You should always clean water-damaged basements right away to stop mold. However, if you didn't clean the water right away, and you find mold, you can clean it yourself.
Concrete walls are commonly mold-resistant, but concrete is still porous, and the right elements could cause the mold. Here are tips to clean mold from basement walls.
Prepare to Work
For this project, you need:
- work gloves
- safety glasses
- breathing equipment
- paper towels
- hard-bristled brush
- dish soap or trisodium phosphate (TSP)
- sump pump
Don't breathe mold spores. Always wear breathing equipment.
Learn the signs of mold. Before you check for mold, shut off the power before you enter a flooded basement to prevent electrocution.
The first sign of mold is a musty smell. The smell of mold is distinctive, and it can't be remedied with a deodorizer. Allergic reactions such as headaches or wheezing could indicate a mold problem. Mold is commonly black, pink, white, or orange splotches.
Dry the Water
Dry out as much water as possible. Open windows, and use a sump pump to remove standing water. Sump pumps can be rented from home improvement stores. Trace and fix the source that caused the damage.
If there's a sump pump already installed, it should activate when the pit fills with water. Salvage what items you can, and disinfect them with vinegar.
Mix some vinegar and warm water in a spray bottle, spray it on the object. Clean the surface with a sponge. Items with severe mold growth should be discarded.
Clean the Mold
Pre-treat the mold by cleaning the walls with a sponge and mild dish soap. TSP is a powerful degreasing agent, but handle it with caution. Keep it away from glass, since it will etch the glaze. Mix a half a cup of TSP in a gallon of warm water.
Borax is a safer alternative than bleach. Bleach is commonly suggested for mold removal, but it is only good for non-porous surfaces, as it doesn't go deep. Borax doesn't produce the toxic fumes like bleach does.
Combine a cup of borax in a gallon of warm water. Scrub the area thoroughly with a hard-bristled brush. Wash off the solution with paper towels; inspecting the walls for any mold you may have missed.
After the mold has been removed, disinfect the area with vinegar. Mix vinegar with some water, and spray down the walls, and let it dry.
To prevent mold problems in the future, lower the humidity with a dehumidifier, and keep watch for leaks. If you don't trust your skills, or the basement still hasn't dried, or mold returns, contact a water restoration service such as Complete Restoration Services.