Mold Remediation Basics

Updated 3 sections on June 17, 2016

Introduction

A person with susceptibility to biotoxins (toxins produced by some animals and plants including mold) does not have to be exposed to large amounts of toxins (relatively speaking) to become very sick. In the case of mold, we’re talking about the toxic coating on mold spores. These spores are released into the environment by active mold growth. The purpose of the coating (mycotoxins) is to kill off competing molds and bacteria that would otherwise consume a given food source.

Based upon the work of Dr. Moeller, it only takes about 6,000 molecules of some biotoxins to make people sick. This is an extremely small number. That’s less than 0.00000000000000000001 grams of biotoxins! Given that it’s not uncommon for one square inch of actively growing mold to have one million or more spores, clearly people with susceptibility to biotoxins need to be in relatively biotoxin free environments. The fact that biotoxins are very poorly cleared by susceptible people means that even relatively small exposure levels over an extended period of time results in an inflammatory response that then becomes the basis for a perpetual cascade of debilitating health effects. In the case of biotoxin illness, the dose does NOT make the poison.

About Mold

Mold spores are everywhere. This is totally normal and essential for life. Without mold breaking down dead material, the planet would quickly become swamped in debris.

Spores produced by active mold growth are the seeds sent out into the environment to ensure the propagation of the species. These spores can remain dormant for months and even years waiting for the right conditions. In all cases, this means the presence of water and a food source. Once the humidity gets above roughly 45%, mold of one type or another begins to grow. A wide range of moisture levels combined with the fact that there are molds that can eat everything from dead leaves to airplane fuel means mold is everywhere.

In general, mold is benign. There are only a handful of molds that are particularly problematic and this only happens when they’re in enclosed spaces like buildings. In other words, the stachybotrys and other molds floating around outside are not in the same concentrations or nearly as virulent as their indoor counterparts. This is evidenced by work of Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker wherein people who have gotten better from mold illness remain healthy so long as they stay out of moldy buildings – outdoor exposure does not impact their health. See “SAIIE meets ERMI: Correlation of Indices of Human Health and Building Health” by Dr. Shoemaker.

To ensure a healthy living space, your best line of defense is to prevent water leaks and to keep the humidity under 45%. Once moisture levels get too high, mold can begin to grow within 48 hours. Given that mold spores are extremely light and readily float around everywhere, means that once mold begins to grow, the spores will soon be everywhere. They are spread through out the building by the heating and air conditioning ductwork and are pulled into the walls and other internal spaces by natural convection currents and wind pressures. These more potent mold spores can be very problematic for people that are particularly sensitive. With enough time, it can become impossible to remediate a building for some people without completely gutting the building.

Killing Mold – Bleach vs. Hydrogen Peroxide

Before you begin any mold remediation, you need to protect yourself. This includes wearing a full-face respirator, disposable Tyvek coveralls, and taping your suit to your rubber gloves. Mold toxins can get into your body through skin, by breathing, and by ingesting moldy foods. It doesn’t matter if your body can clear mold toxins or not, if you get enough of the wrong mold in your body, it will take up residence and start tearing you apart.

Full-Face Respirator
Tyvek Coveralls

As noted, mold is incredibly small and light in weight. If you take a rag damped with diluted bleach to an active area of mold growth, you run the risk of encouraging even more mold to grow. This happens for several reasons. To begin, the bleach will only knock down the active mold on the surface of the material. If the material that the mold is growing on is at all porous, water will be absorbed into the material while the bleach remains on the surface. Furthermore, the mold will launch it’s spores into the air in response to being disturbed in an effort to ensure it’s survival.

The absorbed water brings to life to all the mold spores that you simply spread around and into the material along with those launched into the air. I don’t care how careful you wipe; there will be a lot of viable mold spores left behind with this approach. Since the food source is still present, and you just provided a drink of water, the mold will come back with a vengeance.

Nonetheless, if the surface is smooth and hard, you can be relatively successful in knocking out mold with diluted bleach. This doesn’t negate the fact that bleach is toxic and if you’re already sick, then chances are working with chemicals isn’t going to help. Not to mention the VOCs created as discussed in 3 Reasons to Avoid Chlorine Bleach. The bottom line is that bleach should not be used for mold.

