I’ve been keeping quiet about a major change in our lives. We inherited a house recently. While that sounds awesome, it has a downside. The house has been neglected and needs some serious work before we can move in. It has a serious mold problem and needs to have a remodel in nearly every room.

I just finished mold removal, restoration, priming, and painting of the former master bedroom. It will soon be my hubby’s man cave and a guest bedroom.

mold

As you can see, the windows and trim need work, but the majority of the work is finished. Pretty good, imho. 😉 Considering the picture above is the before image of the mold damage from the same corner, you will understand my excitement. So, how did we get rid of the mold? I did some serious research on the subject and discovered some interesting things. Using this information, I created a game plan to kill it and prevent it from returning.

Bleach Doesn’t Kill It

What we have been told our entire lives about bleach is wrong. It only kills some surface mold, but it doesn’t penetrate and kill the spores. That is the only way to keep it from coming back.

How to Safely Kill Mold

My mom and brother volunteered to help and we used a simple, safe recipe to attack the mold. We mixed 2 cups of warm water to 1/4 cup of distilled vinegar and 1/8 cup of borax. Mix this combination in a plastic sprayer bottle and spray the walls of the entire room. We wore masks, respirators, and used a plastic bag and roll of paper towels to clean the walls.

After we finished the first round, we sprayed down the walls again and let it air dry so that it would kill anything below the surface. The next day, the hubby and I repeated the process. Do not rinse the walls. The borax creates a barrier for the mold spores.

To prevent spreading spores, keep the cleanup waste in a plastic bag and vacuum any debris you wipe away with a vacuum cleaner with a hepa filter. Once cleanup is complete seal the waste bag and take it outside to store or burn. Take the vacuum cleaner outdoors prior to removing the bag or cleaning out the reservoir.

Check How Deep the Damage Goes

Once the mold was gone, we checked behind some of the drywall for any that might be growing behind it. Fortunately, it was just on the surface. If the damage is severe, replace the drywall using a mildew resistant drywall product made for kitchens and baths.

Repair the Damage

Prime the damaged areas of drywall with a mold and mildew resistant primer and wait for it to be completely dry. Once it’s completely dry, use spackle or joint compound to repair corners and other areas of the was where there is visible damage. Don’t worry if the joint compound isn’t smooth. You can sand it down easily with a sanding block and fine grit sandpaper.

Prevent It From Returning

Moisture is your enemy. Identify the cause of moisture and repair it to prevent excess moisture.

Humidity

To identify your humidity, or moisture levels, in your home, buy a digital hygrometer and keep it in the area with a mold problem. Check it the following day to determine your humidity levels. If you are below 60 percent, awesome! If not, you need to keep your humidity levels below 60 to prevent mold from returning.

To do maintain your humidity levels, use a dehumidifier or, if you are in a pinch, use DampRid. DampRid is an inexpensive salt that absorbs the moisture from the air. I have been really impressed with how well they perform.

Prime Your Walls

After you have the mold problem resolved, paint your walls with two solid coats of mildew resistant primer. I used Kilz Kitchen ans Bath. Your walls should now look like this.

primed walls

Yes, they are very white! The good news is that once you finish this part, the mold should not return!

Paint Your Walls

Your final step is to paint your walls. Use satin or semi-gloss latex paint. These paints are easy to clean and will allow you to clean any mold that may appear in the future.

Stubborn Mold

If it does return, try spraying the wall with a mixture of one cup of water and 8 drops of pure tea tree oil. Tea tree oil has strong anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. It is expensive and the smell is strong, but it is also very effective.

What’s your story? Have you dealt with a mold problem successfully? Let others know what worked for you in the comments.

  1. I’m so glad to hear you knew to wear respirator masks! I did major mold remediation in a home we owned about 10 years and really injured my entire immune system. I am still (likely forever I imagine) very, very mold sensitive.

    We purchased a dehumidifier because we live in an older home at the end of the puget sound (high humidity) and against a forest. No more mold issues here and the house feels so much more comfortable! Good luck w/ your remodel/remediation!

    • Thank you Kate. A dehumidifier is part of our game plan as well! We live in the South and have very humid weather.

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