Mold and a dangerous and unattractive invader that can cause severe damage to your home, especially when it comes to the basement, where moisture locks in and airflow typically lacks. Getting rid of mold can be daunting. You may need different techniques for various infestations and find yourself wondering how to get rid of mold in basement.
The best way to get rid of mold in your basement is to stop it at the source, remove the mold, and clean the area to prevent future growth. Although many solutions can remove mold, bleach is the quickest option. Other popular choices include hydrogen peroxide and vinegar.
In this article, we’ll show you all the options to get rid of mold in a basement. More importantly, we dive into the easiest way to determine what type of mold you have and target your specific mold type so that it never returns.
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How to Get Rid of Mold in Basement
To get rid of mold in your basement, you first need to confront the cause of the mold. You have to resolve the excess moisture issue, then remove the mold that has grown. Finally, you want to deep clean the surrounding area to prevent future mold from spreading. Here are the three quick steps to remove mold in more detail.
Before you start, collect the following materials:
- Eye protection
- Disposable gloves
- Mask or respirator
- Stiff-bristled brush
- Spray bottle (optional)
Step 1: Stop the Mold Source
Before you can tackle the mold, you need to stop the source of moisture. Otherwise, mold will only continue growing. You may have excess moisture in your basement for a variety of reasons. For example, you might have a leaky pipe or a crack near a window. Repair the issue or run a dehumidifier to dry the humidity.
Step 2: Remove the Mold
Next, you can remove the existing mold. If you have a small mold area on soft or fibrous material like ceiling tiles, wallpaper, or carpet, remove and replace the material.
For any moldy areas that you cannot remove, you must scrub the mold away. Bleach is the fastest way to remove mold from floors, walls, or hard surfaces. However, you can use many other cleaners to get rid of mold (more on these later).
When removing mold, make sure to wear protective gear. Cover your hands, eyes, and mouth. You might want to lay a disposable dust mat over furniture or carpeting to prevent transferring it to other locations in your home.
Step 3: Clean the Surface
After you scrub the visible mold, make sure you clean the surface and surrounding area thoroughly. Mold roots or tiny spores may remain that are challenging to see with the naked eye. Cleaning the area thoroughly helps prevent the mold from reappearing. Dry the area as thoroughly as possible when you’re done.
11 Effective Ways to Remove Mold from a Basement
There are many cleaners and techniques you can use to remove mold from a basement. After you fix the problem contributing to the mold growth, you’re ready to clear out the mold. Use any of the following methods.
1. Bleach: The Quickest Way to Get Rid of MoldBleach is the fastest way, most affordable way to remove mold from your basement. It kills all mold types and their spores. Combine a cup of bleach and a gallon of water, scrubbing the area using a sponge or bristle brush. When using bleach, you need to ensure you have proper ventilation.
The only downside is that bleach does not remove mold roots, which could regrow if you fail to prevent ideal mold growing conditions in the future. You also cannot use bleach on carpet or fabric. Use bleach if you have mold growing on tiles, walls, bathtubs, or similar hard surfaces.
2. Scrub Small Areas with Dish SoapYou can use mild, liquid dish soap to remove mold. Dawn dish soap is a great way to get rid of mold. Scrub the area with soapy water, or add soap and water to a spray bottle for more accessible application.
For stuck-on mold, you could mix the dish soap with a teaspoon of Borax in a quart of warm water, adding the solution to a spray bottle. Allow it to soak in the moldy area for at least five minutes. Then scrub, rinse, and dry.
3. Make a Tea Tree SolutionTea tree oil is a fungicide, making it ideal for eliminating mold from walls and other surfaces.
Fill a spray bottle with water, adding a few drops of the tea tree oil. Shake the bottle, then spray the solution on any area you see mold. Scrub until it disappears.
4. Mix Grapefruit Seed Extract and WaterSimilar to essential oils, grapefruit seed extract is a natural mold remover. However, this ingredient also prevents the mold infestation from coming back later.
Mix the extract with an equal amount of water in a spray bottle. Spritz the affected areas, allowing the solution to sit for five minutes. Use a sponge or dry cloth to wipe the mold away.
5. Spray Hydrogen Peroxide on the WallsAnother non-toxic solution, hydrogen peroxide, is excellent for removing mold from a basement.
Place it in a spray bottle with equal parts of water. Spray the floors and walls, leaving the solution to sit for around ten minutes. Use a scrub brush to remove the spot.
Bonus: hydrogen peroxide removes mildew as well.
6. Scrub with BoraxBorax removes mold, but it also has deodorizing properties to tackle musty odors. To make a Borax solution, mix a cup of Borax with a gallon of water.
Lather the solution onto the mold and scrub using a brush. When you’re done, leave the Borax solution on the surface to prevent further spread.
7. Vacuum the Mold Away with a High-Efficiency Particle Absolute (HEPA) Machine
A high-efficient particle absolute (HEPA) vacuum is a popular way to remove mold from basement walls. The vacuum gets rid of mold and removes all spores, making clean-up easy. It’s also ideal for preventing mold growth in humid areas.