Instead, use hydrogen peroxide. Begin by lightly spraying the affected area with 3% hydrogen peroxide (HO) – the kind available at any grocery and drug store. Hydrogen peroxide is safe to use and doesn’t pollute the environment. Unlike bleach, HO will penetrate into porous materials. Let the HO sit in contact with the mold for at least 10 minutes. Just make sure to not over apply the HO and wipe it up well as it is mostly water too.

It doesn’t take much HO; just enough to get a liquid sheen on the surface. For larger areas, you may want to purchase a Fogmaster jr 5330. It does a great job at dispersing the hydrogen peroxide in a mist so you get good coverage without having to over apply the liquid. The reservoir conveniently holds a standard quart size bottle. Charles Boday recommends adding a squirt of dishwashing soap to the HO. The slightly soapy solution will spread and penetrate better into the porous material. In ten minutes, much of the mold will be dead. Of course, test on a small area as hydrogen peroxide can “bleach” the color lighter.

Fogmaster Junior
Charles Boday

Update June 17, 2016

The distinction needs to be made between cleaning up household items and living spaces versus remediating moldy building materials. In the case of household items along with walls, floors, and ceilings in a home that has been remediated and now needs to be cleaned, the surfaces need to be carefully wiped with a cleaning solution. In the case of remediated framing lumber, see the section below on thwarting regrowth.

When it comes to cleaning solutions, I like to mix up QUAT in a bucket of water. Alternatively, Gregg Weatherman recommends diluting isopropyl alcohol. A typical bottle of isopropyl alcohol from the local drugstore is 70%. If you mix this with 7 parts of water, you get roughly 10% alcohol.

During cleaning, it’s important to not cross-contaminate you bucket of cleaning solution. Use a bunch of clean microfiber cloths, dip one cloth in your cleaning solution, wring it out well, and wipe the surfaces in many directions. Refold the cloth often using different sides. Change cloths frequently. Used cloths can be washed in Borax soap.

Never dip a used cloth in your cleaning solution. This will contaminate your solution. Follow up wet-wiping with a dry-wiping using a clean, dry cloth. When we cleaned our home, we ran used cloths through the washer and then re-used them in a continuous process.

Condensed Remediation Plan for Small Microbial
Remove, Don’t Kill Mould – Part 1 – Building Materials

Update End

Throw It Away

Even though you kill the mold, the myctoxins coating the remaining dead mold particles can still make susceptible people very sick. If too many dead pieces of mold remain, the space or item may be unsafe even though the mold is dead. For material that can’t be thrown away such as structural framing, personally I’d consider using a HEPA vacuum on the moldy surfaces that have been treated with hydrogen peroxide and allowed to dry before proceeding with bleaching and applying borate. The idea is that you want to vacuum up as many mold pieces from the framing members as you can before disturbing them with additional treatment steps.

However, for anything other than non-porous items that can be cleaned and framing members that cannot be easily replaced, it’s best to carefully remove and discard the all materials that have any degree of visible mold on them. This includes drywall, ceiling tiles, insulation exposed to mold, all carpeting, wood, and other porous materials including furniture, bedding, papers, books, and the like. Items like insulation, carpeting, ceiling tiles and the like act as mold reservoirs and need to be thrown out even if there is no visible mold on them. Basically, everything that isn’t structural to the building. The more you can remove, the lower the risk. The exception is clothing that for the most part can be run through a washer and dryer to remove the mold.

If you decide to try to clean any other porous material other than clothing by vacuuming until your fingers are blue, steam cleaning, ozonating, and placing the objects out in the sun, you run the very real risk of re-contaminating your home after it’s been cleaned up. I’m not say it can’t be done. It depends on your ability to clear toxins, the degree of contamination, and how much cleaning you perform on the object. I have talked with mold experts who relayed stories of wealthy individuals that paid to have their expensive furniture cleaned multiple times by professionals to no avail.

My advice would be to put the porous materials out in a clean and dry garage. Try to clean up each item one at a time. You’ll need to keep the cleaned material segregated from the mold items by covering with a tarp. Do not go in and out of the house via the garage, as you’ll track mold into your newly cleaned home. After you think an item like a couch has been cleaned, you could run an ERMI test on it or simply sit/lay on the item out in the garage. Of course you’re putting your health at risk doing this and you have to be a sort of expert at reading your own body to tell if you’re getting a reaction from mold or something else like what you ate for lunch.

