There are a variety of black mold species, some of which are not toxic. However, the most well-known and worried-about is toxic black mold. It can threaten the health of pets and residents of a dwelling and can decrease your property value if left to grow too extensively.
Like most molds, black mold is a fungus that thrives in dark and damp conditions. Black mold generally looks slimy and has a colour that resembles some combination of green and black. It emits a distinctive odor that is musty and resembles mildew.
If you find yourself facing a mold problem in your building, you will want to take action as soon as possible. There are some steps you can take on your own that are relatively easy, especially if the mold has only just begun to grow. The approach you use may depend on the type of material that has been infested with mold, but in general, the following steps can be taken.
First, you will want to gather protective equipment to protect yourself from becoming sick from the mold. Protective eye gear, gloves, and face masks are key, and clothing that covers you completely and can be easily cleaned or disposed of is also recommended. The idea is to prevent any mold from sticking around, whether that is in your home, on your clothes, or in your airways.
If your mold problem is on a non-porous surface, like tiles, ceramics, or glass, then bleach or borax is one of your best bets to kill almost any mold species you may encounter – including black mold. Before you start treating the area, take time to use a HEPA vacuum cleaner to remove some spores, lessening the number that will be stirred up into the air while you clean.
Mix the bleach or borax with water (1 part bleach to 10 parts water) and apply the solution using a spray bottle or some sort of sponge or rag. There is no need to clean the surface afterward unless it is a surface used for food preparation or by small children or pets regularly.
These are relatively easy methods for black mold removal, but if the mold infestation is extensive, you may need to engage in a more intensive cleaning process. This can involve sealing a room with plastic and wearing full protective gear so that you can do a deeper cleaning. At this point, though, you may wish to consider whether the risks outweigh costs of bringing in professionals to do the removal for you.