Many molds found indoors such as Stachybotrys chartarum, Aspergillus, and Cladosporium produce toxic secondary metabolites called mycotoxins that cause serious health complications when inhaled, ingested, and through skin (dermal) contact.
So when you clean or remediate for mold, you should also target invisible spores and mycotoxins that may be on the surfaces of your home.
When you remove mold during a mold remediation project, most of the spores and mycotoxins will be eliminated when you follow the proper safety protocols to dispose of any affected materials such as drywall, insulation, and carpet.
But there still may be cross-contamination in the immediate area or perhaps the entire home.
Even though the mold was removed, there are still cleaning procedures that will need to be done to ensure that any unseen hazards like mycotoxins are remediated from the property as well.
How do you know if you have mycotoxins?
You can perform mycotoxin testing to detect the presence of mycotoxin metabolites with a dust sample test kit and then send it to a certified lab. These tests for over a dozen different toxigenic molds using either the ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) detection method or with DNA via the EMMA test.
If you have current or recent mold contamination but have not addressed a whole house cleaning, then you can assume that there may be cross-contamination unseen to the naked eye. Mycotoxin testing may not be needed in this case and would be an unneeded expense.
The idea is simple.
To remove these hidden mycotoxins, you must assume they can be anywhere in your property so you will need to clean every inch of the area with mold contamination and possibly the entire home and any furniture and personal items as well.
Yes, this is a lot of work, but if you and your family are ill or very concerned about getting sick, it should be done to ensure all cross-contamination is eliminated.
The most effective method in the mold remediation industry is the wet and dry cloth method.
You simply use disposable wipes that you spray with your favorite non-toxic mold removal product and wipe down all surfaces in the interior of your home, such as your walls, floors, ceilings, and furniture.
There is no sure method as to how many times you can use each wipe before you carefully dispose of it in the garbage. A good rule of thumb is to use them for no more than 10-20 square feet each.
You clean these areas twice using a new wipe on the second go around to ensure the mycotoxins are removed.
You then follow up with a dry microfiber cloth to remove any moisture. These can be tossed away when you are done or you can wash them in hot water, detergent, borax, and some tea tree oil.
Please keep in mind, that as you walk around and clean, there may be spores released in the air, so it is always wise to have a good HEPA air purifier near you when you clean and move it around with you.
That’s pretty much it.
As you can see, it is simple in theory but can be very labor intensive when you might have an entire home to clean along with all the furniture and personal items. You can do this yourself or hire a professional mold company or cleaning company that you manage using these techniques to handle the task for you.
You can expect to pay anywhere from $2,000-$7,500 depending on the size of your property, the company, and the location of the world.
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.