3 Steps to Safely & Effectively Remove Mold from your Vented Crawlspace

It’s spring in Atlanta, and here comes the high humidity!

Are you worried about that mold in your vented crawlspace? It’s best not to ignore it. Under the right conditions, the colony will grow and expand. And it’s not just a health hazard. Mold is nature’s way of “breaking down” the host it is living on, until rot completely consumes the structure (host).

Problem is, mold doesn’t know the difference between the wood floor assembly in your vented crawlspace, and that fallen tree in the forest that needs to be decomposed.

There are 3 basic steps to removing mold from your floor system in your crawlspace. Like many folks, I used to assume using bleach was the quick and easy approach to “killing mold”. However, I’ve learned that using bleach doesn’t work so well.

Hydrogen Peroxide Information Box

Before starting each step, be sure to be fully protected with your “PPE”, ‘Personal Protective Equipment’.

  • Moisture proof “white” suit, with hood & booties attached.

  • Rubber gloves, (taped at the sleeve, no exposed skin).

  • Full face respirator.

Step # 1 …. Physically remove the spores.

If you were looking at a mold organism under a microscope, it looks like a tree. The tree “canopy” is the mold spore. The first step to effectively removing mold is to remove the spore before the organism realizes it’s in danger. If you spray bleach, or any other disinfectant, on the colony, the spores are immediately released… zillions and zillions of spores, as a survival measure. Now you’ve really contaminated the area!

Using a HEPA vacuum, and a brush, begin to brush the colony and use the vacuum to capture the spores and mold fragments dislodged with the brush. If the HEPA vac has a long hose on it, use the brush attachment on the hose as your scrub brush. When you’ve completely vacuumed the contaminated area, you’re ready for step two.

Step # 2 … Apply the biostat (disinfectant).

If you had a microscope, the vacuumed area would look like a forest after a tornado had clipped and broken the trees off above ground. The organism’s trunk (Hyphae) and the root system need to be dealt with.

We use a commercial concentration of Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) for this task. This solution is much stronger than the brown bottle in your medicine cabinet. Absolutely do not let this solution touch your skin anywhere, as it will give you a severe burn. As it reacts with the colony, the foaming action tells you it’s working! Let it dry.

Step # 3 …. Remove the fragments.

Once the wood is dry, use your HEPA vac and the brush to remove and capture the fragments of the mold organism. As in step one, if you have a HEPA vac with a long hose, put the brush attachment on the hose.

In severe cases, the peroxide will not completely remove the dark stains from your wood. In those instances, using a hand-held spray bottle of the peroxide, and treating those areas again, may remove the stubborn stains. Scrubbing with a rag or brush might help.

RH Information Box

The nice thing about using hydrogen peroxide, is that it only leaves behind H2o and O2… water and oxygen! Musty smelling areas usually are a sure sign of mold and fungi growth, and if you need to remove a colony, these three steps are a sure way to be certain that you’ve done it right! Keep in mind, this article deals with removing mold in your vented crawlspace, or a vented attic. If it’s inside your home, or other specific areas, constructing isolation walls and using negative air machines are required.

Mold is everywhere. It’s inside our homes, and most every environment we find ourselves. Some molds are more toxic to humans than others, and for sensitive folks, it’s important to pay attention to this. Mold will return to your sparkling clean home, if you aren’t careful to prevent it.

The easiest way to prevent mold from returning, is to control the moisture. Keep the RH (relative humidity) below 60%. When moisture content in wood reaches 16%, it supports mold growth. If you have a vented crawlspace, you have a few options. More on that topic in a later article!

To learn more about mold removal, Indoor Air Quality, and your comfort , visit www.Birdinsulation.com, or call Bob at his office, 404-538-9168. We’re here to help!

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