University of Florida

Keep It Clean: How to Clean Mold

Mold thrives in humid environments, and Florida is humid throughout much of the year. Mold spores can enter homes through windows, doors, clothing, and hair—giving them the opportunity to spread and grow if they land on wet spots.

People with allergies may have allergic reactions to mold in their homes. Mold also has the potential to produce toxic substances, so make sure to clean mold if it is in your home. Keep the following tips in mind if you need to clean mold:

  • Wear protective clothing when cleaning mold. This includes wearing a respirator to prevent inhalation, long gloves, and goggles.
  • Use detergent, water, and disposable towels to scrub mold off hard surfaces. Make sure the area is completely dry after cleaning.
  • Throw away porous materials such as carpets with mold on them. Mold may be difficult to remove from these materials, so remove and discard these items if necessary.
  • Clean and dry moldy surfaces before you paint or caulk them to prevent peeling.
  • Remove children and animals from the area being cleaned, and don’t eat, drink, or smoke while cleaning.
  • Throw towels away and wash your hands and face after cleaning mold.
  • Consult a specialist if you aren’t sure how to clean a particular item, especially if the item is expensive or holds sentimental value.
  • Seek your physician’s advice before cleaning mold if you have health concerns.

The EPA recommends seeking professional cleaning help if mold damaged was caused by sewage or contaminated water. Check references and hire contractors that have experience with mold cleanup.

Preventing Mold and Mildew

Although you cannot keep spores from entering your home, mold won’t grow unless moisture is present. Remember to fix the water or temperature problems after you clean to prevent mold from reappearing. You may also need to increase ventilation and frequently clean damp areas of the home, such as bathrooms.

Adapted and excerpted from:

A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home,” EPA (09/2010).

Mold In Your Home: Cleaning Options,” Wisconsin Department of Health Services (rev. 05/2013).

Mold & Mildew: Keep Them Out of Your Home,” UF/IFAS Extension (06/2010).

mold and mildew

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