In basements, the moisture content can get very high. And since many American basements are considered “unfinished,” meaning that they have concrete walls and floors rather than finished out drywall and floor covering, this can lead to a moisture issue before you know it.
Concrete blocks are an excellent hiding place for mold and mildew because they are extremely porous. This leads to water reabsorption from the surface of the blocks, and as you probably know, water is one of the key factors in mold growth.
In addition, these blocks (as well as poured concrete walls) can store water in their pores, so mold can grow within for a long time, becoming well established, before you realize it’s there.
Luckily, concrete blocks and poured concrete do not actually contain ingredients that mold feeds on. Concrete is generally made of alumina, gypsum, iron, lime and silica in some combination. It’s the dust and other debris that settle on the concrete that actually feeds mold.
And because the other conditions mold loves are present – dark, undisturbed areas and moderate temperatures – this makes basements and garages made of concrete the perfect environment for mold growth. Below, our experts in mold removal in Champaign IL explain the steps to remove mold from concrete walls in a home.
How to Get Rid of Mold on Concrete?
Keeping mold out of your home is a priority because it can make people and pets very sick.
Watch for signs of mold in your home, specifically the basement, to determine if mold remediation is necessary. A musty smell is usually the first sign of mold. Discolored or streaked walls is another early sign that mold growth has begun.
If you see either of these things, especially in an area with concrete walls, you need to take action soon to prevent the mold from spreading to the rest of your home.
As we said, mold is known to cause several types of health issues, especially for people with breathing difficulties and allergies. So if you plan to do mold removal yourself, you need to have the right PPE. A mask and gloves are highly recommended.
Step 1: Remove moisture from the room.
Leaks and puddles in your basement are going to be ongoing issues if you don’t get the water out. If the issue is just high humidity from lack of ventilation, running a dehumidifier to remove moisture from the air may be necessary from now on to prevent mold.
Step 2: Clean the walls.
Spray the walls with an anti-fungal. Many products are considered anti-fungal. Be aware, though, that bleach is no longer a recommended product for killing mold.
Scrub vigorously everywhere you see discoloration with a stiff brush. This loosens mold and reaches into the concrete’s pores so you can make sure it’s all gone.
Step 3: Rinse
This can be done by spritzing the walls with hot water from a spray bottle. The hot water will break up and rinse away the remaining cleaning product as well as any mold that did not come off during the scrubbing.
Using paper towels or cloth rags that can be thrown away, pat the wall dry or wipe where possible to remove as much moisture as you can. Leaving water on the walls will only invite mold right back onto the surfaces you just cleaned.
Step 4: Spray with vinegar.
Vinegar is a natural anti-fungal. Dilute the vinegar with water by no more than 50% and spray this solution on the walls, even if they are not completely dry. The vinegar will evaporate quickly and dry most of the remaining moisture on the walls.
We recommend adding a pleasant scented essential oil to your vinegar, such as lemon or lavender, in order to mask the strong vinegar smell. You can also ventilate the area with a fan pointed away from the walls you are cleaning to get the smell out faster and to dry the walls quicker.
Step 5: Dispose of all cleaning materials.
Any rags, towels or brushes you used need to be thrown away, as does your PPE. Mold is nearly impossible to wash out of these cloth surfaces, which means it could spread when you re-use the cloths.
We recommend purchasing inexpensive cleaning materials specifically for removing mold so you don’t feel bad about tossing them out when you are finished.
Wrap them in plastic or tie them in a separate bag before placing them directly in the garbage can so mold spores don’t come flying up every time you toss something else in.
Professional Mold Removal Service
As you can see, mold removal is a complex process. Steps need to be performed in this order to reduce cross contamination and prevent future problems with mold. And we didn’t even talk about the need to tent the area you are working in so mold doesn’t spread to other areas of the home. This can involve blocking HVAC vents and putting up plastic sheeting before you ever get started.
If you struggle with moisture issues within your home, this could be a task that you have to do at least once a year, maybe more often. That can get time consuming, and it can expose you to free-floating mold particles far more often than you should be.
Therefore, it may be in your best interest to contact Pure Maintenance of Central Illinois to remove mold from your concrete walls.
Not only can companies like ours remove mold from virtually any surface, but we can also advise you about how to prevent future mold growth so you won’t end up dealing with the same issues year after year.