Cleaning Mold on Foundation Walls in a Basement

Safety First

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Cleaning Mold on Foundation Walls in a Basement

Before cleaning up any moldy situation it is important to follow proper safety guidelines. According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), mold can cause irritation and other serious health conditions. Therefore, it is important to seal off the area in which you will be performing the mold remediation. This means that if you have vents or heating and air conditioning ducts that open up to other rooms besides the mold affected room, close them off. But, remember to open a window for yourself in the moldy area during cleanup. Also, proper eye protection, rubber gloves, long sleeved shirts and pants as well as, the use of an OSHA-approved dust mask, is suggested.

The Borax Approach

Cleaning mold does not have to involve harsh chemicals. Borax is a combination of natural compounds that makes for a safe, environmentally friendly and effective way to remove mold from the cement walls that make up your homes foundation underground. One cup of borax should be mixed with 1 qt. of hot water in a clean bucket. Moldy foundation walls can then be scrubbed down using a stiff scrub brush, and the diluted borax. The walls should not be rinsed after scrubbing. Simply, allow the borax solution to dry on the walls, and then vacuum up the residue the next day.

Hidden Dangers

If you have a finished basement and you suspect that there may be mold lurking behind the drywall, the situation must be addressed. A few test cuts, or bore holes, that can expose the foundation wall behind the drywall will usually offer enough of a visual aid to determine if you have a mold problem. If you do, it is suggested that you remove the drywall, and use the borax method to remove the mold from the foundation walls. If there is foundation damage that is causing water to leak onto the foundation walls, it should be repaired. Injectable cement fillers and sealers are sold that can be used to fill minor cracks, but bigger jobs should be handled by a professional. The foundation walls should be repaired and cleaned thoroughly of mold before any new drywall covers them. In fact, you may want to wait a few months to see if your remedy has worked before replacing the drywall.

Warnings

The use of bleach for mold remediation is not suggested. According to epa.gov, the use of bleach is only necessary in extreme cases to be determined by a professional, and even then exposure should be limited. Not only is bleach ineffective in destroying mold at its root source, the chlorine in bleach contains dioxins which have been associated with cancer risks. Bleach also gives off dangerous fumes which can be hazardous to humans and animals.