessary, call in a professional mold remediator to kill the mold in your basement.
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Can Mold in Your Basement Make You Sick?
Mold growth in your basement can cause debilitating sickness. So, it’s best to remove the mold before the infestation gets worse. In addition to allergic reactions such as sneezing, eye irritation, and rashes, long-term mold exposure can cause severe headaches and fatigue.
- Mold can cause severe allergic reactions, but is rarely deadly.
- Symptoms of allergic reaction to mold include coughing, sneezing, rash, headache, and fatigue.
- Properly removing mold from your basement can alleviate and prevent these symptoms.
In addition to causing sickness, mold in your home can eat away at wood and other building materials. So, mold can make your home unhealthy and unsafe to live in. Mold damage can also drastically lower the value of your home.
Can You Get Rid of Basement Mold Yourself?
In some cases, it is possible to destroy mold yourself. However, the safest option is always to have a professional mold remediation service inspect your home and assess the extent of the problem. Because mold can spread inside walls and invade large portions of your home, you’ll be much safer if you work with a reputable professional to destroy the mold in your home.
- You can kill mold in your basement, if you use the right processes.
- It is recommended that you have your mold problem assessed by a reputable professional, to see if it requires remediation.
- A professional can help identify the extent of your mold infestation.
Many home remedies for mold are ineffective at permanently killing black mold. Your best chance of killing mold yourself is by using powerful mold-killing tactics to get to the root of the problem and prevent mold from growing back.
10 Steps to Get Rid of Mold in Your Basement
You can kill the black mold growth in your basement and prevent the mold from returning. In order to make sure the mold spores are dead and prevent them from growing back, follow these steps:
Wear Protective Gear
Whenever you are destroying mold in your basement wear sturdy work clothes, including pants, long sleeves, and boots. In addition, wear nitrile gloves, protective goggles, and this breath mask. It’s essential that you do not breathe in mold spores, since this can cause a severe allergic reaction. Gloves are excellent for preventing you from coming into contact with the chemicals that kill mold.
- Wear pants, boots, and long sleeves when working in a moldy basement.
- When working around mold, always wear nitrile gloves and breath protection.
- Make sure your basement is well lit so you can spot and destroy all the mold.
- Open windows and doors to allow for proper ventilation.
Make sure the basement is well-lit and as ventilated as possible. You will need plenty of light to spot mold growth and to safely work in your basement. So, it may be worth investing in a few work lights to help illuminate the area.
Clear Out the Basement
In order to kill mold, you’ll need to remove everything that’s stored inside your basement. This will allow you to find hidden mold growth. Begin by transporting everything in your basement to another area. This can be a garage or storage shed.
- Remove everything stored in your basement—this allows you to spot mold growth on floors, walls, and ceilings.
- Check items for mold as you remove them.
- Throw away moldy items that cannot be salvaged, or that you do not wish to salvage.
As you remove items from your basement, check them for mold. Throw away any moldy moveable items that cannot be saved. This includes cardboard boxes, wood, paper, and any other organic material. Mold grows on these items because it feeds on organic material. Anything you wish to keep must be treated for mold in a later step.
Tear Out Mold-Infested Building Material
With your basement empty of stored items, assess the building materials in your basement for mold. Carpets, ceiling tiles, and drywall that have visual mold growth should be removed and thrown away. It is extremely common for mold to infiltrate carpets and walls, so use a bright light and look closely for signs of mold.
- Remove carpets and any other flooring that is mold-infested.
- Moldy drywall—as well as 24 inches (60 cm) of drywall surrounding the mold—must be removed and thrown away.
- Check ceilings for mold growth.
Mold cannot be removed from drywall, so any moldy drywall surfaces will have to be demolished and thrown into the trash. It is essential to remove moldy sections of drywall as well as 24 inches (60 cm) of drywall in every direction around the moldy area. So, you may have some demolition work on your hands.
Kill Mold Growing on Surfaces
Once you’ve torn out any moldy building materials, it’s time to treat mold growing on wood beams, concrete walls, floors, plumbing lines, and other surfaces. To do so, spray the surface with an industrial-strength mold killer. Then, follow the manufacturer instructions for allowing the mold killer to soak on the surface before scrubbing and washing.
- Use this industrial-strength mold killer to kill mold growing on the surfaces in your basement.
- You should also use this mold killer to clean mold off anything stored in your basement that you wish to salvage.
- Follow manufacturer instructions for diluting and applying mold killer.
- Vinegar and other household remedies won’t kill mold completely—you must use a powerful mold killer.
Do not use vinegar or other home remedies to kill mold in your basement. You may be surprised to find out that vinegar is ineffective at killing mold on porous surfaces, such as wood. Rather than risk mold growing back in your basement, use a powerful cleanser. Just make sure to wear gloves, goggles, and breath protection as you work to kill the mold.
Repair Plumbing Leaks
Leaky pipes are a common cause of mold in a basement, since mold flourishes in damp environments. So, it’s a great idea to have your plumbing inspected when you are killing mold. With the basement empty and moldy portions of walls and ceilings removed, it will be easier for a plumber to find the source of moisture in your walls. Then, you can have the pipes repaired. This will stop mold from growing back in the future.
