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Help! How to move from moldy environment

Discussion in 'Lifestyle Management' started by GypsyGirl, May 6, 2014.

  1. GypsyGirl

    GypsyGirl

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    Hello all,

    Background info: I was able to find some threads about moving protocol from/for mold, and I've read both of Dr. Shoemaker's books, but I'd really like to hear from some of you.

    I'm moving soon to a new non-moldy environment (yay!). We're getting rid of fabric furniture & such, but keeping wooden furniture, clothes, and non porous various stuff.

    In a perfect world, I'd do the obvious thing - replace all items in a new environment - but that's not feasible. I'm trying to be as cautious as I possibly can, especially as I just found out I have the "dreaded" 4-3-53 haplotype.

    I'd really like to hear from those of you who've moved, how you handled the process of moving (cleaning, etc), and if you have any pointers or helpful hints. I'm scared of being in the same situation in the new place. :-\
  2. Sushi

    Sushi Moderator and Senior Member Albuquerque

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    @GypsyGirl

    Moving in general or specifically moving from a moldy environment. I recently managed a move, but mold wasn't involved.

    Sushi
  3. GypsyGirl

    GypsyGirl

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    @Sushi Oops, sorry, I wasn't very clear. Moving from a supposed moldy environment to a clean one.

    (If specifics help: There is no visible mold growing on belongings, but the house I'm currently in has a great deal of water damage in the basement & adjoined crawlspace, and a musty smell permeates the house. I really notice the smell when I leave and come back, smell it in my clothes & pillows, etc.)

    Please let me know if I should clarify anything else, I appreciate the feedback. :)
  4. minkeygirl

    minkeygirl Senior Member

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    @GypsyGirl I lived in a mold place. While I was still there but the mold was removed, I washed everything I could and I wiped down all solid hard surfaces.

    You may want to consider getting rid of all paper products because mold likes that. That may make packing hard because of the cardboard. I know someone who bought a bunch of plastic tubs from target. Or if you have to use boxes, leave them outside and bring stuff in after you've wiped it down.

    BTW, I moved 4 times in 14 months. Ain't fun. I bought bubble wrap on Ebay, and posted signs on my windows so my neighbors brought me boxes. I hired someone to help me pack and unpack too which was huge.
    GypsyGirl and Tiger Lily 813 like this.
  5. Tiger Lily 813

    Tiger Lily 813 Senior Member

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    I'm going through this soon too!! Well, I'm still on the step where I find my next place but in NYC this can all happen fast. I am overwhelmed! Planning on washing everything with vinegar and tea tree... and ditching so much stuff. And then I guess I'm wiping down my wood chair with alcohol? Or is vinegar better?
    This whole process is driving me nuts, say for instance, if you have a watertight bin or even like a large supplement bottle, would they not be trapping in the air from the effected environment?
    SO confusing. I agree with you, I am way too broke to re-purchase every little thing.
    My futon mattress, leather chair and pillows will not be coming along with me, and those things I need to re-buy.
    Like you @GypsyGirl I am leaving a "highly suspected," mold environment that seems to bother only me. Nothing visible but a leakage history below us (leak was stopped but no remediation) and a reactivation of lyme like symptoms (but I prior to moving in had lyme under control). Good luck!! I'll follow this thread : )
  6. minkeygirl

    minkeygirl Senior Member

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    I don't thnk it matters what you wipe it down with since you're removing the spores.

    And you can wipe down leather. That's whT I did. I want tossing a leather sofa.

    I've had no problems. It's easy to freak out but it's just common sense. If you can wipe it you're fine. I even wiped down some books.
    GypsyGirl and Tiger Lily 813 like this.
  7. GypsyGirl

    GypsyGirl

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    Thank you guys so much for speaking up. :)

    @minkeygirl Luckily, there's a watertight well ventilated garage at the new place, so I was thinking we'd first move cardboard boxes there. Like a staging area. Then I'll suit up (haha - gloves, face mask) and unpack and disinfect bits at a time. I'm hoping to save some books... I've tried books in a plastic bin, putting a few drops of thieves or citrus oil on a dryer sheet or two and letting the books "soak" for a few days - that has eliminated the musty smell.

    @Tiger Lily 813 I soooo feel you on "the process". I feel so OCD, worrying about invisible spores. I have a couple ideas/plans of attack for wooden shelves and my piano - wipe down with vinegar dilution or "mold spray" (got info from my ENT and bought Micro Balance products). Alcohol might damage some of the varnish on the wooden stuff. Then, if it's nice wooden furniture, (my piano is the only one I'm worried about), I'll use a special wood cleaner to make it shine.