Actually, the more I think about it, what we went through to save our couch, it wasn’t worth it. We vacuumed it with a HEPA vacuum, we cleaned it with a steam cleaner we rented, we ozonated it with our ozone cannon, we let it sit outside in the sun for several days and then repeated all these steps a second time. It was nuts. After it was all said and done, the follow-up ERMI test we performed on the couch was dramatically better but still questionable. My advice is to put these types of items into a storage locker away from your home, clean up your home, get your health back, and only then think about whether you want to try to save your furniture and other porous items. Only change is constant. Do you really want to get sick again?

Stain Removal

If wood structure has been stained and removal isn’t possible, you may want to remove the discoloration. This is especially true for resale value. In this case, bleach has to be used. Charles Boday recommends using the more concentrated forms labeled “ultra” or “outdoor” and spraying it on directly from the bottle – without diluting. Watch for any signs of burning on your skin. If you get bleach on your skin, rinse with water and apply a little vinegar to neutralize the bleach. Be careful, as toxic fumes will be released when the bleach is applied so make sure to ventilate the area extremely well.

Concentrated Bleach

Thwart Re-growth

Update June 17, 2016

When it comes to dealing with wood structure that can’t be replaced and where soda blasting, sanding, or some other method can’t remove deeply embedded mold, then the use of hydrogen peroxide (HO) to kill the deeply embedded mold roots followed by Timbor, “encapsulation” with latex paint, or whitewashing may make sense. The use of Timbor or a lime whitewash is good insurance if there is a risk that materials may be re-exposed to higher moisture conditions as they will inhibit re-growth.

Having said this, the main focus should be on drying out materials and ensuring moisture issues have been addressed. Personally, if I had structure that couldn’t be thoroughly cleaned, I would either “encapsulate” these surfaces with a couple of coats of good quality latex paint or “whitewash” the surfaces like they do in barns – see Decks, Gazebos, Porches, Stoops & Mold.

For example, we whitewashed the wood studs in our basement walls during remediation. The studs did not have embedded mold but I wanted the extra insurance. I knew lime would inhibit re-growth and liked the fact that its an age-old recipe. Lime is antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral. For whitewashing, mix 2 cups of salt and 6-8 cups of hydrated lime in a gallon of water. The solution can be sprayed onto the framing with a pump sprayer.

The salt helps the whitewash stick to the wood. A large 40-pound bag of hydrated lime can be purchased at some big-box hardware stores. At 8 cups per gallon of water, the nozzle starts to plug up to the extent that you have to frequently bang the spray wand against the framing to keep the liquid flowing. It’s a bit of nuisance but I like the stronger mix. Important: You can get burns from lime. Wear protective clothing and a mask.

When mold is deeply embedded in wood structure and can’t be removed then the use of a borate solution like Timbor or hydrogen peroxide to kill the still viable, deeply embedded mold roots may make sense. Neither leaves behind signs of the re-mediation like painting or whitewashing the surfaces. Timbor will also thwart re-growth.

When it comes to a borate solution, you can mix up your own solution as Charles Boday describes, or just buy Timbor. Mix Timbor with distilled water or hot tap water and add a small amount of dish soap. The material should be soaked with the Timbor solution and allowed to dry.

Essentially, you have to mix and match wood treatments based upon your situation. If you want to kill mold roots then use hydrogen peroxide or Timbor. In places where mold is deeply embedded and you don’t want to leave behind signs of remediation, you may want to use Timbor as it dries clear. On lumber that will be covered over, latex paint or whitewashing may make sense. I’d use whitewash in areas where there may be intermittent higher humidity. I’d use latex paint elsewhere. For examples, I’d whitewash basement wall studs, and paint attic framing.

Update End

Timbor
Charles Boday

Ozone

The second to last step is to ozonate the cleaned area. I purchase an ozone cannon from Mr. Boday. The guy is serious about mold remediation and knows first hand how bad for your health mold can be. From my research, his machines are far superior with a heavy electric blower motor and serious ozone generating plates housed inside a rugged box. Being a former residential contractor, I really appreciate the power and durability. Note: I like ozone for the extra protection but it’s not absolutely necessary if the place is properly wiped clean and either air-washed or fogged.

