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The 5 Levels of Mold Remediation

by krystle
steps mold removal

What are the 5 levels of Mold Remediation?

The 5 levels of mold remediation comes from the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), a non-profit organization that gives certification as well as instruction for professionals in the mold remediation and cleaning industry. The levels were established to give a standard for properly examining and remediating mold issues in buildings, based on how bad the contamination is as well as the health and safety of the removal process. Level one of the 5 levels is the level of least contamination, while level four details the process and detailing of the highest level of contamination. Level five involves remediation in highly sensitive environments, such as hospitals and schools.

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When dealing with mold contamination in your home it can be difficult to decide when a mold remediator is needed or what you can take care of yourself. These is where it can be helpful to refer to the 5 levels of mold remediation to determine if the mold issue is significant enough to involve professionals.

In the following 5 levels, you will have a guideline to go by when removing mold from your home:

The 5 Levels of Mold Remediation

Level I (10 square feet or less)

Smaller infestations categorized in level I are mostly the cleaning and removal of contaminated materials. These may include mold found on ceilings or baseboards, as well as things like drywall or carpeting. Level I mold contamination may be cleaned without hiring a mold remediator, but there are several important safety precautions that you need to know:

  1. Do not attempt cleaning mold if you suffer from asthma, allergies, or immune disorders
  2. Wear gloves, eye protection, and an N95 disposable respirator
  3. Vacate from your work area any infants less than 12 months old, individuals recovering from recent surgery, anyone with a suppressed immune system, or people with chronic lung diseases such as asthma, sever allergies, emphysema, etc.
  4. Contaminated materials that cannot be cleaned should be removed from your home in a sealed plastic bag to prevent an infestation in another part of your home.
  5. Clean your work area when you’re done with a damp cloth or mop.
  6. Make sure all areas are left dry and visibly free of mold contamination.

Level II (10-30 square feet)

Level three of mold remediation requires a more substantial elimination of mold contaminated materials, in addition to more extensive mold containment procedures to assure that mold spores do not spread to other areas, To remove mold from an area category the size of level two (probably one wall panel), the same precautions used in level one should be taken as well as the following:

  1. Moldy materials should be covered with plastic sheets and sealed with tape before any handling or removal of materials. This will contain dust and debris. It may be wise to double wrap in plastic before escorting the moldy material from your home.
  2. When the mold removal is finished, vacuum the work area with a HEPA vacuum. Clean the area with a damp cloth or mop.

Level III (30-100 square feet)

This level of remediation often requires professional help, as it involves extensive removal and disposal of contaminated materials, as well as specialized equipment and techniques for containing and removing mold spores. Professional assistance is often needed when dealing with this level. Level three involves more extensive mold elimination and removal. This level also utilizes specialized equipment and procedures to contain mold to keep the environment healthy and uncontaminated, and to remove the circulating mold spores. Mold contamination this size (patches of mold on several wall panels), should still be handled with the same precautions as level one and two as well as the following added measures:

  1. Seal ventilation ducts/grills in the work area and areas directly adjacent with plastic sheeting.
  2. Vacate everyone from your work area until work is completed. Further vacate adjacent work areas of any infants less than 12 months old, individuals recovering from recent surgery, anyone with a suppressed immune system, or people with chronic lung diseases such as asthma, sever allergies, emphysema, etc.

Level IV (greater than 100 square feet)

This level of remediation requires significant expertise and resources, as it involves widespread contamination of a building or structure. Professional remediation is typically required, along with specialized equipment and techniques for containing and removing mold spores.

