Pueblo Association of Home Builders

No. An important consideration is whether the moldy item is porous, which means that it can absorb the mold and allow it to penetrate and weaken the structure of the item.

  • Non-porous items (such as metals, glass, and hard plastics) that still are structurally sound but visibly moldy can be reused after a thorough cleaning with a solution of hot water with detergent or non-ammonia soap. Rinse the items after you wash them and then dry them completely.
  • Similar cleaning procedures can be used for semi-porous items, such as wood and concrete. For these, you can use cleaning pads or stiff brushes, both available from hardware stores.
  • Items made of porous materials (such as carpeting and insulation) usually should be discarded if they have more than a small area of mold contamination. For instance, mold growing under carpeting typically requires replacement of the affected area. Once mold begins to grow in insulation, wallboard or ceiling tiles, the only effective way to deal with it is removal and replacement. Painted wallboard and prefinished ceiling tiles usually are cleanable if only the surface is affected.
  • Some porous materials can be cleaned and reused, but they should be discarded if possible. If you do not want to part with a contaminated item made of porous material, you may have to contact a professional skilled in such restoration work.
  • After you have cleaned the mold from certain types of porous items, you may want to treat them to kill any remaining mold spores. In most cases, you can treat items with a mixture of one part liquid chlorine bleach to nine parts water. That is approximately 3 cups of bleach for every 2 gallons of water. Do not use straight bleach. It could be dangerous to you and damage what you are treating. Leave the solution on the item for ten minutes before rinsing and drying it off.
  • You can buy commercially manufactured solutions to treat items for mold. Another option is to put a cup of hydrogen peroxide into a squeeze bottle and spray it onto affected items; then scrub them with a thin paste of lemon juice and  borax to inhibit new mold formation.
  • Take frequent breaks to get fresh air while you are working with cleaning and treating agents, and try to work in a well-ventilated area.
  • Never try to clean and treat items at the same time, and never mix bleach with ammonia -- it can create dangerous fumes.
  • When treating items, take all the same safety procedures as were advised for the cleaning process with respect to gloves, goggles, respirator, clothing, ventilation, etc.
  • All materials that you have cleaned or treated should be dry and visibly free from mold. Check the items from time to time to make sure that mold does not reappear. 

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