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Mold Expert Phillip Fry Recommends 25 Steps for Effective Toxic Mold Removal, Remediation, and Abatement

Just four words neatly summarize what has to be done in effective and safe mold removal, mold remediation, mold mitigation, and mold abatement: CONTAIN, KILL, REMOVE, and PROTECT.


(1) CONTAIN the mold from spreading into uncontaminated areas;

(2) KILL the mold;

(3) REMOVE the dead mold; and

(4) PROTECT the cleaned out area against future mold infestations.


Whether you plan on doing your own mold removal and remediation, or hiring a Certified Mold Contractor or Certified Mold Remediator, follow these twenty-five steps to completely and safely remove mold problems, contamination, and infestation from your home, condominium, rental apartments, office, warehouse, retail store or other real estate building.  Where relevant, mold testing and mold remediation suggestions from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are included below.


1.  Learn the techniques and procedures recommended for safe and successful toxic mold inspection, testing, and remediation---whether your prefer do-it-yourself or to hire a Certified Mold Remediator (CMR). How? Read mold remediation self-help books and internet mold advice websites, plus get professional guidance. Visit the website Bleach Mold Myth. Read the up-to-date, in depth ebook Do-It-BEST-Yourself Mold Prevention, Inspection, Testing, and Remediation [delivered within 24 hours by email attachments to you], plus learn how to make your own, low-cost, easy-to-make homemade fungicides and antimicrobial coatings [from readily available, non-bleach household products and other items readily available in your community] in our special report Home Mold Remedy Recipes or boric acid formula.  If you are concerned about mold health problems, plus want to learn of all available mold medical diagnostic and treatment procedures, please read our new Mold Health Guide [ebook]. If you need information about prosecuting or defending a mold legal claim, read Mold Legal Guide [ebook]. 


2. Locate and fix all sources of mold-causing water intrusion such as recurring flooding, plumbing leaks, leaky roofs or siding, blocked air-conditioning condensation drain lines, and high indoor humidity [e.g., above 50 to 60%].  Follow the dozens of water-intrusion prevention and remediation suggestions contained in the in-depth ebook Do-It-BEST-Yourself Mold Prevention, Inspection, Testing, and Remediation, available at our online mold products catalog.


3. Inspect and mold test inside, above, and below each water-penetrated ceiling, wall, and floor with a fiber optics inspection device, a hidden moisture meter, do-it-yourself mold test kits from a large hardware or home improvement store, or a mold inspection by a Certified Mold Inspector [CMI], and by cutting small core dry wall samples. Remove and look in the middle and back of each core for visible mold growth. You can also cut off thin veneer moldy slices from each core sampling, and then insert each veneer slice into a do it yourself mold test kit to watch for mold growth over a 7 day time period. More valuable to you in mold insights, would be to put each sample into a separate ziplock bag properly labeled with property address, precise testing location at that address, date of testing, name of tester [you probably], and your full contact info, and then to mail your collected samples to a mold analysis laboratory. For low-cost mold testing, use inexpensive Scotch®Tape to do lift tape mold sampling and/or do bulk physical sampling [collect physical pieces of moldy building materials or other items], and then send the tape samples or bulk samples to the a mold analysis lab.


4. Find and locate all toxic mold infestations (visible and hidden) in the entire home or building by thorough, all-around mold inspection and mold testing (with mold laboratory analysis and mold species identification of collected mold samples). "You may suspect hidden mold if a building smells moldy, but you cannot see the source, or if you know there has been water damage and residents are reporting health problems. Mold may be hidden in places such as the back side of dry wall, wallpaper, or paneling, the top side of ceiling tiles, the underside of carpets and pads, etc. Other possible locations of hidden mold include areas inside walls around pipes (with leaking or condensing pipes), the surface of walls behind furniture (where condensation forms), inside ductwork, and in roof materials above ceiling tiles (due to roof leaks or insufficient insulation)," warns the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.


°    For all  building locations wherein you see visible mold, use the clear Scotch tape lift sampling method that is explained in the mold test kit instructions section, or scrape visible mold particles into a mold test kit available from a large hardware, home improvement, or safety store.

°   Conduct a mold control test using a do-it-yourself mold test kits [available at a large hardware, home improvement, or safety store] outside your home or building with the test kit being at least five feet out from any roof or porch overhang. You need this outdoor control test for comparison of results from your indoor mold testing.

°   Use a fiber optics inspection device, a hidden moisture meter, and internal wall and ceiling cavity mold testing to search for hidden mold growth.