This next level is a widespread mold contamination of a large area and thus requires a serious levels of knowledge and experience. This typically requires professional remediation to assure proper removal of mold, and for safety and containment will require specialized equipment. An infestation depending on how much greater than 100 square feet, and how significant the contamination, may definitely require the assistance of a mold remediator. If not, the same requirements should be followed as were needed in levels one, two, and three along with the following:

  1. Every worker must be trained in the handling of hazardous materials and equipped with full face respirators with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) cartridges, with disposable protective clothing covering both head and shoes.
  2. Make sure workers completely isolate their work area from the rest of your home with sheeting sealed with duct tape, including ventilation ducts/grills, fixtures, and any other openings.
  3. Make sure workers set up and use a “decontamination room,” or a chamber taped off with plastic sheeting. The outside of sealed bags containing contaminated material should be wiped down with a damp cloth or HEPA vacuumed in the decontamination chamber prior to their removal.
  4. Air monitoring should be conducted prior to moving back into your home to determine if it is fit to reoccupy.

Level V (Remediation in a Highly Sensitive Environment)

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This level of remediation involves situations where mold contamination poses a particular risk to the health and safety of individuals, such as in hospitals, schools, or other sensitive environments. Remediation in these situations must be carefully planned and executed, often requiring specialized equipment, techniques, and protocols.

This level should be left to mold remediation professionals entirely, as it can pose a significant risk to the health and safety of people. This includes places like schools, hospitals, and other environments where mold could pose a health risk to those vulnerable, especially during the remediation process as mold spores are disturbed. The method for removal in these situations must be carefully planned and carried out, involving specialized equipment and procedures.

Mold Remediation of HVAC Systems

If there is a small area of mold growth beneath your air conditioning system it would be safe to apply precautions from levels one and two to remediate the mold contamination. However, all remediation procedures for air conditioning units and HVAC systems should be left to professionals. Procedures for level five remediation for areas larger than 10 square feet are the same for all previous levels with the following precautionary measures added:

  1. Shut down the HVAC system prior to remediation.
  2. Growth-supporting materials that are contaminated, such as the paper on the insulation of interior lined ducts and filters, should be removed and sealed in plastic bags.
  3. A variety of biocides – broad spectrum antimicrobial agents designed to prevent the growth of microorganisms – are recommended by HVAC manufacturers for use with HVAC components, such as cooling coils and condensation pans. HVAC manufacturers should be consulted for the products they recommend for use in their systems.

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Dan Madison April 9, 2008 - 9:15 am

Great information. As you can see, several precautions should be taken when handling mold. I’ve discovered it is easy to aggrevate mold and end up spreading the spores to another part of the house. We had a fairly low level of mold and hired EcoGuard Mold Solutions and they did a great job masking off the infected area and keeping the rest of our house safe. http://www.ecoguardsolutions.com

Bill Gregory May 26, 2008 - 4:42 pm

Really great info and blog! Mold damage and removal can be a serious problem. Negative air containment is very important during remediation. For professional mold abatement in Orange County California visit http://www.gregoryrestoration.com

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Sherry Sloan March 26, 2009 - 7:38 am

Help! We smell mildew but we can’t find it. All five of us agree the smell is in one area but we have checked the floor, rugs, wall, cabinets, closets, furniture, even the attic in that area and still no visible mold or mildew.

Mold Removal Tampa March 7, 2010 - 3:16 pm

This is great info relating to mold damage remediation.. We completely agree with Bill above that neg. air containment is very important to prevent the further growth and migration of mold spores.

Mold Killer Carol August 13, 2010 - 2:21 pm

It is interesting how mold can grow very fast and spread in a home. Definitely not good for your health! So to just leave it and do nothing is a ticking time bomb. Mold remediation is costly but well worth it if you have an infestation of mold that needs to be taken care of. A mold specialist can get to the source of the problem and get rid of the mold so it won’t come back.

Water Damage Lincoln Nebraska June 17, 2011 - 10:28 am

This does a pretty good job of laying out the spectrum of mold infestation.

For instance, if you find a small spot of mold, it may not require a pro. Very good common sense information on moldblogger!

David September 26, 2011 - 8:44 pm

So after 10 months of owning our home, we have found that we have the Black Toxic mold Stachybotrys_chartarum behind our kitchen cabinets and apparently they have been found at different places in the carpet. While we are dealing with a professional contractor to deal with the situation and have had to move out of the house, we are receiving different stories about what items in the home need to be removed and disposed. For example, we were told to dispose of anything plastic, like dishes, toys… But my TV is plastic? And so is my computer? What is the truth… I don’t want to trash a perfectly good computer if I don’t have too. So far it seems like no one is really sure or they don’t want to dissapoint me.