8. Use Alcohol or Vodka for Fragile Materials
Rubbing alcohol or vodka are also mold killers. Using either ingredient is ideal if you’re cleaning mold from fragile materials. Spray the alcohol directly onto the surface or use a clean cloth to apply the alcohol and scrub the surface. Rubbing alcohol kills the mold. However, it does not prevent future growth.
9. Spray White Vinegar on the MoldWhite vinegar is a natural cleaner that’s great for removing mold from various solid or porous surfaces. You could pour the vinegar into a spray bottle to spritz the mold or use a cloth. All the vinegar to sit up to five minutes, then wipe the mold off using a sponge or cloth.
You may want to allow the vinegar solution to sit overnight and scrub the spot with soapy water the following day for large infestations.
10. Try Baking SodaBaking soda is another popular natural cleaner. It’s acidic, so the baking soda can scrub mold and kill the spores. You can make a baking soda paste by mixing it with equal parts of water. Lather it onto the mold and use an abrasive scrub brush to remove the mold.
Alternatively, you could mix two tablespoons of baking soda with two cups of water and add it to a spray bottle. This method allows you to spray the mixture rather than create a paste.
11. Buy Chemical-Based Mold and Mildew Removers
Although there are many mold and mildew removers sold in stores, some chemicals work better than others. Concrobium is an EPA-approved chemical that’s non-toxic and ideal for mold removal. It’s less toxic than bleach but also more expensive.
When you apply concrobium to mold, it kills and prevents the spores from spreading. You can also use these products on various surfaces, unlike bleach. It’s safe for tile, stone, wood, plastic, and any other surface.
If the area has a dark stain after removing the mold, you may also want to look for a mold stain remover. These products tackle the dark color left on the surface. They help make your home look new again and allow you to recognize if the mold returns more quickly.
How Serious is Mold in a Basement?
Mold in the basement is a huge concern for your health. The CDC says that all mold can cause damage to the lungs and respiratory system. You should remove any sign of mold immediately. That said, the danger level rises for people with allergies, asthma, sensitivities, and other health conditions.
Mold infects your:
- Nasal cavities
A significant mold outbreak could even ruin your home. Mold damages the structure, eating away at your foundation. If you leave mold in your basement unattended, it could spread to the rest of your house in no time. Over time, it could even weaken the structural integrity of your home.
The stains are an eye-sore, but the odor can also be challenging to deal with if you have an infestation.
Common Mold Types to Find in Your Basement
With over 100,000 mold species, many mold types could infest your basement. They all look unattractive. However, some of them are more toxic than others.
Mold falls into one of two categories:
The allergenic mold types do not pose health risks for most people. But they do become bothersome for people who are extremely sensitive to mold, allergic, or asthmatic. On the other hand, mycotoxin molds contain a toxic chemical by the name name. It’s also known as black mold, and it’s harmful to both humans and pets.
Below is a list of the most common mold types you will find in a basement.
The most common household mold, aspergillus mold can come in many types. Some thrive indoors and are allergenic. Most allergenic aspergillus types appear dark green. They’re likely on the ceiling, damp walls, or furniture. Aspergillus often grows in humid environments or dry locations with high humidity levels in the basement.
However, some types are mycotoxin. You may experience symptoms like sneezing or fatal systemic infections. If you have black aspergillus mold, call a professional to remove it.
Penicillium is a green or white mold that grows in homes quickly. It’s often found in wallpaper, insulation, paint, and carpet.
However, it’s not usually dangerous unless you have asthma or a mold allergy. Adults with either of these conditions are likely to face hypersensitivity pneumonitis or allergic alveolitis.
This mold type is typical in wet areas. Fusarium grows in standing water like flooded basements, on damp walls, or in a water-damaged carpet. You may find it on air vents, drip pans, or humidifiers as well. It looks yellow, and the mold doesn’t need warmth and humidity to thrive.
Fusarium produces mycotoxins, making it unsafe for humans and pets. People who inhale the spores may experience skin, eye, or nail infections. Another danger to fusarium is that it proliferates quickly and spreads rapidly, so it’s challenging to control.
Alternaria is a fast-growing mold that can cause serious infections. It’s often olive, brown, or black. People with allergies who breathe in the spores may have trouble with their immune system, including sneezing, runny nose, itchy, watery eyes, and coughing. However, infections are most common in those with an underlying health condition.
You’re likely to see Cladosporium in basements with a lot of condensation. This mold doesn’t need warm, humid conditions. It’s a brown or black mold that can grow in cold environments. You may even find it growing on window sills, air conditioning units, shower curtains, and bathroom ceilings.
Cladosporium may cause allergic reactions or asthma in some people. It caused infections in rare instances. That said, allergic people can get pulmonary infections or sinusitis. But most Cladosporium species are not dangerous to humans.
Luckily, this mold type grows slowly. You may also see Cladosporium in grey, light brown, buff, or suede-like shades.
