Is it a good idea to use a steamer to kill mold?
In a word the answer is no. It is not a good idea to use a steamer to kill mold. Maybe to grow mold, but not to kill mold. But we need to look further into it than that. The two things we are talking about are Black Mold and steam.
What is Black Mold?
Black Mold is a fungus that can grow anywhere that is moist – and it can grow fast. Once inside, mold can grow almost anywhere moisture accumulates. Wet basements, with or without French Drains and sump pumps, often get mold because of excessive moisture. Unventilated bathrooms are prime candidates for mold. Anywhere in the home that has had a water leak such as the roof and attic are particularly vulnerable to mold growth.
Mold can enter your home through open doorways, windows, vents, heating and air conditioning systems. Or it can be carried from the outside in, by attaching to clothing, shoes, and pets. Once inside, mold can grow almost anywhere moisture accumulates.
Black Mold damages things inside the home such as books, papers, furniture and carpet. But mold can actually damage the home itself, eating away at floors, walls and ceilings.
Mold is a living organism that needs to eat and drink just like us human beings. Mold can get a drink in the form of actual water, moisture, excessive humidity, and yes, even steam.
What is Steam?
Steam is the vapor into which water is converted when heated, forming a white mist of minute water droplets in the air. Steam is a combination of water, vapor and moisture all rolled into one. Steam will provide all the moisture mold needs to grow and thrive.
Here is the third factor to consider:
10% of Mold you see… 90% of Mold is Microscopic
90% of the suspended airborne particles are too small to see; yet small enough to be respired (breathed into the lungs) which causes damage and disease. These invisible particles are a serious health risk concern.
So you use your steamer to clean the black mold that you can see which we have said is about 10% of the total. At the same time the steam is providing moisture for the other 90% to grow and multiply.
Stop the Moisture then kill the Mold
You do need to:
A.) Find and fix the source of the mold causing moisture.
B.) Kill the Mold.
Once you have shut off the mold's water supply we can go ahead and remediate/kill it. There is a very simple process I call "The Three S's'.
1st "S" SPRAY the mold to kill it. Don’t use bleach because it is toxic for humans as well as mold. Use a mold spray from the store. There are many different brands, Lysol, Tilex, Moldex, Concrobium, etc. They all work pretty much the same.
2nd "S" SCRUB the mold. Once the spray dries up a bit, you want to get a scrubbing sponge and some water mixed with a disinfecting household cleaning liquid soap and scrub it away. It is already dead, you just want to remove any sight of it. Let it dry thoroughly before proceeding to the third "S".
3rd "S" SEAL it. Next you want to get a can of Spray sealer like Kilz or Zinnser and spray the wall that you just scrubbed. What you are doing now is encapsulating the mold. You are sealing it inside the drywall. Now all that is there is a nice, clean, white, sealed paintable surface.
If you are outside of New Jersey, you can get the Mold Sticks to test for yourself. Visit our Amazon store to buy the Mold Sticks to test your own home