Mold Tampa October 11, 2011 - 12:12 am


Anything that is hard plastic or glass can be cleaned from mold with a solution as simple as soap and water. Once mold gets into carpet, or upholestry it must be cleaned by a professional in order to completely remove it. Any hard surface items do not need to be thrown out, simply cleaned. Hope his helps!

Mold Inspection Riverside, CA January 24, 2012 - 6:29 pm

@David: It depends on how intrusive the mold problem is. Most likely you can clean your TV and computer and keep using them. But you might need to open them up and see if mold is growing inside. If not, you can probably clean the outside and keep them. If mold is growing inside, you’ll need to figure out if you can clean the mold or if it’s grown onto sensitive components. Hope that helps!

Nebraska Mold Removal February 2, 2012 - 11:37 pm

The five levels of mold removal should be helpful to property owners by helping them decide how to proceed with the mold remediation. Very simple yet instructional. Good, simple resource…clearly written. Thanks!

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Mold remediation great neck September 17, 2012 - 6:55 am

Very vital information about mold as it is very dangerous for human beings in many aspects.It cause illness,property loss and many other problems so its better to get rid of mold and mildew as soon as possible.Good info. to share.

Fire Damage Restoration Service ny September 20, 2012 - 1:10 am

Provided a very vital information regarding mold and mildew and their remediation companies.Its good to call professional for its removal to remain allergic free.

mold removal company December 11, 2012 - 4:06 am

This is really very great info regarding mold remediation service. The five levels of mold removal should help the property owners to decide them how to proceed with the mold remediation.

Omar Rehman May 20, 2013 - 9:18 am

So, my wife and I purchased a condo over three weeks ago and the soap dish in the master bath fell off the wall. There was black mold around the area. I kept it damp before I could figure out what to do with it. After talking to folks, I removed the surrounding tile and cut away the bad dry wall to replace it. I damped the area when I did it, but I didn’t seal anything or cover anything in the bathroom. Is this going to be a major problem? I threw the bad pieces into a trash bag and sealed it up before taking it outside. Am I at risk for further infestation? Also, would spraying the area down with baking soda kill any residual mold before putting up new drywall? Thanks!

Restoration Express May 29, 2013 - 10:46 pm

Informative post! Many homeowners do not know the level of damage when it comes to mold. This is a good guide in knowing if the problem already requires professional help.

Odour Removal July 22, 2013 - 4:00 am

Nice info there is really a right treatment with the right level of moulds.

Mould Removal September 22, 2013 - 9:32 pm

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Claire October 29, 2013 - 11:43 am

Wow, its incredible what lengths mold remediation companies have to go through in order to truly alleviate a problem. While there are a ton of DIY home remedies, sometimes it really is best to leave this up to a professional. This article is really insightful, especially for someone trying to understand a pricing quote for a remediation project.

Sam Simon November 10, 2013 - 8:09 am

Thank you for posting this blog. Mold, as naturally occurring as it is and despite the fact that we live with mold in various degrees, mold is quite dangerous when it lives inside of your work or living space. We stress that to home and business owners all the time. Sometimes to no avail. Mold Remediation is a serious process and mold removal companies should be wisely chosen.

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Chicago, Illinois

Scott December 9, 2013 - 8:18 am

Thanks David. It can be difficult to education a homeowner about all of the variables that go into a mold remediation. This is very helpful and will give a mold restoration company a nice way to articulate this piece of it. Thanks.

Mold Removal Fort Lauderdale December 19, 2013 - 7:54 am

It’s only after lever 3 people start taking mold attack seriously and call for help. Many people mistake trying remove them by themselves when they are not very sure. I believe if someone not very sure should remove call for some local help, like I called All Florida Remodeling Group after I found my home infested with black mold after coming for vacations.

