When people think about mold remediation and mold removal in their homes, they typically think about areas in their house that produce high levels of moisture and humidity, such as in a bathroom or near a sink. However, they don’t usually think about mold in their crawlspace.
Believe it or not, crawlspaces are areas that produce a lot of moisture and are thus susceptible to mold infestations that require the use of a mold remediation or mold removal company. Most people don’t typically use their crawlspace that often, and as the old saying goes, out of sight, out of mind! But remember – just because you can’t see the mold in your crawlspace, doesn’t mean it isn’t dangerous. Read on to find out how you can get rid of mold on the floor joists in your crawlspace.
Step 1: Look for Signs of Mold in your Crawlspace
The most obvious sign of mold in your crawlspace is visible mold that you can see. The general rule to abide by is that if you can see it, you already have a problem. Another obvious sign that you have a mold infestation in your crawlspace is a deeply distinct musty smell. Finally, you may have a mold infestation if you have been experiencing burning eyes, sore throat, or a cough. Here are a few different types of mold you might encounter in your crawlspace:
- White mold – White mold is easily identifiable by its color. Fuzzy in texture, it is commonly formed and detected during the warmer seasons.
- Stachybotrys chartarum – This mold, also easily identifiable by its color, is more commonly known as black mold. Black mold, unlike white mold, is flat in its texture; it almost looks like a dark paint spot. Black mold can also appear as gray or dark green in color.
- Yellow mold – Yellow mold, distinguishable by its yellow color, is most commonly found in wood textures. In a crawlspace setting, it would more than likely be found in the wooden floor joists.
Step 2: Gather Your Protective Supplies
Please note that attempting to remove mold from your home is extremely dangerous and not generally a recommended practice. Before continuing, assess the severity of the infestation and consider utilizing the services of a mold remediation company. However, if you decide to proceed, it’s imperative that you protect yourself at all costs. Before beginning the mold removal process, gather the following protective materials:
- Goggles or some other type of protective eyewear
- A respirator or mask
- Heavy-duty work gloves, preferably waterproof and rubber in texture
- Protective clothing such as a biohazard suit
Once you’ve purchased your protective gear, you will need to gather the materials to clean and remove the mold. We recommend purchasing the following items:
- 5-gallon bucket to mix your cleaning solution
- Spray bottle with an adjustable nozzle
- White vinegar or bleach
- Mold removal agent such as Concrobium, Mold Armor, or Wet and Forget
- Knife or scraper
- Sponges and cloths
- Plastic sheeting
Step 3: Cover All Openings with Plastic Sheeting
In order to minimize the spread of a mold air attack to the rest of the house, cover any and all openings within the crawlspace with plastic sheeting. This includes vents, door openings, and the space between the door and the floor.
Step 4: Set Up the Fan
To ensure that you are not inhaling any of the hazardous chemicals you will be working with, it is recommended that you set up a fan blowing away from the area you will be working in. This is to establish a ventilation system in your workspace and to eliminate any excess moisture that is causing the mold.
Step 5: Mix the Cleaning Solution
After putting on all of your protective gear, take the water and white vinegar or bleach and dump both liquids into the 5-gallon bucket. The mix should be ten parts water to one part white vinegar or bleach. Stir the cleaning solution thoroughly and bottle it in the spray bottle.
Step 6: Scrape Away at Excessive Mold
Using your knife or your scraper, scrape away at the areas that have excessive mold growth. Shave it down so that the affected surface is level. Throw the scraped mold away.
Step 7: Apply the Cleaning Solution to the Affected Area(s) and Wipe Down
Take your spray bottle and spray down the mold. Let the solution sit for approximately 5 minutes. After letting the solution soak, use your sponges and wiping cloths to wipe down the area until all visible signs of the mold are gone.
Step 8: Apply the Mold Removal Agent to the Affected Area(s)
Once you’ve cleaned the mold away with the cleaning solution, apply the mold removal agent of your choice to the affected areas. Please note that every mold removal agent has a slightly different set of directions. Some products require more than one application. Some products require the agent to sit and soak for a period of time while others require the agent to be wiped up after application. Be sure to read the directions on the back of the agent.
Once you’ve completed all these steps, leave the fan blowing to continue moisture reduction.
Calling a Mold Remediation Company
The cost of buying all the mold removal supplies and protective gears could exceed the cost of calling for professional help. Even more, without expert knowledge of the building structure, you could damage the foundation of the property. A disaster restoration company can also check for other potential dangers in your crawlspace such as sewage or water damage.
Most crawlspace mold infestations represent large health hazards, and the mold remediation process should be handled by professionals.