Mold infestations are one of the most common causes of environmental illness, so when you find one you naturally want it gone as soon as humanly possible. The good news is, it certainly is feasible to clean a mold infestation by yourself. Unfortunately, the nature of some mold growth situations can make it dangerous to try and clean if you do not have professional grade equipment or expertise. Here are a few things to consider if you’re wondering whether or not to try and attempt to clean mold yourself.
Where You Find the Mold
The location of a mold patch is one of the most important things to look at. If the mold is around the ventilation or HVAC system, the mold has probably spread to places you cannot see or reach. Also, the mold is behind wallpaper or infesting wood; special techniques are required to completely remove the mold so that it doesn't come back. You can try cleaning mold if it is in an area that it likely hasn't spread from, and if it is on a material that you can easily clean (glass or metal) or if the item infested can be removed (carpet or chair).
The Size of the Mold Patch
Sizable mold growths are difficult to handle and contain. Mold releases spores when touched by anything, even cleaning solutions, and large growths mean more spores. If the area affected by mold is ten square feet (about 3’ x 3’) or smaller, it is likely safe to clean by yourself.
The Kind of Mold You Find
Most mold is hazardous to your health in some way, but some are more dangerous than others. Less harmful mold strains you can clean yourself with commercially available equipment and still remain relatively safe. Aspergillus and Penicillium are more hazardous and should be handled carefully, but you should avoid Stachybotrys (also known as black mold) as much as possible and differ to professional remediation.
If you begin to experience symptoms of a mold-related illness like a headache, runny nose, chronic sinus infections, shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, sore throat or excessive sneezing you should take steps to cleanse your system as soon as you can. If you're getting sick or are particularly sensitive to mold, it may not be worth attempting to clean it alone regardless of the conditions. Remember, one of the best ways to deal with mold is prevention so that you don’t get an infestation in the first place.