As a professional painter, you’re more likely than most trades to encounter mold and mildew in your work. That’s why you should know about killing this stuff, removing mold stains, and preventing regrowth. These days there are more options than just sloshing on bleach water and hoping for the best. New science and new products make success more certain, and these offer the chance to make you look better to your clients, too.
Mold growth happens when a food source and sufficient moisture come together, but mold isn’t picky about what it eats. Almost anything will do. Wood, cardboard, drywall, carpet – even the dust that accumulates on inorganic materials such as plastic – can feed mold in the presence of moisture. The key to dealing with mold properly as a painter comes down to three things: Kill it, remove stains (if necessary), then discourage mold regrowth. One part of prevention comes down to products you can apply, in addition to educating clients about moisture control in their building.
While mold is nothing new, mold control with registered products hasn’t been around all that long. Gone are the days when you simply painted over moldy surfaces and hope for the best. It’s no longer sound professional practice and it simply makes no financial sense. Live mold under a coat of fresh paint is never a good idea because paint can’t kill mold. It’s just a serious callback waiting to happen after mold reappears.
I’ve been covering mold since it became a hot topic in the late 1990s, and Moldex is one family of mold control and prevention products I’ve been testing recently. This brand uses a three-step approach to the job: kill, clean and discourage regrowth.
Moldex Mold Killer is the first thing to apply on active mold, and it carries the most complete list of verified credentials of any mold product I’ve seen so far. It’s EPA registered as a fungicide, mildewstat, virucide and disinfectant that’s approved for residential and institutional settings. It’s specifically verified to eliminate the hard-to-kill HIV-1 organism after ten minutes of wet contact time. If you’re painting institutional surfaces that may have been contaminated with bodily fluids, this is the stuff to protect yourself with before you start serious wall prep. Mold Killer comes in different formulations, but all are independently verified to zap mold roots (called hyphae), not just surface growth. Although not completely non-toxic, Mold Killer is safe as long as you don’t swallow it. The odour is pleasant, with no bleach smell to bother clients. Comes in ready-to-use spray bottles or concentrate for greater economy on large jobs.
Removing mold and mildew stains is something you won’t always need to do. Paint alone covers stains from dead mold, but if you need a clean surface for translucent coatings, there are two stain removal technologies in the Moldex line. Their Instant Mold & Mildew Stain Remover uses bleach chemistry, and their non-bleach Mold & Mildew Stain Remover is oxygen based. I preferred the oxygen formulation in my tests. Unlike other oxygen-based stainer removers, this one needs no mixing. Just spray it on and it foams up as stain erasing oxygen is released.
Preventing mold regrowth is the final step in the Moldex system, and that’s where their Sealant product comes in. It’s a water-based liquid that works over any kind of sealed wood, painted surface, plastic, metal, masonry or fabric. If you’re dealing with a previously painted surface with mold that you’ve killed, apply Moldex Sealant after the last coat of new paint is thoroughly dry.
Twenty years of news stories and legal action around mold issues have made the public fearful of mold. Settle on an effective mold control protocol, then tell your clients about it. It’ll give them one more reason to call you back and recommend you to others.