Now that we’ve established the condition, then you want to match that with the porosity, and that will tell you how to remediate, what to do with your contents, and what to do with the built structure.
If you have a porous surface, such as clothing, textiles, fabrics, bedding, anything with textiles, curtains, for example, if it’s condition two, the rule of thumb is you can wash it in a washing machine and then dry it in sun, or put it in clothes (condensing) dryer.
You don’t need to spend thousands on laundering it at a laundering company, dry cleaning agent, don’t bother doing that. You don’t need to. As long as you can’t see visible mold on your clothes or textile, then the simple rule of thumb is just to wash in hot water and then dry it in a closed condensing dryer or put it outside in the sun if [outside] is dry enough.
If however, it’s condition three with clothes, textiles, et cetera, you’re going to have to discard it. That’s the rule of thumb because what’s happening is the mold has actually infiltrated into that textile and started to break it down. It’s very, very difficult to clean and remediate. If there is a visible mold on any textile, any curtain, any clothing, the rule of thumb is to discard it. When I say that, just put it in a garbage bag and put it in your normal rubbish.
When you have visible mold on surfaces, it’s just considered part of nature. You don’t need to put in a contaminated site through a special council or anything like that. Don’t worry about it. Just put it in a bag and throw it out. If it’s upholstery, carpet, rugs, underlay, mattresses, wicker furnishings. If it’s condition two, you can’t see any visible mold. Again, the rule is you can clean it. Now whoever does the cleaning needs to have a good constitution. They shouldn’t have asthma, they shouldn’t have allergies, they shouldn’t have any autoimmune disorders. They shouldn’t have any chronic fatigue syndrome because the process of you cleaning that surface is going to expose you to high levels of fungal particulate. So that’s really important to know.
Personal protective equipment. (PPE)
Therefore it’s important you wear appropriate personal protective equipment. If you have a full face respirator, please wear it. Obviously, most people aren’t going to have it unless they’re already in the building industry, for example.
So if you have a respirator, any form of mask that is important, wear that. Don’t forget to protect the eyes. Wear protective goggles. If there are any holes around it, seal them off. Because many of the people I saw when I studied mold testing 20 years ago, got very sick with these weird thyroid diseases. And now what we refer to as CIRS, which Sandeep mentioned is because the spores got in through the eyes. If you’re going to do any cleaning, make sure you protect your eyes, put sunglasses on, and block it off. You don’t get any spores and hyphae through the eyes. Of course, protection with a respirator is really important, a P2 or P3 respirator.
Remediation (Condition 2)
So the way to do that, if you’re going to clean, because there’s no visible mold is to vacuum clean it with a vacuum cleaner fitter with a HEPA filter, a High-Efficiency Particular Air filter, most vacuum cleaners now come with HEPA filters, which is fantastic. Vacuum clean it first, follow it through with a damp microfiber cloth. I just put the microfiber cloth in a bucket of warm water with some detergent in it. Detergent is better than bleach and any biocide. Do not use bleach, do not use strong chemicals. Just detergent is sufficient because detergent emulsifies the fat off the surface, which is what the mold is growing on, the organic matter. That’s all you need to do. So the microfiber cloth is dipped into a bucket of warm water with detergent. Then you might wipe it through and then follow again with HEPA vacuuming. That’s what you do with upholstery, carpets, rugs, et cetera if it’s condition 2 no visible mold. If there’s visible mold on upholstery, carpet, rugs, et cetera, discard it, double bag it in a garbage bag, and then throw it out.
It’s got to come out of the house. Paper goods again, visible mold… Sorry if there’s just no visible mold on the paper goods and books, et cetera, then you literally are going to vacuum every page. I mean, who’s got time to that? What you could do is mold remediators normally charged by the box. They put it in a plastic tub and then they air wash it in their own facilities. So you may pay, I think, 50 bucks per box or whatever. Ask a mold remediator to do this for you.
Yeah, I think for that also, Nicole, have you found gamma radiation can be useful in some cases?
Yeah. It can. In the end, anything can be remediated, even expensive art and books that have visible mold, but they might be spending thousands, tens of thousands of dollars, in the end. It’s going to be: how much is that book worth to you? Is it worth more than the cost of buying that book? Because in the end, this is what it’s going to come down to for most people.
Is it reasonable, would you say if people aren’t sure to put them in plastic boxes and seal them until they’re more in a mindful state to actually decide?
Yes, you can do that. However, if there’s any moisture on that surface or on the contents, it’s going to support microbial growth. So within 48 hours, it’s going to be a mold bomb. It’s going to start microbial growth. So providing it’s dry and there’s no visible mold, yes, put it in the box. But don’t be surprised if you put it in the box, open up the box three months later, it’s full of visible mold. And if you put your head in there and expose yourself to this fungal particulate. Unfortunately, everyone’s really stressed, but they have to act quickly because you’re going to lose stuff really quickly if you don’t act as soon as you can.
So that’s porous materials.