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Thread: Mold containment

  1. #1
    DIY Member cmw's Avatar
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    Default Mold containment

    There is a product called Concrobium Mold Control that claims to encapsulate and kill mold.
    I'm thinking of using this on moldy drywall before removing the drywall.
    My question is: has anyone used this product with successful results

    http://www.concrobium.com/

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    1/2gallon vinegar - 1/2 gallon hydrogen peroxide with a cup boric acid mixed in. Keep capped when not using, or the hydrogen peroxide will revert to water. This will kill the mold. Haven't used Concrobium...no idea if it works.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    DIY Senior Member dlarrivee's Avatar
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    Wipe it down with bleach and get rid of it.

    More importantly than anything is getting rid of the moisture issue that helped it grow in the first place.

    There are plenty of mold spores in the air outside, you're not getting rid of them.

  4. #4
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua View Post
    1/2gallon vinegar - 1/2 gallon hydrogen peroxide with a cup boric acid mixed in. Keep capped when not using, or the hydrogen peroxide will revert to water. This will kill the mold. Haven't used Concrobium...no idea if it works.
    Bleach does not get rid of mold spores..not sure if that other concoction does. They will clean up the mold and stains, but the spores may remain.

    I have read a lot of good things about concrobium, but have not used it personally. I have used Moldex, possibly similar, and it is good.

    Why are you worried about the drywall if you are removing it? I don't think mold is "contagious" just moving the boards

  5. #5
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Boric acid shreads organic membranes, so yes, it WILL kill the mold. The other stuff helps saturate it and the surroundings so it gets where it needs to. Bleach might kill some on the surface and will bleach the color out of it, but won't necessarily kill all of it. Bleach is a good, secondary cleanup after you've killed it. Boric acid is the primary ingredient in some insecticides and rodent bait material. It causes cell walls to break down, and exposes the insides, so things can't maintain moisture and other life processes...it works on mold and mold spores as well.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    DIY Senior Member dlarrivee's Avatar
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    If the drywall is being torn out anyways I wouldn't be spending $100 for a 5 gallon pail of liquid to kill it, hence why I mentioned bleach.

  7. #7
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Rather than cart it through the house, kill as much as you can...the recipe I included is MUCH more effective than bleach at that, and also cheap.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  8. #8
    DIY Member TWEAK's Avatar
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    Bleach is a very effective mold killer, killing something like 99.9% of mold. For comparison, vinegar kills about 82% of molds. Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is a decent biocide, but not notably more effective than bleach. It is generally not effective in concentrations less than 10%. The stuff you get at the ********* is typically 3%, which won't do much. You can buy 35% H2O2 if you look around - it's expensive. I have some right now that I mixed down to 10%... a quart cost $30. In the concentrations needed to kill mold effectively, H202 is dangerous to handle. It can cause permanent eye damage, as well as skin burns. And, it quickly breaks down into water and oxygen. I don't hink it worked any better than Clorox, it just cost more and was more dangerous to use.

    On the other hand, bleach is a few bucks for a gallon, and you probably already have some in your laundry room (but you SHOULD use fresh bleach for mold work). Most sources recommend no more than one cup of unscented bleach per gallon of water. Some recommend stronger bleach solutions, but once the mold is dead, it's dead. There's little value in super strong solutions. Bleach is recommended for mold remediation by a number of state health agencies, and is mentioned by the EPA (more on this later) but not recommended (nor is any biocidal agent) for mold remediation work.

    I believe that boric acid is a good material to use. Its main advantage is it is stable - doesn't break down easily - and thus may retard the growth of mold for a good long time. I mix up a solution of boric acid and water and spray it on the studs, subfloor, etc AFTER the bleach has been applied and allowed to dry thoroughly. I don't advise mixing chems of any type. Some mixtures may be dangerous, others may simply react in such a way that they don't work at all.

    The EPA, contrary to a lot of the info on the internet, has never said that bleach is ineffective. What they HAVE said is that in general, it is ineffective and unnecessary to use ANY biocide to remediate mold. Basically, it is a losing battle. Mold is everywhere in our environment, like bacteria. The spores are present in the lumber RIGHT FROM THE MILL. We've all seen green doug fir at Home Depot that are stained black right on the pallet. That's MOLD... and yes, many mills apply biocides at the mill to retard the growth since people generally don't want to buy wood that has mold on it! But I digress. The EPA says that the best approach is to forego the killing and just remove the mold by vigorous scrubbing with detergent! This is very hard and nasty work. But even if you do try to kill the mold, you STILL have to scrub! Some materials such as drywall and (most of the time) carpeting are best replaced. If all the mold is removed and the moisture problem is solved, the mold should go dormant and not grow.

