Mold can be a huge problem and when it is in the house it often is according to how much mold you have growing. Mold multiplies in the form of spores that it sends out into the air. These are there all the time and when it comes in contact with moisture it grows. When removing mold from your home you need to protect yourself because mold spores can cause health problems, can cause skin and lung irritation, and aren't good for you in the long term.
What you wear when removing mold from your home must be in relation to the size of the mold problem that you have. The little bit of mold that sometimes grows around the edge of the tub or along the window sill is nothing in comparison to a water leak situation, long term moisture problem, or the mold damage done to a house after a flood. Consider the size of the problem before you figure out what to wear.
Very small problems.
Most small problems don't require a lot of heavy duty gear. You should wear rubber gloves. For most situations a nice pair of ordinary cleaning gloves works just fine. You can wash them and use them for other cleaning chores as well. If you are using bleach to clean the mold it is recommended that you consider making sure that your gloves are made of natural rubber, neoprene, nitrite, polyurethane, or PVC to make sure that they won't react with the bleach. This is a precaution that can be worth it and these gloves aren't more expensive. In fact, the household rubber gloves you already own may very well be made of one of these materials.
When defining a small problem it isn't really easy to do by telling you how much space it should take up. Rather it should be a problem that needs to be cleaned up, but that doesn't involve moving anything out. You shouldn't have to remove carpet, rip out boards, take out furniture, or replace drywall for small problems. However, these ones are bigger than a small strip around the tub or the window sill and they are likely to require scrubbing. This may be on tile, carpet, or another surface. It should take up a couple of square feet of space, but it shouldn't take up more than 3 square feet of space.
- For these you will want your rubber gloves. Once again you should make sure that they are made of a material that can handle bleach if you are bleaching the area.
- You should also wear a mask to protect yourself from spores. This is the kind of job that will likely get some spores moving around throughout the space and protecting yourself is a good idea. You should at least get a paper dusk mask, but better yet is a N-95 respirator. These are about $12 to $25 and will protect you from mold spores whenever and where ever you need to work with them.
Medium problems are defined as being 3 to 10 square feet. Often these require moving stuff. It might be the cupboards, the tiles, the carpet, or so on. It is important that when dealing with a moldy area this big it is important that you wear the right clothing to protect yourself.
- Rubber gloves. You definitely need a pair of rubber gloves. You will want them to be made of natural rubber, neoprene, nitrile, polyurethane, or PVC. You also want to make sure that you choose a pair that are long and go at least to mid forearm.
- You need to have an N-95 respirator or a gas mask. This is what will protect your lungs from dangerous spores. Make sure you do this one right for sure!
- You should also wear a pair of goggles. These should cover your eyes, seal to your face, and they shouldn't have any vent holes. Safety glasses and shields will not work.
- Disposable clothing is also highly recommended. For these jobs it is acceptable to choose a pair of paper overalls. The other option is to wear two layers of clothing and simply throw the top layer away. This is for long term protection of your clothing and the other people who might wash their clothes with you.
If your problem is more than 10 square feet it is advisable that you hire a professional that deals with getting rid of mold. If that isn't an option than you should make sure that you wear the necessary equipment to protect yourself. For this project you need all the items you would need for a medium size job, but you should upgrade your disposable clothing.
For this you need disposable clothing made from a breathable material (such as TYVEK). You also need to cover your head and your shoes. All the seals should be sealed with duct tape. Don't forget the area around your neck and ankles as well as the wrists. This will be your seal against what is likely to be a lot of mold. You don't want it on your skin or your clothing because this is likely to cause a lot of irritation that may last for some time.
When removing your disposable clothing you should do so outside and make sure that you don't touch yourself much. Place them in a black trash bag and tie it off. Then dispose of it and make sure that you wash your hands thoroughly before you touch anything other than the bag.
Sometimes you don't really know how big the problem is. In these cases it is better to over dress and over prepare to make sure that you are safe rather than to find out later you are dealing with a larger problem than you thought and you really do need more protection than you have.
Mold can be dangerous. It is true that there is a certain amount in the air at all time, but when you add more you can really cause health problems. Some molds are more dangerous than others and are toxic. No matter what, it is better to invest in the equipment needed to clean it up right than to be sorry that you didn't later on. Do each size job with the minimum amount of equipment!