Mold is a type of multicellular fungus that can grow in homes. Mold and mildew are the nightmares of every household. On top of that, to add to this nightmare, mold is quite a common problem faced by homes. Once mold gains a foothold in your home, it gets difficult to remove it completely. They might even simply regrow if you remove them completely. Black mold or Stachybotrys chartarum is a kind of mold that can cause health problems to the people exposed to it. Even though it is called a black mole, it is actually greenish-black in color. Black mold, or mold in general, affects only those people who have weak immune systems. That means it can affect old people and little infants. It is capable of causing respiratory problems in people with lung diseases and worsening the condition of people who have asthma. If you find mold growth in your house, you must remove it or get it removed as soon as possible, regardless of the type of mold.
If there is extensive mold growth in your home, you would have to hire a professional mold removal service to get it removed. A typical household doesn’t have the equipment to remove mold completely and effectively. Only professional mold removal services would have the equipment and expertise required for that task. As for testing kits for mold, they are easily available for you in the market. In this article, we are going to see the best mold testing kits and how to use them.
Types of mold test kits
Like most other products in the market, mold test kits are available in different types as well. Following are the types of mold test kits you have to choose from:-
1.Instant mold test kit
As the name suggests, this type of mold test kit shows instant results after testing. An instant mold test kit uses thin chemical strips to test the presence of mold. This type of mold test kit is very simple to use. But on the flip side, it can only show you whether the mold is present and not the type of mold. So if you only require to know whether the mold is present, this type of testing kit is perfect for you. But in case you also want to determine the mold type, you will have to go for an advanced test kit.
2.Settling plate mold test kit
This type of test kit allows you to analyze further than just whether there is mold growth or not. A setting plate test kit consists of a film or a petri dish. These are used to collect the samples of the air particles near the area where mold growth is suspected. The gummy medium at their bottom helps to settle these air particles that they catch. After catching the air particles, you are required to keep it covered for around a week. If there are mold spores, they will grow. You can also send it for lab analysis.
3.Air check mold test kit
An aircheck mold test consists of a test cassette. The samples that the user takes from certain areas are fixed in this cassette. This kit gives you accurate results on the presence of molds. You can also send the test cassette to a lab in order to determine the exact kind of mold that your house has been infested with. Aircheck mold test kits used by professional mold removal services have a higher price than the other types. They also show results much quicker as compared to a setting plat mold test kit.
The best mold test kits
There are many mold test kits available in the market for you to choose from. But in order to get efficient results, you need to choose among the best ones. The following are the best mold test kits you will find in the market in 2020:-
1.Mold Armor FG500 Do It Yourself Mold Test Kit
- The Mold Armor FG500 do it yourself kit allows three testing methods: 1) Surface Sampling Testing method, 2) Air Conditioning and Heating Sampling Method, and 3) Air Quality Test Method.
- This kit consists of a petri dish, a swab, and a mold growth medium.
This DIY mold test kit from Mold Armor can be used for testing indoor as well as outdoor mold growth. With the three mold testing methods, you can test mold by any method that you require. It satisfies all kinds of mold testing requirements. Also, with this test kit, you can test all kinds of mold growth on all kinds of surfaces. Moreover, it also allows you to take air samplings. It is essentially a setting plate mold test kit. All you have to do is keep the petri dish near the area where the mold is suspected. Along with the petri dish and mold growth medium, it also comes with a swab to add to your convenience. you will find this product to be easy and safe to use. This kit shows accurate results within 48 hours. It is a helpful piece of equipment to protect your household from toxic molds.
The Mold Armor FG500 DIY mold test kit is currently available on Amazon.com at an affordable price of $8.97.
2.Healthful Home 5-Minute Mold Test
- The Healthful Home 5-minute mold test kit consists of the items: 1 asp/pen, 1 rapid test, an all-in-one collection swab, and instructions-for-use.
- With this testing kit, you won’t have to wait for weeks or even hours to get your result. It shows the results in a very short time so that you can start taking the necessary measures right away. It saves you a lot of time in that way. You also save a considerable amount of money since you won’t have to send the samples for lab analysis to know the result. Moreover, it shows accurate results, unlike some other kits that sometimes fail in detecting mold. This kit can detect so many kinds of molds that cause health problems. You can protect your household from all kinds of toxic molds with the help of just this one great product. It is overall much easier and convenient to use than other test kits. On top of that, it is available at a very affordable price.
- The Healthful Home 5-minute mold test kit is easily available in the market. you can buy it from Amazon.com at a current price of $29.99.
3.Mold Testing Kit from DIY Mold Test
- The mold testing kit from DIY Mold Test allows you up to 3 tests.
- This kit contains the items: 3 tape lift samples, a mold inspection booklet, and a quick start guide.
This mold testing kit offers you a lot of conveniences. Unlike some other kits, this one can detect all types of molds. The mold inspection booklet included with this kit guides you on how to inspect your home properly for the presence of mold. It is very helpful, especially for those who are using this kit for the first time. After collecting the samples using the tape lift on suspected surfaces, you are required to send it for analysis in the lab. The results you get using this kit are set to you through email. Even though this product allows only surface tests, it does that efficiently. It is in fact a great choice for detecting molds on the surface, looking at how it can detect all types of molds.
