Even though it is quite common, mold growth in the basement is nothing less than a nightmare. The basement is one area of the house where we may not pay a visit regularly. The atmosphere is usually quite dark and damp, and the basement does not get adequate airflow. All these reasons might lead to the growth of mold and mildew.
And if you do not detect this problem early, it can lead to significant damage later. Moreover, once mold settles in, it starts multiplying rapidly. Mold infestation is dangerous and can damage your property and negatively impact the health of everyone living in the house. And regarding structural damage, mold spores can decay the foundation and weaken the entire structure.
Hence, it is very important to know how to get rid of mold in basement and take all necessary precautions and steps. And if you have doubts regarding this topic or face the same issue, this article will help you with it. Keep reading till the end!
- 1 Reasons behind the accumulation of mold in basement
- 2 How to know if your basement has mold?
- 3 How To Get Rid of Mold in Basement
- 4 Why is it necessary to get rid of mold in the basement?
- 5 Conclusion
- 6 FAQs
Reasons behind the accumulation of mold in basement
There are multiple reasons why your basement can get a mold infestation. And here are some of them you should know about.
High moisture and excess humidity.
As already mentioned above, basements are usually dark and damp. And the chances of these type of spaces attracting moisture is relatively high. And a place with a high content of humidity or moisture leads to a favorable breeding ground for mold spores.
Too much moisture can also arise from condensation, leaky pipes, accumulation of water on the ground, etc. These factors can create a highly humid environment promoting basement mold growth.
Plumbing issues and leaks.
Leaks in the basement are another common issue, and it is problematic because you might leave it unattended unknowingly. This can happen due to a pipe bursting, issues in the foundation, and overall inadequate maintenance.
Basement leaks can also happen due to hydrostatic pressure due to an increase in the water content of the soil. Maintenance is necessary because old pipes are likely to burst, and you must keep an eye on them.
Condensation in winters.
If you remember your science lessons, condensation is likely to occur when the temperature is cold outside during winter. It can lead to basement mold growth, including doors, windows, and floors. The hot spots are the areas close to the primary source of condensation. Even the carpets on the basement floor are prone to mold, but the naked eye makes it hard to notice.
This case does not apply to just basements. If any place in the house does not get adequate airflow, the air becomes stagnant and can lead to mold growth. This is why proper ventilation is considered an essential factor in maintaining a healthy vibe in the house. The fans in your home can offer the required proper ventilation in a space without doors and windows.
The basement is one area very prone to flooding and can be a primary source of basement mold. A high quantity of water accumulates in the basement during floods, leading to hydrostatic pressure. Consequently, the moisture and humidity content increases to a considerable extent and can promote the growth of mold and mildew.
How to know if your basement has mold?
Mold is a tiny microorganism not visible to the naked eye unless a severe infestation occurs. And even if you do manage to view them, it is not always possible to know what type of mold has taken over your basement.
And in situations like this, the various testing kits available on the market can be convenient. Another option is to reach out to a professional, but you can try out the testing kits initially.
The instructions will always be mentioned, and you might need to gather a sample to put it inside the envelope, which already contains the address of the lab it will go to. This step is necessary because identifying the type of mold will help you understand how serious the situation is and what kind of steps you need to take.
Usually, there are three types of tests to identify mold in any space- surface, air, and bulk. But what are the differences between the three?
In the case of air tests, the device will calculate the number of tiny mold spores floating around in the air. Even though there is not a specific range that can be considered too much, it will still give you an idea of the quality of the air you breathe around you and if it is safe.
Devices like monitors to measure indoor air quality (IAQ) do the job well. The higher the device’s sensitivity, the more accurate the results will be.
For surface tests, you will have to collect samples to send them to the lab. This is where the test kits we mentioned above come into the picture. Choose a reputed lab that follows the required standards set by significant organizations.
Bulk tests are primarily similar to the surface type, but you must collect the material instead of mold, like a piece of wood or carpet. You can do this by yourself or take help from a professional. But make sure always to wear protective gear while collecting samples.
How To Get Rid of Mold in Basement
Now that you know your basement is infested with mold, it is time to take the necessary steps and work on basement mold removal. Wondering how to do that? Here are some tips you can follow.
Use a dehumidifier
If you have not used a dehumidifier yet, it is time to invest in a good quality one if you want to get rid of mold in basement. The primary objective of using this device is to reduce the moisture content in the air around you.
Now let’s be honest, a dehumidifier alone may not be able to achieve complete mold removal. But when it reduces the moisture content in the air, it becomes difficult for the mold to reproduce and multiply.
Mold loves moisture, and they thrive in damp areas. And when they start growing in any space, you will notice dark patches on the walls, ceilings, and even clothes.
Even though dehumidifiers cannot kill mold entirely, they can reduce growth to a significant extent. And it’s not just about reducing mold growth; when dehumidifiers work towards decreasing the moisture content, it also helps protect wooden items. It is because excess moisture can damage wooden furniture and floors.
Get rid of moldy material
It is not mandatory that mold should only grow on the external layers or above the surfaces. Sometimes they can penetrate certain materials and start growing inside. In such scenarios, the best option is to get rid of the damaged and moldy materials as soon as possible. However, make sure to follow all regulations while doing so.
Whenever you see any signs of mold, try pulling out the layers above to check what’s happening inside. Even textiles like carpets and curtains fall prey to mold. Remove all the affected materials. Check for wooden surfaces and even concrete. It is essential to clean all these surfaces regularly to avoid any issues in the future.
Bleach can do the trick
Whether you face a big or small household issue, bleach can solve most of it easily and quickly. It can even help to get rid of mold in basement. It is also relatively cost-effective, and you can easily access it in any store or eCommerce website.