5. Test the outward airflow from each heating/cooling duct register for elevated levels of airborne mold spores. If there is a serious toxic mold infestation anywhere in a building, airborne mold spores from such mold locations will usually enter and contaminate the heating/cooling equipment and ducts, as well as the rest of the building. Use do it yourself mold test kits to collect possible mold spores in the outward air flow from each register with the system running on fan ventilation.


6. Replace mold-infested heating/cooling equipment and ducts if the owner can afford to do so. Otherwise, do repeated mold spraying with a mold fogging machine and a mold home remedy recipe or boric acid formula into the return air duct while the system is running on fan ventilation to deliver the fungicide to internal surfaces.

Air conditioning-heating equipment and duct mold problems. When humid air passes over chilled cooling coils, water condenses and drips through the coils into a collection pan, from which it continuously drains. Problems with these systems may occur when this water collects and becomes stagnant either on the coils or in the drip pan. When standing water is present, a biofilm will develop. This biofilm is composed of bacteria and fungi that are embedded in a slimy matrix. Other organisms such as amoebae and algae may also occupy this comfortable growth site, feeding off the accumulated organic material. Learn how to deal with this important problem at Cooling Coil. In addition, it is common for the condensation line from the cooling equipment to become clogged, backing up water into the air conditioning unit and then, from there, into the house or building.


If there is a serious mold problem anywhere in a home or other building, airborne mold spores from those points of mold contamination will enter into the heating/cooling ducts and/or equipment to mold contaminate both, and thus the entire building. Of course, the opposite is also true: if there is mold infestation growing inside the heating/cooling ducts and/or equipment, the heating/cooling system will efficiently spread airborne mold spores through out the entire home or building through air distribution of the running system. In any home or building with mold infestation, you need to mold test the outward air flow from each heating/cooling duct register for the possible presence of elevated levels of airborne mold spores in comparison with your outdoor mold control test. Use either a Certified Mold Inspector or do-it-yourself mold test kits from a large hardware or home improvement store..


When doing mold remediation of a house or building, the heating/cooling mold problems should be fixed first, and then you can seal tightly with plastic sheeting all inward and outward duct registers. Don't run the system until the rest of the home has been effectively mold remediated and the building has passed mold clearance tests done by an independent Certified Mold Inspector not involved in the mold remediation work, or by your use of do-it-yourself mold test kits.


If you fog a fungicide into the return air duct while the system is running on fan ventilation, you can get substantial amounts of fungicide delivered throughout the system. While spraying or fogging a mold fungicide [spraying step 1] and subsequently a Mold Home Remedy Recipe or boric acid formula [spraying/fogging step 2] inside the heating/cooling ducts and equipment, no one [except the protected applicator] should be in the home or building during the spraying or fogging application. The person doing the spraying or fogging application needs to wear proper personal protective gear, as explained at point 13 below. 


7.  If any residents or workers are experiencing any possible toxic mold health symptoms, or if there is a strong smell of mold, or if there are visible signs of major mold growth anywhere in the building, or if the building tests positive for elevated levels of airborne mold spores, the occupants should move temporarily to a mold-safe place until after successful mold remediation and clearance testing.


8. Occupants moving out should not take any clothing, personal possessions, furnishings, furniture, or equipment until after such items have been effectively mold decontaminated outdoors [or in a clean room built from plastic sheeting] to avoid mold cross contamination of the temporary living or working quarters.


9. Do not paint over mold problems. Mold loves to eat paint as a snack food. Don’t expect to kill mold successfully by using paint containing a mildicide [too mild to kill existing toxic mold infestation] or with a paint primer sold to hide water damage stains. Do not rely on Kilz to kill mold or anything---it does not kill mold, and the product is NOT an EPA-registered fungicide. Kilz is a good product to hide or camouflage defects like water damage stains prior to painting over problem areas.


10. Before beginning to work in the mold-afflicted areas, contain the moldy work area (and thus contain the toxic mold spores that will be released into the air by opening up mold-contaminated areas) by using wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling plastic sheeting as containment walls. How to make effective mold containment walls, including a mold-secure entry way into the mold containment area, is explained in detail in the ebook Do-It-Best-Yourself Mold Prevention, Inspection, Testing, and Remediation. Use 6 mill thick, clear plastic sheeting that you can buy at a hardware store or home improvement center. A photograph of a mold containment wall in use is provided at the bottom of this page.


