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Mold Removal: The Containment Area

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 1 2

Mold is dangerous and can have devastating effects to your health. However, it is all around us. Each and every day spores float through the air in search of a new home where they can start growing and colonizing. When they do grow and begin colonizing they send out even more spores making that space even more dangerous for you to occupy. When you have a mold colony growing in your home it is important that you get rid of it. However, moving it out will spread even more spores. If you move it out without concern about where the mold is going and how it is getting there then you are likely to spread those spores all through your house in the process of getting rid of the mold. The solution is fairly simple. You must set up a containment area to stop the spread of the spores and to make it easier for you to find and kill as many spores as possible.

The Recommendations.
Small jobs that many people come in contact with on a more regular basis don't require a containment area to get rid of them. Something molds in the fridge and you just toss it. If there is a little mold in the corner of the tub you just clean it up. However, if there is a big mess you need to take much more serious precautions. It is recommended that if an area is 10 square feet or larger that you taken serious precautions. This means wearing protective gear (see What To Wear When Removing Mold From Your Home) to find out what you should wear while cleaning mold. You also need to set up a containment area.

Small Rooms.
Some rooms are really small and you can't cut them in closer to where the mold is. This includes the bathroom and laundry rooms, both common locations for mold issues. To set up a containment area here is actually easier.

  1. Cover the doors with plastic. To do this you will want to hang a piece of plastic that touches the floor and covers about 2/3 of the door way. Duct tape it to the ceiling. Over lap a second piece of plastic to fill up the empty space and overlap with the first piece. Duct tape this to the ceiling as well. If there is a second door that closes you can simply close it and cover the bottom with a small piece of plastic. If the door doesn't close you should cover it as you did the first.
  2. Create negative pressure. The plastic isn't enough to keep the mold spores from floating on out and into your house. You should make sure that you create negative pressure by facing a fan outward in an open window. This will allow the air to flow out rather than into your house and will spend the spores outside.
  3. When you are done you should remove the plastic carefully and slowly rolling it all together. Place it into a thick, black trash bag and duct tape the bag close. Place that bag into a second trash bag and tape that one close as well. To see more on getting rid of contaminated items check out the article How to Dispose of Moldy Items.
  4. As a side note you will want to make sure that everything in the room is cleaned as well as the areas near by. Use a Mold Killing Cleanser to kill the mold spores and clear them away.

Large Areas.
Containing a small room is rather easy. However, a larger space will require a little more work. You want to make sure that you aren't sending spores out into large areas of open space where they will easily travel about and could make your family very sick. Here is how to set up a containment area in these types of situations.

  1. You will need to plastic off a small area near the mold. To do this you should tape the plastic to the ceiling and to the floor. You will want to cut off any open spaces.
  2. Create a door way by overlapping two sheets of plastic. These pieces should be taped to the ceiling, but not the floor (though that should only be for the doorway and not the entire "wall".
  3. Make sure that you have "walled" off the whole area and that you haven't missed anything.
  4. Then to create your negative space you will need to place a fan in a window and blow the air out. This changes the pressure in the room so that the spores don't force themselves into the rest of the house and it also sends spores moving out of the "room".
  5. When all the mold has been cleaned up you will want to slowly and carefully roll the plastic up and dispose of it in the manner listed above. It is important that you move slowly so as not to spread the mold spores everywhere. You should also make sure that you double bag anything with mold on it.
  6. Was the entire open area and not just the small space where the mold was removed from. Your goal is to make sure that you get rid of any mold spores that may have escaped containment.

Final Tips.
It is important that you are careful to seal in as much mold as possible. Following these final tips will help.

  • Use a high quality tape so that it holds the plastic well.
  • Use thick plastic. It should be at least 2 millimeters thick and 3 is better.
  • Stiff plastic will be easier to work with.
  • When using a fan make sure that it doesn't blow on or at the plastic. You should try to avoid "testing" it.
  • You should never move things through this barrier if at all possible. Pass as much out the window as possible. If you do have to go through this area make way to the nearest exit, have a plan, and don't do a lot of moving around because you are spreading spores each time you move.

Getting rid of mold is a big job. For your safety and the safety of your family you want to make sure that you are doing it right. Therefore if the job is larger than 10 square feet you should always set up a containment area to keep the mold spores from spreading through your house.


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Comments

Oct 30, 2010 8:40am
Philtrate
I never realised that it was this complicated. In the past I have just bleached the ceiling, let it dry then painted it with gloss paint, then with matt paint...Maybe I should have done it this way though
Oct 30, 2010 9:47am
aidenofthetower
Bleach isn't the best option, though it is a very common option. On the other hand if it was a small job (less then 10 square feet) then there wouldn't be a need to set up a containment area.

On the other hand, by setting up a containment area you are protecting yourself and your family to the mold spores because cleanup always sends them into the air...
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