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platinuminc October 20, 2014 - 4:11 pm

Great information! I’ve been having the same problems on my ceiling, my boyfriend and I, we were planning to burn them with torch light. At the moment, we are just searching for precautions and tips and so far, this blog helped. Thanks!

Scot LaVelle October 27, 2014 - 4:13 am

Am writing a practical guide for restoration professionals on source containment.

Would strongly encourage sealing mold to the surface as a first response to mold. Traditional method is to place poly sheeting over the affected area and seal the edges with an effective tape.

Our site http://www.moldhold.com offers an effective source containment product that actually sticks to wet surfaces including mold.

Valerie D December 8, 2014 - 1:48 pm

Thanks for the informative blog. I have bookmarked your site for future reference.

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John Griffin December 9, 2014 - 7:17 am

Good information. In NJ at least mold companies are only regulated as home improvement contractors. When selecting a testing or remediation firm, ask for references and do check them ! You would not believe what we have run into – the scare tactics and price gouging. Hope this helps

Captain Steamer December 10, 2014 - 12:40 pm

A very interesting article, I think people need to know the levels so they can anticipate the clean up.

Jana Michaels January 15, 2015 - 5:02 am

Here in our area of Florida, because of the humidity, mold is a big problem. It is so scary to go into a house where there are children and the parents don’t take the danger seriously! I’m going to have my team refer people to your site to help them see the importance of prevention and properly remediation.

Kimberly January 22, 2015 - 9:52 am

My mom is 65 in hospital. Just had 4 surgerys in less than a month. Also has been hospitalized the last 3 1/2 monthe out of 4. Her home has level 3 to 4 mold in the walls and insulation. Should she be in her house? Also if not, who do I contact to have herself and my sister forced from the home till the mold is properly removed?

Barbara January 29, 2015 - 1:12 pm

My daughter has a 6 month old and had her home tested, they told her she had a 5 for mold, but no one will tell her what that means, can you help me… thank you

Delores Lyon February 10, 2015 - 1:14 pm

I had no idea that mold could get into your HVAC system and then spread everywhere. That sounds like it could be a major disaster! I will definitely be sure to turn off my HVAC system if I ever come across any mold. I need to make sure that my home is clean and mold free. http://www.aeconllc.com

Effective Basement February 20, 2015 - 11:42 pm

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Mould Cleaning Service March 3, 2015 - 8:25 pm

Nice blog. These tips are very informative and useful. I like your post very much. Thanks to sharing the valuable information.

Laila April 16, 2015 - 12:40 pm

I have also heard that you have to be really careful when removing mold because you can release spores into the air where they can attach and grow on other parts of the house. I am pretty sure my friend had a level 5 because his air conditioner smelled really bad in the summer and I honestly thought it was something that had died. That is one of the worst kinds of mold growth because they can spread like wildfire through the air.

Gener Ortiz June 9, 2015 - 5:05 pm

Hi! I am looking for this kind of information. It will definitely help me with my project. Thank you for sharing this informative post.

Johnathan Smith June 16, 2015 - 7:34 am

Mold is a very nasty thing to deal with! Make sure to contact a professional for tips and services.

Bahram August 4, 2015 - 6:38 pm

Well I think I posted a comment on this blog about 10 days ago, but it did not pass being posted. About 10 days ago, we started getting light musk/mold smell which got me really concerned from the A/C air vents… In a matter of few days, it got stronger and stronger and before you know it, it’s in everything in the house from furniture to appliances. The A/C which is a less than a year old Trane is also stopped working (this is where the fumes are coming from)… Is there anyway to remediate this or the house is gone??? it’s on everything and invisible… Even my whole body smells like this crap…

Cheryl Smith October 22, 2015 - 10:55 am

We had some mold that we recently cleaned up. I wish we would have known about using a HEPA vacuum. It would have made the clean up a little easier. Next time, we will have a little more experience.