You can easily find the mold test kit from DIY Mold Test in the market. It is also available on Amazon.com at an affordable price of $45.95.
4.First Alert MT1 Mold Detection Kit
- The MT1 mold detection kit from First Alert consists of the items: 6 test tapes, 3 poly bags, 1 test card, a manual, and a return envelope that comes printed.
- The lab analysis costs $15 per sample.
This mold detection kit contains all that the user would need to collect samples and send them to the lab for analysis. It can detect and hence help to protect your household from multiple kinds of moles. Moreover, for a price of $15, you can get the analysis done by a lab that is certified by the NIOSH. The MT1 mold detection kit is easily available in the market, like the other products mentioned above. You can also buy it from Amazon.com currently at a price of $10.64.
How to find mold in your house
Signs of mold in your home
If there is mold growing in your house, you would get some signs indicating it. These signs would help you in detecting mold growth in your home. Following are the main signs of mold in your household:-
Wherever there is mold growing on a surface, you will observe discoloration. If you see an unexplained discoloration on surfaces such as walls, it could be that it is due to mold. Since this sign is a visual one, you would be able to spot it easily.
If you experience an unexplained musty odor in your home, it might be because of mold. You might want to get your house inspected for the presence of mold if you experience such an odor.
Exposure to toxic mold or black mold over a long time can cause health problems. These include symptoms such as sneezing, skin irritation, runny or blocked nose, etc in people who are allergic to mold. Moreover, it can also worsen the condition of asthma in people who are asthmatic. Also, it can cause respiratory problems in people who have an existing lung disease. If anyone in your household faces these problems inexplicably, it might very well be due to mold exposure.
Where to look for mold in your home
Mold spores enter your home mainly by air or along with people, pets, or objects by clinging to them. These spores are obviously not visible, so it is virtually impossible to stop them from intruding your home. And once they intrude your home, they can find plenty of suitable places to breed in your home. These specific areas are where you should look for mold growth in your home. Following are the common breeding grounds for mold in your household:-
1.Under the sink
Molds thrive on moisture. The moist and humid condition under the sink provides a perfect environment for mold spores to breed. When inspecting your home for mold, you definitely shouldn’t forget to check under the sink. Also, in order to prevent mold from gaining ground, you are advised to wipe this area thoroughly with a hydrogen peroxide solution.
The area where there have been water leaks is another perfect breeding ground for mold spores. If a mold spore sits on such an area by chance, it will grow without any problem. To avoid this from happening, you are advised to fix your leaking pipes or any other kind of water leaks, in case you have one.
3.Carpets and upholstery
The carpets and upholstery in your home are also potential breeding grounds for mold. Some specific kinds of molds feed on dirt. So if a spore of any one of these types of molds sits on a dusty carpet, it will find a perfect condition for its growth. Keeping your carpets and upholstery clean would be the best way to keep it free from mold.
Molds are not restricted to your kitchen and bathroom. They can also find a suitable breeding ground in your mattress. The foam that is present in all mattresses offers a perfect environment for mold to grow. You must be extra careful about mattress molds because exposure to them can cause serious health problems. It must be noted here that mattress molds are a big factor in children’s asthma. So while inspecting our home for mold, you must not leave out your mattress at any cost.
Molds are also known to grow on toys, especially in bath toys of infants. Bath toys may contain enough moisture to provide favorable conditions for mold to grow. Especially since little infants like to put their toys in their mouths often, you are advised to be extra careful about molds on toys of infants if you have any at home. For the purpose of removing mold from bath toys, a vinegar solution consisting of 1/2 cup vinegar and a gallon of water does the job.
Walls are one of the most common breeding grounds for mold. Molds on walls are mainly caused due to water damage and humidity. The water damage provides the moisture that is required for mold to grow. If left unchecked, molds on walls will grow extensively, forming spots on them. Fixing water damage as soon as possible can save your walls from molds.
Potted plants are potential breeding grounds for molds. The decaying organic matter on plant soil is food to molds. Even though the molds that grow on plants or plant soils are harmless, they are still undesirable and must be removed. You are suggested to inspect your potted plants as well, in case you have them.
Other than the ones mentioned above, there are other potential breeding grounds for molds as well. Places such as brick crevices, window seals, refrigerator drip pans, air conditioners, and all such places that contain moisture and humidity should be inspected as well.
How to use a mold test kit
- The first thing that you must keep in mind while using a mold test kit is that you must test multiple areas in your home. This would ensure that you have detected all the places where molds have grown in your home. So you must buy a mold test kit that offers more than one test.
- Another point to be noted here is that the results shown by chemical strips are not so accurate as compared to the other types of test kits. So you would have to send it to a lab for an accurate analysis, which means spending extra money.
- You are advised to close the doors and windows of the room you will be conducting the test a day earlier. This would let the mold spores gather together without being stirred up by a draft. That would make it easier to test the area for you.
- In case of a setting plate mold test kit, you must strictly leave it untouched for 48 hours near the area that is suspected of being infested with mold. Also, you must ensure that there is no disturbance in the air of the room. You are suggested not to let any people in there or go there yourself.
- You are suggested to use tape around the seam that connects the lid and the dish. Also, you must use a tape that is easy to remove when required.
- In the case of a setting plate kit, you must keep the petri dish in a place that is sufficiently dark. That’s because it would be favorable to the growth of mold if there is any in the dish.