There are many different opinions when it comes to cleaning your items, such as furniture and clothing, after mold remediation is completed or when you move from a mold-contaminated property.
Some professionals recommend throwing all items in the trash and some recommend a special cleaning process or a combination of both.
What I have found throughout my career is that each situation is somewhat different and normally a combination of approaches works best.
Also, if you have these items right next to a serious mold colony but you cannot see mold growth and you have health issues, it still may be best to throw them out to avoid any possible problems down the road.
If you do not see mold growing, some professionals still recommend throwing these items out, and this is where I disagree. The reason is that mold spores are always active in the environment and will be landing on furniture.
I know this because as a professional mold inspector, I have tested hundreds of homes over the years and I have never had one test come back from the labs with no mold found indoors.
And it doesn’t matter if the furniture is new or cleaned.
These spores will always land on the fabric or other surfaces in your home as they will on your new clothing and flooring, etc.
That is why I recommend that you clean all furnishings with a HEPA-certified vacuum. This can be done indoors or outdoors. I recommend you clean them with an air purifier turned on high right next to you as you vacuum and clean.
Once you are done vacuuming, you can then fog and wipe them down with wet wipes consisting of 1.5% hydrogen peroxide to help capture any mycotoxins. You can use this solution on soft fabrics and also hard furnishings.
For clothes, you can use regular detergent or one without harsh chemicals mixed with one cup of borax (sodium borate) and 10-15 drops of tea tree oil or lavender essential oil for a completely natural cleaning solution.
For whites, you can add one cup of baking soda and let sit for 15 minutes to soak before you begin the wash cycle.
As I mentioned, some people take it to the extreme where everything should be thrown out or that all cleaning should be done outside and then carefully reintroduce your stuff indoors.
This makes no sense to me because there is always mold outside and spores indoors at all times. You would have to clean these items in a plastic bubble with special filters or a 100% controlled hospital or lab-type environment and then move them in a controlled evenvormnet so no mold spores land on these items.
Even if you did this, still, when you remove these items out of these protections, mold spores will land on the surface almost immediately, making all that extra work unnecessary.
But if you do not agree with me or have extreme anxiety issues and live in constant fear of mold, it may be best to throw all your items in the trash because you may never feel safe in your own home.
However, I know many people who have done this and they are still not well, but they are more broke as a result.
In the end, the mold safety protocols you follow and the choices you make are your own.
I’m just sharing with you my experiences and expertise over the last decade to help you make the best decisions to not only keep you and your family safe, but also save you time and money.
Moe Bedard is the founder of Mold Safe Inspections and manager at Mold Safe Solutions. A full-service Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) company specializing in property water damage, mold inspections, consultations, and mold remediation.
If you need help with a project, please call 760-818-6830.