Even though, I am a medical doctor with an ENT specialty, not an Indoor Environmental Professional, counseling my patients on mold avoidance and safe cleaning techniques to lessen their indoor mold load has become a necessity if I actually want them to get better long-term. I take my job as a doctor and surgeon very seriously and know that if a patient’s living conditions are not healthy, and if they are not breathing clean, mold-free air, no amount of treatment or surgical intervention can bring lasting and significant symptom improvement. For patients suffering with mycotoxicosis who require sinus irrigation surgery, even the smallest mold exposure during recovery can set them back and into a downward spiral of infection and disease. I have also witnessed profound clinical improvement in patients who embrace their “new, mold-avoidance normal” and regain their health and lives to the point where they no longer require surgery and go on to enjoy better health than ever before.
WHY SHOULD YOU CARE ABOUT INDOOR MOLD?
Mold is insidious and can gain entry to your body through your nose, mouth, and skin. It is a master antigen and exposure to molds in water-damaged buildings increases the risk for development of neural autoantibodies, peripheral neuropathy, and neurophysiologic abnormalities in exposed individuals. Additionally, when you are living in a moldy environment, you are inhaling, swallowing, touching and being exposed to mold and mycotoxins at a level that you cannot clear through your body’s natural detoxification processes; eventually, anyone will get sick in some way–the kicker is, that not everyone recognizes that their body is being affected. Some people never get pronounced symptoms they notice, even though they are being poisoned, because they can excrete the mycotoxins faster than others. All will get fatigue. Thus, it makes sense that using toxic cleaning products that impose a further burden on your body or create resistance for the environmental pathogens to become more insidious is NOT the answer. You must use safe, chemical-free products. DIY methods for minor mold issues and temporary living situations (many times until professional remediation or a move to a safe indoor environment can be accomplished) are needed to help patients in their efforts to embrace whole-body wellness.
GUIDANCE AND NONTOXIC CLEANING
What follows are the same guidance and cleaning methods I give my patients. I hope the information will also help you if you feel you are suffering from any mold-related health issues.
Before you begin, remember that mold is difficult even for professionals to completely remove. Using a single-pronged attack is seldom completely effective. This patented system is designed to address mold throughout a space–on surfaces and belongings where spores can settle, in the air where spores and mycotoxins gain entry through your nose, and on your clothing where mold can hitchhike inside or where spores can gain contact through your skin and close proximity to your nose. This system uses sprays, candles, cold-mist fogging, laundry additive, wipes, and air filtration/purification.
The products I recommend are a combination of:
- Mold Test Plates (See Test for Mold)
- EC3 Mold Solution Concentrate or EC3 Mold Spray
- EC3 Air Purification Candles
- HEPA Air Purifier (We recommend the IQ Air HealthPro Series and Blueair Classic and Health Protects Series.)
- Pump spray bottle (if you are using the EC3 Concentrate)
- EC3 Sanitizer or Electrostatic Fogger
- EC3 Laundry Additive
- EC3 Wipes
- Dehumidifiers may also be needed.
Understand that prior to cleaning, you should remove as much contaminated material as possible and undertake whatever demolition and fixing of water intrusion need to be done. Cleaning prior to those events will not bring significant results and will only address any mold very temporarily. Also, be sensible when removing contaminated items by securing them in heavy-duty plastic bags before moving them through other parts of your home. If the area is large, professional containment and remediation are advised. Microscopic spores can be scattered far and wide when air is circulated. Additionally, do not sit on furniture in other rooms while wearing your work clothes. Cross-contamination can occur by cleaning mold and then being in other parts of your home in your cleaning clothes. The EC3 Laundry Additive is wonderful for this purpose, and all clothing should be washed with it per bottle directions.
THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTOCOL
First FIND where the mold problem is by using the test plates. We advise using 1-2 test plates to test the air in each room. You want to use approximately 1 plate per 600 square feet for air testing, so if a room is large, you may need more than one plate. We also advise TAP testing either a rug/carpet or a large piece of furniture in each room. The more you can be detailed during your testing, the easier it will be to identify the main sources or locations of mold growth. The test plates come with detailed instructions.
Once you find your key locations of mold growth, you need to understand how the area is becoming damp enough to grow mold. Mold only needs 50% indoor humidity to grow. Thus, you may not have a leak or water intrusion, but just an indoor humidity problem. Whatever the moisture issue, it needs to be solved. You can immediately begin reducing the mold in the area – but it will not STAY gone until the underlying issue is repaired.
Use dehumidifiers to lower the indoor humidity or repair the water issue causing the mold growth. Remove and/or completely dry out any wet or damaged building materials or furnishings. If anything has visible mold growing on it, remove and discard it. It is not worth it for your health to attempt to clean belongings with visible mold growth.
Place a HEPA purifier filter in each room you spend 1 or more hours in each day. It is truly important to reduce the particle count in the air you breathe! HEPA filtration helps to remove mold spores and allergens from the air. Additionally, keep your filters changed per your purifier’s manufacturer’s recommendations. Dirty filters do not provide protection. You must maintain your machine so that it can do its job to help keep your breathing air safe.
Place an EC3 Candle in approximately every 600 sq ft of space where you spend 1 or more hours each day.
