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Should You Use a “Mold Test Kit” to Identify Mold?

Are Mold Test Kits Effective at Identifying Mold? Image of Mold test kits aren't helpful - Mold Solutions NWIn an effort to save money, many people invest in Mold Test Kits for the home. Some kits advertize results in 48 hours, while others go so far as to say that in 5 minutes you can swab and and have results.

After hearing these types of claims, a well known phrase comes to my mind: “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!”

The other thing that comes to my mind is: Are you going to risk possible health problems by using a 5 minute mold test kit?

Unfortunately I need to tell you that most of these kits are a waste of money, especially when you will probably end up hiring a mold inspector anyway.

A waste of time and money

  • Although these kits can give you a few answers, some that you most likely already know, they can’t provide the whole picture.
    • Basically they test only for the presence of mold…mold is always present, so this is not new or helpful information.
    • When the mold test indicates the presence of mold, it doesn’t mean you have a mold problem.
    • These kits, because they will almost always test positive for mold, strike fear in the hearts of homeowners who now think they have a mold problem, when they don’t necessarily have one.
  • Mold kits do not inspect the entire home or building.
    • Image of Mold Inspectors locate the problem - Mold Solutions NWMold inspectors, using their expertise of building construction and problematic situations that encourage mold growth, will examine the structure inside and out, looking for such things as:
      • Poorly ventilated attics and crawl spaces
      • Cracks in the foundation that can allow moisture in
      • Leaks in plumbing
      • Condensation, excess humidity
      • Inadequate outside drainage that doesn’t move water away from the house.

Here is what I think…

As a certified mold inspector, I recommend that you do not waste your efforts on mold detection kits. Not only do they provide you with information that you already know, but they won’t identify what the problem is that started the mold and how to effectively resolve the issue.

Mold Solutions is a full service mold solutions provider for the Seattle Puget Sound area, Bellevue, Everett, or Tacoma
We can remove the threats to your health and safety caused by mold.


What are Spores

What is a Mold Spore?

Image of Spores are part of mold's reproductive process - Mold Solutions NWAs a living organism, mold needs a way to reproduce. That is where spores some in.

Spores are the reproduction method for fungus and algae. Since mold is a fungus, its means of reproduction is through spores, which are asexual, and don’t need to combine with anything else in order to reproduce.

Spores are much like seeds, but are much quicker and have a higher reproduction rate.

How do spores travel?

Traveling through the air, mold spores are always with us, inside and outside. If they were able to stay outside, they wouldn’t be a problem, but they enter our homes everytime we open a window or a door.

Then, once they are inside, their movement and ability to spread is assisted by our activities that cause air movement, such as cleaning and vacuuming. It’s kind of frustrating to think that some of the things we do to eliminate these problems are the very things that help spread them.

Signs of a mold problem

Mold is not only unsightly, but it can be unhealthy and cause or increase respiratory problems. Although we don’t need to be paranoid about watching for mold, we do need to be aware of any signs of mold growth:

  • Your nose might be the first to notice that musty smell of mold. Though you may not be able to see the mold, you may be able to smell it.
  • Have you discovered a leak? Leaks are one of the largest contributors to mold problems. Mold begins fast, it only takes about 24-48 hours for water damaged surfaces to start showing signs of growth.
  • Image of  Black Mold growing on a wall - Mold Solutions NWVisible signs of mold isn’t always consistent, it could look black, brown or even orange, and it could be fuzzy or slimy.

It’s recommended that if you have spotted mold growing in your home and it is in an area of about 10 sq feet or more, you should probably have a trained professional come out and assess the damage and risk.

Not all mold is toxic, but unless you have been trained, you won’t know the difference, don’t take a chance with yours our your family’s health.

Mold Solutions is a full service mold solutions provider for the Seattle Puget Sound area, Bellevue, Everett, or Tacoma

We can remove the threats to your health and safety caused by mold.


Is There a Difference Between Mold and Mildew?

Mold vs Mildew Difference

Image of Questions about mold and mildew - Mold Solutions NWMany people use the terms mold and mildew synonymously, substituting one for the other, which causes confusion, because we wonder if they are the same or if there is a difference.

They are the same, but they are different…does that clear things up?

Like so many things in life, they have various similarities and various differences.

Let’s talk about the similarities between Mold and Mildew

  • Both are types of fungus and spread by spore movement
  • Both can be found growing in damp warm areas
  • Both produce allergens and can be toxic and cause health problems
  • Both can be found growing on a variety of surfaces
  • Both move and spread easily and freely
  • Both are always with us…they’re everywhere
  • Both give off a musty smell

What are the differences?

  • They are different in color
    • Mold is found in a variety of colors, from black to green to orange and even blue
    • Mildew is normally gray or white and can change color as it matures
  • They are different in appearance or texture
    • Mold is often thicker, it can be slimy or fuzzy
    • Mildew is either powdery or downy
  • Mildew can be spread by animals or even be transported on your clothing or shoes
  • Some molds serve a purpose, they can be used in the production of penicillin or cheese
    • There aren’t any good uses for mildew
  • Mildew is more predominantly found on fabrics, paper and showers
    • Mold is more typically found in walls, on ceilings and on food, in attics and crawl spaces
    • Moldy food should never be eaten

Whatever their similarities or differences, it is unhealthy for you to have them growing in Image of Trash moldy food - Mold Solutions NWyour home or any place where you spend several hours a day.

If you have mold on your food, throw it away.

Most people don’t have the knowledge or resources to remediate mold safely and permanently, so if you have mold growing on your walls or ceilings call a professional to assess the damage and eliminate the problem.

Mold Solutions is a full service mold solutions provider for the Seattle Puget Sound area, Bellevue, Everett, or Tacoma

We can remove the threats to your health and safety caused by mold.