Mold Removal 101: What Are the First Things You Should Know?

Share this post!

restoration jobs in mount vernon wa

Discovering mold in your home or business is a shocking and concerning event! Your first thoughts almost certainly go to removing it. How do you remove mold? Can you do it yourself? The answer is, sometimes yes, sometimes no. There are some things you can do, and there are some things that only professional mold removers should do. Read on to learn what you can do, and when to call someone for help.

Click here to learn how to choose a good mold removal company you can trust.

Table of Contents

Mold 101: Things You Can Do

The moment you first discover mold on your property can be very stressful! But fear not. According to the professionals, there are a few things you yourself can do, to determine the severity of the problem, and whether you need a professional mold removal company.

1. Determine If It’s Really Mold

Just because you’ve spotted dark patches on your drywall, or black stuff in your shower, doesn’t mean it’s mold! It could also be a variant of mold called mildew.

This makes a huge difference! Mold roots deeply into the material it’s growing on, making it usually impossible to just wipe off. Mildew, on the other hand, does not root deeply, and can easily be removed with normal household cleaning chemicals and tools. Here’s how to tell the difference.

Signs It’s Mold

Mold is a kind of fungi that will grow just about anywhere there is warmth, darkness, and moisture. It appears furry or slimy, it is usually black and green, and it has a blotchy pattern. It usually spreads quickly behind large appliances and furniture. Remember, it roots deeply into the material it’s feeding on, so if you can’t wipe it off easily with a rag (while wearing gloves), it’s probably mold.

According to the EPA, if the patch of mold is smaller than 10 square feet, you can clean it yourself. However, that has not exactly been our experience as a professional mold removal company. We typically recommend calling a mold removal company if the mold covers more than 1 square foot. We’ve found that since mold roots so deeply, and often starts inside the wall, the mold you’re seeing is probably only a fraction of the real damage.

Signs It’s Mildew

Mildew is also a form of mold fungi. However, it’s far less invasive than the mold described above. It’s also probably something you can clean up yourself! Unlike regular mold, mildew doesn’t root deeply into the surface it’s on. This means you should be able to just get gloves and a household cleaning chemical and take care of it yourself. Hooray!

So how do you know if you only have mildew, not mold? Mildew is usually grey or brown, not green, and it often has a very small spot pattern. It’s primarily found in showers, bathrooms, and on hard surfaces that see a lot of moisture. If you see black or brown stuff any of those places, it’s probably mildew. You can safely try cleaning it off yourself.

Keep in mind: If you’re still a little uncertain about which one it is, there’s no shame in calling a professional mold inspection company to come take a look!

mold 101: is it mold or mildew?
(Left image: actual Cleaner Guys job. Right image: iStock/Ileerogers)

2. If It’s a Small Area, Try Cleaning It Yourself

By our recommendation, if the mold in your house is about 1 square foot or smaller, you can safely try cleaning it yourself before calling a mold removal company like Cleaner Guys. According to Homes & Gardens, a popular home remedy you can try is spraying vinegar on the affected area and letting it sit for at least an hour, making sure the room is ventilated, and then scrubbing the mold off thoroughly. We’ve found that this can be effective — but only on very small areas. Another method is purchasing a detergent specifically designed to kill mold. Cleaner Guys recommends Fiberlock Shockwave, an unsponsored product that we’ve used and loved for decades in our own work. If the affected area is greater than 1 square foot, it’s time to call a mold removal company.

We strongly advise against ever using bleach to clean mold, despite non-professional publications online suggesting it. Click here to read why.

3. Know How to Choose a Service Company You Can Trust

A big thing that you can do if you find mold on your property is to know how to choose the right company for you! It’s up to you to go through the available mold inspection and removal companies in your area, and determine whether their services, prices, and customer service style are right for you.

To prepare yourself to be able to easily and confidently choose just the right company for you, read this article.

restoration jobs with Cleaner Guys

Mold 101: What Should You Leave to the Professionals?

What amount of mold should you leave to the professionals? If the mold you’re dealing with is larger than 1-3 square feet, call mold removal specialists. This is because once the mold is rooted into an area larger than that, the drywall or flooring it inhabits will almost certainly need to be removed completely. The area will need to be professionally sanitized, to ensure large-spread mold doesn’t come back. And all the torn-out material will need to be replaced. Click here to read more about the mold removal process.

If your mold problem already requires professional help, then this is also the time to get your insurance company involved, to take the edge off of the cost. Mold 101: Trying to take care of a large-scale mold problem on your own is highly dangerous, and should not be undertaken. Call your insurance company, and then call a mold removal company.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. No part of this article is medical or legal advice, and may not be used as such. For all serious medical matters, consult your doctor. For all serious legal matters, consult your legal advisor. This article contains Cleaner Guys’ experience and opinions only.

Share this post!

Meet the Author

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Alice Carroll

    Thanks for also talking about the differences between molds and mildew. I plan to find a good mold removal services soon because I want to get some minor home renovations in the future. Dealing with mold problems would probably be a important to prioritize.

  2. Zachary Tomlinson

    Wow, I never knew that you could use mold removal services to deal with this contaminant. I saw online ads that offer these services and I wanted to understand how they work. I will consider the idea of seeking a mold removal expert if I need their help someday.

Leave a Reply

Seeking help for house damage?

We may provide the kind of service you need, at lower prices than you'll find elsewhere!

➜   Mold Removal

Want peace of mind about the health of your home?

Sign up for our monthly newsletter, and get professional hacks and tips to make sure you don't need us in the future!

Who are we? Find out here!