Do We Really Have to Leave and Get Rid of EVERYTHING?
Mold cross contamination when you have to leave or remediate your home is a huge concern—and, if it is not, it should be. The stressful topic can begin with a large cross-contamination question, like if we have mold, does that also mean that all of our possessions have mold too? And, can scale down to more focused questions: Is my car also contaminated since I drove it while living in the moldy home? Is a mattress contaminated if it wasn’t in the same room in my house as the mold? Can some things be cleaned and taken with us immediately? Can one contaminated object infect my whole home? As you can see, the line of questioning, scrutiny, and intricacies of cross contamination can be totally endless and totally overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be, though. The matter of cross contamination can actually be broken down quite scientifically and methodically to help you with the whole ordeal.
To begin, I think it can benefit anyone dealing with mold to look at the cross-contamination issue from a macro-perspective and to understand how mold, mold spores, fragments and mycotoxins (gases emitted by some mold species) actually spread and contaminate an indoor space in the first place. With that knowledge, you can better approach dealing with your possessions and deciding which things to try to save or to take with you. There will always be unique situations or specifics that don’t fit this guide, but for the most part, it should help just about anyone dealing with a mold problem.
When the Mold Issue Is Small
Before I get into the nitty-gritty, I want to acknowledge that not every situation requires drastic action. There are many instances when a mold issue is confined and small. In these cases, simply containing, fixing and remediating the mold problem, and then washing, wiping down, or getting rid of items close to the source is enough. Also, if your immune system is robust and the mold hasn’t affected your health, you may be able to tolerate cleaned possessions better than others would. But, if you are ill, your family members are ill, and you have had to flee a moldy home, you should take the utmost caution in regards to your possessions and cross contamination.
What is Cross Contamination and Why Is It Such a Problem With Mold?
Cross-contamination is the process by which bacteria or other microorganisms are unintentionally transferred from one substance or object to another, with harmful effect. It is an issue in a “sick” indoor space, because mold spores, mycotoxins and the other pathogenic microbes in a water-damaged environment spread by way of central HVAC systems, disturbance, and contact to all surfaces and materials. Porous materials are especially vulnerable to mold. This is because the toxins produced by molds are basically free radicals. They have the ability to bind to fabrics and to release spores and additional mycotoxins over time. The finer spores and particles released by molds can permeate porous surfaces and are not easy to remove.