If you thought that rodents were the worst thing that could infest your attic, think again! Mold is a silent foe but can be as large a threat to you and your household as having a family of rats living under your roof. It’s true that not all molds are dangerous and can range from a variety of colors and appearances, but this doesn’t mean that the discovery of mold in your attic should be taken lightly. Unfortunately, you’ll find that attic mold removal isn’t as easy as dealing with a moldy piece of bread. You can’t simply scrape the fungi from your ceiling or walls without risking the chance of spreading mold spores even further or harming your health in the process.
When enough of the fungus has accumulated to one area, the spot can easily become hazardous, known for causing allergic reactions and respiratory illness among other things…It usually retains a dark gray, green, or black color in appearance, and will always grow where there’s nutrients and a source of water.
We’ve put together a list of 4 steps on how to safely clean your attic. Fighting mold is a battle that takes the right knowledge and preparation to get the job done right.
Step 1. Health and Safety
This is the first rule of thumb when it comes to any tough job. Whether it’s cleaning the attic, trapping rats, or removing mold, you want to make sure you’re safe first.
Wear protective clothing
- You want to cover as much of yourself as you can since toxigenic molds tend to carry allergens that are prone to irritate your eyes, nose, and skin. Wearing a respirator mask, gloves, and covering your head, are definite musts when it comes to attic mold removal. Your body will thank you later.
- Some homeowners already have severe allergies to mold. If you know you fall under this category, it may be best to call in a professional to take care of the issue.
Step 2. Inspect and Prep
You want to eliminate the fungus at once and make sure it doesn’t return, so finding the source of the matter is crucial. Be prepared to clean and do some repair work.
Look for water damage
- Mold requires three things to grow: nutrients, oxygen, and moisture. Most people already have what’s necessary for mold growth in the attic already, and the one missing ingredient is usually moisture. Check for leaks, roof damage, and make sure your attic is well ventilated. The underside of roof sheathing is a common problem area because moisture-buildup is often present there. To prevent common mold occurrences, replace any wood that’s been damaged from leaking pipes or rain and maintain proper ventilation in the attic, especially in colder climates.
Remove obstacles and wet objects
- If your attic is mainly used for storage, as most attics are, then you may find it significantly easier to work without constantly maneuvering around your belongings. Sometimes when there’s excessive moisture in the attic, these items can become targets for mold growth as well. You’ll want to bring them down and give them a thorough drying before placing them back up there. This might be a good time to organize your things to make attic visits a bit more manageable in the future.
- You might overlook your insulation when you don’t have rodents to deal with, but this area shouldn’t be ignored. Fiberglass insulation is an excellent food source for mold because of its paper backing or kraft-facing, since paper is a type of wood—a main ingredient needed for mold growth. Soiled insulation must be replaced, but be careful! Carrying the moldy insulation through the house to dispose of it, could end up spreading more spores throughout the inner parts of your home. You’ll need to decontaminate the insulation before you begin removing it, a process that is time-consuming, but necessary. Luckily, you can contact your local pest control to handle this part for you. The friendly team at Green Rat Control has over 20 years of experience dealing with dirty, infested insulation and will gladly take the task off your hands.They’ll not only disinfect and safely remove the insulation, but they will replace it too.
Step 3. Treatment
It’s finally time to slay the beast. Although, it’s not as easy a task as you might imagine. Instead of cleaning up the mold spores entirely, many homeowners accidentally spread them around by not properly treating the fungus or by rushing the process. With that being said, there are several existing methods to get rid of it, but one crucial step has to be completed first.
Dry it up!
- Mold grows where there’s moisture. If a house isn’t properly ventilated, the warm air in the home air will meet the cold air from outside and create condensation. This explains why you hardly see the fungus sprouting up during the heated months. When mold dries up, it dies, so you want to remove the moisture in the air first before beginning any other treatment. Seal vents and windows with plastic sheeting to prevent mold spores from traveling, and use fans or dehumidifiers to dry it out completely.
Treat it naturally
If you’re the type of homeowner that doesn’t like using harsh chemicals, then a natural attic mold treatment might be best for you.
- Use essential oils. Tea tree oil and grapefruit seed oil are natural fungicides and will do more than make your house smell nice. Choose one, mix a few drops with water, shake well, and spray the area. You can use this method as a preventative too, even if you have no present mold.
- Water and Vinegar. It’s no secret that vinegar is used in a variety of ways as a cleaner, and it definitely works well against mold. Simply mix half white vinegar (or more depending on how strong you need the dilution) and half water together in a spray bottle, mix well, and spray it right on the surface of the mold.
- Mix 1 part hydrogen peroxide and 2 parts water instead of the vinegar treatment for even tougher mold jobs. Just spray on the surface and wait an hour before scrubbing it off.
Step 4. Remove and Seal
Replacing the problem areas entirely would be the ideal method, but would likely come at extreme expenses. Handling the removal process by hand or through a professional is often the most cost-effective choice, so it’s important to do it right!
Wire brushing and power sanding
- These are the most common methods to remove mold and can be highly effective if you’re not dealing with a large amount. However, it can be labor intensive and difficult to clean every bit of the affected area depending on how deep the spores have penetrated.
- Although extremely effective, media blasting can be a costly method for the average homeowner. It relies on high-impact spraying of a variety of different mediums on the affected area. Some of these methods include: Dry ice blasting, sand blasting, and soda blasting among others…Thorough research should be sought out before choosing to use any one of these methods on your own. However, calling a professional is always a viable option and could end up saving you plenty of time and money.
- This is the last and crucial step to attic mold removal. Sealant prevents future growth and traps any remaining spores that may have been missed.
Of course, the best preventative is the easiest one of all, making sure that mold never grows in your attic from the start. Remember that this can be achieved by controlling one thing. Moisture! As long as your attic is well ventilated, and there are no leaks or signs of water damage, then your attic will always remain free from mold. However, we understand that sometimes moisture sneaks up on even the most cautious of homeowners.
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