Mold Clean Up Tip: DON’T Take Anything With You

In light of the flooding taking place around the country we want to discuss a topic that comes up frequently after that event.

We regularly hear from people who have been forced from a flooded home, to what they believe is a clean environment. They are bewildered as to why their fungus-related symptoms persist.

The first thing that I ask these folks is, ‘Did you take anything from the old house to the new one?’ The answer is almost always yes. Then I ask them if they have cleaned those items with an antifungal agent and the answer is almost always no. What folks don’t realize is that these items have likely become mold machines and are contaminating their new environment. Rugs, clothing, furniture, bedding, curtains, books, pillows, and even the back of artwork can harbor mold spores easily.

What you must understand is that mold grows exponentially under the right conditions, which are:

  • humidity above 50%,
  • having a fuel source, and
  • being out of direct sunlight.

As the fungus grows, spores are released into the air that can then settle in every nook and cranny in your home. Often you can neither see nor smell these spores. That means if you take things from a contaminated home like clothing, furniture, or even books to a clean environment you are bringing the live fungus with you. This is important, so don’t miss this: Since those items have acclimated to an environment that promotes mold growth they will continue to have the same growth attributes until they are properly cleaned. And if they are highly contaminated the items may not be salvageable whatsoever. You can use mold screening test plates to ‘tap’ test items you are planning to move with you.

You have to ask yourself a question. Is your health worth whatever ‘things’ you are thinking about bringing with you?

We understand that for most folks it is impractical to replace everything you own to escape a mold problem. We have some tips and tools to help you decontaminate your belongings.

1. At the very least you should wash your clothing with EC3 Laundry Additive. If you have a front loading washing machine, EC3 Laundry Additive will also help prevent the mold problem these units are known for. In addition, we recommend treating the seals with EC3 Mold Solution Concentrate on a regular basis since the Laundry Additive does not reach the exterior portions of the seals during a normal wash cycle. And yes, it is High Efficiency (HE) compatible as well.

2. For all of your larger, hard and soft surface items, you can use EC3 Mold Spray to eliminate mold spores. You should make sure these items are completely dry before putting them away. A dehumidifier can be very helpful in this process. By putting one in the room with the drying items you can reduce their moisture content to below 50% which inhibits any new mold growth.

3. Finally, tap testing of items with a mold screening test plate is a great way to make sure that your personal effects do not continue to be a problem. It is also a very good idea to conduct an air mold load test BEFORE YOU MOVE IN, and even before you commit to a new lease or purchase, to make sure that there is not an unseen mold problem in your new environment. Ensure that that musty, stale air smell is not in fact an indication of a mold problem or that the odor of fresh paint, or fresh cookies (as often used by Realtors or Leasing Agents) is not masking an underlying problem.

Remember, mold has the power to contaminate everything you own and the only way to regain your health from mold related disease is to remove it from your body and your environment. That is why the best course of action when moving into a clean environment is to leave everything behind until it can be properly cleaned.

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