The mold type known as black mold, Stachybotrys chartarum, has a distinctive musty smell. It’s a mycotoxin and extremely dangerous to humans. Black mold typically grows in areas with low light and tons of moisture, especially if it remains wet most of the time. You’re likely to see it growing on carpets, ceiling tiles, and drywall.
Unlike other molds on this list, Stachybotrys will spread through your home quickly. It can cause significant damage. It’s also known to cause health effects like rashes, headaches, cold-like symptoms, eye irritation, and fatigue. Children under a year old are also highly susceptible to black mold, which can cause pulmonary hemosiderosis or bleeding of the lungs.
If you have black mold, call a local professional to stop the spread immediately.
What Causes Mold in a Basement?
Mold spores grow and spread across your basement walls in ideal breeding conditions. The EPA says it only takes a little moisture for mold spores to occur naturally. All it takes is for the tiny mold spores to come into contact with a damp surface, and they can grow. Any of the following conditions (or a combination of them) could lead to mold.
Too much moisture causes condensation in your basement, which creates the perfect environment for mold to grow. You may have excess humidity from a leak in your foundation, too much moisture, poor ventilation, or too many electrical appliances stored in the area. As the condensation builds, the highly humid environment encourages more mold.
A common reason for mold in the basement is a leak. Leaks occur from fault foundations or a pipe bursting. It could be that you need to complete maintenance more frequently, or the pipes in your home may be old. Many basements leak when it rains. If you have a water heater tank in your basement, it may sometimes leak.
Flooding is a significant reason mold grows in a basement. Many floods produce massive amounts of water, which leads to more leaks and excess moisture.
Sump Pump Failure
The sump pump removes water from your home, keeping the basement dry. But if you do not maintain the pump, it could stop functioning correctly. The result is a build-up of water near the foundation, leaks leading into the basement, and severe water damage. It causes the perfect environment for mold to grow.
How to Test for Basement Mold
Mold is not always visible to the naked eye. Even when they are, you may not be sure about the type. However, you can test your basement for mold. Testing kits are available at your local supermarket or home improvement store. Alternatively, you could call a professional to test your home.
How to Prevent Future Mold in Your Basement
After you remove mold from your basement, take steps to prevent it from returning. The most effective way to keep your basement dry is to use a dehumidifier to keep moisture levels below 60%. Adding plenty of natural sunlight to the room and creating more air circulation can also help you make an environment where mold cannot survive.
Performing regular maintenance also helps your home remain in top condition. If mold is a problem in your basement, you may want to:
- Keep vents clean
- Remove clog from gutters
- Eliminate standing water
- Repair leaks and cracks immediately
- Plug holes to prevent water flow
- Use caulking to seal windows, window wells, and doors
- Seal the foundation to avoid flooding
- Paint the basement walls with a mold inhibitor in the paint
- Direct rain runoff away from your home
- Regularly clean your basement
If you had a mold outbreak in the past, you should check the area frequently. Mold can grow back if you miss even a single spore. Clean any wet patches or leaks immediately, and use a preventative spray if you know your mold problem has occured. Insulate pipes, open windows, and install a dehumidifier if the moisture remains a problem.
Finally, you can take steps to waterproof your basement. Waterproofing solutions can prevent mold spores from thriving and even prevent long-term foundation and basement damage. Try a masonry waterproofing product on basement walls. Avoiding carpet in an unfinished basement, especially if it’s prone to flooding, is another helpful tip.
The Best Mold Cleaners
Concrobium 27400 Mold Control AerosolConcrobium is a forceful mold killer. It eliminates and prevents mold, even keeping strong, musty odors at bay. This cleaner is all you need to remove mold in your basement. The chemical penetrates the roots of the mold, getting rid of your problem for good.
The best part is that this aerosol is entirely safe to use. The formula avoids toxic ammonia, bleach, or any other volatile organic compounds (VOCs). It also works on a wide array of surfaces, from drywall and wood to stone and tile.
The cleaner is ideal for basements and any other room of your home. You could even use this aerosol in your car.
CLR Mold and Mildew Stain RemoverCLR Mold and Mildew Stain Remover is a tough option. It takes care of stains from mold or mildew on any surface of your home, such as ceramic tile, baseboards, walls, hardwood floors, countertops, marble, metal, brick, concrete, wood, plastic, and glass. You can use it anywhere, from the bathroom grout to the basement’s painted walls.
The formula is entirely bleach-free, and the sprayer has a unique direct application to keep the cleaner or mold spores from spreading in the air as you clean. The spray handle helps you apply the formula evenly, even over large or hard-to-reach areas.
To remove mold from your basement the fast and easy way, solve the moisture or mold-causing problem first. Bleach is the best way to kill and prevent mold, so cleaning with bleach allows you to remove the mold and prevent its return. You can also add a dehumidifier to your basement or take other measures to prevent the mold from coming back.
Did our tips help you remove mold from your basement? If you found these steps beneficial, please let us know. Leave a comment or share the article with your friends.