Today’s post incorporates a new device—new to me, anyway—and one of my favorite all-natural mold cleaning products, the EC3 Mold Solution Concentrate—it is important to me to use an all-natural and safe product, because many mold killers contain toxic pesticides, bleach or ammonia. When you see how it works, this easy mold-cleaning technique is going to blow your socks off!
Ladies, and gentleman, I am now the proud owner of my very own electric, portable cold fogger.
If you are interested in how cold foggers actually work, here is my short, incredibly simplified version for your reading pleasure.
A cold fogger has an internal motor/blowing system that rotates the air clockwise and counterclockwise at the same time. So, the simultaneous but opposing circular forces shear the liquid it dispenses into very small particles. Then, the droplets are blown outwards and into the air by the negative fan pressure created in the nozzle of the machine. In other words, a cold fogger has the ability to atomize, in a controlled manner, water- or oil-based solutions. The one I purchased is easy to calibrate, so you can control the particle size of the mist and the area covered. The mist is so fine, like fog, and it essentially dries on contact without saturating the object or area. When an anti-fungal solution, like the EC3 Mold Solution Concentrate is used inside it, the resulting mist or fog, has the ability to kill the airborne mold spores, and the mold on whatever surface it lands on. It is effective for areas or objects where the high-heat of a steamer is not the best option—in this case on plastic bins, in which our clothes were packed.
The machine I got—the Sani-tizer ULV/Mist Sprayer by Curtis DYNA-FOG(dynafog.com)—is incredibly user friendly and easy to control. I selected this particular model, because it allows you to spray particles as small as 5 microns, which is better suited for tackling particles like mold spores.
But, before I go on, I know you what you are thinking: Why in the world did she decide to purchase a fogger? Isn’t just cleaning for mold enough, when you are not actively living in a toxic environment? Well, during our move, we had quite the debacle with our clothing bins and suitcases being exposed to mold for a prolonged amount of time—that’s another story for another day, though. The good news is that all of the bins were sealed and taped shut, and none of the suitcases were ever opened in the moldy environment, so none of the clothes inside of them were exposed to mold or contaminated, to my knowledge. I did take some precautions for that anyway, as you will see later in my story.
Anyway, the sheer volume of clothing bins and bags that needed cleaning was daunting, because I had to unload them somewhere, find a way to clean them of the mold, and check the clothes inside of them for mold exposure before I could safely bring them inside of our new home to unload. Wiping each bin down, one by one individually wasn’t really an option, because it would have taken me ages. Seriously, by the time I finished, I would’ve been 10 years older. I don’t have that kind of time. Especially in the middle of moving. But what was I to do? I couldn’t just leave the bins and bags outside for days, or risk not cleaning them and contaminating my house and our other things. There is also a safety element with just wiping, because it stirs up the mold, and releases it into the air. Also, if you know there is mold, wear a mask, gloves, and immediately wash your clothes with something like the EC3 Laundry Additive when you are finished cleaning.
Anyway, that’s where the fogger came in. It can cover a large space in a small amount of time, without leaving anything to chance and has very effective mold-killing capabilities, and uniformly reaches hard to reach spaces, corners, seams. As a matter of fact, cold-fogging is a widely accepted and highly touted practice of most major mold remediation companies when it comes to tackling large-scale projects like crawlspaces, basements, and ductwork. For my purposes, the idea that I could clean ALL of the bins in one session was just too good to pass up.
So, here is how I did it.
First, I gathered my tools: 2 gallon jugs of distilled water, 2 full containers of EC3 Mold Solution Concentrate, clean dry towels, and my Sani-tizer cold fogger.
(NOTE: I realize that the amount of EC3 and distilled water is more than the 1 gallon jug on the machine can handle, but you want to make sure you have more than enough to complete the task at hand, so that you are not going back for more in the middle of spraying everything. You want a fine mist to fully cover all of your contaminated things. This is not a job that you should start, leave and come back to later. You want enough supplies and time to complete it in one session. You can always repeat the treatment later, if you feel it is needed, but never stop halfway. Mold growth will only be stopped and inhibited on what is treated. Thus, to leave some behind mid-treatment will not give you optimal results.)
Then, I got all of my clothing bins, bags and suitcases to be fogged, and moved them from the truck to an outdoor patio area that would get plenty of sunshine. I also made sure that I had access to a power outlet near where I was placing all of the bins. You may even need an extension cord, depending on how far you need to move the fogger from the outlet to start your job. Many people fog things in an enclosed area to make sure that none of the fog dissipates to other areas, or so that it can totally infiltrate the nooks and crannies of the crawlspace or room to be treated. But, for my purposes, I wanted to fully mist each item separately, covering every square inch, and then allow it to dry outside in the sun, rather than bringing it inside the house. I also thought that adding the bacteria-killing abilities of the high-heat and UV rays from the early afternoon sunshine (UV lights have been used for many years in hospital settings as a method of controlling bacteria) while the bins dried wouldn’t hurt my cause.
Third, I filled the Sani-tizer’s gallon jug with the correct measurement of EC3 Mold Solution Concentrate to distilled water per EC3 package instructions. (FYI, to make a gallon of the mold-cleaning solution for my fogger, I mixed 16 ounces of EC3 Mold Solution Concentrate with 112 ounces of distilled water.) I also practiced pointing and adjusting the nozzle head and spray strength before using it. It is advisable to be comfortable with pointing, rotating and moving around with the portable fogger before actually using it, because once it is on and misting, you want to make sure to focus your spray on what needs to be cleaned. Ensuring that the aerosolized particles of the EC3 solution land and evaporate directly on the mold, makes it more successful at killing the mold. It can best be described as almost smothering it.
When I was ready to start fogging, I plugged the Sani-Tizer in and turned it on. Once fogging, it was easy to move around each bin. I would cover every inch, side and crevice prior to moving on to the next bin. I had decided beforehand not to fog the bottoms of the bins until the tops were dry.
I moved each completed bin to the sunniest area to dry. Once completely dry, I turned the bins and bags over on top of a clean, dry towel, and fogged the bottoms. Then I pulled them on the towels back out into the sun to dry. Believe me, I left no mold spore un-fogged. I was an animal.
When the bins and bags were completely dry, I decided to make extra certain that I wasn’t bringing contaminated clothing into the house by removing and fogging the clothes inside of all of the bags. I then brought the fogged clothes inside the house to wash in the washing machine with the EC3 Laundry Additive to kill any lingering spores. (Here is the LINK to my post on Cleaning Clothes for Mold.)
I decided not to fog the contents of the sealed bins, because I opened many up, and everything inside passed the sniff test—no mustiness or sweet smells that are associated with mold. Also, the bins were completely sealed and taped closed, so I didn’t expect any air to penetrate. The clothing bags were just more porous and breathable, so I didn’t want to chance it.
When I was done, I had conquered a project that would’ve taking me days and days of work in just a few hours. The cold fogger made it possible for me to clean the bins quickly, so that I could also get back to the task of moving even more quickly.