Have you stumbled onto a patch on the basement wall that has a different color from the surrounding wall? What you are seeing could be potentially harmful to your basement. We have consulted with the experts to give you a deeper understanding of what the problem could be and how to solve it.
You can use any of the following to clean and get rid of mold from your walls:
- Tea tree oil
- Grapefruit seed extract
- Hydrogen peroxide
- High-efficiency particle absolute (HEPA) vacuum machines
Mold can present itself in various colors such as green, black, or brown and can be harmful to your health, or cause great damage to your basement if not removed. Keep reading to learn about the methods of cleaning your basement walls to remove mold, the correct cleaning steps to follow, and how to prevent mold from recurring.
How To Clean Mold On Your Basement Walls
Is there is a musty smell coming from your basement? Or have your allergies flared up? That could be a sign of mold. Seeing it visibly could be an indication that it has been growing for a while.
Mold normally grows in dark spaces, so when you notice it, it could have started growing elsewhere, like under the carpet, or sink before it spreads out into open spaces.
If you suspect there is mold in your home but are not sure, you can do a simple test to find out. Apply a few drops of diluted bleach onto the surface. If the area becomes lighter after a few minutes, then it could be mildew or mold. But if there is no change of color, then it could be dirt.
There are several methods of getting rid of mold out of your basement and home, which include the use of any of these products:
There are many types of vinegar, but the white one is the most effective at killing up to 82% of mold species, including black mold. It should be used without adding any water because its acetic acid content is only 20%. Diluting it further will make it ineffective.
Pour the vinegar into a spray bottle and spray onto the moldy surface and leave it for one hour. Afterward, clean the area with water and leave it to dry. Smells from the vinegar lingering around should clear in a few hours.
Tea Tree Oil
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Tea tree oil is a natural product that is effective at eliminating mold from your basement walls. With many tea tree oils available, the one to use should contain at least 30% of terpinen-4-ol and not more than 15% of cineole.
To make a diluted solution, add 2 teaspoons of tea tree oil to 2 cups of water. Use a spray bottle to spray onto the affected surface and let it settle for one hour. Alternatively, you could dampen the area using a damp towel.
Despite it being natural and environmentally friendly, it should be used with caution because it can be toxic if swallowed and can cause skin irritations. Wear safety gloves and keep it away from your mouth.
Grapefruit Seed Extract
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This is another natural product that not only kills mold but prevents it from recurring. It does not leave any odor, unlike the tea tree oil.
To make the solution, mix 10 drops of the extract into one cup of water, and either spray onto the affected surface or dampen the area using a disposable towel. Leave it for around 5 to 10 minutes, and then scrub with a brush until all mold is gone.
If there are traces of the mold, you can repeat the process. Don’t wash it away with water, but let it dry naturally because it will continue killing any leftover mold.
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Hydrogen peroxide is a chemical that has many uses, including killing mold. It is non-toxic and is not harmful to your lungs. Use a 3% hydrogen peroxide by either dampening or spraying the surface. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes until the hydrogen peroxide ceases to bubble.
Never mix hydrogen peroxide with vinegar. Doing so will create a peracetic acid that can harm your eyes and respiratory system, and in some cases may cause permanent lung damage.
Be careful when mixing borax because as it can be harmful to your digestive system if erroneously ingested. To make the solution, mix one cup of borax with one gallon of water. After applying to the surface, scrub with a brush or sponge.
This product contains deodorizing properties and hence will get rid of the musty odors brought about by the mold.
Bleach is an affordable and effective solution that kills all mold spores. To use it, mix one cup of bleach with one gallon of water and spray it onto the affected area. It may, however, not be able to kill the roots of the mold unless the favorable conditions are removed.
It can be dangerous if ingested and should be used in a well-ventilated basement.
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Concrobium is an EPA-approved single solution non-toxic chemical that is quite expensive but very effective. It not only kills the mold but stops any recurrence.
High-Efficiency Particle Absolute (HEPA) Vacuum Machines
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This vacuum can remove mold and spores from your basement walls. This machine is also effective at preventing the growth of mold if your basement is humid. To use it, read the label for instructions.
Steps To Clean and Get Rid of Mold
Before you clean the mold, you must prepare yourself and the area before you begin the job by doing the steps below:
1. Evaluate The Area
Don’t take on more than you can handle, however, you can attempt to clean it yourself if the area in question is not more than 10 square feet. Otherwise, if it is more, then you will need the services of a professional.
If the affected areas are porous, it will be more difficult to clean. This means if the spores have penetrated deep into the surface, you may not eradicate the mold.
In such cases, you may have to dispose of the materials that are affected, such as carpet or ceiling tiles, because trying to clean them could end up damaging them.
2. Wear Protective Gear
If you have allergies or a weak immune system, minimize your exposure to the spores. Wear a face mask, gloves, goggles, and protective clothing. Also, if your allergies are bad, ask a friend or family member to help you.
Open the windows and doors in your basement to let in as much fresh air as possible. This will prevent you from inhaling the spores or fumes from the cleaning product.
4. Prepare The Solution
Check the preparation directions for the cleaning product you will be using for it to successfully eradicate the mold and spores.
5. Clear Out The Area
Remove all items out of the affected area such as furniture and carpets before you begin cleaning. Also, get rid of items that have been badly damaged by mold.
6. Clean The Mold
After you have followed all the steps mentioned above, the next step is to clean the mold using the correct strategy. Read the instructions on the product label for correct mixing and proper usage.
7. Dry The Area
After you have cleaned the mold away, ensure the area dries thoroughly, or if it might take time like wood, aim a fan at it.
8. Fix The Cause
Fix whatever caused the mold in the first place, to prevent mold from recurring.
How To Prevent Mold From Recurring
- Correct the problem that created the environment for mold to grow.
- Install a dehumidifier if your basement experiences high humid levels, and ensure the moisture levels remain below 60%.
- Seal your foundation appropriately to prevent water from seeping through into your basement from under the ground.
- The next time you paint the walls, use a mold inhibitor with the primer.
- Ensure your gutters deposit water far away from your home and that they are not clogged.
- The area surrounding your home should slope outwards to prevent water from finding its way into your basement.
Mold can be harmful to your health and can cause damage to your furniture or anything made out of wood found in your basement.
Mold does not have to be a nuisance as there are solutions to getting rid of it and preventing it from recurring.
Before you begin cleaning your walls, there are vital steps that you should follow to successfully remove the mold.
You may want to broaden your knowledge further by reading these previous posts:
Hairline Cracks In Basement Walls—What To Do?