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  • Writer's pictureBritany Libutty

Considerations for the Home Environment with Mold Exposure

Updated: Feb 17, 2022

If you have found out that you have mold toxicity or mold allergies, or really anything related to mold, you are going to want to check the place you spend ~90% of your time- your home.

How To Test Your Home For Mold:

Air Sample Testing-

This is what gets used mostly by novice mold ill people who are self-investigating, or those who are testing a home or property they are renting out. Air Sampling is notoriously not great for a few reasons. Air Sampling rings in somewhere around 70% inaccurate because it doesn't pick up denser mold spores including some of those "most toxic" (like Stachy). The results can also be skewed depending on where it is placed in the room and how long it is run.

We see a lot of novice investigators and/or renters choosing to use these tests because they are "official enough" by environmental industry standards to be regarded as accurate and cheaper than running ERMI/HERTSI or EMMA. You won't get a full spectrum of results with air testing, but if your home is quite moldy you can still pull some pretty sizable spore counts with air testing. So it may work for your needs, but you won't get a full picture.

If you are a renter living in an apartment or a home that you have become chronically ill in and suspect the residence has mold, request to your landlord that an ERMI/HERTSI or EMMA test be done for a more full picture of what molds and spores are present.

If you are denied this, or the renter insists that Air Sampling is enough then you need to help get the denser mold spores into the air 30-10 minutes before the Air Tester arrives to take samples. If you have any air purifiers in home, turn them off the day of the testing.

Wear at least an N95 mask to protect yourself and get to shaking everything. The porous items are great choices: Curtains, pillows, rugs, blankets- shake it all! Get the spores flying around and mobile. Some people I have talked to in the past have even ran leaf blowers indoors up until they answered the door for the Air Tester's arrival. The goal is to get those denser and potentially more toxic mold spores into the air so that they can be caught on testing.

If you are a mold ill person reading this and it sounds like a nightmare to stir up mold spores, I am only recommending this as an option to ensure that you get more accurate and complete samples of what is really in your living space. Since air sampling doesn't generally get much of the heavier spores, you could be missing out on a lot of valuable data that would change how your landlord goes about fixing the problem once they get the results. There are certain molds that people incorrectly consider "harmless" and other molds that people take more "seriously". You may as well try to catch them all during air sampling and see a more accurate result.


"The US Environmental Protection Authority developed ERMI to provide a straightforward, objective, sensitive and standardized way to assess mold and indoor air quality investigations. The USEPA developed the ERMI as a ranking system based on dust samples collected from homes, the ERMI will help predict the moldiness of homes.

Based on widely published data from EPA researchers and the 2006 HUD American Healthy Home Survey, the test has been developed as a tool to evaluate the potential risk of indoor mold growth and associated health effects to occupants. Upon purchasing the ERMI, you will get a HERTSMI -2 along with it.

In order to most effectively use this tool, the ERMI obtained needs to be compared to a national database. Indices were determined using this method for 1,096 homes across the U.S. as part of the 2006 HUD American Healthy Home Survey. Individual indices, ranked from lowest to highest were used to create a national Relative Moldiness Index (RMI) Scale.

Testing involves a Vacuum Sample or a Swiffer Sample being sent in for lab testing."

The above and more info was found on


"The EMMA test uses sensitive molecular detection technology to look for the presence of 10 of the most toxigenic molds. It determines their presence and determines their relative abundance. EMMA also tests directly for 16 of the most poisonous Mycotoxins using its patented Mycotoxin detection test. Testing is simple, only requiring small amounts of dust or material from AC or heater filters sent in for lab testing."

The above and more info was found on

Wall Cavity Testing- If you are still looking for mold exposure in your home and you can't see anything visible with your eye, and you feel as though you have no leads for past water damage as a potential source, look to your walls. Sometimes mold can be hidden inside of walls and cavity testing is a minimally invasive way to test, (ie you don't need giants holes put into your walls and other larger equipment to look inside and test for mold.)

Find the Sources of Water Damage and Current Leaks

Humidity Monitors

Moisture Meters


Use your eyes and hands- your senses!

Visual signs of water damage in the home are: walls and ceilings that are bubbling under paint and cracking. Loose building materials, or crumbling foundation can signify water damage past or present. You can feel materials in your home also and check if they are damp or wet to the touch, squishy, or soft when you know they shouldn't be.

When Mold is a Strong Possibility in your home, Consider:

Where You Sleep

Considering that you spend around 1/3 of your life in bed (hopefully sleeping unless you have that sweet sweet mold induced insomnia) you need to make sure where you sleep is a "safe space".

To remind you of something I shared in a past blog post, "There are three cornerstones to health- clean air, clean food, and clean water." When you sleep for somewhere around 8 hours at a time, ideally your body enters repair mode and the air you are breathing is supplying precious resources for your body to heal. If you aren't breathing in clean air in a clean environment then you are setting yourself up for failure of recovery.

Try using an allergy mattress encasing. It will keep the nasties that could be in your mattress away from you while you sleep. Also if you are detoxing and you are sweating at night you can take the casing off of your mattress and wash it as you need to. You sweat out all the garbage your body wants out, and that leave damp conditions for mold to grow. Rotating/washing and changing bed covers is a good idea.

Try using an air purifier in your bedroom. You are breathing recycled air around your room for 1/3 of your day- make sure it is clean air! The purifiers take mold spores out of the air, and also dust- which is kind of like a little spaceship that spores ride around on looking for new places to settle and grow.

Some people find using a humidifier or dehumidifier while they sleep is helpful. As long as you keep the machine clean (clean once a week with vinegar or peroxide) and the humidity in the room lower than 50%- ideally close to 45%, you should be good to go, and not creating conditions for mold to thrive.

Take these considerations and see how you can apply them in your home to fight mold.

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