The Science and Testing Behind My Favorite Mold Products
I am excited about this post. Today, I am finally going to take a deep, technical and scientific dive into your questions about the EC3 Products that I love so much and write about frequently on this blog. I hope to answer questions, like,
Why do I use the EC3 Products?
Do they really work?
Is there actual science and testing behind the ingredients in the products?
Has a lab tested the products and their efficacy against mold and mycotoxins?
What other products, if any, do I use and recommend for mold?
What products do I stay away from?
Lots of questions, I know. I do intend to answer each one, so that you can see why I have decided to place such trust in one line of products.
You see, even though I have recommended the EC3 Products from the beginning, I am not sure if I have ever clearly stated my personal reasons for deciding to use them in our home for mold remediation, cleaning for mold, and mold maintenance. I also don’t know if I have ever really gotten into the nitty gritty of how the EC3 Products actually work or why the ingredients contained in the products are so effective against mold. It seems like I should’ve addressed this a long time ago, especially when there are so many other competitor products in this “mold space,” and I don’t write about them. I realize the glaring omission, and want to address that also.
Well, truth be told, I took a while to figure out my cleaning for mold “best practices” and to truly understand why some products worked better than others myself. When I started this journey, I was trusting my doctor and the products he recommended for us, because I needed someone to just TELL me what to do and what to use for remediating our home. At the time, all I cared about was getting better and making our home safe and habitable. The EC3 Products and hydrogen peroxide were recommended above others, so that’s what we used. (Note: Our extreme chemical sensitivities and reactions to most household cleaning agents at the time also contributed to our decision.)
The EC3 Products definitely worked (our remediation company was testing as we went) and using them did not contribute to my symptoms, create other or new symptoms, or increase toxicity in my home or body—all major plus points. Of course, I learned this over time from first continuing to use them in conjunction with other products that were recommended by our professional remediator, and then from switching completely over to the EC3 Products after I saw how much better they worked and how much better my body responded to them.
Later, I even began experimenting with the EC3 Products to create mold-focused solutions for myself and my family that we needed, but that I couldn’t find in stores. To date, I have used the EC3 Laundry Additive, EC3 Mold Solution Concentrate, and the CitriDrops Dietary Supplement to make products and formulations for everything from Mold Wipes, to Antifungal Cream, to Antifungal Foot/Body Wash, to Fruit and Vegetable Rinses, to a Dishwasher Rinse—the list goes on. (For more of my “homemade products,” just check out the Homemade Products section of the blog.)
Each product that I have made is successful against mold, but gentle on our still-healing and very sensitive bodies. I keep trying store-bought products for rivals to the ones I make, but haven’t found a single one that does a better, or even equal job.
I know that the record might have just skipped a bit, because it may seem insane that I wanted to try to use a laundry additive, a dietary supplement, and a cleaning product in creams, washes, and other potions. I get that. I was driven to try, though, because 1) all of the ingredients contained in the products are potent, scientifically-proven antifungals, antimicrobials, and anti-bacterials and 2) all of the ingredients are non-toxic, made of naturally-derived, plant-based constituents, and are not harmful or irritating to the skin or lungs. I don’t know if you know this, but there are very few other mold-specific products on the market that the same can be said for.
So, how in the world can products that are proven to eliminate mold and mycotoxins also be so safe to use?
First, let me just say that I haven’t been intentionally keeping the answers to myself. I have contemplated writing about the actual “mechanism” behind the EC3 products and why they work many times. Previously, I talked myself out of it and shied away from writing anything that seemed sales-y or gimmicky for fear that I would come off as someone merely pitching products. I don’t want this to be that kind of blog. My intention is still and will always be to provide clear, accurate information on all things within the realms of mold and environmental illness. I want you to decide to use products because you understand what they are for, how they work, and because they meet your needs. Most of all, though, I want you to decide to use products because they work.
Then, one of you wrote to me to specially ask about science and proof that the EC3 Products work, so I decided to write this post. I appreciate and understand the skepticism and scrutiny—reminds me of myself, actually. This reader wanted to know all of the information and science behind various product recommendations BEFORE deciding what he is going to use to remediate his possessions after a major mold exposure. In other words, while he likes the information on my blog, and while it seems legit, all I share is anecdotal information and personal stories on using the products. I don’t actually include lab testing and explanations that back those stories up.
Here is a condensed version of his email, so that you know what I mean:
Your story and battle with mold toxicity are very encouraging and your resources are very informative!
I have a few questions regarding mold cleaning. If you’re able to answer these, it would be extremely helpful!