    I'll just rewash kitchen stuff, rewash clothes (using baking soda and vinegar, which is useful anyways), wipe down possible surface with vinegar. This time, all pillows and new mattress get allergen covers. :p I can use a bathtub to mass vinegar soak random stuff (clothes hangers, jewelry).

    I'm worried about the carpet in a few rooms, and if symptoms start coming up with all the boxes being opened up and getting into the carpet. But found out I could rent a HEPA vacuum and air purifier by the day...there are multiple companies that do this, including Home Depot.

    ....so those are my ideas thus far.

    I'll send serene moving thoughts your way, free of nasty flares. If you think of other stuff, let me know. I'll be your long distance moving buddy.
  8. minkeygirl

    minkeygirl Senior Member

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    @GypsyGirl Sounds like a plan. My understand only bleach and specific things kill mold. IF you like the smell of that stuff then use it but it's all about wiping the spores off. IF they are they and smell like lemon, it's not going to help you.
  9. GypsyGirl

    GypsyGirl

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    @minkeygirl - Other than Dr. Shoemaker's suggestions, I've been using info from this website: http://blackmold.awardspace.com/kill-remove-mold.html
    I've looked up so much, but that link seems to be a good summary of what I've found on several sites. If anyone has input as to whether the site above is valid/accurate info or not (or has a better website to draw info from), I'm all ears. :)

    Since it can be so hard to discern what's Fact on the Internet (haha), I've been relying on my responses and other people's experiences. (Bleach can bring on asthma attacks in me, so I'm always looking for cleaning alternatives so I'm not wheezing for days.)
  10. minkeygirl

    minkeygirl Senior Member

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    @GypsyGirl I'm going by what the guy who removed my mold told me. There is some stuff you can get at Home Depot that you can spray on the mold. I found it to have no scent at all. It may have been chemical free. I can't remember the name though.

    I just know you can drive yourself batty.
  11. acrosstheveil

    acrosstheveil Senior Member

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    what is the stuff you can buy to remove mold?
  12. minkeygirl

    minkeygirl Senior Member

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    It's not something to remove mold, more to keep it from growing after the mold was torn out and then water came in again. As I said, I don't remember the name of it but it was from Home Depot.
  13. GypsyGirl

    GypsyGirl

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    @minkeygirl - you're so right about the feeling batty about all this. I'm fighting an "invisible army" that many people & docs have never heard of. That'll make ya crazy.

    @acrosstheveil The "de-molding" products I use are primarily from the company Microbalance. I found the company through my ENT, who suggested I see Dr. Donald Dennis out of Georgia (he specializes more with mold illness). This guy: http://www.achooallergy.com/allergist-interview-donald-dennis.asp

    Dr. Dennis is closely affiliated with and uses Microbalance products for his patients.
    I use this concentrate for spray:
    https://www.microbalancehealthproducts.com/mobile/Product.aspx?ProductCode=203-101
    It goes a long way, and has worked well. Perhaps it's similar to what @minkeygirl was referring to from Home Depot - this one has almost no scent.

    I've also used the laundry additive (works, but it seems adding vinegar/baking soda is just as effective for me), the candles (seemed to help, but I had to close off one room all the time before I felt a difference), and the diffuser (saw absolutely no difference, bummer).

    If I can't wipe stuff down with bleach, vinegar, or the mold spray, I use essential lemon oil, orange oil, and Four Thieves oil for various purposes: I'll put a few drops on a cotton ball & seal a couple library books in a plastic bag for a few days, then I'm able to read without the usual itchy, blurry vision I tend to get with old books. And I'll use it to wipe down wooden furniture, a drop on a dryer sheet when drying clothes, etc.

    Four Thieves is a knockoff of Thieves oil - it's of high quality though, and works as well and costs less.

    Some oil fact links:
    http://www.freeorangeoil.com/html/mold.php
    http://aromatherapy4u.wordpress.com/got-mold-essential-oils-kill-mold/

    I use organic Aura Cacia citrus oils (just my preference) from health food stores, and order Four Thieves from amazon:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00H2WIKCE/ref=ox_sc_act_title_2?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A3PKW778P6JAD9

    ...that was a very long response. :p But I hope something in it is helpful. :)
  14. waiting

    waiting Senior Member

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    Is Concrobium the product from Home Depot you are thinking of?

    As @minkeygirl mentioned, it is also my understanding, though, that removing mold from surfaces in this way does not address the source of the problem. If there is still water intrusion, then you must stop the water intrusion, prevent further water intrusion, and then *remove* everything (like drywall, wood) that was contaminated by mold. Otherwise, the mold will keep returning.

    If you clean moldy walls with Concrobium, if may slow down the mold growth on those surfaces, but it will eventually return because the source is still there, possibly causing problems for you (often hidden, behind drywall, behind bath/shower inserts,etc.).
  15. detts

    detts

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    If belongings have been around toxic black mold spores can that still be cleaned off with the above suggestions?

