How to clean items after toxic mold exposure? Check out the following mold cleaning protocols to remediate items safely.
How to Clean Items After Toxic Mold Exposure: 6 Steps
Step 1: Stage Your Cleaning Area.
Set up a “staging area” in your garage, carport, or other covered area outside of your home where you can physically get things out of the home, assess them, and attempt to remediate the things you feel are worth it
Step 2: Use Cleaning Bins.
Purchase large plastic bins with lids that seal to put contents you wish to try to save inside. The lids must completely seal to keep things air tight. This will allow you to transport things inside the bins without the risk of cross contamination.
Step 3: Get a HEPA Vacuum.
You will also need a HEPA vacuum (like a Dyson) with a hose and upholstery attachments and a handheld steamer. The vacuum and steamer are for cleaning upholstered items like furniture, curtains, etc.
Step 4: Fog the Area Before You Start.
Get a home Sanitizer Fogger machine and Mold Solution Concentrate to put in it. (I recommend the Longray Basic ULV Fogger with Adjustable Flow & Flex-Hose and EC3 solution ). The fogger is a must if you are going to attempt to do any remediation or cleaning yourself. (You can also hire someone to come help you do the fogging).
Step 5: Remove Clothing & Other Items You Wish to Save from House.
Remove all clothing, linens and items from the house. Take it out of the closets and drawers and put it into the plastic bins. Close the bins and get them all outside into your staging area. Once in the garage, fog the outside of the bins, and keep them sealed. Allow them to air dry. (All of the fogging is to make sure you aren’t putting the mold into your car when you are trying to transport this stuff if you are going to take it elsewhere—like a laundry mat). For any other “contents,” suit up with plastic gloves, a dry mask and “scrub coat”, go inside, place it in a bin, seal the bins, and bring it into the staging area. Once there, remove it from your bin, fog it, and allow it to air dry.
Step 6: Use the Sun.
After cleaning items, set them out in the sunlight—especially bedding and furniture if you are saving them. Sunlight destroys mycotoxins. Exposure to sunlight may in part explain why mold counts can be high outside and yet moldy people don’t get sick from being outdoors as the mycotoxins coating mold spores have been rendered inactive.
Bonus: Additional Mold Cleaning Hacks
Here are a few additional cleaning techniques to clean and sanitize your belongings:
- Clothes: Use Borax, EC3 Laundry Additive (enzymes) and laundry detergent in a mold-free washer and dryer. In general, clothes are much less of a problem if they are laundered properly.
- Linens & Blankets: Get rid of all pillows, comforters and duvets, loose cushions, area or throw rugs that are not washable, and mattresses. Discard lampshades as well. These items are extremely difficult to save.
- Books: Books are difficult. If the books are on a shelf and not opened, HEPA vacuum each one. Throw out any you do not absolutely love or need. If possible, you can try removing the books and photos from the home as you have done before with other things, lay them out and fog them. Then, allow them to air dry. I would remove the outer cover of the books first, and possibly even remove the binding, so that the moisture can escape easier.
- Household Items (lamps, clocks, etc.): Use hydrogen peroxide, EC3 and/or CitraSafe enzyme based cleaners plus a rag to wipe clean.
- Leather (Furniture, bags, jackets, etc.): Use quaternary cleaners (like Virex) on leather. Vacuum the nooks and crannies of the piece of furniture and do the same thing again.
- Dishes & Utensils. Dishwasher as normal. Dishes and kitchenware are some of the easiest things to clean.
- Stuffed Animals: Place stuffed toy inside a clean pillowcase. Start washing machine on a regular wash cycle with a hot water wash selected. Add detergent and 2 oz. of the EC3 Laundry Additive to the machine while the water is filling up. Close the washing machine lid, and allow the machine to agitate and swish the water around with the toy in it. Turn off the machine after agitation to allow the stuffed animal to soak for at least 30 minutes. Turn the machine back on to allow it to complete its wash cycle. Remove the stuffed animal from the machine and pillowcase. Take it outside into the sunlight and allow it to dry completely, or leave it inside the pillowcase and toss both into the dryer to dry completely with gentle heat.
- Furniture: For wood or non-porous furniture, remove it from the home and bring it to your staging area. Non-upholstered furniture can be wiped down with a spray made from the EC3 Mold Solution Concentrate and distilled water, or can be fogged. Just make certain to get every nook and cranny and underside. Note: Upholstered furniture is more difficult. You must HEPA vacuum it first. The dust that gets into the upholstery has lots of mold spores in it. Some items can be fogged. Remember, though, that upholstered items have “stuffing,” so not only is the mold in the fabric, but also in the insides of the item. This is how to clean items after toxic mold exposure.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Above all remember: When in doubt, throw it out
This mantra should be the first pillar of your thinking throughout this process. No tangible item is worth losing your health nor all your new items and home. You don’t want to have to start all over again, because of some contaminated item. Your question about “how to clean items after toxic mold exposure?” is now answered.