<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> Mold Remediation - Summary of Strategies Addressing Mold Contamination





Remediation Summary

The tests I had performed on Tuesday were what are called clearance tests.  I will explain this in more detail.

A clearance test can be used at the end of a remediation process to determine whether any remaining problems exist.  There are several ways to perform these tests.  One is to bring a microscope on site and sample the air room by room.  This is sometimes done in areas where remediation is being conducted one room at a time.  There are other testing methods that can be considered but they are merely variations on the available tests:  tape lifts, air sample, laser particle counter, strobe lights, infrared photography, and mold dogs.  I probably missed something but one of these methods or a combination of them is advisable before purchasing a property or declaring your remediation process complete.

A to Z

What I want to do now is employ the benefits of hindsight and show how much different the learning curve is now as compared to early 2001.

The Flood

The measures used immediately following the flood were simple and straightforward:  turn off the water, start mopping up and suctioning, increase the amount of air circulation, lift carpets, and run ozone.


I believe the ozone played an important role in minimizing mold growth. Drying out takes however much time it takes, but normally a significant amount of mold would have grown before the walls and floors were dry.

Air Filtration

If you have read all the pages on this site, you know I used a lot of different types of air filtration.  I would like to offer the following perspective that I hope you take very seriously.  Filtration ought to be regarded as a stop gap measure to manage a short-term problem, not as a permanent solution to indoor air issues.  It is a bandaid and to the extent that the causes of the odors and sources of harmful organisms in the air are not addressed, there will be no end to the risks.  Moreover, in the event of a power failure, they stop working.  This is when my dogs would begin vomiting and when I suffered the most.


I used several different ozone machines, including the one I barely tolerated that was loaned by the realtor immediately after the flood.  It was a good idea but ozone needs to be understood properly and not promoted as a panacea.  Excessive amounts are irritating; the wrong type is potentially toxic; and it's harmful to electronics.

I became a distributor for ozone machines.  If the truth be known, the short-term benefits were so good that I bought a lot of units but they are sitting here because I am not actually recommending them to people.  I would not refuse to sell one, but I am not advocating them.

When I first heard about ozone, I was told that the ozone ruptures the structure of mold so it dies.  I am not sure about this.  Mold has a shell of chaitin so what happens to mold may not be the same as what happens to bacteria or mites.  I haven't seen the proof, but I hate the smell of ozone machines and that tells me something.

My advice is to read the reviews online, starting with independent reviews.  It's very hard to find unbiased reviews.  Read many reviews and do not get anything that does not offer a complete money back guarantee.  I have tried five or six different units and prefer the Sharper Image, but you will find lots of controversy surrounding every brand.


Every type of filtration depends on air movement.  If a place has many doors or dead spots, filtration may not be very effective.  Many portable devices use a combination of physical filtration, a trap that collects particulates larger than a certain size, with a secondary method such as ultraviolet light, negative ion generation, or ozone.  The physical filter may be some form of paper or charcoal or proprietary filter rated to a certain particulate size.  What this means is that anything smaller passes through.  Filters may also be electrostatic.  One of the units I bought has three different kinds of physical filters.  It's very expensive to maintain and so efficient that it clogged in one day.  I would only use it in an emergency.

UV Light

Ultraviolet light is only as effective as the air movement and sensitivity of the undesirable object to that light.  I find UV light devitalizing to the air so I need to have windows open to get fresh air to replace the air that feels like it is lacking prana.  There is, however, a precipitous drop in air quality whenever a bulb burns out so that tells me something.  I have three UV lights in operation nearly 24/7.  Two are portable and one is installed in the duct system.


The only part of my remediation process that I regret doing was the CleanSpace.  I listened to contractors at the mold seminar and weighed my options.  I went with the one that was less preferred because the main alternative would have been twice as expensive and entailed a moisture.  This is a type of cement that is rubberized.  It is blown in and hardens gradually over a period of 30 days.

CleanSpace is a brilliant idea in search of perfection.  That's the most I can say about it.  I think the laminated sheets are a very fine quality product but the seams have to be taped and there is caulking required.  These products off gas and feel inappropriate for use in an occupied space.  I hope they get serious about product research and development because the idea has merits, but I am not convinced it belongs on the market yet.  I am sure this bluntness will irritate a lot of people but I stand by my conclusion which is that anyone with a sensitive nose or vulnerability to chemicals should not go with this system.

