What is the best way to test for mold in your home?

A quick test for mold can be done by dipping a swab in diluted bleach (1 part bleach and 16 parts water) and rubbing it on the wall. If the stain clears up quickly (or keeps reappearing after cleaning), suppose it's mold. To use this kit, simply rub the area with a swab, dampen it in the syringe solution and apply it to the test strip. If you have a line, the test is negative.

Two lines mean that you have that type of mold present. Combine 1 part bleach with 16 parts water. Dip a cotton swab in the diluted bleach. Pass the swab over the affected area.

Laboratory tests offer a clear advantage over self-made mold tests, as they provide the concentration of mold in addition to the type. You can use this individual kit in three different ways to test the air for mold spores, check the air quality in your HVAC duct, or detect mold on the surface. If you get positive test results, you can decide if you want to remove the mold yourself or hire a professional. In fact, this species of mold is quite rare, but it is one of many molds that produce a high level of mycotoxins (dangerous mold-based chemicals) that can create a hazardous household environment.

While a variable mold test can tell you if there are mold spores in a specific room, you'll need to use additional kits if you want to test other rooms in your house. Although protective equipment will prevent mold from coming into direct contact with you, you should avoid disturbing black mold. Even if you find black mold and clean the area thoroughly, the mold will return without solving the root of the problem. However, certain mold tests can tell you what type of mold is present, as well as its concentration.

Whether you're in the process of eliminating mold, testing for black mold, or simply suspicious of its presence, you need to protect yourself. Most molds found in the air are capable of harming certain people, but toxic black mold presents a particular risk. With the wide range of potential health problems associated with mold, it's important to take steps to detect mold in your home quickly and get rid of it right away. Mold also returns after you clean it, so if you've cleaned what you thought was dirt and the stain returns, it's probably mold.

While there are thousands of species of mold, most homeowners are concerned about Stachybotrys chartarum, commonly known as “toxic mold” or “black mold”. If the test results are positive for mold spores, it's best to send the test to a laboratory to determine what type of mold it is and how to treat it effectively. The health effects of black mold not only depend on the person exposed, but also on the particular mold colony. Of course, if the symptoms are visible and severe, it's best to call professionals to test for mold and remove colonies from your home.

Cassie Ulery
Cassie Ulery

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