If you have a leak, or if your home was damaged by flooding, repair the water source and dry everything out as well as possible. A dehumidifier can help in areas that are chronically damp, like basements.
If mold is a problem in your bathroom, you may need to increase the ventilation. And that’s not just limited to bathrooms — starting in the 1960s, builders started building homes and commercial buildings that were more tightly sealed. While that’s great for power bills, it prevents moisture from easily escaping.
Mold growth can be removed from hard surfaces with soap and water or a bleach solution (no more than 1 cup of household laundry bleach in 1 gallon of water).
Don’t ever mix bleach-based cleaning products with ammonia-based products. That creates a toxic mix that’s dangerous if you inhale it. Check the ingredients listed on all household cleaners.
If you smell mold but don’t see any, look for places it might be hiding. That can include behind wood paneling and wallpaper, above ceiling tiles and the underside of carpeting, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. It could even be beneath roof shingles if there has been a leak.
Use a wet vacuum if you’re cleaning out a wet area that already has mold. That will pull most of the water out, but be sure to clean all the vacuum parts completely when you’re done to remove all the mold.
Any contaminated area that’s larger than 10 feet should be handled by a mold remediation company, according to the EPA. There’s a risk of spreading the mold when you clear out materials like wall board, paneling or ceiling tiles. You’ll probably spread more mold spores when you remove it, so the area needs to be sealed off while decontamination is taking place.