A Blog For Those Affected By Environmental And Invisible Illnesses Written By Fellow Survivors
5 Step Environmental Mold Removal
Mold and the illness it causes can be hugely stubborn to get rid of unless an appropriate and comprehensive protocol is put in place. That's not to say this needs to be a complicated or difficult process however. In this article you will learn of 5 simple steps you can take to get on top of the problem for good!
To me it seems logical that if you want to treat mold-related illnesses such as chronic sinusitis, you first need to ensure your home environment, work (as much as possible) and even your car are free from mold so you are not constantly re-exposing yourself and/or your family to the source of your ill-health. None of us want to waste money on products that simply treat our recurring symptoms before the root cause of our illness is addressed, do we?
This type of approach is also prudent for other environmental and invisible illnesses such as multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS) and electrical sensitivity (ES) but today we'll be putting the focus firmly on mold. In a future article we'll then look at a similar step-be-step protocol to remove mold from the body; an effective long-lasting treatment for mold-related illness.
Just before I lay out this 5 Step Environmental Treatment Protocol I'd like to point out that although you may not have considered mold as a source of your chronic ill-health before, it is very much worth investigating due to the havoc it can cause to the immune, nervous and endocrine systems (see Dr. Lisa Nagy's research review) and the myriad resulting illnesses (as described in this recent study).
When we develop unexplained chronic symptoms or environmental illness (EI) we are usually encouraged health professionals in the field to look into food allergies and sensitivities (especially gluten and casein/dairy), nutritional deficiencies, chemical exposures, hormonal imbalances, gut dysbiosis (Candida & SIBO) and other 'popular' issues. These factors may well be valid things to look into but it means mold is often overlooked.
So, to rectify this common oversight our 5 Step Environmental Treatment Protocol begins with identifying sources of mold in your home and elsewhere you could be frequently exposed.
Step 1: Finding Mold
The first important step is to find every possible source of mold you are likely to be exposed to on a day to day basis - within reason of course. At the very least you'll want to test your environment using a widely available test kit such as EC3 Mold Screening Test Plates. These kits generally give you multiple plates (e.g. EC3 provides 5) so you can test the main living area in your home, your bedroom, your kids' bedrooms, your car and your office or workspace, all with one affordable kit!
Full instructions are included with these kits but I'll also be writing about my own experience using these mold screening plates shortly, while also discussing more in-depth mold testing and professional environmental surveys.
Step 2: Remediation
Following on from Step 1 it is vital that you discover the reason(s) behind why mold growth is present to begin with. Mold will only grow when the conditions are right for it to flourish; in simple terms this equates to a damp, humid and warm environment.
The CDC provides the following simple tips for preventing mold growth; they address the most common reasons for mold contamination and are easy to follow as a first line of attack:
- Keep humidity levels as low as you can—no higher than 50%--all day long. An air conditioner or dehumidifier will help you keep the level low (Ed: I've also found products such as the Unibond Aero 360 Pure Moisture Absorber (pictured top) to be inexpensive yet very effective). Bear in mind that humidity levels change over the course of a day with changes in the moisture in the air and the air temperature, so you will need to check the humidity levels more than once a day.
- Be sure your home has enough ventilation. Use exhaust fans which vent outside your home in the kitchen and bathroom. Make sure your clothes dryer vents outside your home.
- Fix any leaks in your home’s roof, walls, or plumbing so mold does not have moisture to grow.
- Clean up and dry out your home thoroughly and quickly (within 24–48 hours) after flooding.
- Add mold inhibitors to paints before painting.
- Clean bathrooms with mold-killing products (e.g. EC3 Mold Solution Concentrate).
- Remove or replace carpets and upholstery that have been soaked and cannot be dried promptly. Consider not using carpet in rooms or areas like bathrooms or basements that may have a lot of moisture.
More in-depth mold prevention information is available from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at http://www.epa.gov/mold/moldguide.html.