- While your basement is empty, have the plumbing inspected for leaks.
- Leaky pipes create the conditions for massive mold growth, so fixing leaks will stop mold from returning.
- Winterize your pipes in cold regions to prevent future plumbing leaks and stop mold.
Burst pipes inside your basement walls can leak, which leads to moisture buildup and excessive mold growth. You can prevent burst pipes in your basement by winterizing your outdoor faucets. Keeping your plumbing in good condition helps to keep your home mold-free.
Service Your HVAC Ducts
Air ducts running through your basement can be a common cause of mold. Specifically, the condensation from an HVAC system can cause moisture buildup and excess humidity in your basement, which fuels mold growth. To prevent this, replace your HVAC filters. Then, have your air ducts checked for leaks.
- Condensation from HVAC ducts can cause mold growth in your basement.
- Replace the air filters in your HVAC system.
- Insulate your air ducts to prevent future mold growth.
A great way to stop HVAC ducts from causing mold in your basement is to insulate the ducts. This prevents condensation from dripping inside your walls and ceiling. You can insulate these ducts yourself, or work with a professional.
Stop Water Infiltration
Moisture causes mold to grow rapidly, so it’s essential to keep your basement dry in order to limit mold growth. Water can leak into your basement around windows and doors. So, it’s best to check around any of these areas for gaps or leaks.
- Water leaking into your basement around exterior doors and windows can cause mold growth.
- Caulk around windows and doors to prevent water from seeping into your basement.
- Add weatherstripping to leaky exterior doors.
Caulk your windows inside and out to prevent water from leaking into your basement from outdoors. It’s also a great idea to caulk around the frame of any exterior basement doors. If water is leaking through the doors themselves, add weatherstripping to make your basement waterproof.
Seal Unfinished Walls
Your concrete basement walls may be allowing water to seep in. This can drive extensive mold growth. To see if you have leaky walls, tape a small square of aluminum foil to the concrete wall with duct tape. Wait 24 hours, then remove the tape and foil. If there is water on the foil, your basement walls are leaking. This may be the cause of your mold problems.
- Moisture can seep into your basement through unsealed concrete, brick, or cinder block walls, which causes mold growth.
- Tape a piece of aluminum foil to your wall for 24 hours. If you see water droplets on the foil when you remove it, your walls are letting moisture into your basement.
- Paint concrete and masonry surfaces with this waterproofing paint to stop moisture and mold.
To stop water from penetrating leaky basement walls, paint the concrete with a masonry waterproofer. It’s a great idea to paint all concrete or masonry basement walls and floors with this waterproofing paint to prevent water leaks and stop mold in its tracks.
Use a Dehumidifier
Once you’ve cleared your basement of mold and stopped any sources of moisture, it’s a great idea to run a dehumidifier in your basement. A dehumidifier draws moisture out of the air, reducing the humidity level in your basement. This inhibits mold growth.
- Run this dehumidifier in your basement for at least 12 hours per day to help prevent mold growth.
- If you do not want to run a dehumidifier constantly, you can choose to turn it on only during damp weather.
- Dehumidifiers draw moisture out of the air, making your basement less likely to foster mold growth.
For the best results with a dehumidifier, run it for at least 12 hours per day. In wet and rainy weather, it’s a good idea to run the dehumidifier 24/7. A dehumidifier won’t kill mold that has already begun to grow, but it can stop new mold growth from forming.
Contact a Professional for Mold Remediation
If the steps for killing mold in your basement are daunting, or if mold grows back after you’ve followed the steps above, it’s time to call the professionals. A professional mold-killing crew can help identify the source of the mold and correct it. This can salvage your health and your home.
- Rather than do all the work yourself, you can hire a professional mold removal company to do the job.
- Get quotes from several different mold remediation specialists so you can choose the right company.
Search for a well-reviewed mold removal company. It’s also a good idea to have mold inspections performed by three different companies, so you can choose the best based on price and professionalism. Working with the pros is the fastest way to get rid of mold in your basement.
How Do You Get Rid of Mold On Basement Walls?
To destroy all types of mold growing in your basement, just follow these steps:
- Wear protective clothing and PPE when working with mold: pants, long sleeves, goggles, nitrile gloves, and a breath mask.
- Remove all stored items from your basement—throw away moldy items that cannot be salvaged.
- Tear out moldy carpet, ceiling tiles, and moldy sections of drywall.
- Treat moldy walls, floors, studs, and plumbing with industrial-strength mold killer.
- Have your plumbing inspected and any leaks repaired.
- Replace the air filters in your HVAC ducts and insulate the ducts to prevent future mold growth.
- Caulk around doors and windows to prevent moisture from seeping into your basement—moisture fuels mold growth.
- Paint unfinished concrete and masonry surfaces (floors and walls) with waterproof basement sealant.
- Run a dehumidifier in your basement to lower the humidity and prevent mold.
- Call a mold remediation service to tackle big jobs.
By removing moldy objects and building materials, you can use powerful cleansers to kill any type of mold you encounter. From there, it’s all about limiting moisture in your basement. With these steps, you can turn a moldy basement into a safe, attractive, functional room in your home.