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.
Figure 1 - Mold growing on suitcase
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.
Figure 2 - Properly attired for mold clean-up.
- 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.
- Wear gloves. Long gloves, as shown in Figure 4, that extend to the middle of the forearm are recommended.
- 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.
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.
Figure 3 - N-95 respirator
In order to be effective, the respirator or mask must fit properly, so carefully follow the instructions supplied with the respirator.
Figure 4 - Long rubber gloves
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.
Figure 5 - Safety goggles
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.
- 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