The best way to tell if you have a mold problem is to inspect your house. If there is visible mold on drywall or other building materials (usually the result of a flood and/or high relative humidity levels in your home), then a professional should be called to develop a remediation plan for your house.
Removing mold on drywall
Mold on drywall is particularly hard to remove. If the drywall has visible mold growth, chances are it will not be worth cleaning and you would be better off removing that drywall and replacing it. If only a portion of the drywall is affected, the affected area needs to be cut out above the moldy area, being careful not to disturb the mold spores and gently placing it in a trash bag. Check behind this cut out for anymore mold, if there is none replace the drywall board and you are good to go. If you catch the mold while it’s just on the surface of the drywall, you could clean it up with water and ordinary household detergent. This is because the mold should be just on the surface and shouldn’t have penetrated into the drywall itself. The cleaned surface should then be dried out to ensure that the mold will not regrow again.
Mold is a recognized health hazard. Once you can visually see mold on drywall, furniture, or cloths; you have a serious problem. You might be experiencing symptoms without mold visually presenting itself on walls, furniture, clothes, or other possessions.
Use of bleach to clean mold on drywall is not recommended. While bleach may kill most of the mold on drywall, the small amounts left would regrow if the moisture source has not been identified and corrected. Furthermore even the dead mold is still a health hazard. At one house there was visible mold on drywall. The owner sprayed 100% bleach (not safe!) on the mold. Weeks later, mold growth had reocurred.
Disturbing mold on drywall without proper protection or containment may result in the release of millions of spores into your air and may spread to other areas of your home. You should wear a respirator and rubber gloves while you are getting rid of mold on drywall because you will be exposed to higher concentrations of spores, particulate matter and mycotoxins. Also your clothing should be easy to wash and clean or disposable.
To control mold growth, clean and dry porous surfaces like wood and drywall immediately they get wet. Mold can set into porous surfaces quickly and destroy them. Once mold on drywall is deeper than the surface, the only solution is to tear it out and replace it. No matter what solution you use to kill mold on drywall, you should always begin by drying out the moisture with heat. You can use a portable heater and a fan to dry the area completely. If you don’t have a heating unit, use a dehumidifier. While a dehumidifier does not use heat, it does draws out the moisture, which offers the same benefits.
Mold on drywall and wood can start the growing process as soon as 48 hours. Keep in mind pre-existing mold spreads rapidly when water is added. Mold needs three things to grow food, oxygen and water.
How to inspect for mold growth in your home
It’s important to regularly inspect your home for mold growth. Most molds may appear gray, white or black, and they grow in damp areas of the basement with poor air circulation. They may appear as a thick, velvety fungus, or they may look like dusty blotches on the drywall. Water seepage and flooding may cause mold to grow, often in dark corners, along baseboards and inside cupboards. Use a flashlight to inspect the area beneath sinks where a slow drip from the plumbing provides the perfect spot for mold spores to reproduce. Move furniture to examine the walls and the floor beneath, and lift acoustical tile in a drop ceiling to examine the space above. Speckles of gray or white mold on drywall may indicate a larger mold problem in the stud space behind the drywall.