Personal protective equipment for mold removal is necessary because the process of cleaning up mold exposes you to potentially hazardous mold spores. Microscopic mold spores are very light and they easily become airborne, which makes them easy to inhale. Inhalation of mold spores puts you at risk for all sorts of mold-related health problems (click here to read about some of those).
You can find personal protective gear at hardware and home improvement stores, as well as online. We'll tell you what to look for.
Disposable gloves are available in several different materials, including latex, vinyl, and nitrile (a type of synthetic rubber). Some people are allergic to latex, but otherwise it's mostly a matter of personal preference.
Make sure you choose the right size gloves for your hands. Gloves that are too big or loose-fitting will allow mold spores to get inside the gloves onto your hands.
Remove your gloves every time you leave the work area so that you don't spread mold spores to other areas of the home. Put on a fresh pair before resuming your work. Don't touch your face while wearing work gloves.
Disposable hair covers look a lot like paper shower caps. They are necessary to keep mold spores from settling in your hair, which can later be inhaled or transferred to other areas of the home. Remove your hair covers every time you leave the work area and replace it with a fresh one before resuming your work.
Here is a link to disposable hair covers on Amazon.
Disposable shoe covers are like paper booties that slip over your shoes. They are necessary to make sure mold spores are not tracked from the work area into the rest of the house. Remove your shoe covers when leaving the work area and put fresh shoe covers on before resuming your work. Here are the better ones on Amazon.
We recommend disposable Tyvek suits to wear over your regular clothing when working around mold. For smaller jobs some people prefer to wear their own clothing, including pants and a long-sleeved shirt. Remove your clothing as soon as you leave the work area and launder them right away in hot water. Just don't walk around your home in clothing you wore while removing mold, because doing so could spread mold to other areas of the house. Here are some high quality Tyvek Suits.
Safety goggles are recommended to protect your eyes from mold spores and from other debris stirred up during the mold removal process. For instance, the process of cutting out moldy drywall sends particles of drywall into the air that could scratch or otherwise seriously damage your eyes. Goggles are also recommended whenever you use certain mold killers or other cleaning products, to protect your eyes from potentially harmful chemicals that could splash into your eyes. You can find high quality safety goggles on Amazon for under $12.
“Air-purifying respirator” is a scientific-sounding name for a face mask that filers out mold particles, as well as other particulates, so you don't inhale mold spores or other particulates that can make you sick. An air-purifying respirator is probably the most important piece of personal protective equipment for mold removal you can get, although the other items described here are important, too.
Air-purifying respirators are available with different levels of efficiency, meaning some will filter out more particles than others. An N-95 respirator mask will filter out 95 percent of all particles, and this will be sufficient for most mold removal jobs. An N-99 respirator mask will filter out 99 percent of all particles. Don't use a surgical mask instead, as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says they aren't designed to protect against things like mold spores.
You can purchase disposable air-purifying respirators or you can buy a reusable one. If you will only need one for a small mold removal job, a disposable one probably makes more sense. Remove it when you leave the work area. You can reuse it when you return to your work as long as it looks clean and dry.
Here is a link to higher quality respirators on Amazon.
If you need assistance with mold removal, or if you'd just like some free expert advice on the subject, we suggest scheduling a free in-home consultation with a mold removal professional. Of course, a professional will have all the necessary equipment to do the job safely, but he or she can also advise you about personal protective equipment needed for mold removal. There's no cost and no obligation on your part. To find experienced mold removal professionals offering free consultations in your area, just follow the link.