    I really don't want to have to get rid of everything - I would like to keep my computers, electrical equipment, some clothes, books, lots of bottles of expensive supplements.

    The past three houses I have lived in have been moldy and I am moving again because of the same problems - each house has had water leaks.

    My belongings do not have visible signs of mold but I am worried about spores. I have been moving the same belongings from house to house - I will this time get rid of the sofa, bed, cushions, cloth paintings but would like to keep the other things I mentioned.

    My mycotxin report from real labs show tricothecene levels of 0.88 ppb which I am told is high so I am assuming the mold in one or more of the houses was toxic black mold although I never had it tested.

    Thanks for any advice.
  16. minkeygirl

    minkeygirl Senior Member

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    The guy who removed my mold said to wipe down hard surfaces,'wash what you can, chuck the rest. Paper and cardboard tends to be moldy

    I chose to wipe down books and all surfaces. I didn't throw anything out and had no problems. Having a leather sofa helped.

    Go back and read through this thread. It tells you everything others have done.
  17. detts

    detts

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    Thanks for reply that's great to hear you were able to keep your things after cleaning them . Was it toxic black mold that you had?

    It wasn't clear from what I read in the thread whether it was toxic black mold people were able to clean or some other mold which is why I specified toxic black mold in my question.

    To clarify my situation when I moved out of the other moldy houses I was ignorant of the issue of cross contamination and didn't take any precautions of cleaning the furniture or any items come to that of spores. There was no visible mold on my belongings because the mold was found to be under the bathroom floor. It just didn't cross my mind that everything might have spores on.

    My concern is the mycotoxins that may or may not be on my belongings now and whether it is possible to clean those which are apparently a lot more difficult to remove than spores.

    I will consult a specialist to confirm.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2014
  18. acrosstheveil

    acrosstheveil Senior Member

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    i read that ammonia is an effective mycotoxin cleaner. I've been using it on all the mold contaminated items i run across. which seems to be everything lately...
  19. detts

    detts

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    Thanks for the tip!
  20. GypsyGirl

    GypsyGirl

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    @detts I moved from a home with various types of mold. Black mold was growing on one piece of furniture.

    Cleaning stuff kinda seems to depend on how desperate you are. (And I say that seriously.) I was majorly sick.

    The process we ending up using was
    1) While outside, or inside with OPEN windows, used industrial strength mold cleaner
    on all furniture and cleanable appliances. (Used Zep! when first moving in, then switched to concrobium - less toxic for me- from Home Depot)
    2) Depending on material, followed that up with either (or multiple cleanings, drying between uses)
    a) borax bath wipedown,
    b) or vinegar wipedown,
    c) or "natural" mold cleaner mentioned in posts above.

    3) For computer stuff, my husband took canned air to clean out as much dust as possible (outside, in shade). Wiped down cords with aforementioned cleaning solutions.

    We've had to leave our paper products in the garage (turned into a decent storage space -sealed with duct tape, with a dehumidifier). I had to bring up some necessary documents - I bagged suspicious ones in plastic ziplocs. It's very humid where I live right now, but when that's better, I'll wipe down and dry books in the sun. (UV bulbs can supposedly kill mold but are pricey. Still, for collectibles, there's supposed to be less damage.)

    I use vinegar to pre-rinse clothes, borax as an add on with detergent.

    So far, I've only ruined one scarf and one wooden jewelry box - everything else held up to what I've mentioned.

    I was very worried with the "process", but it's not so bad.

    The other stuff that's been hugely helpful:
    1) Replaced regular a/c filters with carbon ones. We cut ours from $10 Home Depot ones. (Bonus: sucked the new paint/instant migraine smell away)
    2) sealed HEPA vacuum - big splurge, but our new place is 90% carpet. (I'm shocked at the air quality difference.) This was the priciest. :-\
    3) HEPA air purifier - especially if you're keeping paper products/worried about airborne spores. I researched like crazy and finally got a Winix plasmawave from Amazon. $300. We can't afford one for every room, but moving it as needed (it shows air quality) really does help.

    More stuff/everyday changes: We also bought a humidity thermometer ($10), and are saving for a dehumidifier for upstairs. We don't wear shoes in the house or bring in clothes worn in the garage. Library books air in the sun for a few hours, then sit in a cleaned plastic bin with a cotton ball soaked in thieves' oil for a few days (I can borrow again, yay!).

    ... that's the order in which we did everything.

    I still have reactions going into the garage/stuff in there, and cleaning is a tedious process, but no more asthma attacks & convulsions. So, I'm pleased.

    If you have further questions, don't hesitate to ask. Hope that helps.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2014
    taniaaust1 likes this.

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