So you’re going commando style and fighting mold yourself? We admire your courage,so here’s a list of things you’ll need to know to be prepared and to stay safe. Safety is first, so let’s start with the proper gear for removing mold:
What to Wear When Removing Mold
There are three primary parts of your body that you want to protect from mold exposure: your lungs, your skin, and your eyes. Your body is approximately 60% water and runs at a constant temperature around 98.6 degrees, which means mold spores will really like you. Although your body has natural defenses against mold, enough exposure can bring about irritations and even serious health issues. So here’s the scoop on the gear you need to protect yourself:
1) Respirator/Mask: The U.S. EPA recommends using a mask called an N95 Respirator. When used properly, these masks filter out 95% of the particulates in the air. Be sure to purchase a respirator that fits snugly against your face. If you breathe in and you can feel the air coming in along the edges of the mask, then it is not giving you full protection. Instead, the mold spores are getting around the filter and into your lungs. Bear in mind that a healthy person’s body will have some resistance to minor exposure to mold. So one spore isn’t necessarily a cause for an emergency. Your goal here is minimize the risk of a mold infection, and a proper air mask is your first line of defense. Check out our respirators page for more info.Advertisement
If you have a compromised immune system, or are exceptionally sensitive to mold exposure, forget the do-it-yourself track, and look for a professional.
2) Gloves: Presumably, you will be using your hands to clean the mold. For this reason, we highly recommend wearing gloves during the process. Do not use cloth gloves or any woven material as the fabric provides little nooks and crannies for the mold to collect. Instead use rubber or nitrile gloves. Since your hands are doing the dirty work here, we recommend using long gloves that cover up to the middle of the forearm. This will help minimize the exposure to your skin.
3) Protective Eyewear: Traditional safety glasses are not enough for this job. Remember that spores float through the air, which means they can reach your eyes from the sides of the glasses. So for this job, the EPA recommends using goggles that do not contain ventilation. These ‘air tight’ goggles will help keep those nasty spores from sneaking into your peepers.
Extra Mile: Coveralls: If you are tackling more than just a small spot of mold, or if you are especially sensitive to mold exposure, or if you just want to be extra safe, the coverall is an excellent way to go. These suits are an economical way to cover your whole body, plus they provide an added protection against spreading mold to other places. The industry standard for coveralls during mold remediation is the Tyvek Coverall made by Dupont. It is a non-woven material, lightweight, and they are disposable. You can purchase one for under $10 per suit at a hardware store or online. Bonus: not only do you get extra protection with these suits, you look really cool too.
So that’s the basics for clothing and gear. Now let’s look at equipment and materials.