So, mold was recently found and remediated in my house, but I’ve decided to move out just to be safe. I’m currently trying to determine the best product(s) and methods for cleaning items (to kill mycotoxins) that have been exposed to mold (no visible mold present). I’ve researched dozens of websites and sources that claim everything from ammonia, vinegar, and Borax to hydrogen peroxide and Micro Balance EC3 products are the only substances capable of eliminating mycotoxins. The mold toxicity specialist I’m working with to detox the mycotoxins found in my body says that only hydrogen peroxide can successfully kill mycotoxins.
I understand you recommend EC3 products, and I’ve called Micro Balance, asking several questions about their products. This was helpful, but I’m still uncertain what to use given the number of claims and options available. Do you have any suggestions on how to move forward?
Do you know how citrus seed extracts (the main ingredients in EC3 products) biologically kill mycotoxins?
Once again, thank you for your detailed blog posts and mold toxicity information!
Below is my answer, complete with some independent lab testing on the EC3 Products, and a little history and science behind citrus seed extracts being used to treat molds, fungi, and mycotoxins and prevent further growth or proliferation on foods, items, and, more recently in indoor environments.
Thank you for writing and for all of your questions. They are good ones. I will be as concise as possible, but, as you know, you are asking some difficult questions that require lengthy answers, so that won’t be easy.
Let’s begin by acknowledging the obvious: There are so many products out there and so many “snake oil salesmen” as they say, when it comes to mold remediation products. You never can be sure that what you are getting is legit and does what it promises. That being said, here is where I stand personally on some of the products you listed for “killing mold and eliminating mycotoxins.” (Note: I am not a scientist or a doctor, so please take this information as advice from a friend who has been there.)
Ammonia—no. It has been shown to work, but is incredibly toxic and produces fumes that are caustic. Many products also react with it, creating fumes or chemical reactions that are dangerous to your health. Accidentally combining ammonia with bleach, which can happen, can even be fatal. I do not and will not use it on my things or in my home. Also, as I understand it, from pouring over the testing and articles on ammonia and mold, ammonia cannot penetrate porous surface and will not kill the roots or hyphae that molds produce. Thus, it could only really be used for surface cleaning anyway, and cannot make an unsafe indoor environment or things, like clothing that have been contaminated by mold healthy again.
Vinegar—I am a fan, but only when used in conjunction with other products. Vinegar has been shown to kill about 80-85% of “household” molds, like what you see on your shower tile. This is fine for everyday maintenance, as it is also antibacterial, but it won’t do the trick when we are talking about mycotoxin-producing molds. Thus, it is great to use to cut dirt and grime and on countertops and glass for general cleaning, but it is not great when you are talking about mold remediation. I do use it in my mold wipes as a preservative and it can be a good added antimicrobial when combined with one of the EC3 Products. For example, if you want to combine it in a spray bottle with your EC3 Mold Solution Concentrate to clean your countertops, or your shower, great!
Hydrogen Peroxide—I am a fan. It is an oxidizing agent, which means it works against fungus and bacteria at the cellular level. It literally penetrates the mold and destroys it. Since it is comprised of 2 hydrogen and 2 oxygen atoms, when it comes into contact with a fungus or other organic material, the chemical’s 2 oxygen atoms attach to it and oxidize or burn it. It also has the ability to “bleach” mold stains, if used in higher concentrations, because as it oxidizes, it penetrates and lifts the fungus from the material or surface—which is why I prefer to use it in the bathroom and for deep cleaning in my home. It also penetrates fabrics well, but can bleach some fabrics, so use with caution. It can be harsh on some porous surfaces, so it cannot be used on everything. It has been proven in lab testing that hydrogen peroxide can be successfully used to destroy mycotoxins in foods. (Note: Reference Pub Med for many articles relating to hydrogen peroxide and food mycotoxin treatment. Most, if not all actual lab testing of agents to destroy mycotoxins and to deter fungal growth have been done on food, not on objects contaminated by mold and indoor environments. Of the products that have been tested, hydrogen peroxide does perform well, but how well depends upon the thoroughness with which things were cleaned with it.) I also like fogging, but will not use peroxide as my fogging agent, because I don’t like covering all of our things with a mist of peroxide for fear of damage, and I don’t like inhaling it at high concentrations.
Borax: I like it too. It works well in laundry applications with the EC3 Laundry Additive. I find that it is even more effective in eliminating odors that EC3 alone. I think it is the neutralizing effect it has on the oil in your skin that gets in your clothes. I add one cup of Borax and about 6 ounces of EC3 Laundry Additive to each load. I allow the clothes to soak for about 10 minutes to an hour, and then I finish the wash cycle as normal. Works like a charm.
EC3 Products-First, the independent lab testing done on the EC3 Products demonstrates that their products do work. In addition, I prefer to use them over anything else, because they work against the mold and mycotoxins, but not against my health. They were created by a doctor for very sick and compromised mold patients—in other words, those of us in unique, dire, health situations. I have also done my own testing (just search my blog for many examples) using their products and have found that they work in every instance I tried.