Norran November 5, 2015 - 6:28 pm

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Mcquedia November 17, 2015 - 3:41 pm

I observed that mould can appear every were like on bread cheese and other things but there is a way we can help stop it

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April Cook July 19, 2016 - 9:53 am

I noticed some mold in my basement and I am scared to see how much there really is. From what I can see it looks like level I. How can I tell if it is in the walls or the HVAC? Will I need to hire a remediator to come and evaluate the damage? Should I do this before I attempt to clean it up by myself? Thanks for all this great information!

Kathrina Lewis July 23, 2016 - 11:07 am

Amazing post. These 5 levels of mold remediation briefly described that how to tackle a problem like mold damage. I have read several articles but i really found this one helpful as it clears me the process of mold remediation. I totally agree with the 5 levels of mold remediation but i also want to differentiate between mold remediation and mold removal . Here is the difference between both of them http://www.floodaz.com/mold-removal/

Erika Brady October 24, 2016 - 9:18 am

I did not realize that there were different levels of mold remediation. I think there is a spot in my home that is a level 1. I am glad that this is not too bad. I do suffer from asthma, so I will make sure I do not clean it myself and get some help. Thank you for this information!

gilbert turo January 16, 2017 - 8:17 pm

Is it ok to live in a house that has mould in a sealed off room?

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Callum Palmer April 23, 2018 - 2:27 pm

Wow, I didn’t actually know that there were different levels of mold remediation. I always just thought that the company came in and took care of the mold. If that is the case, then it is pretty great to have a better understanding of what the people are doing when they remediate the mold from your home.

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Devin Scott October 14, 2019 - 10:48 am

It’s fantastic to learn that you shouldn’t clean mold if you have asthma. My wife and I are wondering how to clean mold out of our basement if it floods. I’ll let her know that she shouldn’t ever clean mold since she has asthma.

Jerry Woods November 20, 2019 - 7:45 am

It’s good to learn that you shouldn’t try to clean mold if you have asthma. My wife and I are moving into an older house soon and we were wondering how we should renovate the home when we have asthma. I’ll be sure to get a professional to repair the house if there’s mold in it.

http://www.mouldexpertstoronto.com/ December 3, 2019 - 6:18 pm

Hello! I am looking for this kind of information regarding Mold Removal in Toronto. It will definitely help me with my project. Thank you for sharing this informative post.

David Norriss December 6, 2019 - 6:20 am

I like how you explained that if a mold infestation is ever 100 square feet or greater then it is better to call in professional mold remediators. They will be able to properly decontaminate and seal off your house from being infected more. This is important because of how dangerous mold can be especially if it is of this size. Thank you for helping people to know when they should call in a mold remediation service.

Travis Smith May 19, 2020 - 1:17 pm

It’s good to learn that you should hire a professional for mold remediation if you have asthma or an immune disorder. My wife and I are moving into an older home and I want to make sure our house is protected from mold since she has asthma. I’ll be sure to tell her that we should hire a professional to check if there’s mold in our house so she doesn’t get sick.

Michaela Hemsley August 30, 2021 - 2:12 pm

Thanks for detailing the different levels of mold remediation. I think that I have mold in my basement. I’ll have to talk to a professional about which level I’m at and what I need to do about it.

Olivia Smart January 6, 2022 - 11:33 am

Thank you for explaining that if mold is around levels one or two, it can be handled by yourself, but anything higher than that should be taken care of by a professional. My friend has just found some mold growing in her home and has been wondering if she should just work on it herself or if she’ll need to call someone. I’ll be sure to share this with her so that she can have some help determining what the right course of action is.

Greta James February 24, 2022 - 6:38 pm

I am glad that you explained that a large area infested with mold requires a mold remediator. My grandmother’s basement has a large amount of mold in it. I think it would be a very good idea for her to consult a professional to clean out the mold safely and effectively.

Mats Wolff March 24, 2022 - 9:28 pm

Its helpful when you reminded that to vacuum the work area with a HEPA vacuum when the mold eradication is complete. I want to clean some mold that has accumulated on my roof and I cant do it myself. Thanks for proving information on the levels of mold remediation and I hope that I can find a cleaning service that can help me to do it soon. Thanks for the article!

