Mold is an opportunistic organism that is ready to exploit any environment that is continuously wet or damp. Mold is not only a surface visual problem but it can also become an indoor air quality problem since molds can be allergenic as well as cause illness. In areas where we expect this type of environment we normally use environmental materials that resist mold e.g. – a shower room.
In many situations however we have accidental water exposure to materials not intended to be exposed to water. These surfaces can become damaged from this exposure as well as become contaminated with mold. If these surfaces become damaged and are no longer suitable for use they should be replaced – e.g. swollen or warped drywall should be cut out / replaced. Where the structure and integrity of the surface has not been compromised but mold is a problem, you can attempt to clean the mold. Remember it is very important to dry these water damaged surfaces as soon as possible if mold growth is to be prevented and the damage minimized. Details on prevention and methods of cleaning can be found at http://www.epa.gov/mold/mold_remediation.html
This document also provides details on protective equipment for cleaners and building occupants and special handling techniques and equipment such as vacuums with HEPA filtration to remove mold contamination Below is a list of surface types and what can be done to try and remove or control mold.
If the mold contamination is very minor it may be possible to clean the mold out of carpet. Once the carpet has been extraction cleaned, a rinse with a quat disinfectant like Wood Wyant’s UltraQuat or W-400 should be able to eliminate the mold odour in this case. Use dehumidifiers if possible to speed up the drying time. In situations where carpet under pad exists this may be a problem because the under pad may hide mold contamination.
If carpet under pad exists then serious consideration should be given to replacing the carpet and under pad.
Interior Construction Materials
Drywall, wood, painted surfaces and other elements used to create the building interior may be porous and have the ability to absorb water. If these materials are warped or structurally unsound then they should be cut out and replaced. Exposed and unsealed decorative wood (e.g. baseboards or door frames) will also likely suffer from raising of the wood grain as well as discolouration so it is probably best that it gets replaced. If the water damage is light and materials are sound then the surface should be cleaned again with a powerful cleaner quat disinfectant such as Wood Wyant’s W-400. The surface should be dried right away after cleaning – use dehumidifiers or fans if necessary to speed up the process. Once clean and dry any surface to be decoratively painted should be sealed and prepared for painting by using a stain blocking sealing paint. Keep in mind that interior construction can be prone to air circulation within the construction itself. In this case the construction must be opened up to be dried and cleaned along with exterior elements of the construction to fix the problem. In this instance it may be easier to replace the damaged interior elements.
Brick, Stone, Tiles and Grout
These surfaces are porous and can be affected by mold but they are also very resistant to water damage and strong cleaning products. An alkaline chlorinated degreaser such as Wood Wyant’s Grizzly can clean the mold from these surfaces and can remove the colour caused by the mold. Once the surfaces are dry there should no longer be a mold problem on these surfaces. The mold can return however if the moisture returns to these surfaces.
Steel, aluminum and glazed tile have no pores so any mold on these surfaces can be wiped away with any cleaner safe for the surface. After the area is dry, vacuuming with a wet/dry vac will remove excess water.
On many soft surfaces such as fabrics and carpets the odour of mold can be persistent in the area even after the cleaning away of the mold. The odour seems to stick to these surfaces even if they were not directly contaminated with mold. An odour counteractant such as Wood Wyant’s Vert-2-Go Bio Odour Control can be very effective in trapping this odour and removing the problem. Be sure to spray the product onto these surfaces so that they are damp but not very wet. Use fans or building ventilation to speed up the drying process.
Center for Disease Control: http://www.cdc.gov
City of Winnipeg:
Environmental Protection Agency: