Black Mold Test Kits: What To Look For And What To Avoid
Last Updated on December 4, 2019 by Diana Rodriguez-Zaba
You dont want to take any chances. You know you have a problem, but you cant be sure about its type. Before you gave it the bleach test, you were sure it was mold and not just harmless mildew. Now, you want to find out exactly what youre dealing with.
You need to know if the stuff under the sink is ordinary fungus or toxic black mold that can cause serious health problems. How do you choose a reliable mold testing kit?
If youre confused by all the different products available, youre in good company. When we tackle black mold removal in Chicago homes, were often asked about the effectiveness of DIY mold testing.
For Detecting And Tackling Mold Spores
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The Spruce / Chloe Jeong
Mold can grow anywhere it finds moisture and organic nutrients, like wood or paper, to feed on. You may find it in a corner of your bathroom, laundry room, or basement, or any space that doesn’t have quality ventilation. If you come across mold, it’s imperative to remove it quickly and safely, as mold can be detrimental to your familys health. However, it can be a little difficult to know if mold exists in your home , which is where at-home mold testing comes in.
Mold testing kits help you detect and even identify growing spores in your home, through samples collected via the air or from the surface in question. Some give you results right away, while others ask you to package the samples and send them back to a lab for professional examination. With the resulting information, you can get the peace-of-mind that you’re looking for while making all of the necessary arrangements to remove the harmful fungi, or know your cleaning efforts were effective.
Here, the best at-home mold tests, that are both easy to use and effective.
Reasons Mold Test Kits Waste Your Money
The most important part of a mold inspection is the inspection, not the mold samples.Mold samples can be misleading, are sometimes incorrect with both false positive and false negative results occurring, and can only be accurately interpreted in conjunction with a well thought out sampling plan and visual inspection. The visual inspection requires an understanding of building construction, water sources, and other factors that may not be apparent to many people, such as condensation occurring in a poorly ventilated attic, poor drainage on the exterior of a building, or cracks in the foundation.
Mold growth on painted wall.Source: Eurofins EMLab P& K
Consumer Reports rates home mold test kits “Not Recommended“.In 2006, Consumer Reports evaluated four different types of home mold testing kits and rated all of them “Not Recommended,” including typical comments like this one for the Pro-Lab MO109 mold test kit:
“In some samples, the vials with media leaked over entire kit. In one, an unopened kit was moldy. No expiration dates on the kit old media could affect the accuracy and reliability of the results. Label claims that kit can identify toxic mold, but the report the lab sends can’t tell you this. One unused plate came back positive for mold growth, indicating contamination at some point not very reassuring for post remediation use.”
Hidden mold growth behind wood baseboard.Source: Eurofins EMLab P& K
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Reviews For Mould Test Kit
Purchased this for testing mould levels indoors, did the job.
David Anderson December 10, 2020
Ordered a test kit, was extremely well put together, and worked as intended. Only downside I found was the price and the instructions werent very clear as different on the box to the actual instruction sheet.
Charles Babb December 10, 2020
I have ordered a mold test kit which was delivered within the next few days, easy to use and that we had the report back could of weeks later. The girl within the office was very nice and helpful.
Craig Oliver December 21, 2020
Had an issue with a test kit, Sysco was so welcoming on the phone and helpful, helped me understand the different test kits as well as what suits me best.
John Meade December 21, 2020
Mould test kit came over a week late from when I ordered it. After I raised this issue, they sorted it in a timely fashion. Would still recommend.
Mould test kit, easy to use, results came a little later than expected.
Test kit results in 4 days late from what was expected.
Mould test kit was hard to understand, instructions on box different to paper instructions.
James Tomlin December 22, 2020
Mould test kit came and was defective. Contacted Sysco and they fixed the error but was an inconvenience.
Home Mold Test Kit Vs Hiring A Home Mold Inspector
If you are a consumer who believes that there may be some presence of mold in your home then you generally have two alternatives 1) An over-the-counter home mold test kit, or 2) Hire a mold inspector.
An over-the-counter home mold test kit may seem like an appealing and more affordable alternative than hiring a home mold inspector but there are some important facts you should keep in mind before investing in one of these kits.
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Mold Armor Diy Mold Test Kit
Complete with a petri dish and mold-growth medium, this Mold Armor kit is suitable for testing indoor air, ventilation systems and surface areas that show visible mold growth. This kit shows the presence of mold after being exposed to the air, but a $40 test fee is required to find out what kind of mold youve got.
Other Disadvantages Of Using A Home Mold Test Kit Include:
- When mailing your kit to the lab for analysis, you risk inaccurate results because you dont know whether the specimen was handled properly during the shipping process.
- Dont panic when we say this but there are always mold spores floating in the air we breathe, meaning your home mold test kit will more than likely show a positive result. The key information missing is where the level and growth of the mold is, and how to remove it.
- Mold kits dont provide a control sample, therefore, without a baseline, you arent able to assess the level of elevation of the spores.
- The United States Environmental Protection Agency advises against home mold test kits. They advise leaving this to the professionals, like MoldGone. Heres what the United States Environmental Protection Agency has to say about mold testing:
Sampling for mold should be conducted by professionals who have specific experience in designing mold sampling protocols, sampling methods, and interpreting results. Sample analysis should follow analytical methods recommended by the American Industrial Hygiene Association , the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists , or other professional organizations.
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How Are Mold Air Test Samples Examined In Thelaboratory
Mold spore sample slides are prepared in the laboratory and then examined atmagnifications from 100x to 1920x to identify the dominant or other indicativeparticles collected. Particle counting, such as spores/M3 of air, ifprovided, is performed at 400x, 480x, 720x, 1000x, up to 1920x.
Somecompanies also use polarized light and darkfield methods and a variety of slidepreparation chemicals and stains.
How To Choose The Best Mold Test Kit
There are a few key things to consider when selecting a mold test kit. These include the types of supplies that are included and the customer support that’s available. Here are the main factors to think about to make sure you choose the best mold test kit for your situation.
It is important to find a mold test kit that includes all of the equipment necessary to collect complete samples. If a test kit can collect surface samples but does not include swabs or adhesive strips, youll have to look elsewhere to buy these items at an added cost. Usually, you can determine the types of tests the kit can perform by looking at the included supplies.
Help and support
Reputable mold test companies include their telephone numbers and email addresses on their websites. In addition to contact information, you might want to select a company that has strong support options, including FAQs and video tutorials. Aside from our top two products, the Pro-Lab Mold Test Kit and the Home Mold Laboratory Viable Mold Test Kit, you can find full customer support with Healthful Home’s 5-Minute Mold Test and the Mold Check Whole House Mold Test.
It also is handy if either the kit itself or the website offers a guidebook to tell you how to test for mold and identify what you find.
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Diy Mold Test Mold Testing Kit Lab Analysis And Expert Consultation Included
as of January 21, 2022 5:42 am
- EXCELLENT VALUE INCLUDING 10 SEPARATE TESTS: Our mold testing kit includes 10 agar petri dishes for mold growth, 10 cotton tipped swabs, detailed mold information guide about common household molds, and an optional lab analysis .
- TEST ROOM AIR, YOUR HVAC SYSTEM, & ANY HOUSEHOLD SURFACE: Perform mold tests in 10 different parts of your home or office with our mold detector kit. Test your walls, shower, car, sink, HVAC system, room air, and other physical surfaces.
- OPTIONAL DISCOUNT LAB ANALYSIS – Lab tests can be pricey–but with our test kit it doesn’t have to be. Each purchase gives you an option to send samples to one of our partner labs at a discounted $40 per petri dish.
- IDENTIFY MOLDS WITH OUR MOLD IDENTIFICATION GUIDE: If you don’t want to spend the money for the lab test, our kit comes with a downloadable guide with multiple images and information on common household molds. Compare the mold on your petri dishes with the images in our guide to help make a positive identification!
- 100% SATISFACTION GUARANTEE: Got questions about your results? Contact us for a consultation. If you have any concerns with your home mold test kit, we will refund you in full–no questions asked.
How To Remove Mold
- Wear old clothes and shoes that you can launder or throw away after the cleanup work.
- Wear special N-95 or P-100 respirators, in addition to goggles and gloves.
- Set an old box fan or a cheap new one in a window to ventilate the room while working. Throw it out when you’re done cleaning, because the spores are almost impossible to clean off. Tape plywood or cardboard around the window openings so the spores can’t blow back in.
- Wrap and tape moldy carpeting in 6-mil plastic, and double-bag mold-infested debris in garbage bags for disposal.
- To control airborne spores, moisten moldy areas with a garden sprayer while you work.
- Turn off your furnace and air conditioner and cover ducts and doors to contain spores.
- Keep your wet/dry vacuum outside when you vacuum.
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Ec3 Mold Screening Test Kit
The EC3 Mold Screening Test Kit isexactly what the name implies. It is a screening tool you can use to show ifyou have a mold problem and possibly what room it is in.
Each kit contains 6 mold test platesand detailed directions to test indoor air or specific items for the presenceof mold. This form of culture testing takes just minutes to perform, and willprovide accurate, conclusive information to help protect you and your familyshealth in just 5 days. Results will confirm if mold has reached unhealthylevels with allergy and disease implications.
Pros of the EC3 Mold Screening Test Kit
- The test kit not only shows you if you have aproblem but also the severity of the problem.
