From the Forums: How Do I Get Rid of Mold in My Basement?

Posted by: on July 20th, 2012 | 2 Comments
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Image of fusarium mold spore

Fusarium mold spores– not something you want in your basement

 

A basement can be a real asset to a house, but because it’s built below ground level, your basement can also be vulnerable to mold. That was the problem facing Home Depot Community member JAlex910, when he posted a question on the Community Forums about the mold in his basement. He needed a fairly easy and quick fix:

“My basement is extremely damp and smells. It looks like a long term fix would be to fix the basement completely and put new concrete, as the floor is always damp, maybe from condensation? In the meantime, how can I fix the mold problem so that new mold doesn’t grow and the smell is eliminated? Thanks in advance for any tips!”

Community associate aboveaveragejoe came up with a two-step solution to JAlex910′s moldy basement problem:

Mold and mildew need three ingredients to grow:

    • a source of moisture
    • organic material
    • a dark, temperate space with little airflow

To get rid of mold completely, you’ll need to get rid of at least one of those three things.

Many wall and floor structures in today’s homes make a perfect place for growth and have plenty of organic material present for food. The surface mold you see may be the result of a colony that has established itself behind the walls, infesting your unprotected walls. Even if the walls and floor are concrete, it still is a breeding ground for mold spores to be present. So, with that said,  let’s grab a mold/mildew killer& inhibitor product to get you on the right track for fixing the mold problem.

If the problem is very bad, with the musty smell you mentioned, the first step I would take would be to grab a Concrobium mold fogger that has mildew inhibitors in it. We rent them out in our Tool Rental Department, and all of the customers I have rented them out to say they work great. (Not every store has mold foggers to rent. So call ahead.) The foggers are also sold online and in Home Depot stores.

concrobium mold fogger

You’ve noticed I’ve mentioned Concrobium, and I didn’t suggest using a bleach cleaning solution. The reason why is that products like Concrobium kill the spores and the airborne particles as well. Bleach works as a disinfectant and only gets rid of the mildew stains, but not the spores that cause it.

We also have another item that’s fairly new in our cleaning aisle– Zep Clear Shell Mold and Mildew Inhibitor. It’s kinda cool when you see what it’s made of. Its active ingredient, Chitosan, is made from crab shells! Don’t worry though, it doesn’t smell like a fish market when you spray it, and it works great as well.

Now that you have the mold/mildew removed, I would say getting the moisture out of there would be a big next step. You can even paint the walls using a masonry waterproofing material called Drylok. It paints on and stops water from coming back into your basement. Most moisture issues on concrete basement floors stem from possible moisture coming from the foundation walls, then seeping into the floor. Stopping it with Drylok is key.

a can of drylok masonry water sealer

Yet another way to get moisture out, and to keep your basement dry is to invest in a dehumidifier.

Again, by cleaning the mildew and attacking where the source of the moisture is coming from, you should be on your way to getting rid of the unwanted mold growth, smell, and dampness down there.

 

More Community members had questions on this basement mold thread. One member asked how to know when the mold is eliminated. Another asked about using lime to get rid of mold odor. Read the basement mold thread to see the answers– and to drop in your own question about getting rid of mold in your basement.

We have more advice and project ideas from our experts. Visit the Forums for DIY tips and tricks from our store associates. From the Forums Friday is our weekly column highlighting the best of The Home Depot’s Community Forums. 

 

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  1. Donna says:

    When using Drylock can it be used over a painted area such as painted walls in a basement (blocks)? I was told by someone that Drylock would not work over painted walls. Thank you for your answer.
    Donna

    • Craig Allen says:

      Donna,

      Here’s what I found on Drylok.com:

      Q. Can DRYLOK® Masonry Waterproofer be used over paint?
      A. Yes and no. DRYLOK® may be used over any other cementitious type waterproofing paint in good, repaintable condition, either inside or outside. However, DRYLOK® cannot be used over an oil or latex-based paint on the inside of a building. DRYLOK® will adhere to these paints, but if it cannot get into the pores of the masonry itself, it will not waterproof.

      http://www.drylok.com/faq/

      (I never knew “cementious” was a word.)

      -Craig, from The Home Depot