11. After the installation of air tight mold containment walls, dry the work area [especially if still wet from flooding or a now fixed water leak or roof leak] with one or more large dehumidifiers or an industrial size dehumidifier. Improper fan drying can spread mold spores to cross contaminate an entire building and its heating/cooling system.


12. Inside the mold containment area, use a large fan in the window to exhaust air directly outside on a continuous basis to expel airborne mold spores and remediation-caused dust---or better yet, use an industrial hepa filter to filter out mold, with a flexible hose directly venting the exhaust air flow to the outdoors. You need to exhaust more air to the outside than is entering the containment area to create negative air pressure. (You know you have negative air pressure when the plastic containment sheets are being sucked inward toward the work area rather than bulging outward away from the work area.). A photograph of a mold containment wall in use with negative air pressure is provided at the bottom of this page.


13. While working inside the mold containment area, always wear effective protective gear such as protective biohazard suit. [$10 at safety stores] or painter's coveralls and booties or a long sleeve shirt and pants; gloves; and  a one piece, full face breathing respirator mask using an organic vapor cartridge filtration, available from local safety, hardware, and home improvement stores. You also need such personal protective gear when you spray Mold Home Remedy Recipes] or boric acid formula, followed up with a low-cost, homemade antimicrobial coating or boric acid formula.   Here are more details on advisable personal protective gear--


°   Tyvek protective biohazard suit. [available at safety stores] or painter's coveralls and booties,

or long sleeve shirt and pants.

°   Gloves: either disposable latex or good work gloves. "Long gloves that extend to the middle of the forearm are recommended.  When working with water and a mild detergent, ordinary household rubber gloves may be used.  If you are using a disinfectant, a biocide such as chlorine bleach, or a strong cleaning solution, you should select gloves made from natural rubber, neoprene, nitrile, polyurethane, or PVC. Avoid touching mold or moldy items with your bare hands," recommends the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

°  Avoid breathing in mold or mold spores. Wear a 3M brand one piece, full face breathing respirator mask using an organic vapor cartridge filtration, available from your local safety store, Home Depot, Lowe’s and other home centers and hardware stores. Alternatively (but less comfortable in your ease of breathing) you can use hole-free Chem-Splash eye goggles ($4) along with a separate breathing mask with cartridge filters ($30) from the same stores. Alternatively, "In order to limit your exposure to airborne mold, you may want to wear an N-95 respirator, available at many hardware stores and from companies that advertise on the Internet. (They cost about $12 to $25.)  Some N-95 respirators resemble a paper dust mask with a nozzle on the front, others are made primarily of plastic or rubber and have removable cartridges that trap most of the mold spores from entering.  In order to be effective, the respirator or mask must fit properly, so carefully follow the instructions supplied with the respirator.  Please note that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that respirators fit properly (fit testing) when used in an occupational setting; consult OSHA for more information (800-321-OSHA or," advises the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

°  Wear goggles. Wear eye goggles with no holes [such as Chem-Splish] if you are not wearing the 3M brand one piece, full face breathing respirator.  "Goggles that do not have ventilation holes are recommended.  Avoid getting mold or mold spores in your eyes," advises the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.


HOT TIP: You can order a custom-fitted full face breathing mask by contacting your local 3M branch. Custom-fitted full face masks do a better job of keeping mold spores from entering inside the mask [and therefore into your body].


HOT TIP: If you have a beard, shave it off prior to wearing a full face mask breathing respirator to obtain a tighter fit to your face to help keep mold stores from entering inside the mask and your body.


14. Hand spray visible mold with one or two wet sprayings of an effective mold home remedy if the mold remediation funds are low---read Mold Home Remedy Recipes. While spraying a fungicide, no one else should be inside until the spray or fog has dried. 


15.  Do not use chlorine bleach [sodium hypochlorite] to kill mold or disinfect moldy areas. Bleach is not an effective or lasting killer of toxic mold growth and mold spores on and inside porous, cellulose building materials such as wood timbers, drywall, plasterboard, particleboard, plywood, plywood substitutes, ceiling tiles, and carpeting/padding. Learn more about the ineffectiveness of bleach and mold.


