Basement mold and mildew grows in moist, poorly ventilated conditions. Cleaning the mold and mildew is critical; long-term exposure can cause asthma and allergic sensitivity. It also damages property and impacts property value. To clean basement mold and mildew, the Environmental Protection Agency recommends a biocide, or a detergent that kills mold and mildew.
1 Locate the moisture source. Repair any plumbing leaks. If the home is built in a flood zone, consider more permanent solutions to prevent water from seeping into the basement.
2 Wear protective clothing including non-venting goggles, an N-95 respirator, and rubber gloves.
3 Open doors and windows to increase air circulation to the basement.
4 Clean mold and mildewed surfaces by scrubbing wood and concrete surfaces with a mild alkaline solution of a half-cup of washing soda to each gallon of water. Other detergents such as trisodium phosphate are sold in hardware stores.
5 Rinse wood and concrete surfaces with clean water. Allow to dry completely.
6 Eliminate musty odors by scrubbing basement floors with a solution of one cup of bleach to each gallon of water. Rinse well with clear water.
7 Run fans in the basement to circulate air. To prevent further mold growth, all surfaces must dry completely.
8 Reduce indoor humidity by installing a dehumidifier. Once the basement is dry, run the dehumidifier with windows and doors closed.
9 Place a container of silica gel, cat litter, anhydrous calcium sulfate, or other compound that absorbs moisture in the basement.
Items you will need
- N-95 respirator
- Rubber gloves
- Disinfectant detergent
- Scrub brush
- If mold and mildew covers more than 10 square feet of a basement, the Environmental Protection Agency recommends professional treatment.
- If a home is built in a flood zone or has a persistent leak, have the water problem evaluated by a professional. Mold and mildew will return if the water problem isn't fixed.
- Always remove a vacuum cleaner bag outside the home if it has been used to vacuum mold. Do not re-use a bag used to clean basement mold and mildew.
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