Mold is unpleasant to look at and can be unhealthy, no matter where it grows. We don’t think much about it when we see it outside on plants or in the wild. However, we do pay more attention when we find it in our home, especially the basement.
In fact, when you add a little moisture, low airflow, humidity, and darkness, the spores find places to land and grow. How do you get rid of mold in the basement?
You need to find the source and fix it, whether it is a leaky window or pipe, and then try to clean the areas that have the mold such as carpet and furnishings with vinegar and baking soda. Lastly, dry the surfaces. As always, you can call in a professional.
Let’s take a look at what mold is, preparing to search for the mold, types of mold, areas to check in the basement, how to get rid of the mold, and when to call in a professional.
What is Mold?
Mold is a type of fungi that can be seen indoors or outdoors. The spores land on areas that have moisture and show themselves in various colors of black, brown, white, orange, green, or purple.
While most molds are harmless, there are some that are unhealthy as well. Unfortunately, those are the ones to keep an eye out for and take care of right away.
Preparing to Search for and Get Rid of the Mold in the Basement
Before you search for the source, you should wear:
- A protective N95 mask
- Protective eyewear
- Protective clothing
- Gloves ready to put on.
You don’t want to take the chance of breathing in any of the mold and keep it off your body.
Types of Mold
Black– found in homes with excessive water damage. It can be very toxic and produce mycotoxins that can be harmful to people and their pets. If there is a large amount (greater than 3×3 area), call in a professional to remove it.
White– most common in basements and other cool and damp environments. First, spray it with water and see if it dissolves. If it does, then it is not mold and is a mineral deposit. If it stays, it is mold.
Blue– appears in damp areas of the home such as bathroom walls and ceilings.
Green – like blue mold and is in damp areas, but also in damp corners as well.
Areas to Check in the Basement to Get Rid of Mold
1. Window in the basement
Take a look at the window sill. Do you see any puddles? If yes, your window may leak when it rains.
How to fix this
Condensation– if there is condensation on the windows, it can be due to lack of insulation. You can call a professional to fix this.
Missing or cracked sealant– If there is missing or cracked sealant on the windows, then fill in the sealant or re-caulk.
Overhangs– divert the overhangs on the outside of the house away from the home. This will help keep water out of the windows.
Fascia– the fascia is the board above the window. Make sure it is angled away from the house.
Gutters- unclog the gutters so the water flows through and doesn’t back up into the home.
Flashing missing or improperly installed– if the flashing is missing or improperly installed, then contact a professional to fix it.
Siding, Chimney, and Roof- Check the siding, chimney, and roof and make sure there are no gaps. Then, seal the areas you find are loose or open.
Weep hole– If the weep hole is clogged, clean it out so it doesn’t backtrack into the window.
2. Proper grading of the soil outside of the home
How to fix this
Make sure that the soil near the foundation is graded properly. Basement windows often sit very low to the ground, allowing water to seep in. Ensuring that the grading is done properly, can help keep water out of the basement.
3. High humidity
High humidity contributes to the growth of mold in the basement. Look at your walls and see if there is condensation. If there is, you need to fix this right away.
How to fix this:
Use a hygrometer and measure the humidity in the basement. If it is high, buy a dehumidifier to take the moisture out and lower the humidity in the basement and home.
Proper Ventilation Will Help Get Rid of Mold in the Basement
The air in the basement becomes stagnant and doesn’t move, thus allowing the spores to grow. A properly ventilated basement that doesn’t have a lot of “stuff” stored in it allows air to flow through.
How to fix this
A portable air purifier will work to pull the spores out and circulate the air, allowing it to be clean to breathe in. Also, make sure the basement isn’t congested with things that can stop the air flow.
Condensation on the HVAC
Condensation is normal on an HVAC but excessive condensation means that there are other things going on inside the unit.
How to fix this
Call a professional to check out the HVAC unit to see if it can be repaired or if it needs replacing. Not taking care of this issue can lead to a backup of water and humidity in the home.
Firewood in the Basement
Don’t store wood in the basement as it can easily grow mold from the moisture and humidity. A better idea is to keep it outside.
4. Exhaust Fans Help Get Rid of Mold in the Basement
Some basements are considered “finished” but an exhaust fan may have been left out. Make sure one is installed in any bathrooms in the basement area to pull the moisture out.
How to Get Rid of Mold in Basement
1. Stop the Source of the Mold
Once you have found the source of the mold as described above, make sure you take the time to fix it or call a professional to fix it or replace it. You don’t want to waste time to do this and need to make it a priority.
2. Clean the area and remove the moldy items
After you stop the source of the mold in the basement, then mix ½ white distilled vinegar and ½ baking soda together. Then use a scrub brush and brush the mold that is on the floor, carpet, walls, etc. If you are having a hard time with this, then call in a professional.
Moldy items can be put into the washing machine if you have tried scrubbing them and the mold doesn’t come off. Also, sometimes it is better to throw away the moldy item and just replace it.
3. Dry the surfaces to get rid of mold in the basement
Once you have cleaned the surfaces, make sure you dry them. Then, if there are stains on the walls, you may need to invest in primer and paint to fix them.
When to Call a Professional
If you have health issues, a big area of mold, or just need assistance, then call a professional. It may be difficult to do this job on your own. In fact, there is nothing wrong with asking a professional to diagnose the problem. As soon as you take this step, you will find it is worth your time and money.
Mold is nothing to play with and can spread rapidly. Using the suggestions above will be helpful when deciding what to do to get rid of the mold. Do you smell mildew or have you checked and don’t see the mold and need help? Leave us your thoughts below and we can help!