I set the machine outside so it had an infinite supply of oxygen rich air to convert to ozone and then tied the ozone supply pipe into my ductwork. You don’t want the machine inside the space you’re treating, as it will use up the available oxygen to make ozone and then start making noxious by-products when there isn’t enough oxygen left in the space. By running the supply pipe into an access hole I cut into my return ductwork and removing the furnace filter, I was able to disperse the ozone through out my entire house by simply running the furnace fan only. Of course, you need to keep plants, animals, and people out of the building. Call me crazy, but I let it run for 24 hours before opening all the windows and doors to air out the building.

By the way, if you’re like I was, I used to think ozone was “bad”. After all, weather forecasters are always talking about ozone in relation to air pollution. In fact, ozone is what the planet uses to clean up the air. Since it’s too difficult to measure actual pollutants in the air, they measure ozone levels instead as they know when the weather is making a lot of ozone it is in an attempt to clean the air. Likewise, ozone is produced at waterfalls and during lighting storms and that’s why the air smells so fresh near a falls or after a storm. I could go on, but if you use ozone correctly, it can be very helpful. Of course, you can always hurt yourself with anything. All I’m saying is you’re going to need an open mind to get better; otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this site.

Although I’m not totally convinced that ozone neutralizes all the mycotoxins remaining after all other cleaning is preformed, there was enough evidence to merit using it. For example, I found some PubMed articles that talked about the use of ozone to neutralize mycotoxins. This along with discussions with Mr. Boday convinced me it was worth a try. You can read more about ozone in my Clean Driving Machine article.

… Detoxification of Mycotoxins Using … Ozone
Ozone Applications to Prevent and Degrade Mycotoxins

In addition to ozonating our entire house, we also applied ozone directly to the carpeting and furniture using regular vacuum tools attached to the ozone supply house. You need to wear full protection while doing this. Before and after ERMI testing showed a marked reduction in mold counts although I don’t know if this was from the ozone, vacuuming, exposure to sun, or some combination of these three.

Fogging & Air-Washing

Update June 17, 2016

The biotoxins left behind by mold are super small. Ozone isn’t going to knock them all out. The last step is to remove these super small toxins by either flushing your house with massive amounts of clean, outside air, or by using the fogging method developed by Gregg Weatherman. This step can not be skipped.

If you decide to fog, the SurvivingRemediation.com Video Series by Gregg Weatherman is a good place to start. If you decide to “air-wash”, you have to use large 2,000 cfm fans along with numerous box fans. Eventually, I’ll do a full article on air-washing and fogging. For now, you have the fogging videos and I’ll briefly touch on air-washing.

When it comes to air-washing, portions of the house are flushed with outside air in a step-wise fashion. You want to make sure to exhaust dirty air out the leeward side of the house while opening windows for fresh air on the side where the breeze is coming from. Make sure that the exhaust air pipe is sealed in the window opening. With a large blower, the entire house is going to be under negative pressure. The key is that you do not want to be drawing dirty air back in.

You really have to mix up the air a lot and for several hours in each area. Gregg Weatherman has done some nice videos showing how little turbulence there is even when a large blower is used. By placing numerous inexpensive box fans in the rooms being flushed, otherwise stagnant air in corners, along the ceiling, and elsewhere gets mixed in with the jet stream. This jet stream runs from the open, fresh air window(s) over to the blower. Without additional fans, most of the air in the rooms will not be removed. Given this, you want a lot of turbulent mixing.

Update End

Sunlight Neutralizes Toxins

Related to sunlight, not long ago, every housewife knew the importance of “airing” out bedding and furniture. In fact, 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.

The Journal of Applied Poultry Research published the article, “Aflatoxin Decontamination of Artificially Contaminated Feeds by Sunlight, Y-Radiation, and Microwave Heating” where the authors wrote, …The photodegradation of aflatoxins (a type of mycotoxin) was found to increase with increased duration of exposure time (Table 1). Greater degrees of aflatoxin degradation were observed with increasing the length (time) of exposure to solar radiation. The calculated percentages of AFB1 and total aflatoxin degradation when exposed to sunlight are presented in Table 2. More than 60% of the aflatoxin was found to be degraded after 30 hours of exposure to sunlight…

More Details To Follow

Well that’s enough for today. Hopefully tomorrow I can write about detailed procedures as we’ve just learned that a friend’s house has a major mold issue in the attic. This was a result of an ill-fitting attic access panel right next to a bathroom. In winter, the warm damp air from the bathroom seeped past the access panel and condensed on the underside of the cold roof OSB. There is quite a bit of black mold to deal with. I’m guessing it’s aspergillus/penicillium.

