Many times when clients’ tests come back positive for mold growth, the next concern typically is “I think mold may be on my belongings. Can I get rid of the mold or do I have to throw my belongings away?”
The small porous stuff (such as clothing, stuffed animals, bedding, etc.) can easily be washed. You can use your choice of vinegar, bleach, Borax, tea tree oil, or whatever other cleaning agent. But the items need to be washed on the hottest setting possible and permissible. Then hang the items in the sun while still wet to help get rid of germs and odors and to fade any staining.
For small non-porous items (such as toys, dishes, the shower door, etc.), a little elbow grease, some hot water, and your preferred cleaning agent will do the trick. You may even place the item in the dishwasher (remember you can put larger items in by taking out the upper rack). Be sure to thoroughly dry the items with a well-absorbing towel, well-circulating air, or even in the sun.
As far as larger items go, there are a few different options. The first option is to break the item down to try to put items into the washing machine and use a little elbow grease where necessary. Another option is to hire a restoration company to clean the items. You may want to get valuable furniture reupholstered. And if the item is not worth the time or money to clean, simply replace it.
All in all, belongings can be salvaged with proper cleaning. It may take some time and patience, but mold doesn’t mean you need to throw everything away.
Heidi Aspedon, Customer Service Representative
You have decided to have your mold concerns diagnosed by a professional. In a sense you have decided to take your home to the doctor. You are expecting a complete diagnosis so that you know how to move forward in resolving your concerns. Usually, the complete diagnosis will include an investigation and testing.
A mold investigation will paint you a partial picture of what might be going on in your home, much like when you go for an office visit with your doctor. The doctor will tell you it appears that you might have strep throat, but you will need a strep test to confirm. The doctor will need to order the correct prescription based on the testing results. You would certainly want to be taking the correct medication in order to get well. The same applies to the recommendations your inspector will make as far as testing any visible mold like growth or the air in your home, based on his findings during the investigation. Your inspector will need to gather as much information as possible in order to advise you on the steps for remediation (your home’s prescription).
Sometimes mold testing is not necessary. Sometimes a strep throat test is not necessary. Sometimes an x-ray of your lungs is recommended to see if something else might be causing your sore throat. Sometimes air testing, swab testing, or wall-cavity testing is recommended and could be essential for a complete diagnosis and prescription.
If you were to have air samples taken without an inspection, you would find out if there were specific mold spores in the air you are breathing, but would not have a clue to what might be causing them or where they could be coming from. With the inspection, your consultant could help pinpoint the problem area by possibly finding wet building materials, a plumbing leak, a roof leak, etc. If you were to just have an inspection and did not have any of the recommended tests performed, you would find out that you might have a plumbing leak or wet materials, but would have no clue if there was any hidden mold somewhere or in the air you are breathing. You would have a partial picture. You might be taking the wrong steps to remedy the situation, like taking a prescription for a virus when you have an infection.
A complete diagnosis of your mold concerns is essential in order to paint you a 3-D picture of what may be going on in your home. The mold inspection will be to find any issues that are conducive to mold growth, such as wet materials, moisture, and humidity, which can pinpoint possible sources. The samples or tests will tell us and you what types of molds are present and their concentration. Your inspector and project manager will review the findings, photographs, conclusions, and the lab results. They will put all of this together in your report and will then let you know what your next steps should be to begin the healing process of your home.
by Tina Yaeger
How do I stop mold before it starts? This is a question that is on the mind of many people and the answer is fairly simple. Find the moisture, dry it out, and fix the leak. The faster these things are accomplished the better. Some molds only need 48 hours to begin growing so timing is critical.
Mold essentially needs two things to grow: moisture and a food source. The moisture comes in many forms and can include plumbing leaks, roof leaks, toilet overflows, and a million other ways that we won’t list here. However, just know that anywhere there is moisture, there is a potential for mold growth. That brings us to the second part of the equation, food. Mold is not particular when it comes to what it considers food. Mold will eat just about anything. That is its job after all. If we didn’t have mold to break down organic matter we would all be covered with 100’s of feet of leaves and other stuff. But I digress. Mold has its place but your house isn’t one of them.
So if you take either part of the equation away, you take away it’s ability to keep growing. Many people believe that if you take away it’s moisture source that you actually kill the mold. However, this is not the way it really works. Removing the moisture actually puts mold into a dormant state and will stop the growth, but it does not kill the mold. The mold is still present and will remain there until conditions become favorable for new growth. Once a new water source is found, it will pick up right where it left off and continue growing. After all, mold spores essentially have infinitive viability and will be around long after you and I have turned to dust.
by Rick Weir