To use bleach to treat mold, mix one cup with one gallon of water. Now you can use this solution to clean various surfaces like tiles and pipes by using a small piece of sponge or a scrub brush. This solution also works to clean appliances.
However, there are some precautions you must take before using bleach. It is essential to have adequate ventilation. Secondly, it is not recommended for textiles and fabrics as it can fade the colors on the fabric permanently. It is most suitable for hard surfaces.
Use white vinegar or baking soda.
White vinegar is an excellent cleaner and is pretty effective in removing mold. Distilled white vinegar works best; all you need to do is apply it to the affected areas and let it sit for at least an hour. Later on, you can use a piece of cloth or sponge to wipe off the affected area. You can also use a bristle brush to scrub the surfaces.
However, vinegar is not recommended on porous substances and surfaces like concrete, drywall, and insulation, as it can break down these materials.
Baking soda is an equally fantastic solution, which can kill basement mold due to its acidic nature. Mix one teaspoon of baking soda with 2 cups of water to make a solution or a paste. You can then apply it to the affected areas by storing the solution in a spray bottle. Let the solution fit for some time and scrub it off later on.
You can elevate the baking soda mixture by mixing 1 part water, 2 parts soda, and 1 part vinegar. It is potent and can help get rid of stains from porous surfaces.
Boric acid is a great fungicide.
Boric acid, also known as borax, is an excellent solution to get rid of mold in basement. These are easy to find in any convenience store and even on Amazon. This is a biodegradable substance and is less toxic when compared to most other fungicides.
Boric powder is effective even when you sprinkle it on the affected areas. But you can also take a different route and make a solution by mixing one cup of borax with one gallon of water.
Once the solution is ready, apply it to the affected areas and scrub hard using a bristle brush. Do not wash or wipe it off immediately; let it sit like that for some time. Borax works like magic on porous substances like wood infected with mold.
It might not kill all basement mold spores immediately but does an excellent job inhibiting the growth.
Essential oils make for great natural remedies.
It will be false to say all essential oils work effectively against mold. But if we have to pick just one, it would be the tea tree oil. It is a natural fungicide and does a terrific job of removing mold from different surfaces. Another advantage of using tea tree oil is easy accessibility. To use it, you can make a solution by mixing a few drops of tea tree oil in one water bottle.
Shaking it well before use will ensure the oil and water are mixed properly. You can spray the solution on affected areas and scrub it well to kill the mold.
Another essential oil that is effective in removing mold is grapefruit seed extract. You can use equal parts of the extract and water and store the solution in a spray bottle. When you see any mold-affected areas, spray the solution onto them and let it sit like that for at least two to five minutes. Later on, you can wipe it off with a rag or sponge.
Go for chemical mold removers.
If natural ingredients do not work for you properly, chemical mold removers can do the job. These substances are specially formulated to get rid of high quantities of mold. You will easily find them in both physical and online stores. These can be somewhat costly as compared to the natural ingredients, but they reduce the required efforts to a vast extent.
Chemical-based mold removers contain substances like concrobium, which kills the mold and prevents reoccurrence. These products are also safe to use on all surfaces as they do not cause discoloration like bleach.
Reach out to professionals.
If none of the trips work or the mold infestation is very severe, it may not be possible for you to handle it by yourself. In this scenario, reaching out to professionals is the best bat. Sometimes you have to remove mold from its root so that it does not occur again. The professionals have experience in this field and are aware of effective strategies.
Yes, you will have to spend some extra bucks, but there will be no risk of any mold remaining after that. But make sure you do a little research beforehand to choose a reputable service.
Why is it necessary to get rid of mold in the basement?
At the beginning of the article, we mentioned that having mold in the basement is nothing less than an absolute nightmare. But what is it about mold that makes it so problematic? When dealing with mold, it’s not just the degradation of air quality. It’s also about the consequences that come along with that.
Getting exposed to mold can lead to plenty of health issues. It may not happen as well, but the chances are high. You may face itchy eyes and throat, rashes, coughing, and a stuffy nose. If you already suffer from allergies, mold exposure can make it flare up.
If the exposure continues for a long duration, the problems can become more severe, like sinus infections, symptoms related to asthma, bronchitis, and other respiratory issues. The conditions can be worse for people who are allergic to mold or already have health problems.
Other than health problems, mold can also invite pests, such as cockroaches, rodents, and house flies, as they tend to live in moldy and damp regions of the house.
Taking adequate measures to eliminate mold means working towards better health conditions for yourself and your family.
You are now well aware of how to get rid of mold in basement. But always remember that it is not enough just to remove existing mold. You have to take all the required precautions so it doesn’t return. You will be able to handle most of the cleaning and treating yourself, but reaching out to professionals is also a great idea to save time and effort.
Out of all the strategies regarding how to get rid of mold in basement, investing in a dehumidifier can be a literal game changer. It is also vital to clean the areas regularly and maintain adequate airflow.
Can I get rid of basement mold myself?
If the mold infestation is not that severe, you can get rid of it yourself. You can take the help of different natural or chemical fungicides like baking soda, white vinegar, tea tree oil, etc.
Is mold in basement harmful?
Yes, mold in the basement is harmful. It can cause damage to the overall structure and also create a negative impact on your health. It can lead to irritation in the eyes and throat, allergic reactions, and worsened asthma symptoms.
How to kill black mold on basement walls?
Bleach is highly effective in black mold removal. You can make a solution using one cup of bleach and 1 gallon of water and spray it on the infested areas. Let it rest for a few minutes and scrub it off later on.
How to get rid of mold in basement permanently?
Using ingredients like bleach, vinegar, essential oils, etc can remove the mold significantly but might not eliminate it. You can always get professional help, but the primary trick is controlling the moisture content and ensuring your basement gets enough ventilation.