In addition, the crawlspace of this house has an ejector pit wherein waste from a basement toilet is ground up and pumped to a higher level where it can gravity flow into the sewer system. There is a missing grommet around one of the electrical wires. When I inspected this space, I started getting “loopy” in about 15 minutes. Loopy for me means toxins are present. Oh well, stay tuned and I’ll get my step-by-step notes on how to clean up this mess posted.

20 thoughts on “Mold Remediation Basics

  1. How do you check soft upholstery for mold? And is there a way to clean it? I got rid of most of my furniture but there is a few pieces I would really like to keep.

    • Check out “Throw It Away” in the blog Mold Remediation 1. I’ve done before and after ERMI and spore traps on furniture. Although I’ve been able to dramatically lower the mold counts, there is still some left.

      Of course, any fabric will pick up background levels of mold entering the house from outside. In fact, its indicative of an indoor mold issue when spore count ratios inside do not compare to those outside. I was able to bring counts down to what would be considered “normal” but it was telling to me that I could never bring the levels down to near zero.

      Also, remember that many of the toxins and inflammagens don’t come from mycotoxins. Sure sunlight, ozone, and time will knock down the mycotoxin count. I’m sure with enough time the other toxin levels will drop too. However, very little is known about the other 98% of toxins that Dr. Shoemaker mentions as being problematic – see What Is Biotoxin Illness. If the mold hits I get from visiting local museums with items from generations past is any clue, it’s going be quite some time before these toxins die of natural causes.

      Eventually, I’ll rewrite and add a series to the Mold Remediation blog. We actually tented our couch under plastic outside and ran the ozone cannon on it for 24 hours – in addition to vacuuming and using an upholstery cleaning attachment. For me, that couch is basically OK, but I won’t keep it anyway. I don’t want any furniture that I can’t remove the outer cover and wash. Period.

      By the way, the degree to which you can clean furniture also depends on the length its been exposed, the type of mold, and your genotype. Personally, I’d never try to save anything exposed to stachybotrys. There are many accounts of recovered Biotoxin Illness folks that have gone back and looked through items put in long-term storage hoping they’d be OK with them. I don’t know of any success stories other than my couch ordeal but again it depends on a lot of variables. Why not store those favorite items, get better, and then re-expose yourself to them and see?

  2. Greg – do you know the source for your information about the ozonization of oxygen-starved air generating toxic byproducts?

    Thanks.

    • Do you mean that when an ozone generator doesn’t get enough oxygen because it’s placed in a room without a good fresh air supply that it starts producing toxins? If so, it comes from the manual that came with the Bio3Blaster Ozone Canon I bought.

      The owner of Bio3Blaster Charles Boday writes, “The most common mistake made when performing a High Ozone Shock Treatment™ is to seal off the area being treated while running the machine. This is a big no-no. Why? Because the area being treated needs a fresh supply of oxygen. The way the BiO3Blaster™creates ozone is to convert ambient atmospheric oxygen (air) into O3 gas. It uses high voltage electrical current in order to do this. If the machine is used in a confined or closed off space it will quickly convert the ambient oxygen (O2) into O3 just like lightening does in the upper atmosphere. When it runs out of oxygen it will begin to work on or bond the nitrogen in the ambient air and can make nitric oxides and free radicals. There is a lot of dis-information and marketing gobbled-gook surrounding this simple science.”

