Most people have heard a few stories about mold, often stories about toxic mold making people sick. There are many types of mold so mold testing is the critical first step in any mold remediation process. Yesterday my flooded house was tested for mold using air sample and swab testing techniques. Before the mold team left, they told me the mold cleaning products I could use to wipe down or wash personal belongings.
Mold Testing Up Close
Before I share the mold cleaning products ordered last night, here are a few photos illustrating how mold testing is done (I'll share the reports as they become available).
Mold Cleaning Products to Keep You Healthy
Working around mold is risky. Here are the recommended products to protect yourself and anyone else working around mold.
First and most important, every article about mold remediation has recommended wearing the N95 mask. These masks are approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to filter contaminated air, regardless of cause. The four layers of the mask protect you whenever you need to guard your breathing against harmful particles. These N95 masks can be purchased on Amazon for less than $20 … for 20 masks.
In addition to the N95 masks, you should wear 6ml gloves to protect your skin in case you make contact with mold. The mold test team in addition to sharing these mold cleaning products with me, gave me a few to get started. The masks are great because one size fits all … but the XL gloves are big so I ordered medium size gloves (find your glove size here …). This box of 100 pairs of disposable gloves might seem over the top, but they're $15 on Amazon … so remember, it's better to be safe than sorry.
Homeowners with a small amount of mold limited to one room/area in their house, you're lucky. You certainly won't have to deal with an entire house like I'm facing. Instead you can close off the work area using zip walls shown here. While the plastic (also 6ml) should be disposed of after each use. The ZipWall starter kit contains four 10′ stainless steel, spring-loaded poles and two standard zippers which you can buy on Amazon.
Mold Cleaning Products that Kill the Mold
Now we're ready to start cleaning everything remaining in the house that was exposed to mold spores. Previously, things that had visible mold on it went out with the trash as soon as it was discovered. This included most of my shoes, hats, gloves and scarves, lots of throw pillows, the brand new rug in the family room … and more than I want to remember.
What's important to understand first is the difference between porous and non-porous materials.
- Non-porous materials – have a smooth, solid surface that cannot absorb liquids or gas. Glass, metals, hard plastics and varnished wood are examples of non-porous materials.
- Porous materials – have empty spaces or pores that allow external matter, like water, air and particles, to pass through and penetrate into objects. Examples of porous materials include paper, untreated wood, cardboard, sponge and fabric.
Non-porous materials can simply be wiped down after exposure to mold, because the mold is surface deep. Porous materials are more challenging because the mold spores penetrate into materials like drywall, leather, fabric and more. Some items can be washed using a mold cleaning product. Other items may be taken to the dry cleaners where the heat will kill the mold.
Here are the mold cleaning products recommended by my mold testing company, the StoneCrest Team in Central Florida. They have experience with thousands of mold issues so I trust their recommendations. Yes, there are many other approaches (here they are) but yikes, I washed my first load of blankets mixing in some personal laundry. When I found black spots on a new hand towel, it was time to wait for an expert opinion.
But wait, what about things impossible to wipe down and you can't toss into the washing machine? Again the mold team told me about a fogger when I asked them how we might clean these unusual home furnishings. The shoji screens on the left have several hundred wood slats that need cleaning. The Turkish pendants are hand carved and won't be easy to wipe down so …
They need to be cleaned using what's known as a mold control fogger. The idea is you spray the disinfectant into the air and allow it to settle on all surfaces where it will kill the mold. You can learn more about the process from Concrobium:
- Video on how to use the Concrobium Mold Fogger.
- Step-by-step instructions on how to use the fogger with mold cleaning products from Concrobium or EC3.
- Buy Concrobium's fogger on Amazon or rent one at Home Depot, as they cost more than $300.
Hope this information, including products recommended by my mold testing company, can help you fight your way through this nightmare … as that's what it is. Share your stories & ask questions below as we can all learn from each other.
PS Other articles I've written about mold, mold remediation and water remediation/restoration:
- Finding a Mold Remediation Company
- Mold Remediation Process: Steps & Sequence?
- … or follow my journey dealing with a flooded house, starting with Flooded House & What I'm Learning!