When everyone in your home is mold sensitive, like in our home, you quickly develop some effective DIY mold remediation steps for when someone brings something moldy into the home. We have also had instances when there was a suspected item or piece of furniture that seemed to be causing reactions. I ALWAYS remove and see if I can treat the item first, but I still have to fully remediate the room where it was placed, so that I can be sure the spores don’t spread further, or, worse yet, get into our HVAC system and go all over our home. For this purpose, I have created what I have termed my 10 DIY Mold Remediation Steps that I want to share with you today.
I also thought this holiday weekend would be a great time to post this, because many of you will be having house guests or might be staying in a hotel or with family or friends. Anytime others are coming into our homes and bringing their things or themselves and their clothing, or we have slept outside of our homes in a different environment and are returning home, the risk of contamination is there. This may sound extreme, but I assure you, it is VERY real and VERY serious when you are talking about mold with the mold-sensitive or immunocompromised.
You may ask, “How much can one mold-contaminated item actually affect my health?”
A LOT. If you need proof, I have a little story to share:
Only a few weeks ago, we brought a mattress into our home from a storage unit. The mattress had been wrapped in plastic and sealed. We thought it would be fine, because the storage unit was climate controlled and its air quality had never bothered me or my husband when we spent time there. Well, I don’t know how, but something got to the mattress before it was sealed or while it was in the unit, because, as soon as we got it home, it started to make us sick. It was pretty gradual, because we just brought the mattress inside and leaned it against a wall in our guest room, but whenever I went into the room to dust, vacuum or clean it, I would have instant sinus symptoms, a headache and severe fatigue for the rest of the day. My daughter also got the “mold malaise” that she gets when exposed—congestion, itchy eyes, irritability, and body aches. I actually later found out that she had been playing with her dolls in the guest room, which is why she was around the mattress and affected by it quite a bit.
The minute it dawned on me that the mattress must have mold, and be causing us the issues, I did a TAP test of the mattress with the EC3 Mold Test Plates. Then, I did a mold test of the air in the room with the EC3 plates. In the meantime, rather than leaving the mattress in our home any longer to marinate and make us ALL sick, my husband and I suited up in protective gear–masks, gloves, and disposable suits, encased the mattress in plastic again and got it out of our home ASAP.
Five days later, when my mold test plates had incubated for the prescribed time, here is what I found: The mattress TAP test confirmed my fears—18+ colonies or too numerous to count; and the air in the guest room cultured around 11 colonies. It was hard to see and count some of the dots on the plates. (Note: Each dot represents a mold colony.)
I was alarmed to say the least. We periodically check our air quality, and the last time I had tested this same room, I only cultured 3 colonies. (Note: Unfortunately, I do not have an air test of the room to post before the mattress to show you as a true control. Hindsight is 20-20, so I will try to do this next time.) The mattress had to be the culprit in that huge discrepancy. That was the only thing that had changed in that room from the first “clean” test to the second “Too Numerous to Count” results.
Moral of the story? Do NOT underestimate the importance of keeping mold-contaminated items out of your home. AND, if something moldy makes it into your home, it is imperative that you take the precautions needed to 1) get it out, and 2) clean specifically for mold in the areas where that item resided to prevent further contamination.
This is the part in my post where I tell you the information that you are reading for in the first place, so sorry about the delay. Here are my 10 DIY Mold Remediation Steps To Avert Disaster when I either know of a mold exposure, or a suspected exposure in my home:
HEPA Vacuum (I use an Oreck upright vacuum and an Oreck canister vacuum. Both have sealed HEPA filtration and filtered collection bags. The upright, I use for the floors and rugs. The canister, I use with the upholstery attachment for drapes, furniture, bedding and other soft surfaces.)
1 Gallon or more of distilled or purified water (This will be used to dilute the EC3 Mold Solution Concentrate per package instructions.)
Portable Cold Fogger (I use the Sanitizer by Curtis DynaFog. MicroBalance Health Products is now selling the foggers and the EC3 Mold Solution Concentrate in a package deal with free shipping. ) OR Gallon Sprayer (I cannot attest to the sprayer working as well. I dd my testing with the fogger.)
Portable Air Filtration Unit (I use the Molekule. The kind folks at the company were nice enough to send us one to use in our home. I will post about our experience soon.)
(Note: Depending on how sensitive you are, you need to take precautions by wearing a face mask, gloves, and other safety gear. I also bag and wash any clothes I wear to do this separately from my other laundry. HERE is my post on laundering items that have been exposed to mold.)
- Bag/Contain and remove the moldy item from your home immediately. It is important to contain whatever it is before bringing it into other parts of your home. Neglecting to do this will cause you more work in the end, because you will need to remediate more areas.
- As much as possible, close off the area where the item(s) was from the rest of the house. My husband and I also sealed the intake and fan vents off in the guest room. You don’t want to disturb the air too much, because airborne mold spores are difficult to contain and to fully eradicate. Spores that have settled on the floors, furnishings and elsewhere are easier to clean.
- Prepare the fogger or gallon sprayer with distilled water and EC3 Mold Solution Concentrate per package instructions.
- Bring the fogger/sprayer into the room, close it off and fog every nook and cranny. I literally walk the room, spraying everything, from the ceiling to the walls, from the floors to the tops of pictures and drapes.
- While the fog spray is drying, remove any linens, or washable items and bag them. You will take these items and wash them with a mild detergent and EC3 Laundry Additive in the rinse cycle, per package instructions. I like to fog BEFORE doing this, because the fog mist smoothers the mold spores. It helps prevent bringing them out of the space.
- Once the fog has dried, use your HEPA vacuum to vacuum any upholstered furniture, rugs, drapes, furnishings or soft surfaces in the room. Once finished, dispose of the vacuum bag in a sealed plastic bag and remove that from your home.
- Burn an EC3 Air Purification candle in the room continuously for the next 3-7 hours. Make sure to use the right fire precautions when doing this, in addition to setting the candle in its metal lid. Be vigilant and check on the candle often to prevent a fire. Do not leave the candle burning when you are not at home.
- Move a portable air filtration device into the room, like the Molekule to further eradicate dust, mold and allergens.
- Finally, use the EC3 Mold Screening Test Plates to test the air to make sure mold levels are safe before you open the room back up to the rest of your home.
- LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! If the test plates come back with safe mold levels, but you are still feeling terrible, call a professional. There may be something that you missed or a deeper problem. You will need someone trained to look deeper to help you figure things out. Also, make sure to inform your doctor or trusted medical advisor of your recent exposure. They will be able to properly guide you to the right products and self care to boost your immune system and health. Also, take a look at Sinusitiswellness.com for helpful advice and mold protocols.
This method does work for contained, single item exposures. I have the mold test results to prove it!
What are your tried and true cleaning for mold techniques? Please comment and share!