A lot of people ask me about how to kill mould. This is the first questions I often get asked by someone who has a mould problem in Vancouver or other areas of BC that wants get rid of mould. I normally answer, don’t worry about killing the mould, you need to remove the mould and fix the moisture problem. That is, remove the mould from the house or building and fix what caused it in the first place. Fixing what caused the mould varies and I will not go into in this now, but how does one go about mould removal then?
Mould removal or mould clean up can be tricky. When dealing with a house with drywall that is showing visible signs of mould or mildew the full extent of the mould problem can rarely be seen. On the backside of the drywall, below carpets, above the ceiling, etc. may all have significantly more mould than is visible. A professional mould removal company will use equipment to help determine mould and moisture levels that are hidden. At ABM Environmental we know from experience the problem is almost always worse than first thought and it is only fully visible once removal of the mould has started.
Typically the first step in mould removal process after the initial assessment and testing is containment. The area needs to be segregated with poly sheeting walls and negative air with HEPA filtration creating a vacuum in the area to be remediated. This is important to ensure the spores that are stirred up during the mould removal are not spread into the air of other areas of the building. This is especially important when dealing with Toxic Black Mold.
Once containment is set up, the porous mouldy materials must be removed, packaged and disposed. Hard surfaces can be cleaned and semi porous surfaces can be cleaned in many cases as well. Often the decision is simply based on the cost of cleaning versus replacement. Mould removal contractors often use specialized chemicals that allow more materials to be saved rather than replaced. Removing the mould will stir up mould spores and the area being cleaned will actually become more contaminated with mould spores during the removal process. HEPA vacuuming and HEPA air scrubbing will capture and remove these mould spores. The HEPA vacuuming draws the mould spores off of surfaces and materials and the HEPA air scrubber removes the mould spores from the air. If containment is set up properly the area that needs to be cleaned is limited to the contained area and mould spores will not spread past the this area protecting occupants and preventing cross contamination in the building.
There are other steps involved in mould removal that do kill the mould, but mould removal is not just limited to killing mould. There are much more important steps in removing mould than just killing mould. Since dead mould spores can be just as toxic as live spores killing the mould alone will do little good. Often the mould will return soon after. In the end mould must be properly removed and simply killing mould alone often causes more spores to enter the air and can make the air quality worse over doing nothing. For more information see the ABM Environmental Certified Mold Remediation for mold removal processes.