    Other (state) agencies do recommend biocides for mold remediation. Bleach solutions are most often cited.

    There is a lot of misinformation on the internet about bleach. Almost all of it comes from people that are selling other mold killing chemicals, including 35% H2O2 and boric acid -- usually at insanely high prices.

    Whether you choose to apply a biocide or simply remove the mold by scrubbing with detergent, it IS critically important to remove the mold. The allergens and toxins in mold are present whether is dead or alive... so you need to get rid of it. It is generally a good idea to never try to remove dry mold. Wet it first! This helps keep the allergens and toxins and spores from becoming airborne and getting all over - and into - other things. Like your lungs or eyes, or the rest of your home.

    I've used bleach, vinegar, peroxide and boric acid. Here's what I think is the best approach - but be forewarned this is MY OPINION ONLY - you are responsible for your own actions so learn about this and reach your own conclusions. If you don't want to do this, hire a professional mold remediation firm. The following is simply what I choose to do, it is not a recommendation or advice. First, I seal off the area with 6 mil plastic, 100% taped at the edges. I use an appropriate respirator, as well as gloves, eye protection. I have a forced air system that I use for painting cars which comes in handy and protects lungs and eyes, but is probably overkill. I have also used a NIOSH N-95 mask. I then wet the infected area with a solution of one cup of unscented 6% sodium hypochlorite bleach per gallon of water. I next remove as much of the now-damp infected building material as possible, keeping it all wat to keep the dust (and spores) down. When in dount, I tent to tear it out. Some say you can save carpet. I don't try. I also discard drywall and any nasty looking wood framing (I'm careful to decide of it's load bearing structure and if it is, deal with it appropriately). I scrub for a couple of feet (at least 2 and often more) past the problem -- into walls and floor that show no evidence of mold. Once the bulk of the infection is removed, I scrub the remaining mold off with a mixture of automatic dishwashing detergent (containing you-guessed-it, bleach) and stiff brushes including steel wire brushes. After I get it clean, I let the area dry out thoroughly and look for any signs of mold that I missed. If I find some, I get rid of them with more bleach and scrubbing. The area has to be squeaky clean. The I replace any damaged vapor barrier, studs, subfloor, etc. and make 110% sure that the moisture problem that led to the mold has been completely resolved. After it's all very thoroughly dry, I mix up some more bleach (one cup per gallon of water) and spray it on with a spray bottle (small area) or pump sprayer (large) -- just to get any mold on the surface that has survived undetected. Then I let this dry for a day or two. Next, I mix one cup of boric acid ( I get 99% boric acid marketed as ant and roach killer for $4-5 at Lowe's) with a gallon of water and spray that on. After THAT dries, I go ahead and put up the sheetrock, new flooring or whatever.

    Needless to say, I hope.... I allow no pets or kids in the area until all this is done, dried and I'm satisfied that all is clean.

    This has worked for me. There is a company called Foster that makes a line of special coatings that encapsulate and kill mold, and I will try these out next time on cleaned wood framing. I haven't had any problems without the Foster material... but belt and suspenders are a good idea when it comes to mold. These problems cause a lot of work and expense to repair.

  9. #9

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    I have seen some houses in my travels where the mold was remedied by various methods, and chemicals, and companies. Almost always, it comes back. I have noticed that when the cause is eliminated and the drywall is replaced, it is always a permanent cure.

  10. #10
    DIY Senior Member dlarrivee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cookie View Post
    I have seen some houses in my travels where the mold was remedied by various methods, and chemicals, and companies. Almost always, it comes back. I have noticed that when the cause is eliminated and the drywall is replaced, it is always a permanent cure.
    How clever.

    You mean if you don't get rid of the moisture problem, you scrub the existing mold off, and call it good... the problem comes back... No way!

    What you folks have to understand is this, if you were to take an air sample outside of your home you would find millions of mold spores in the air, you would also find spores on almost anything organic that you used to build your house with.

    I had to laugh when buddy up above said that "bleach wont kill mold spores"...

    The whole idea behind mold remediation is to clear up anything that will remain existing and then FIX WHAT CAUSED THE MOISTURE IN THE FIRST PLACE.

  11. #11

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    Good thing you aren't driving a car you would have road rage.

    But, let me explain a little something to you about mold. All it takes is one spore for it come back.

