Reducing mold in basement spaces is particularly tough for any of us with poor ventilation and high moisture content.
Generally speaking, basements are dark and temperate areas, have little air-flow and are subject to rapid mold growth – even when kept clean.
Many of today’s homes provide plenty of organic material for mold to feed on. And, any mold growth seen on concrete walls may be the result of a colony of mold growing behind the walls.
If you’ve ever walked into your basement to find unsightly, black spots growing on your walls, floor, or ceiling, you’ve most likely had a run in with mold.
Mold and mildew can show up in any area of the house. And, basement spaces often provide the most favorable living conditions for this fungus to thrive.
As a result, mold in basements can sometimes be difficult to get rid of it without first addressing and correcting the underlying issues allowing the mold to flourish.
All types of mold require certain living conditions in order to grow and stay alive. That being said, for mold growth to start, there usually has to have been something that caused the right conditions.
And, often enough, condensation in basements are a result of appliances stored in the area.
That being said, natural causes can also contribute to leaky foundations. Hydro-static pressure – typically caused by the soil’s water table rising higher than normal underneath a foundation – is one of the main causes of foundations leaking.
Additionally, if a basement has windows, water can sometimes accumulate in the window wells – sometimes the result of a drain being clogged – that can result in leaks.
If any of these types of leaks occur in a basement, mold growth is an imminent possibility.
Flash floods that occur in your area can cause high amounts of water to build up in the soil against your basement’s foundation.
And as a result, leaks and flooding can occur creating moisture, standing water, and if left untreated, potential mold and mildew.
Sump pumps work to collect extra water accumulating around your home’s foundation and send it elsewhere.
If your sump pump starts working, you may find that you have severe leaks in your basement.
Causes of sump pump failure can include power failure or the pump not being regularly maintained.
Additionally, when complete water heater failure occurs, there’s often significant flooding that can cause standing water and damage to floors and walls.
And, this in turn will accelerate mold, mildew or black mold growth if not quickly cleaned and allowed to dry properly.
These are just a few of the common causes of leaks in basements. Whatever the cause of a leak or excessive moisture in your basement, not keeping a cool, dry, environment can put your basement at risk of mold or black mold growth.
Now that you know some of the common causes of basement mold, the next important step is knowing how to prevent mold from growing in your basement.
Below are a few simple ways humidifiers can help ensure that mold doesn’t start growing in your basement.
The higher the humidity in the air, the higher levels of moisture. Recall that in order for mold to grow, high levels of moisture must be present.
A common method of applying the chemicals to a basement that has had – or may be at risk – for mold is to place the chemical treatment in a fog machine. This process is commonly referred to as “fogging.”
Depending on the type and cause of the leak, this may be as simple as repair your water heater or sump pump, however, if your basement has any cracks that are allowing water to seap in, you may need to call in a professional to help repair the damage.
That being said, there are numerous different types of basement wall sealers to choose from.
Here is a short video on How to Waterproof your Basement Walls
The type of basement wall sealer that will work best for your situation will depend on the cause of your basement walls leaking.
This type of sealer doesn’t flake or peel and can be easily painted over. Typically, a gallon of basement mold sealer will run somewhere around $50.
Unfortunately, there isn’t just one type of mold that can be found in your basement. While all mold is unsightly, certain types of mold can also be toxic for humans.
Furthermore, different breeds of mold will appear in different colors and specific types of mold grow on certain surfaces better than others.
Below are some of the most common types of mold that may be found in your basement area.
Also, please keep in mind that there are two different kinds of molds: Allergenic and mycotoxin molds or black molds that produce mycotoxins (a toxic chemical produced by the fungus).
Allergenic molds are molds that aren’t typically a health risk unless you’re either highly sensitive to mold or have asthma.
And, in contrast, mycotoxin molds are toxic for humans and pets and should be handled and removed with extreme care.
If you are unsure of what type of mold that you suspect is in your home or basement, it is recommended to call your local professional to identify the mold or mildew growth and take it from there.
While some types of aspergillus molds are allergenic, others are mycotoxin and should be handled by a mold removal specialist.
Certain types of allergenic molds are carcinogenic and have been found to grow in human tissue. Typically dark green in color, aspergillus can be found growing on walls, ceilings, and even furniture.
Aspergillus mold thrives in damp, warm environments. It has also been found to grow in areas that are relatively dry, but simply have higher levels of humidity and or condensation.
Furthermore, Fusarium molds can also be found in the air vents on humidifiers. Unlike some other molds, it doesn’t require a warm, humid environment to grow.
It also produces mycotoxins and can be harmful to both humans and animals. Often appearing whitish-yellow in color, fusarium molds will grow extremely quick.
It is most frequently found growing on window air conditioning units, window sills, as well as shower curtains and ceilings in household bathrooms.
This very, nasty mold gives off a distinct musty odor and can usually be found in areas that are consistently wet, have abundant amounts of consistent moisture and grow quite well in low-light conditions.
If you’ve ever had a leak in your basement, or your basement contains humid air and condensation, checking for mold may be a good idea.
Even if you can’t immediately see evidence of mold, it could still be growing in places not easily visible to the naked eye.
There are a variety of ways to test for mold ranging from professional to do-it-yourself testing.
When it comes to deciding whether you want to use a do-it-yourself kit or a better off with getting a professional to test your basement, there are several important factors to take into consideration.
While very affordable, do-it-yourself tests are often considered less reliable. Most do-it-yourself tests require you to set a plate out from one to four days.
The idea is that the plate will collect mold spores and yield positive or negative tests results.