Step 3: Clean the Air Where You Spend the Most Time
It is vital you reduce the mold particle count in the air you breathe in! In each room you spend one or more hours in each day I recommend using a combination of a HEPA Air Purifier and EC3 Air Purification Candles as follows:
It's essential that when you purchase an air purifier that it's a model that uses a High-Efficiency Particulate Arrestance (HEPA) filter. Such filters are the gold standard for air purification and as such are used in medical and biological research settings. They are now however also becoming the standard in consumer air purifiers and are therefore reasonably inexpensive. Whirlpool and IQ are a couple of consumer air purifier brands that have been independently tested and proven effective (source). You should use your air purifier as per the manual but in addition, to tackle mold more effectively, spray the front weekly with EC3 Mold Solution Concentrate made up in a spray mist bottle.
Recent lab results have shown the EC3 Air Purification Candle reduces known mold spore counts to 0 within 3 hours. A human mycotoxin testing lab has also reported that these microbial balancing candles also demonstrably reduce airborne mycotoxins in an enclosed environment - limiting the amount secreted by any mold present - and thus the amount you would otherwise be breathing in! More information on these lab tests is available from the manufacturer. For best results you should place the candles in each room you spend 1 hour or more in each day and do an initial burn of 3 hours for each candle on first use to 'micro-balance' the room and to get more even subsequent burning. For best results you should then light the candles for at least 1 hour every day (or minimum every other day). These unique candles can effectively treat a 10 x 12 ft. space, so for large rooms you might need to place 2 or more. They are also ideal for use when travelling as some hotel rooms - and guest rooms that are seldom used prior to having guests - may well have high mold and mycotoxin counts.
Step 4: Clean Your Environment(s) More Regularly
Spray mist your entire house or apartment with EC3 Mold Solution Concentrate - this should be done weekly or more often if mold counts aren't going down (We'll look at monitoring counts in my article on mold testing). This should be a comprehensive clean including floors, walls, ceilings, counter tops and soft furnishings. This product is safe to use on all materials, surfaces and fabrics. Typically to create your spray mist you should work based on 1 US gallon containing 16oz. of EC3 Mold Solution Concentrate mixed with 112 oz. of distilled water. Since EC3 Mold Solution is an all natural product it should be fine to vary the ratio of product to distilled water in your misting solution but as always for the environmentally ill it's sensible to do a 'sniff test' using a small amount before using as directed above. Misting with EC3 Mold Solution will bring the airborne fungus count down in your home immediately but is not permanent and should be repeated until you are absolutely certain your home is mold-free. You should do this through repeated monitoring with EC3 Mold Screening Test Plates (or similar) to confirm the source of the mold is fully remediated i.e. all mold has been removed and the reasons for it being there have been rectified (see CDC & EPA guidance above). Your car is another environment that you should also spray mist to lower your mold exposure. Cars are naturally good breeding grounds for mold as the condensation you see on the windows demonstrates! This is a result simply of you and your passengers respiring and factors such as wearing damp shoes and clothing inside the vehicle.
Step 5: Clean Your Clothes & Bedding of Spores
It may be a less than pleasant thought but every time you go outside you are exposing yourself to mold. To avoid re-contaminating your home once you are back indoors it makes sense to wash your clothing and bedding with EC3 Laundry Additive the will effectively neutralize the mold sporres that traditional detergents simply don't eradicate. This product is completely natural, containing tea tree oil, tangerine oil, a proprietary blend of citrus extracts, and distilled water; it can be used in addition to your regular detergent and softener. As an aside, I have found the main smell is that of tea tree oil when opening the bottle but after the laundry cycle it leaves no noticeable odor! Of course if you suffer from multiple chemical sensitivities you may find the tea tree and citrus extracts trigger your symptoms so again, best to do a 'sniff test' with a little of this additive before full use. However, being an all natural product most people will find EC3 Laundry Additive is a far safer option than traditional detergents and the only one I know of that will so effectively take care of mold contamination.
So there you have it - a 5 Step Environmental Mold Removal Protocol - for your home, your car, and maybe even your office. And I promise you that I practice what I preach as following the fairly major water leak my wife and I experienced at home at the end of 2016 - we've been following the above to the letter and feel we've dodged a bullet as a result, certainly there are no visible signs of mold growth at the site of the burst pipe!
I look forward to sharing our experiences monitoring actual mold contamination with EC3 Mold Screening Test Plates very soon and also publishing a 5 Step Body Mold Removal Protocol to help you rid your body of mold once your living spaces are mold-free, or for immediate symptom relief while you tackle your environment...