What are the Dangers of Cleaning Mold Yourself?

When’s the last time you did a home maintenance project yourself that you normally hired out to a professional? If you’re like many homeowners, the impetus to do things yourself has risen considerably in recent years. That’s because information has become so much more abundant and widely available. Not only that, materials and tools have become more efficient and sophisticated, meaning that DIY projects often make a good amount of economical sense.

Is cleaning up a mold invasion a good DIY project? Not really.

It’s not just because mold is unpleasant; it’s really because DIY mold cleanup methods often fail to address the deeper issue. People often grab a bottle of common household cleaner and scrub at the moldy areas with paper towels; but unless you’re using a proven mold killing formula (e.g. certain bleach mixtures), all you’re be doing is effectively spreading the mold around. Making visible mold invisible doesn’t often work, and it sometimes happens that in the new mold growth, homeowners can see the shapes of their own scrubbing when they tried to clean it up.

Even if you are able to clean up all of the surface mold, there’s a very important question to ask: Is that the extent of the mold colony, or does it go deeper? In most cases, the colony is not limited to what you see (or even what you don’t see) on the surface of the wall, floor, ceiling, etc. This is often just the outward extension of an infestation that originated deeper inside your walls, floors, or even in your ductwork. And this is definitely not something you’ll be able to clean up yourself.

How to mold professionals know and see the extent of a mold infestation? There are several ways, but infrared technology is one of them. By seeing the heat signatures of the home, it’s easier to locate the heart of the mold invasion. This is the area that most needs to be remediated. Otherwise you’re essentially treating the symptoms rather than the disease; and the symptoms will come back over time.

The main danger of cleaning up mold yourself will depend on how severe the mold problem is. If you’re dealing with one of the more toxic strains of mold, or if you’ve got a mold invasion that’s severe (even if it’s only a mildly toxic species of mold), the acute exposure of trying to clean it up yourself must be the greatest danger. Being exposed to toxic levels of mold spores, even for a very short time, is extremely detrimental to health. That’s why mold professionals wear full body suits when they step in to clean up a mold invasion in somebody’s home or place of business. They’re taking every precaution to prevent themselves from breathing in the toxic spores.

Long story short, hiring a mold specialist for periodic inspections serves two major purposes. It identifies the source of your mold problem and gives you options to solve that problem. And it also keeps you out of harm’s way!