The downside to this method is that it’s not nearly as accurate as professional testing. In contrast, professional testing is more expensive, but is often more accurate and may do a better job of knowing how to get rid of the mold in your basement.
A good do-it-yourself home test kit for mold will range from $10 to $100 while the cost of a professional testing for mold can be anywhere from $200 to $1000 depending on the size of the space you want to test.
There are numerous different ways to get rid of mold, but some chemicals used in the process have the potential to be harmful. Below are a few steps to remove mold naturally.
Make sure the area in which the mold is growing is dry. Mold thrives on moisture, so fixing any leaks, cleaning up water, and ensuring that there’s no humidity in the area should be your first step in removing mold.
After ensuring that the area in which the mold was growing is dry and has plenty of air, your next step should be cleaning the air.
Mold spores can be transported through your HVAC system or air ducts in your home. Because of this, it may be best to use an air purifier to ensure that no mold spores end up in other areas of your basement or anywhere else in your home.
Create a mold cleaning solution to remove and clean the area the mold was on and around.
Fortunately, there’s a wide variety of natural solutions that will successfully remove mold.
Below are several solutions that will remove mold while not spreading harmful chemicals in your home.
White vinegar doesn’t have to be diluted with anything – you can simply pour it right over the mold.
And, the vinegar should have anywhere from two-five minutes to sit on the mold or mildew, at which point it can be wiped off with a cloth or sponge.
Shake well to help the oil and water mix together. The next step is to spray where the mold is growing and scrub the surface until the mold starts to disappear.
To remove mold with grapefruit seed extract, combine the extract with water and apply to the surface where the mold is. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes and then wipe off.
Each cup of Borax should be combined with one gallon of water and applied to mold. It’s best to scrub the surface with a sponge or something stiff such as a scrub brush.
Borax does not require rinsing and can be left on surfaces safely.
If you know that you have mold in your basement and don’t feel that getting rid of the mold naturally will do the trick, below are steps you can take to get rid of mold in your basement.
There are numerous commercial products and methods for mold removal. As with any type of mold removal, the first step is to ensure that the area is dry and free of any standing water or leaks.
Once you’ve done that, it’s time to decide on a type of mold removal method. Below are several options.
Additionally, Concrobium can be used on most surfaces including wood, tile, stone, plastic, and other surfaces.
When compared to bleach, Concrobium is more expensive, but can be used on a larger variety of surfaces and contains no harmful chemicals.
Foggers kill most types of mold including aspergillus, Cladosporium, and fusarium. Foggers can also be used in a variety of different locations, and are especially useful in hard to get to areas such as crawl spaces, basements, and attics.
Here is a short video using Conrobium and Fogging Techniques to Remove Basement Mold
When compared to other commercial mold removing products, mold foggers can be an excellent choice for mold treatment of a large area at one time.
They can also be more cost-efficient and labor proficient in terms of dollars and time saved in handling large mold infested areas.
Negative air pressures use a process called ducting to suck the air out of a room and filter it outside of the area with mold.
Negative air pressure machines are a good way to ensure that an area is free of mold spores.
Furthermore, if an area of your basement is highly susceptible to mold, vacuuming with a HEPA vacuum on a semi-regular basis can also help prevent future mold growth.
If you’ve found mold on your basement walls, you may be wondering the best way to remove basement mold from concrete/basement wall.
Fortunately, there are numerous safe ways to remove mold from your basement walls.
Many of the mold removal solutions mentioned thus far, would be suitable for removing mold from your walls.
And, while many of these mold killers are non-toxic, bleach should always be used with caution while using in non-ventilated areas.
It is also preferred to use a safety mask or other PPE (personal protective equipment) when handling any type of toxic mold cleaning agents.
Whatever mold removal product you decide to use, applying it with a scrub brush to the mold may assist in ensuring that you remove all of the mold and the mold spores from the surface.
If you decide to take a do-it-yourself approach to removing the mold in your basement, the cost will depend on the products you use for mold removal.
While getting rid of your mold in basement may seem daunting at first, below are a few steps to take to ensure that you’re successful.
And, depending on the type of mold in your basement, you’ll need to take special precautions such as wearing a mask or respirator to ensure that you don’t breath in harmful toxins.
Once you’ve removed the mold, you may want to consider taking extra precautions such as a negative air pressure system or HEPA vacuum.
Costs of do-it-yourself mold removal can range anywhere from $25 and upwards. The potential costs of your basement mold removal plan will also depend on the type of mold you’re attempting to eradicate.
And, there is a mold removal cost directly dependent upon what kind of equipment is required to remove the fungus.
While removing mold yourself can be significantly cheaper than hiring a professional; it will also depend upon your personal experience, research, capability and all associated risks that you may be facing. When in doubt – call a professional.
Mold in basement can often leave behind a moldy, musty smell in your basement that can be difficult to get rid. Below are a few methods that may help get rid of any unwanted mold odors.
If the carpet in your basement has mold growing in it, you’ll definitely need to fix the problem immediately.
In most cases, mold can be removed from or under the carpet. Below are several methods that explain how to remove mold from under carpet in basement.
Afterward, take a broom and sweep the carpet. This can loosen up the mold but should be done with precaution.
It may be best to wear a mask or respirator during this step. Perhaps the best way to remove mold from the top of your carpet is to use a HEPA vacuum.
The last step to removing mold from your carpet is to let your carpet dry in the sun. If you can’t move the carpet, get some fans going to help facilitate the drying process.
In some cases, it may me necessary to remove the carpet entirely. When treating small spot areas of mold, apply a good mold cleaning solution, scrub and allow to dry completely putting the carpet back down.