  3. First, thank you for the information you have posted to date. Being a CIRS individual with the 12-3-52B gene, I find it most helpful to hear about the best practices used by others. With that being said, I’m wondering if you would be willing to share information on the following topics:
    1. Knowing that spores and fragments travel on people and things, what procedures do you use when people (including your immediate family), come into the home? Do you have a designated area where individuals put safe clothing on before entering the main part of the home?
    2. How do you handle the material goods that come into the home such as, groceries, mail, and other new items that may have been exposed to a higher level of spores?
    3. What processes do you use to keep your home clean and safe?
    4. Are there any additional tactics used in your daily routine that successfully helps keep you safe from exposure?
    Any information that you can share would be greatly appreciated.
    Blessings,
    Tina & Greg

    • Hi Tina,

      I don’t know that I’m the best person to ask this. I’m sort of a “knuckle-head” – expose myself to high levels when I know I shouldn’t. Having said that, I can tell you from my experience that the cleaner the space you live in is, the better you’ll feel. This includes outside air. Here in Wisconsin, the outdoor mold spore counts have finally dropped now that the crops are in along with the arrival of winter. I feel so much better.

      US Spore Map

      The degree that you have to be careful, also depends on where a person is at in their healing and their genotype. Being 12-3-52B multi-susceptible, you need to be more careful.

      For the most part, I stay out of buildings that I’ve taken hits in, wash clothing a lot, have HEPA filters running in the house, use window filters in the bad months to let fresh air in, have a MERV 13 filter on all incoming air into our HVAC system. I disassemble and clean out dehumidifiers, A/C coils, and anything with a fan at least once a year. If I feel like my sleep space is getting too loaded up, I use a dust mop with an articulating head to mop the floors, walls, and ceiling that I wring out in a bucket of KCT QUAT. Take a look at my blog Sleep Sanctuary.

      You know who’s written a lot about this topic is Lisa Petrison and Erik Johnson. If you go to Lisa’s website Paradigm Change, she’s still has free download links to “Back From The Edge” and “A Beginner’s Guide to Mold Avoidance” – see the right-hand sidebar. They’re full of good information. If you’ve got the cash and like “Back From The Edge”, I’d recommend supporting her work by purchasing a copy from Amazon.

      • Hi Greg,
        Thank you for responding. I will certainly check out the resources you’ve provided.

        I did just watch your short video on a clean bedroom sanctuary and I noted that you have a designated clean space (apartment) within your home. That answers my question as to how you keep yourself healthy to the degree you are.

        This also has me thinking about our next housing project, and plans to perhaps have a second living room (and full bath) with its own separate entrance where we can entertain people so they don’t have to change clothes etc. It would be up to me to determine whether I entered that space or not, but at least it would be available. I know my husband would benefit by it such as when he needs to come in to warm up during outdoor activities on our hobby farm, (we live in Minnesota), or when he bops in from outside to check out the latest football scores.

        While planning our next house, we knew we would need an entrance separate from the main clean house for my husband (and others) to change clothes and shower, as he works in a WDB and our farm outbuildings are not safe either. I’m eager to sketch out these new ideas!!

        It’s always great to connect with people who have CIRS, we are always learning of the different and creative options available to protect ourselves.

        Thank you so much! Peace and Blessings to you.

        Tina & Greg

        • It’s rewarding for me to hear this blog is helping out.

          It sounds like you’ve got a good understanding on how careful you need to be about keeping your living space clean. I like your idea about a separate space to entertain friends and such. It will definitely need to be completely separate. For example, you would not want to tie any ductwork from that space into the ductwork of your clean house.

          Regarding building, I’ve got a lot of ideas. Here are some in case its helpful.

          • Design for a common “wet wall” for all plumbing that has full access.
          • If you use plastic PEX piping, make all runs “homeruns” – no fittings inside walls.
          • If you can’t do without a basement, then use a thick, self-adhering bitumen membrane on the outside with dimple sheeting on top of that and do not finish the walls inside.
          • Roof decking should be fully sheeted with a water-and-ice self-adhering membrane.
          • A metal roof with no skylights and double boots around chimney and plumbing penetrations.
          • Real care needs to be taken flashing all wall openings and such while siding needs to be breathable – use a mesh between the siding and house sheeting.
          • I would use plywood instead of OSB, and avoid carpeting.
          • I would seriously consider making the walls fully breathable – get rid of the plastic vapor barrier.
          • Ideally the soil is porous and the house sits on top of a knoll with all the soil graded down and away.
          • The house should have a very simple roofline with large 24″ overhangs on all sides, a steep pitch, and energy heel trusses.
          • Also check out this list I made.

