For your own health, please read this entire section before beginning to clean any possible toxic mold impacted personal items.
This information is for general reference only and in no way is this information intended to replace professional remediation or as a guide to non-professional remediation.
Several things must be considered prior to cleaning or removing visibly contaminated building materials. Please do not proceed without professional guidance or professional remediation.
- Do not touch mold or moldy items with bare hands.
- Do not get mold or mold spores in your eyes.
- Do not breathe in mold or mold spores.
- Use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when disturbing mold. The minimum PPE is an N-95 dust mask (think Paint Dept. Hardware Store, under $5), gloves and eye protection.
- Consult a professional remediation company for areas in excess of ten square feet. – EPA guideline. Depending on the situation, American Air Testing recommends evaluation before any work is performed.
- Consult a physician prior to handling mold or moldy items if you are unsure of your health or the health of others in the property.
For areas of less than 10 square feet that have been affected by clean water, the EPA advises that homeowners can perform their own mold removal.
If discoloration is seen on washable materials, those materials may be washed in a washing machine with the hottest water possible, three times. Then dried until the lint filter shows no more lint collected. This will not work with pillows or children’s stuffed toyes.
Wiping articles with a paper towel that has a minimal amount of water will remove as many mold spores as using towels with bleach.
Surfaces with visible microbial growth need to be evaluated for their material composition and structural integrity. Cleaning and/or removal and replacement determination of visibly contaminated materials must be conducted in accordance with their moisture content and structural condition. All remediation procedures should always be done under containment.
For the purposes of the IICRC S520 Standard states that three conditions are defined for indoor environments relative to mold. They are:
Condition 1 – (normal fungal ecology): an indoor environment that may have settled spores, fungal fragments or traces of actual growth whose identity; location and quantity are reflective of a normal fungal ecology for a similar indoor environment.
Condition 2 – (settled spores): an indoor environment which is primarily contaminated with settled spores that were dispersed directly or indirectly from a Condition 3 area and which may have traces of actual growth.
Condition 3 – (actual growth): an indoor environment contaminated with the presences of actual mold growth and associated spores. Actual growth includes growth that is active or dormant, visible or hidden.
General Infected Surfaces Cleaning Procedures
This information is included for general reference only and in no way is this information intended to replace professional remediation or as a guide to non-professional remediation.
Structurally sound porous materials such as carpet, carpet padding, upholstered furniture, drapes, wallboard, insulation, books and paper may be cleaned with a vacuum installed with a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter after the material has been thoroughly dried in a properly contained area or a decontamination cleaning area. If sheetrock is contaminated, it is suggested that the sheetrock be removed using engineering controls and the least dust producing methods. The ideal tool is a sheetrock knife or a cutting tool with a HEPA vacuum attached to the equipment. Room and content containment is usually recommended to prevent further contamination.
Porous materials are items that are primarily organic, readily absorb moisture, and are highly susceptible to microbial growth.
Porous contents with Condition 2 contamination are usually restorable using appropriate cleaning methods, based on material composition.
Porous contents with Condition 3 contamination are usually not restorable, based on material composition.
Structurally sound semi-porous materials such as wood building components, wood furniture, concrete, concrete block, brick and hard surfaced flooring materials may be cleaned by first vacuuming with a HEPA vacuum and then damp wipe with a disposable cloth towel rotating to a clean section with each pass with plain water. If the surface is penetrated deeper with mold greater than the thinness of one sheet of paper, special sanding tools with an attached HEPA vacuum is recommended. Make sure that if water is used to immediately and thoroughly dry the cleaned area.
Semi porous materials are items that are primarily organic, absorb moisture slowly, and are susceptible to microbial growth. Semi-porous contents with Condition 2 contamination are usually restorable using appropriate cleaning methods.
Semi-porous contents with Condition 3 contamination are usually not restorable unless active growth is in a readily removable bio-film on the surface of the item, or if practical mechanical means can be used for removal. If growth is in a bio-film, Condition 2 methods are recommended for removal.
Structurally sound non-porous materials such as metal, plastic and glass may be cleaned by first vacuuming with a HEPA vacuum and then damp-wiped with plain water. Make sure that if water is used to immediately and thoroughly dry the cleaned area.
Depending upon the complexity of the project a more detailed content remediation protocol can be generated by request.
Non-porous contents are organic items that have been altered to not absorb moisture easily. Non-porous contents also include synthetic materials and inorganic items which do not readily absorb moisture, and which do not support microbial growth.
Non-porous contents with Condition 2 contamination are restorable and cleaned using appropriate methods, based on material composition.
Non-porous contents with Condition 3 contamination are usually restorable and can be cleaned using appropriate methods, based on material composition.
Non-porous Condition 1 contents do not require any action: however, it is highly recommended that items be relocated to areas where lack of mold contamination can be assured.
Encapsulation is not a cleaning method and is not recommended as standard practice, unless items are irreplaceable, have significant value, or as may otherwise be determined and agreed upon by materially interested parties in the mold remediation project.
High-value contents are those with high financial value or replacement cost. Irreplaceable contents are those with high historical, sentimental, cultural, artistic, legal or other types of value. Extraordinary cleaning procedures may be appropriate for these contents. Such procedures may be as simple as repeated cleanings using standard practice as described above, or they may require specialty remediation services. Some remediatiors may provide these services in-house, which others will outsource them. These specialty remediation services include, but are not limited to:
- Art restoration or conservation for paintings, valuable books, works of art of paper, documents, objects, frames, tapestries and other textiles;
- Doll restoration;
- Freeze drying for valuable books and documents (does not remove mold, but may prevent or arrest mold growth if wet books are dried quickly);
- Area rug cleaning and repair;
- Electronics and machinery;
- Data recovery; and
- Musical instrument restoration.
It may not be possible to restore high value or irreplaceable contents to Condition1. If such contents are not restored to Condition 1, then it is highly recommended that appropriate materially interested parties be consulted to determine an acceptable and final course of action. Discussion of some environmental pollutants.