This has been the case for me on things from clothing to furnishings to hard surfaces to fogging the air. I don’t know their exact blends, (proprietary information) but the products use combinations of citrus seed extracts, (proven natural antifungals, antimicrobials, and antivirals) as their main ingredients. The science behind using those particular extracts is lots more complicated than this, but they were discovered, because those extracts deterred fungal growth on plants and foods. Their components were also found to be alternative bio preservatives, useful in limiting or preventing the development of harmful fungi and mycotoxins in food, as additives, and as surface protection to prevent things like wheat from picking up airborne fungal spores and molding during storage. Citrus seed extracts were also found to control the growth of food-borne fungi and to prevent mycotoxin biosynthesis. When mycotoxin biosynthesis is halted, molds become inert and much less of a health threat. If you are thinking that this isn’t the same as the “unseen mold spores” you are dealing with, the mycotoxins studied and tested for with this analysis included species of genera Penicillium, Aspergillus, Cladosporium, Geotrichum, Mucor, Sporotrichum, Trichoderma—some common “water-damaged” home molds.
This information spurred testing of citrus seed extracts as possible solutions for the treatment of indoor molds and mycotoxins. Prior, bleach was the common solution, and as I am sure you know, it is not a good one. (HERE is a link to my post on why I don’t recommend bleach for cleaning mold.) Anyway, the exact mechanism by which the extracts work assumes that the extract components act on the functionality and the structure of the fungal cell membrane. Low concentrations of citrus extracts, when applied to the tested molds resulted in changes of the cell structure, inhibiting respiration and changing the permeability of the cell membrane, whereas high concentrations lead to severe membrane damage, loss of homeostasis and cell death. Science also shows that the fungitoxic effects of citrus seed extracts is a consequence of hydrogen bonds forming between hydroxyl groups of phenolic compounds and active sites of cellular enzymes. The active components cause loss of integrity of the cell wall, and thus the loss of cytoplasmic constituents from the mold hyphae. This is important, because when the hyphae are damaged, the mold cannot take root, spread, or reproduce.
As to not bore you with more of this minutia, it is important that you know the biggest reason why I trust the EC3 products—I have seen the independent lab testing results. RealTime Labs (independent lab) tested the EC3 Mold Solution Concentrate (this is similar, but not the same mix as the EC3 Laundry Additive—the laundry additive also contains tangerine oil and tea tree oil, which I will go into in a minute) and the EC3 Purification Candles in controlled situations against mold and mycotoxins. Their study found that mycotoxins present in dust particles were no longer detected after the particles were exposed to EC3 Mold Solution Concentrate. This was as long as the concentration of EC3 did not go below a 1:40 ratio of EC3 Mold Solution Concentrate to distilled water. (Note: The instructions on the bottle will guide you for proper dilution, so that this won’t be a problem.) The EC3 Candles whose mechanism is to aerosolize the citrus extracts into the air as they burn, were found to decrease known concentrations of mycotoxins in the air at 500 and 1000 parts per billion by 90% in 3 hours burn time. Mycotoxins in the 250 parts per billion range were completely eliminated in 3 hours. Pretty amazing evidence of efficacy, in my opinion. These results are also promising evidence for the case for cold fogging, as fogging also aerosolizes EC3 Mold Solution Concentrate particles and disperses them into the air or all over contents needing mold and mycotoxin remediation. My plate testing of indoor spaces before and after cold fogging definitely indicates that the product works almost immediately with this application.
Even though the EC3 Laundry Additive was not officially tested in this analysis, it contains almost the same formulation as the EC3 Mold Solution Concentrate, with the additions of tangerine and tea tree oils. The International Journal of Environmental and Public Health notes, “Tea tree oil demonstrated the greatest inhibitory effect on the growth of fungi when applied in either a liquid or vapor form.” This, to me, speaks to its ability to eliminate molds and mycotoxins at the same or heightened levels from clothing.
All that being said, as for how to proceed, you should choose which products make sense for you. Then, I would start to sort out what is worth remediating and keeping and what you can let go of. I have a post on staging an area and remediating belongings that you might find helpful HERE.
My advice on the blog and to you personally is always to see and experiment for yourself. Contain and treat the things that you can’t part with. Use the EC3 Mold Screening Test Plates or other inexpensive mold test plates to test the items before and after treatment. You will soon get into a rhythm and will figure out what product works best, what can be successfully treated, and what is best to throw away for the sake of your health.
I hope this information is helpful and leads you in the right direction. I wish you the best and hope you get all of this behind you soon.
What do you think? Does the lab testing and science enlighten or confuse you more? Do you have any questions about what products I use and why? Comment here or write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will always try to answer you openly and honestly.