          Swanson Associates – Breathing Walls

          I checked out out your website. That was a sweet poem about your Dad. Family is wonderful.
          Peace and Blessings to you and yours.

          • Hi Greg,

            Thanks for the additional list of construction to-do’s. I will pass them on to my husband.
            It’s our hope that we will start a project next Spring, Lord willing. It won’t surprise me if we will be connecting with you again, with regards to your contracting knowledge.
            The goal is to build a safe house and get it right the first time around.
            Happy Thanksgiving!
            Tina & Greg

  4. Greg I can’t find a way to post a question on this blog without just replying to one
    Well my question is not all related to this section but has to do with mold and biotoxin illness & moldy items along with Epsom salt any other ideas for pain.
    My marcons is gone yeah I’m still on csm and dr has me on anti fungal with my nose aspirator machine next

    I’ve been in a lot of pain and going to try Epsom Salt
    I’ve been on cortisol for adrenal illnes slow doses along time but been cutting back to my norm and my pain is very bad, we figured it’s inflamation and cutting down on cortisol we need to go higher till sunnier days come and I’m not reacting to sad disease

    Question is about possibly moldy items
    I had written about that chair, but found we think it was just my inflamation not that chair however found out tonite I’ve been laying on my bed a matress cover and a feather type thicker thing that can’t be washed !
    That came from my old moldy house we did wash the matress cover is that good enough ?
    Worse yet I was laying on a unwashable item a feather bed thing that came from my daughters moldy dorm room
    Not sure how that got past us so that can only be spot cleaned guess it guess donated would it have contaminated the matress cover, that has been washed with theives when I moved in?
    The moldy feather, bed was only aired out I’ve taken it off my bed tonite but will rewaahing the matress cover be enough or do I need to donate it and buy a
    new mattress cover I guess featherbed soft to lay on but if you can’t wash even in non mold environment can get dusty with no option to wash or dry clean
    What’s a good option
    Which brings up subject of bed pillows which are best though I did buy new everything when I moved almost. I need a Pillow that I can wash without it becoming lumpy to help it stay dust mold free
    Help

    • Hi Debby,

      OK, let’s see what I can tackle here.

      I moved the New Comment box from it’s hiding place below all the comments so now it’s at the top. Good suggestion.

      First, Dr. Shoemaker does not recommend taking steroids (cortisol). His concern is that it will further suppress and even permanently damage ACTH. Having said this, Dave Asprey told me in a phone consultation that if taken at very modest levels to compensate for low levels that it can be very helpful with minimal risk.

      I like to load up on Liposomal C when I have a lot of pain and do more FIR saunas.

      Cross contamination is a big deal. When we’re really sick, even small doses can be troublesome. The impact depends on the type of toxins and the individual.

      Dr. Shoemaker has said that mattress covers (that completely enclose the entire mattress) work and this is my experience too. I have a high-quality cover, a couple of blankets, a mattress pad, and then a fitted sheet on mattresses that were in moldy storage and they’re fine for me. You can read about pillows and covers in my Sleep Sanctuary article. Clothing washed with Borax should be fine. I would put the “feather bed thing” in a sealed plastic bag until you’re feeling better and can see if it’s causing a reaction.

      I bet there are others that could really add to this discussion with their own experiences. Anybody around?

      • Hoping others pipe in
        Thanks for moving this comments to top!
        Yes I’ve been on cortisone natural for a long time but as William Jeffries book safe low doses uses of cortisol
        Suggested
        2- yeah I think gonna wash my covers with borax I just could not remember if that was good enough to clean mold they weren’t leaked on just from
        Air
        I don’t trust the feather bed was in a moldy dorm and can’t be washed or dry cleaned
        I will look into that

        3-I found great results
        From Epsom Salt bath and my pain last night and helped sleep
        Maybe this will help other mold patients dealing with pain and sleep issue .
        It supposed to help for constipation and csm reaction too and you get your magnesium too

        • Turmeric is very helpful for inflammation among other benefits. Make sure to get the kind without a black pepper additive. The general recommendation is 1-2 grams but I think a person could easily double this when they’re taking a mold hit. Awesome that you got better sleep.

