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What To Wear When Cleaning Mold In Your Home

Mold Index

Anytime there is humidity in an area mold can grow. Figure 1 shows a suitcase left in a humid basement that is now covered in mold.

Mold growing on suitcase

Figure 1 - Mold growing on suitcase

Properly attired for mold clean-up.

Figure 2 - Properly attired for mold clean-up.

It is important to dress appropriately and use safety gear when cleaning up any mold. Figure 2 shows an individual wearing the correct safety gear - N-95 respirator, gloves and goggles.

  • Avoid breathing in mold or mold spores. In order to limit your exposure to airborne mold, you should wear, at minimum a N-95 respirator.

Some N-95 respirators, as shown in Figure 3, resemble a paper dust mask with a nozzle on the front, others are made primarily of plastic or rubber and have removable cartridges that trap most of the mold spores from entering.

N-95 respirator

Figure 3 - N-95 respirator

Long rubber gloves

Figure 4 - Long rubber gloves

Safety goggles

Figure 5 - Safety goggles

In order to be effective, the respirator or mask must fit properly, so carefully follow the instructions supplied with the respirator.

  • Wear gloves. Long gloves, as shown in Figure 4, that extend to the middle of the forearm are recommended.

When working with water and a mild detergent, ordinary household rubber gloves may be used.

If you are using a disinfectant, a biocide such as chlorine bleach, or a strong cleaning solution, you should select gloves made from natural rubber, neoprene, nitrile, polyurethane, or PVC.

Avoid touching mold or moldy items with your bare hands.

  • Wear goggles. Goggles, as shown in Figure 5, that do not have ventilation holes are recommended. Avoid getting mold or mold spores in your eyes.

How Do I Know When the Remediation or Cleanup is Finished?

You must have completely fixed the water or moisture problem before the cleanup or remediation can be considered finished.

Actions that will help prevent condensation

  • You should have completed mold removal. Visible mold and moldy odors should not be present. Please note that mold may cause staining and cosmetic damage.
  • You should have revisited the sites shortly after cleanup and it should show no signs of water damage or mold growth.
  • People should have been able to occupy or re-occupy the area without health complaints or physical symptoms.
  • Ultimately, this is a judgment call; there is no easy answer. If you have concerns or questions call the EPA Indoor Air Quality Information Clearinghouse IAQ INFO at (800) 438-4318