16. After the killing of all visible surface mold, the next step is to remove and to clean off as much surface mold growth, mold stains, and mold odors as possible. "Dead mold may still cause allergic reactions in some people, so it is not enough to simply kill the mold, it must also be removed," recommends the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Persons cleaning mold should be free of mold symptoms and allergies. Gloves should be worn during cleaning. A good first step is to use a hepa vacuum cleaner to remove loose [invisible to the eye] airborne mold spores and mold growths deposited on all surfaces such as ceilings, walls, floors, and upholstered furniture. Vacuum at least twice, going in a different movement direction each time you do the vacuuming---e.g., horizontally the first time and vertically the second time. Scrub and clean thoroughly and completely all surfaces [including furniture and appliances] with highly-effective, Borax laundry detergent, a natural mold cleaner, in warm water to remove mold colony growths, mold stains, and mold odors.  The cleaned area should then be thoroughly dried. Dispose of any sponges or rags used to clean mold.  If you cannot clean off the mold growth and mold stains with Borax and hard scrubbing, then you probably need to replace the building materials themselves with new ones---preventively-treated with a Mold Home Remedy Recipe fungicidal coating. "If you are unsure about how to clean an item, or if the item is expensive or of sentimental value, you may wish to consult a specialist.  Specialists in furniture repair, restoration, painting, art restoration and conservation, carpet and rug cleaning, water damage, and fire or water restoration are commonly listed in phone books.  Be sure to ask for and check references.  Look for specialists who are affiliated with professional organizations," recommends the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.


17. Except for wood support timbers and building materials to be saved, remove and safely discard all other mold-contaminated building materials (such as particle board, drywall, plaster, plasterboard, ceiling tiles, paper-backed insulation, mold-laden insulation, plywood, plywood substitutes, and carpeting/padding) in doubled up construction trash bags (double bagging) with a 6 mil thickness. "Absorbent or porous materials, such as ceiling tiles and carpet, may have to be thrown away if they become moldy.  Mold can grow on or fill in the empty spaces and crevices of porous materials, so the mold may be difficult or impossible to remove completely," advises the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.


18. Remove all mold growth from the mold-infested wood surfaces. All wood beams, wall timbers, roof trusses, floor joists, plywood surfaces, and other lumber to be saved need to be totally cleaned of mold growth by using power tools such as a planer, grinder with wire brush attachment, and sander---or replace the moldy timbers.  Mold cannot eat polystyrene insulating board such as Pinkboard or Blueboard, but mold can grow on organic dust which lands on the insulating board.  "The only sure way to [kill mold]  requires the physical elimination of mold and moldy materials by thorough cleaning or removal of the affected materials."---American Industrial Hygiene Association.


19. Re-spray twice the cleaned out area with another wet spraying of an effective mold home remedy to kill any remaining, living toxic mold spores or mold growths.


20. Spray a protective fungicidal coating on all remediated-surfaces prior to rebuilding and closing in the mold-remediated area. The fungicidal coating helps to protect the wood and other cellulose-based building materials against future mold growth. After the second spraying of a mold home remedy recipe or boric acid formula has dried, spray one or two wet coatings of the fungicidal coating, which is an EPA-registered fungicidal coating designed to protect wood against future wood infestation problems.


21. After the final drying of the fungicidal coat spraying, it would be helpful to spray all cleaned timbers and other wood surfaces with a clear, liquid, plastic coating [available from a well-stocked local paint dealer, hardware store, or home improvement center] to make a hard, impenetrable water barrier [upon drying] to protect the wood from future high humidity and water leaks.


22. After the toxic mold remediation is completed, mold test (clearance testing) all of the remediated surfaces plus the air of each room, attic, basement, crawl space, garage, and the outward air flow from each heating/cooling duct register to find out if those areas are now mold safe prior to rebuilding the cleaned out areas with new building materials. "Surface sampling may be useful to determine if an area has been adequately cleaned or remediated," advices the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.


23.  Remove mold growth, mold stains, and mold odors from all personal property, furnishings, furniture, and equipment that have been exposed to mold infestation by washing and scrubbing the items thoroughly and completely outdoors [or in a plastic-sheet-built clean room] with Borax laundry detergent, a natural mold cleaner, in warm water. Learn the recommended mold decontamination procedures for each type of clothing, furniture, electronics equipment, and other personal property in the ebook Do-It-Best-Yourself Mold Prevention, Inspection, Testing, and Remediation, available at Mold Mart.


24. Close in the mold-remediated area with mold-free, new building materials that been have carefully inspected to be mold-growth-free, and which have been pre-treated by spraying with one to two wet coatings of both a mold home remedy recipe and/or boric acid formula.


25. On-going cleaning, building maintenance, mold maintenance, and all-around building inspection on a regular basis (including air conditioning/heating equipment and ducts, plumbing, roof, siding, windows, and water supply/sewer lines) are required to help prevent the re-occurrence of toxic mold infestation problems. A mold-safe building is not a one-time effort.

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