          Vitamin D and amino acids can help with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

  5. Greg, you should try fogging a product called EM-1 and diffusing/vaporizing bee propolis. Supposedly, those two things together can somewhat address mold and mycotoxin issues. Probably doesn’t work 100% but it is said to help a lot in many cases. Dr. Klinghardt suggests using both of those products. I’m going to try them soon.

    • Hi Stuart,

      I tried bee propolis and various essential oils. I didn’t see any improvement. My question with these types of products is how do we know they are neutralizing the toxic soup of chemicals that mold and bacteria on decaying materials produce? Besides, mycotoxins only make up 2% of these biotoxins. What about the other 98% of endotoxins, beta glucans, VOCs, and the like?

      I’m not saying that aerosolized bee propolis and Thieves oil aren’t helpful. There are some interesting studies that suggest they are. It’s just that in my experience they have their limits. In general, I think it’s a much safer bet to get away from the mold and clean up belongings. Once in a clean place, I think these products are nice adjuncts.

      I’m seriously not in favor of Effective Micro-Organisms (EM). You can read some of my opinion on EM in Andrea Fabry’s article entitled EM Ceramic Powder for the Household. Look at the comments to this article.

      Thanks for thinking of me and taking the time to offer suggestions. I learn so much from people that send in comments.

      • Greg, that’s what I was afraid of. Well, it was something to try. It would be great to find something that would actually work for cross contamination etc… I haven’t had any success with cleaning things so far. Doesn’t seem to be any foolproof way of cleaning all of the mycotoxins etc… from things and environments. Looks like tossing everything and starting over is the safest thing to do.

        • In my experience, clothes can be washed and non-porous items can be cleaned with Windex, 409, Fantastic, or some other quaternary ammonium product like KCT QUAT. I’m not of the opinion that everything has to be thrown out. Also, as Greg Weatherman has proven, fogging with Borax and his other solutions do a very nice job at pulling aerosolized biotoxins out of the air. So fogging works but only after fixing the water problem, remediating mold damage, and a thorough all cleaning. The alternative to clearing mycotoxins at the end of a remediation project is “air washing” the space with high volume blowers.

          • I haven’t had luck using any of the quats so far. Windex, 409, fantastic didn’t seem to work for me. I’ve tried ozone but it didn’t seem to do anything either. At least not on trichothecenes. I’ve got the Aerosolver solution that Greg suggests. However, I haven’t used it to fog and wipe yet.

  6. How did you deal with electronics like computers and notebooks for example, which might contain mold in the inside?

    • Some will say that even plastic can not be cleaned. This has not been my experience and Dr. Shoemaker has said it can be cleaned. Having said this, you’re right to be concerned about cleaning items with lots of nooks and crannies. Computers have fans and the heat generated by monitors creates plenty of convective air flow through them. As such, we can assume they’re loaded with biotoxins if they’ve been in moldy environments.

      For PCs and monitors, you can take off covers and get access inside. I used 80psi air from my compressor. Of course there is the concern with a tiny bit of oil in compressor air but my compressor is pretty new so I wasn’t worried. I used a feather duster and hit it with air. If you’re at all worried, and for those without a compressor, you can buy cans of compressed air. An electric leaf blower works well too.

      One has to be careful about static charges. Keeping one hand on the case at all times keeps you, the case, the electronics, and whatever is in the other hand at roughly the same potential. I haven’t fried anything with this procedure yet and I’m far from being very careful. Just don’t drag your feet on carpeting and then touch any electronics because the static discharge can fry hardware – always grab the case first 😉

      Laptops are more of a pain. You can drop the hard drive, battery, and DVD drive out fairly easily to get pretty good access. I would caution against tearing into the display or taking out the keyboard and such if you’re not experienced with this sort of work. It can be a real pain getting those parts to fit back together again.

      How to Clean the Inside of a Computer

      If you have a friend who isn’t susceptible to biotoxins, it’s better that they do the work wearing a P100 mask with carbon, goggles, and protective clothing. I like this Welders Silicon Mask (has some plastic parts) with 3M P100 2297 Carbon Filters for going into moldy buildings. However, for remediation work, the wearer may want to use a P100 cartridge with more carbon like a 3M P100 60925. Also, this work must be done outside well away from the buildings. Upon completion, change clothing before entering the building and take a shower directly after.

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