On a positive note, if dryness is all that is sought, my crawl space went from super high moisture readings, always above 70% and sometimes into the 90s to 9-13% so it is an effective moisture barrier.  This said, it is another bandaid because the moisture shouldn't be there in the first place.

Garage Sealant

Again, we are talking about bandaids.  Slabs should have proper vapor barriers underneath.  Sealing from the top should not be necessary, but if it is done, the product should work.  I ended up with something from solvingconcreteproblems.com and believe it to be an excellent product.  I would use it again whenever I had a need to seal concrete, but concrete should not get wet if properly prepared.

Replacement Flooring

I started an article more than a year ago about the sense of smell.  I will try to finish it and post it.  Most people who are allergic become very sensitive to smell.  They need to get rid of dust traps and the biggest dust trap in the house is usually carpeting, especially wall-to-wall carpeting.  Mold and mites are usually deep in the pile, close to the backing, and they are not easily removed by vacuuming.

After the life-threatening shock of mold exposure, people need time to rest.  The easier their space, the faster their recuperation is likely to be. The initial restoration in my house involved replacement of hardwood with bamboo, not really much of a net gain.  When I got rid of the carpets, there was a gain even though I did not replace them immediately.  I let things air for a long time.  I used three different types of flooring:  cork, hardwood, and ceramic tile.  Of all of these, I like the cork the best.  It is naturally fungicidal and it's so peaceful.  I have not noticed any off gassing at all whereas both the tile and hardwood floors off gas because of grout, laminates, and probably fumigants. 

A few people told me the cork would fade and look bad.  I think they are mistaken.  I have not noticed any change in color at all.  If you have never seen cork before, explore it because it is the most nurturing and quiet and interesting floor material I have ever seen.  Moreover, it's renewable because the trees are not destroyed when the cork is removed.


Again, after serious exposure to toxic mold, people need to baby themselves for a while.  Paint is often hugely toxic.  The volatile organic compound content is on the label:  read it.  You can get paints with zero VOCs.  These may even be made with milk.  Pigments have VOCs so the deeper the color, the more the risk of odor, but I discovered some pigments are nastier than others so it's probably partly a matter of which color and partly a question of how much pigment is added.  I used Benjamin Moore Eco Spec but a friend of mine used Dutch Boy.  You can get a lot of information on non-toxic paints online.  If you are in a place with environmental consciousness, you can probably find a green store.


Most of the mold is going to be wherever the dust is.  Experts say 80% is on the dust.  Sometimes, mold is in the dust collected by static, such as on your computer monitor or TV screen.  It is also probably going to include everything soft like bedding, padded chairs, wall hangings, and clothing.  I had Mac check my bed, but I have continued to use the TKO Orange and sometimes cinnamon or wild oregano essential oil when washing my sheets.  I also got new sheets with a higher thread count.

One of the first things I got was a HEPA vacuum cleaner.  I found these in an astounding range of prices, from $300 to $2000.  I got a Miele and have been happy with it because I really don't notice dust blowing out the exhaust.  This is very important.

There were some things I did not pursue.  There is a product from Dow, a polymer that is misted into a space.  It has microscopic lances that supposedly make it impossible for mold to grow.  Once used, it is permanent and has a very long warranty.  It can be used on paintings and lamp fixtures and elsewhere.  After I had dealt with the moisture intrusion, I had a talk with the people who perform this work, EnviroShield.  They said it would not be necessary.  Once again, we see that dealing with moisture is the place to start.  If the moisture and duct systems are addressed, the rest of the problems might be manageable.

I hope my remediation is complete.  The house is still full of dings and bruises from so much work, but this is cosmetic and only affects my senses, not my health.  Now, I will concentrate entirely on health issues so the expansion of the site will go in the direction originally intended.  This said, I want to emphasize that no doctor can be expected to cure a patient who is continually reexposed to mold.  It's simply irrational to expect to get better until the source of the infection is eliminated from your life.

Many blessings,

Ingrid Naiman
5 October 2006



Hidden Mold in Crawl Space || Installation of Crawl Space Encapsulation

Sacred Medicine Sanctuary



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