Ask Our Experts: When do a need I professional to clean up mold?December 9, 2014 | 7:04 am
Question for Our Experts:
I realize that it’s important to clean up mold as soon as it’s noticed. But do I really need a professional mold remediation specialist? Can’t I just clean it up myself?
Our Experts’ Answer:
The Short Answer
It’s important to recognize that mold can potentially pose a serious health hazard – so it’s generally advisable not to mess with mold! That being said, there are some residential grade cleaning products on the market that can address a limited set of mold issues in the home. The factors discussed in this article will help you determine when it’s best to call in a professional mold remediation specialist, like those found at Tuckey Restoration.
The Detailed Answer
Before getting into the nitty-gritty details of the answer to this question, let’s put this discussion into perspective: There are a wide variety of health effects related to fungal (mold) exposure, including allergic, infectious, and poisonous effects. The type of effect experienced will vary from one person to the next, with some people experiencing no noticeable effects. Factors that contribute to the type of effect experienced include the manner in which a person was exposed, the dose and duration of exposure, variations in the makeup of the mold, the individual’s immune strength, and other individual susceptibility factors. In short, mold is not something that you want to mess with. Always proceed with caution.
That being said, there may be certain situations where it would be appropriate to clean mold on your own. For example, if you have mold that’s grown on your loaf of bread, a bit of mold that’s shown up on your shower tile, or a strip of mold that appears on your refrigerator door – there are residential grade cleaning products available for you to effectively clean this up on your own.
So, when should you get a professional involved? We’d suggest these considerations:
- Are you certain that there is no additional contamination? Since fungi are bioaerosols, it’s important to both kill the mold and address any additional contamination that may have come from the spores that have been airborne. It’s important to remove mold from the environment – not simply kill it and leave its remnants in place.
- Have you identified and rectified the cause and origin of the mold growth? Appropriate remediation deals with the conditions that allowed the mold growth to occur. For example, water damage may lead to mold growth in a building. Not only does the mold need to be addressed – the water damage should also be repaired and cleaned. It’s important to understand why the growth occurred and how to effectively remediate the mold while also eliminating the issues that caused the original growth to occur.
- Are you dealing with potential health issues, or are you particularly susceptible to mold-related health issues? The elderly, parents with infants, and the immune-suppressed should be particularly cautious when dealing with mold. If you are experiencing any symptoms that may be related to fungal exposure, professionals should be consulted to ensure proper remediation. Mold remediation professionals follow industry best practices taken from the IICRC S500, the NYC Department of Health, and other sources to develop a standard of care for remediation.
- How large is the affected area? If you’ve found common household mold that’s in excess of 10 square feet, you should consult a professional. If the affected area is smaller, you may still need to consult a professional given the considerations mentioned above.
The Bottom Line
If you have mold that’s grown on your loaf of bread, a bit of mold that’s shown up on your shower tile, or a strip of mold that appears on your refrigerator door – there are products available for you to effectively clean this up on your own. If there has been an issue of water damage, high moisture or humidity indoors for an extended period of time, physical symptoms of health issues that may be related to fungal exposure, or if you’ve found common household mold that’s in excess of 10 square feet, you should consult a professional.
For professional assistance with this and other restoration or HVAC work, Tuckey is the local expert to call. Keep our number handy – you never know when you might need us! Call (717) 524-1198 or visit www.tuckey.com for more information.
Some information is adapted from Fungal Contamination: A Comprehensive Guide for Remediation, 2nd Ed., Michael Pinto, Wonder Makers Environmental.
Photo By Martin Grube (This image is from the FEMA Photo Library.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
All material Copyrighted (c) by the Tuckey Companies, 2023.