A homeowner cleaning the mold off of a wall in the basement of their home.

How to Get Rid of Mold in Your Basement

Updated March 4, 2019 . AmFam Team

Basement mold, or any other mold in your home can cause serious harm to your health and the structure of your house. Check out our tips on how to effectively and quickly clean, remove, and prevent mold from invading your basement.

Achieving your dream of owning a home means you can provide a place to relax, have fun and be comfortable with your family and friends. But with that freedom comes responsibility. Keeping up with maintenance, including mold inspection, testing and removal, is crucial to providing an inviting and healthy space.

Mold Growth in Your Home

Of particular concern should be your basement, as its walls, carpets and floors provide mold with a perfect environment to grow. Mold loves dark, cool and moist environments — and if left alone and allowed to grow and thrive, it can be expensive and difficult to remove completely.

But the price tag and effort needed to remove mold shouldn’t be your only motivation. Once mold starts to grow in your basement, it’s not hard for it to make its way upstairs and around the rest of your home. That’s why it’s so important to inspect regularly and take action at the first sign of mold.

Basement Mold Health Risks

Most types of mold aren’t overly harmful to humans, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t cause discomfort or minor health issues. Large growths of mold can trigger mold allergies, leading to coughing, sneezing, shortness of breath and various other discomforts.

Types of especially dangerous molds, like black mold, can seriously harm those who come in contact or live in homes with it. In cases where you’ve found black mold or a similarly dangerous mold that may cause health issues in your home, call a professional mold removal company right away.

How to Remove Mold From Your Basement

Once you notice any mold growth in your basement, it’s time to act. Take these steps to keep your home clean and your family healthy:

Identify the source. Mold thrives in dark, wet areas, so follow the mold to areas inaccessible by sun or artificial light. Struggling to find the source and need a clue as to where the mold might be coming from? Here are some of the most common contributors to mold growth:

  • Foundational issues
  • Humidity
  • Leaking pipes
  • Poor ventilation
  • Leaking sump pumps

Assess the situation. After you’ve fixed the source of the moisture in your home, you can begin to clean and remove mold. It’s important to assess the scale of mold growth, however, before you attempt to remove it yourself. If the area to be cleaned is more than 10 square feet, you’ll want to consult the US EPA guide (Opens in a new tab) on mold removal.

Large mold growths should be handled by professional mold remediation specialists who are licensed and trained to effectively remove, kill and prevent mold. Basement mold removal costs can range from $500 to thousands more depending on the severity and amount of mold.

Gather your mold removal tools. To get that nasty mold out of your house, you’ll need some specific tools. Make sure you have these things on hand:

  • Spray bottle
  • Bucket
  • Disposable towels
  • Sponges
  • Scrub brush
  • Face mask
  • Eye protection
  • Gloves

Choose your mold removal/cleaning solution. There are several different solutions that can be used to clear your basement of mold. Give these a try:

  • Vinegar: Spray vinegar directly on the mold and allow it to sit for a few minutes. Make sure to scrub hard, but know that some species of mold will not be affected much by vinegar.
  • Hydrogen peroxide: Mix a small amount of hydrogen peroxide with water, spray it on the mold and allow it to sit for at least 15 minutes before scrubbing.
  • Borax: Mixing borax and water is known as a great way to rid your home of ants — and it’s a great mold removal solution, too.
  • DIY mold cleaner: Making your own mold cleaner is easy! Mix one cup of bleach with one cup of water, apply and scrub away. Make sure to rinse thoroughly.

Get adequate ventilation. Open any nearby doors and windows to provide as much ventilation as possible. Breathing in any remaining mold spores in combination with your chosen cleaning solution can be harmful to your health.

Cover up. The aforementioned solutions can be dangerous if applied to your skin, so wear long sleeves, gloves, goggles, and a face mask or ventilation while removing mold.

Be thorough. Mold can grow beneath the visible surface and under things like drywall and carpet, so be prepared to remove things like portions of walls and flooring if the mold growth is severe.

How to Prevent Mold in Your Basement

Once you’ve rid your basement of mold, your job isn’t done — not if you want to keep that mold from returning. Investing in a dehumidifier can help your humid basement become less damp and less of a desired spot for mold to grow. Make sure to perform regular checks in the areas you removed mold from, as well as the entire basement.

Once you’ve returned your home back to optimal condition, get in touch with your American Family Insurance agent (Opens in a new tab) to make sure your homeowners coverage is giving you protection and peace of mind you deserve.

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