Preventing mold from growing in your home is key, but if you have a mold issue all is not lost and it is not impossible to treat it.  Mold spores are unavoidable, they are in the air all around us.  The only way to keep them from taking hold is to prevent the conditions that foster their growth.

Prevention:
Mold needs very little moisture and dirt to grow, below are few things to help you get prevent the growth of mold:

  • Remove moisture- If you have a room which feels damp, a dehumidifier will go a long way to removing the catalyst.
  • Proper ventilation- If an attic is stuffy and improperly ventilated moisture can gather creating mold growth.
  •  Dirt- It doesn't take much to feed mold but keeping an area like a basement free of organic debris keeps from feeding the spores that land.
  • Keep a vigilant eye on the areas under sinks and around fixtures.

So what if the unexpected happens?  A line breaks in the basement while you are away and the basement gets flooded.   In just a few days you have mold growth.  What can you do?

Treatment:
In order remove mold and prevent recontamination you can do the following:

  •  Depending on how sever the mold problem is, you may be able to treat the problem yourself. The EPA recommendation is that if the affected area is less than 10 square feet you can probably handle it yourself, any bigger than that it is best to hire a remediation specialist. 
  •  If you do decide to remove the mold yourself remember to wear protective gear.  Protective gear includes: goggles without ventilated openings, a N-95 respirator (this item is available a many hardware stores).  Also, don't forget the gloves; normal household cleaning gloves can be used if you are not using a biocide.  If you are going to be using a biocide you should wear natural rubber, neoprene, nitrile, polyurethane, or PVC. 
  • Clean-up can be as simple as cleaning the area with a chlorine bleach mixture. Other biocide options can be found at: www.epa.gov/mold.  Dispose of anything that you can that is likely to recontaminate the area, such as rugs or paper.  
  • Close off the contaminated area while clean up is ongoing so that further contamination does not occur. 
  •  If items are particularly of sentimental value or expensive pieces which chlorine might damage you should consult a remediation specialist.

In some areas with high moisture, like bathrooms, mold will always be present.  A simple daily or weekly cleaning with a product containing chlorine will often take care of that.  Also, increasing ventilation with a good fan will help keep the mold to a minimum. While a completely mold free house may not be possible, the key is keeping the mold from growing into a problem.