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

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The first thing to point out when talking mold 101 is this: there are some things you can do, and there are some things that the professionals should do. If you think you’ve found mold, there are actually several things you can potentially do! But once the problem gets to a certain size, you should call mold removal professionals to take care of it.

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 (wear 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. This is because 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. 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 a couple square feet, or if these cleaning methods don’t work, it’s time to call a mold removal company.

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. If the relationship between you and the company you choose goes sour, it’s bad for both of 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?

This one is pretty simple: 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.

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This Post Has One Comment

  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.

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