- Easy to use
- Can be used to test the air or surface samples
Cons of the EC3 Mold Screening Test Kit
- You cant send the mold test plates in foranalysis.
- The test only shows IF you have a problem andhow the types of mold.
- You may misinterpret the levels of mold thatgrow.
- The kit is notcertified by the American Industrial Hygiene Association.
Average Price Of The EC3 Mold Screening Test Kit
You can crab a 6 pack for $35.
Purchase the EC3Mold Screening Test Kit Here
Moldinspection Network Diy Mold Test Kit
Unlike theother tests mentioned here, the DIY Mold Test Kit relies on the tape liftmethod for mold testing. This makes in much more useful if you have visiblemold. However, it also makes it more accurate.
Basicallyyou place the tape against the area that has mold or that you suspect it hasmold. You seal it up and send it to the lab for analysis.
Pros of the Mold Inspection NetworkDIY Mold Test Kit
- Very easy to use with clearinstructions
- Includes three tape lift tests so youget more bang for your buck
- Detailed report with qualityinformation provided about the various types of mold spores tested for.
Cons of the Mold Inspection NetworkDIY Mold Test Kit
- Additional lab fee of $24 for residenceof Texas
- Does not give you specific counts formold
- Not as many species of mold testedalthough the most dangerous types of mold are accounted for.
- The kit is notcertified by the American Industrial Hygiene Association.
Average Price of the Mold InspectionNetwork DIY Mold Test Kit
$45 whichincludes three tests
Purchase the MoldInspection Network DIY Mold Test Kit Here
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Does A Mold Air Test Really Work
When it comes to testing for mold, there are many options available. One such option is the mold air test also known as air sampling for mold.
There is a lot of controversy relatedto conducting an air test for mold. On the one hand, it typically is the onlymold test that is considered admissible in a mold related lawsuit. It is alsotypically the only mold test that will legally allow a tenant to break a leaseor rental agreement. Therefore, it has become somewhat of a standard when itcomes to testing for mold.
On the other hand, mold air samplesare highly unreliable and inconclusive making them a possible waste of valuabletime and money. So whats the deal? Should you conduct an air test for mold orshould you use another mold testing option?
How To Use Black Mold Test Kits
The first type of test kit tests for mold on surfaces. Read the instructions thoroughly to be sure that you complete the test correctly. Most of the kits will require you to swab the affected area with a Q-tip, and then rub the Q-tip in a dish that contains a substance that helps the mold grow. If the testing dish begins to grow mold, then you will know that mold is present on the surface that was swabbed.
The second type of black mold test kits that are available focus on testing the air for mold spores that may be present. Like the first type of test kit, these kits use a dish with a mold growth substance to see if mold colonies grow. Instead of using a Q-tip, though, the dish is allowed to sit open in the room for about an hour. Once the hour is complete, a lid is placed on the dish and it should be checked in a few days to see if mold has grown.
The drawback to both of these types of tests is the fact that they cannot identify the type of mold that is present. Additional testing is needed to determine the exact type of mold that you are dealing with. They also will not tell you how severe the problem is.
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Winner Diy Mold Test Kit
This DIY Mold Test Kit comes in handy when youve just spotted mold inside your home or business. You have the option of choosing either a tape lift or sterile swab in your kit. Inside the packaging is a custody sheet where you provide information about the rooms in which you collected mold samples.
Buyers hate recurring costs. Fortunately, the DIY Mold Test Kits price includes testing and shipping fee for mail-in lab analysis. Get this, you wont pay anything to have the lab mail your results. Thats good news, isnt it?
The tape lift consists of a 2X4 inch plastic sticky tape inside a clear case. You can use it on your air conditioning & heating unit as well as surface sample tests. How does it work? First, make sure the wall or furniture is dry. Then, open the clear case and use your tape to rub against one-square-inch of mold.
After gathering your sample, put it inside the clear case. Get a Sharpie then write the room where you got your sample. If you used a tape lift inside your attic, write Attic on your plastic clear case.
Youll get a Ziploc bag containing a swab measuring about 5 inches and a thin vertical case that resembles a straw. Youll see a detachable cap that fits on top when mailing your swab for lab analysis. Just like the tape lift, you can use it to test your air conditioning unit or perform a surface sample test.
Do Diy Mold Test Kits Work
If you suspect a mold problem but do not actually see it orsmell it, these test kits do not help you locate the problem or tell you howserious it is. So while a DIY mold test kit can indicate there is a moldproblem in your home, it doesnt do much more than that. You still need tofigure out where the mold growth is and why mold is growing.
While there are some very accurate DIY mold tests , you may or may not interpret the results correctly. Laboratory analysis can be very confusing. So while the mold testing method is accurate, your interpretation of the results may not be. .
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