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Mold Removal vs. Mold Remediation: What Are The Differences?

Mold: it’s a common problem in modern homes.

Based on surveys conducted by Berkeley Lab, about half of U.S. households have visible evidence of dampness or mold – and that’s just the contamination homeowners can see.

Left unchecked, mold can cause a variety of health problems, including allergies, asthmatic reactions, coughs, and more.

The fact that mold is so prevalent (and so problematic) creates a significant demand for mold remediation and removal.

Understanding the difference between mold removal vs mold remediation, though, is sometimes easier said than done.

What is Mold Removal?

mold in chicago home

When a homeowner discovers a mold problem, most assume they need mold removal. Since mold spores love moisture, homeowners usually realize they have mold when they see dampness or discoloration around a window, doorway, or vent. Understandably, their first reaction is typically the desire to remove all traces of the mold and “start fresh.”

In some cases, it is possible to remove the part of the home affected by mold. You can replace a leaky window frame, for example, or replace and/or repair a damaged segment of drywall. What most homeowners don’t realize, though, is that complete mold removal is impossible. The very notion of it is a fallacy.

Here’s why:

Mold spores are part of the natural environment. They exist everywhere. Even in brand-new homes, mold spores can enter the space via the air outside. Spores can attach themselves to a person’s clothing or shoes and come indoors. They can even make their way inside on a pet’s coat or a new houseplant. The presence of mold spores isn’t a problem on its own, though. Issues only arise when mold spores drop in a place where there is excessive moisture. It’s simple – no moisture, no mold growth.

While it’s impossible to get rid of every last mold spore within a home, restoration companies can focus on mold remediation.

What is Mold Remediation?

Here at ServiceMaster of Lake Shore, my team defines mold remediation as the processes of returning mold levels to normal, natural concentrations. While we realize we can’t remove every mold spore from a house, we can get rid of existing mold growth and fix the underlying issue. This ensures the levels of mold within the home aren’t problematic or dangerous.

When our customers ask about the difference between mold removal and mold remediation, we like to tell them that mold removal is an essential step in mold remediation.

First, we get rid of the problem (mold removal), then we fix the underlying cause, so it doesn’t keep coming back (mold remediation).

The 6-Step Mold Remediation Process

In addition to damaging property, mold can present a real health danger for the people living there. To make the home safe, mold remediation professionals need to follow an established, comprehensive process to reduce the concentration of mold spores and eliminate areas of mold growth.

Here’s the six-step protocol my team follows during each mold remediation assignment:

mold remediation professional

1) Inspection and Assessment

First things first – we have to get a sense of how bad the mold damage is. We start by inspecting the property for visible signs of mold, including noticeable mold growth and discoloration. We use an assortment of technologies and manual inspection tactics to detect mold and hidden leaks and water sources.

2) Containment

Next, it’s time to prevent the continued spread of mold. Depending on the severity of the contamination, we use tactics like negative air chambers to isolate areas and create physical barriers.

This keeps techs safe and prevents mold spores from spreading during the remediation process.

We’ll also turn off all fans and HVAC systems within the home to minimize airflow that could distribute mold. If the damage is severe, we may recommend that the owner cleans the HVAC system ducts, per EPA guidelines.

3) Filtration

Mold exists everywhere, but it’s our job to remove as much of it from the home as possible. This is where air filtration comes in. Our specialized “air scrubber” equipment allows us to capture even microscopic quantities of mold spores and prevent them from spreading throughout the home.

4) Removal of Affected Materials

To prevent mold from re-establishing itself once our teams leave, we have to get rid of the surfaces that supported mold growth. To do this, we use a selection of antifungal and antimicrobial treatments to kill mold colonies and prevent new colony formation. If the mold growth is severe (which is common after flooding, for example), we may remove affected porous materials – like drywall and carpeting.

5) Sanitization

Once we’ve remediated the affected areas, we’ll sanitize everything around them. We use fogging equipment to remove odors. As we work, our team pays special attention to furniture, curtains, clothing, and other restorable items within the home.

6) Full Restoration

If we had to remove drywall, subfloors, or other materials, the final step is restoration. We’ll work with our network of contractors to replace drywall, install new carpet, or repaint affected areas. This is the final step in the remediation process, and it helps ensure the homeowner can get life back to normal once more.

Dealing with Mold in the Chicago, IL Area? We’re Here to help!

Mold happens, but it’s how we deal with it that matters. By understanding the difference between mold remediation and mold removal, you can make your home homes safe once more.

If you’re in the Chicagoland area and are experiencing mold, give our team a call at 312-707-8597

Get Help Now

(312) 707-8597


Our office is located in downtown Chicago, IL just west of Millennium Park, nearby Willis Tower and Magnificent Mile. We provide 24 hour emergency fire and water damage cleanup to all of Chicagoland including Lincoln Park, Logan Square, Gold Coast, Lake View, Magnificent Mile and Little Village. We also provide a variety of specialty cleaning services.