HOW TO USE EC3 CANDLES:
Place EC3 Air Purification Candles in each room you are going to spend 1 hour or more in each day. Burn candles continuously for 3 hours the first time you light them. This reduces the fungal load in the room and results in a more even burn. Then, burn the candles for a minimum of one hour every other day thereafter for best results. If you have severe symptoms, burn the candles as long as necessary to get relief. Recent lab results show the EC3 Candle reduces known spore counts from too numerous to count to 0 in 3 hours, and it removes mycotoxins that molds secrete! Make sure to place more candles in larger rooms. Each candle will last approximately 22 hours if burned as stated. Candles are ideal to use when traveling or to use in guest rooms that are seldom used prior to having guests over to freshen the air.
Spray mist the entire house with mixed EC3 Mold Concentrate or EC3 Mold Spray. Do this weekly or more often if mold counts are not going down. If the counts remain above the levels of 0-2 for moderate to severe symptoms scores, or 0-4 for slight symptoms, simply double the Environmental Treatment Protocol (using the spray, candles, and HEPA purification steps) until you achieve your results required for health.
HOW TO USE EC3 MOLD SOLUTION CONCENTRATE:
Using a garden sprayer, paint sprayer, pump spray mist bottle, or one of our EC3 Foggers, spray mist all surfaces including floors, walls, ceiling, clothes, shoes, or anything in your home around the mold contamination. We actually advise spraying everywhere and everything, because mold does not stay in one place, but migrates all over the home many times. Concentrate your efforts in or near the mold problem, though. Allow the spray to air-dry. It is safe for all materials, surfaces, fabrics, etc., and can be done as often as needed. EC3 can also be used to spray your car heating and air system. Like we stated before, if an item is covered with visible mold, it really is best to discard it.
Cold fogging is the optimal way of doing this “spraying” step. Fogging with the EC3 Sanitizer Fogger and EC3 Mold Solution Concentrate allows you to completely fill the air and cover the surfaces in every room with EC3 Mold Solution in a very short amount of time. The EC3 is safe for humans and pets, so you do not need to leave your home or wear protective gear while fogging. It gives your indoor spaces the largest “dose” of our mold and mycotoxin eliminating remedy possible.
ADDITIONAL TIPS FOR STEP 5:
We also advise thoroughly wiping everything down after spraying. You do not have to do this step, but remediators have found that the best results come from wiping every surface around mold contamination 3 times for best results. You can use a clean cloth or EC3 Wipes for additional cleaning power.
HEPA Vacuuming with a certified bagged HEPA vacuum is also helpful. Any dust removal or mitigation practices are helpful for mold. Mold needs organic material to use for food. When you remove as much dust as possible, you are removing both mold spores and the material that molds feed on. Without a food source, it is less likely that high indoor humidity could cause mold to take hold in your home.
Wash all of your clothing, sheets, and bedding with a mild, unscented detergent and EC3 Laundry Additive. The laundry additive is highly concentrated and contains the original EC3 formula proven to eliminate mold spores and mycotoxin with the added antimicrobial and odor-eliminating benefits of tea tree oil and tangerine oil. It is designed to add to the fabric softener or bleach reservoir of your washing machine. It is safe for all washable fabrics and will rinse over your clothing before its final spin cycle. It is important to use the laundry additive in every load to ensure that your washables are mold-free and STAY mold-free. Mold can definitely impart musty odors in clothing and the EC3 Laundry Additive addresses that part of the issue.
Never use fabric softener or perfumed/fragranced detergents. These additives usually contain toxins and any softener or fragrance deposits a film on your clothing that mold can stick to easily. Using scents or softeners makes mold become more deeply ingrained in your clothing, thus making them harder to effectively clean. It can also become almost impossible to remove musty smells from clothes that have been washed with softener or scents.
For fabrics with deep, ingrained odors or for things that have been in a moldy environment, use the DEEP CLEAN INSTRUCTIONS on the laundry additive bottle. These instructions will ensure that those items come clean and will be safe for you to use, wear, or be around while you are healing.
FINAL ADVICE ON DIY MOLD CLEANING:
This may sound extreme, but imagine that instead of using the word “MOLD”, you replace it with the word “LICE”. What would you do if instead of mold you had LICE in your home? What items would you discard (for example, fabric items that cannot be washed)? What items would you clean thoroughly ( for example, solid items like wood or metal)? Where would you put clothes that had been washed in EC3 Laundry Additive after you removed them from the dryer? Not back in the closet or drawer with the lice! Instead, you would remove all the items from the closet or drawer, clean both of these spaces, and place only items back in them that had been washed thoroughly, right? Well, try to treat this process as if you were dealing with lice. Try to think of how to control the spread and infestation. Be meticulous about how you handle and clean things. Doing it right and thoroughly the first time will make your life healthier and easier in the long run.
IF you are not improved by following the above steps, you can try DOUBLING THE PROTOCOL!
Double your use of the EC3 Candles and their burn time, and spray EC3 Mold Concentrate twice as often or fog twice as often. You can continue this increase of EC3 products until you get results. (Note: The EC3 Candle is the fastest way to get results, burn one or more continually until you FEEL the results.)
If you have severe environmental mold contamination (when you smell mold or see that the mold counts are always excessive even after cleaning and moisture mitigation) the home might be too toxic for you to recover in. Thus, in order to prevent severe illness, you must either move to a mold-free location or get a professional person to evaluate and address the cause of the problems properly. TRUST YOUR BODY. Your body and how you feel inside the space should be the most important barometer for your health. Even if you have done EVERYTHING and used professionals if you do not feel good, the home is not fixed yet and may require additional cleaning or for you to move to get better.