    My bathroom got water in the walls due to a roof leak. Long story here, which is boring to most reading it, but, eventually when the mold was discovered I developed pneumonia twice. This mold was sent out to a lab, which stated: it would cause the type of pneumonia I had and to make sure it was eliminated by removal because: Bleach would not kill this type of mold.

    My insurance company also, paid for an Air Scrubber, and a Dehumifier, they ran 24 hours for 2 weeks, straight. We are talking very large machines here. Not those rinky dinky ones you can buy at HD.

    Are we educated alittle bit more now? Hm. I am a clever girl. Make sure you quote all of this, because it is damn smart.
    Last edited by Cookie; 11-08-2010 at 09:50 AM.

  12. #12
    DIY Member TWEAK's Avatar
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    dlarrivee is correct. "Clean it up then fix the moisture problem" is the basic principle of mold remediation. All the disinfection stuff is at best optional, and per the EPA, not needed or recommended.

    If you don't get rid of the moisture problem, mold will come back.

    If you do fix the moisture problem, the problem is far less likely to come back. Nothing is permanent, because there are no guarantees that the area won't get wet again... possibly for a completely different reason.

    If there is a recurring mold problem, it is not because of a spore that you have not killed or removed. The spores are there no matter what you do, you can count on it. If you kill them or remove them all, they will be back shortly because they are present in our world. You can change your sheetrock, but many, many mold spores are in the lumber behind, and in the new sheetrock, too (it is not manufactured in a cleanroom environment). We are all breathing spores in and out right now, unless you are in an industrial class 100 or better cleanroom as you read this. Not a comforting thought perhaps, but a fact.

    Mold requires moisture. The moisture doesn't need to come from a leak. We have all been in structures located in areas of high atmospheric humidity (the beach, the gulf coast, vacation on a tropical island, etc) that that had that "mildew" smell. The EPA and other agencies that address structural mold issues advise dehumidification in such cases. Again... "Fix the Moisture Problem!"

    The EPA and several other agencies state quite clearly that it is necessary to clean up the mold - whether it is dead or alive, because the bodies are allergens and in some cases toxic. However, they are quite clear that it is unnecessary and impractical to attempt to sterilize - kill - or otherwise get rid of mold spores. It's like trying to rid your home of bacteria. Having said that, they DO insist that mold caused by certain problems such as sewage leaks etc should involve a disinfection step. That's about dangerous bacteria, not mold.

    Even so, I use bleach. I fully know that it is irrational, but for some reason makes me feel better. Using the bleach is very little trouble compared to doing the real work, which is scrubbing away they mold and replacing the damaged structure.

    Having said all that, I personally I find it best to remove drywall. There are three excellent reasons to do so, but none of them ahave to do with mold spores being present. The first is, there is no other way to clean the BACK of the sheetrock. Most of us that have dealt with the problem know that there is typically more on the back than the front, since it is more likely to get wet and stay wet. The mold on the back, either dead or alive, is an allergen and in rares cases toxic and so you DO want to get it out of there. The second reason is that you really need to look behind at the wood framing to make sure that the mold, a fungus, hasn't rotted the wood structure. If mold exists on any building material for too long, it destroys it. "Dry Rot" (a misnomer) is the result of a fungus infection -- mold. The mold feeds off the sheetrock or wood. The third reason is, it's most often less work to replace rock than to try to scrub the nasty mold off in most cases.

  13. #13
    DIY Senior Member dlarrivee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cookie View Post
    But, let me explain a little something to you about mold. All it takes is one spore for it come back.
    Let ME, explain a little something to you.

    Everything in your house, and the air you breath has mold spores on it already. All of the dehumidifying and air scrubbing you could do in 2 weeks wont change that.

    You're not going to remove every last spore from your house, ever.

    Do me a favor, get some air sampling done, check the results of "fresh" air outdoors, and "clean" air in your home, I'm sure you know where this is going, being so clever and all.

    Let me say it again. The SPORES are NOT the problem. Moisture is.

    As with any remediation, you're not trying to KILL anything... You remove, encapsulate, bag etc. etc. You get it OUT of the house, you don't try to kill the mold and leave it there. If you must leave materials there, you make damn sure they wont ever get moist again.
    Last edited by dlarrivee; 11-13-2010 at 11:44 AM.

  14. #14

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    Let ME tell you... I already had SAID, to eliminate the cause. HA.

  15. #15
    DIY Senior Member dlarrivee's Avatar
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    I'm pretty sure we can all agree there is no "spray" or "chemical" that can make this a "no effort" task.

    You're going to want to remove what you can.

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