Amy Saunders May 30, 2022 - 1:39 am

Hey! I think I found a small mold spot at the corner of my basement while I was cleaning the area last night. Fortunately, you did mention that as long as we don the right protective gears most Level I molds are safe for us to clean on our own. Hmm.. maybe I should just hire someone to do the work for me some time later.

Micro Clean DFW May 30, 2022 - 8:11 pm

Mold remediation is an important process that professionals should carry out to protect the health and safety of people in the area. Different levels of mold remediation must be followed depending on the severity of the issue. Sometimes, a small amount of mold can be removed without any negative effects.

In contrast, in other cases, more extensive work may be required to completely remove the mold. All levels of mold remediation have their benefits and drawbacks, and it is important to choose the level most appropriate for the situation.

Amy Saunders July 19, 2022 - 8:47 pm

Hello there! Yup, it’s me again. Now, the argument you made about the sheer importance of personal protective equipment in preventing health hazards while dealing with mold still lingers around my mind even until today. This time around, it’s my sister-in-law who came across a spot of mold right at her backyard recently. For me, it’s time for her to call someone reliable to get rid of it once and for all.

Elina Brooks January 13, 2023 - 7:25 pm

I was cleaning my room this morning when I saw visible signs of mold growth around my air conditioner, so I wanted to deal with the issue as soon as possible before it harms our unit and our health. I appreciate you letting us know that remediation for air conditioners should be done by professionals since there might be parts of the unit that support the growth of mold, such as the ducts and filters. I’ll keep this in mind while I look for a mold remediation company to contact for help soon.

Elina Brooks April 21, 2023 - 10:58 pm

Thank you for informing us that with Level 2 mold remediation, the moldy materials will be double-wrapped in plastic before being escorted out of the house since they might contain dust and debris. It seems like this is what I need in my kitchen right now since I recently noticed the suspicious musty odor in the area. I’ll keep this in mind while I look for a mold remediation service to hire soon.

Lily Bridgers May 28, 2023 - 2:49 pm

We appreciate your informative explanation regarding Level 2 mold remediation, where the mold-infested materials will be carefully wrapped in plastic and safely removed from the premises to prevent the spread of dust and debris. Given the recent detection of a suspicious musty odor in my kitchen, it appears that this service is precisely what I require. I will remember this important detail as I begin my search for a reliable mold remediation service to hire in the near future.

Olivia Smart June 9, 2023 - 9:15 am

Thank you for explaining that you shouldn’t clean the mold if you have asthma or allergies. I found some mold when I was cleaning our bathroom this morning. It’s kind of extensive, so I’ll have to look into finding someone to help me with it.

krystle June 15, 2023 - 10:58 am

Yes, it can definitely cause issues if you have asthma or allergies. Hopefully you can find someone to help you safely remove the mold in your bathroom!

Elle Jones November 13, 2023 - 3:36 am

I wanted to take care of the mold growth around my air conditioner as soon as possible before it damaged our unit and compromised our health, so I noticed it while I was cleaning my room this morning. You brought up a good point when you said that professional remediation of air conditioners is necessary because the ducts and filters within the unit may harbor mold growth. I’ll bear this in mind as I search for a mold removal business to get in touch with shortly.

Elle Jones January 12, 2024 - 2:32 pm

I appreciate that you mentioned Level 2 mold cleanup, which entails securely removing mold-infested objects from the property and properly wrapping them in plastic to stop dust and debris from spreading. It seems that this service is just what I need, as I recently noticed a musty smell in my kitchen. This is a crucial aspect that I will keep in mind when I start looking for a trustworthy mold removal company to work with shortly.

krystle January 16, 2024 - 5:50 pm

Glad the info was valuable! I hope your mold removal goes well.

Elle Jones February 7, 2024 - 2:22 pm

You brought up a really good point: if you have an immune system problem or asthma, you should get expert mold remediation services. Since my wife has asthma, I want to make sure our older home is mold-free before we move in together. I’ll be sure to let her know that to prevent her from becoming ill, we need to contact an expert to look for mold in our home.


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