How can I have my home tested for mold?
If you want to test your home for mold, you must collect the samples. But first, make sure that they are not at risk of getting contaminated with any other molds, especially outside! The spores may interfere with one another’s tests. This means that if you have taken some samples from a surface in your bathroom, do not take some from a different area in your bathroom.
You can get a clear plastic bag or a glass jar and fill it halfway full with something porous. A paper towel works well because it is easy to cut into smaller pieces. Put the piece of paper towel under the faucet for about 5 minutes so that it gets thoroughly moist, but no water is dripping from it. Then, place the paper towel in the plastic bag or jar and seal it with a lid. Label clearly with your name, address, date, time if possible, and most importantly, the location where you took the sample from.
If you want to be even more careful than using a paper towel, get an air sampling pump such as SKC’s Dust-OffÂ® Plus Professional Air Sampling Kit.
You mustn’t cross-contaminate by putting different samples together in one jar or bag because that could give inaccurate mold concentrations in your home.
It is often better to hire a professional who knows what they are doing and has all the needed equipment than just guessing where to look for mold in your home. Be sure to read this article, so you know how to tell whether someone is qualified enough.
Once you have collected the samples, please place them in a plastic baggie, zip lock bag, or envelope and store them in your freezer for six weeks to kill any mold spores that might be on them. This will also prolong their shelf life! Take the samples out of the freezer about 5 hours before testing so they can return to room temperature.
Now comes prep time! Before collecting any samples, make sure that there are as few as possible things on all surfaces of your home because some molds grow best on certain building materials. For example, Stachybotrys is known to grow on damp gypsum board, drywall, and other materials found in homes.
Materials to avoid include plywood or fiberboard sheathing, paper products, wall coverings or paints, carpets, upholstery fabrics, ceiling tiles, and insulation. Also, make sure to vacuum thoroughly before collecting samples because molds can hide anywhere! If you want to be especially thorough with your testing, mop all areas as well. This way, if there is mold, it won’t be challenging for the lab to find it! If you were cautious about not letting any spores land somewhere where they shouldn’t have been, then you should have no problems getting accurate results from a mold inspection company.