Mold Pathogens
Published On: July 1, 2024

What are the best biocides I can use to kill mold on mold remediation jobs?

Using chemicals to “kill” mold should not be the goal of the remediation contractor. Non-viable mold spores contain the same toxigenic and/or allergenic properties as its viable counter parts. The majority of mold is non-viable to begin with. This can be easily demonstrated when comparing a culture plate to a spore trap in which only the viable mold spores will be able to grow on the media in the plate. It can be as much as 75% less than what is identified on a spore trap.

Safety of the technicians applying these products and the residual effects that could potentially impact the occupants also MUST be considered. Some of the products available to restorers can not only damage certain materials and surfaces but are extremely hazardous to the end user, the technician. The appropriate personal protective equipment is a MUST and being familiar with the safety data sheet as well as reading the ENTIRE label prior to using the product and really before it is purchased. Remediation contractors using chemical products MUST be trained to understand the product and the effect in the structure. The indiscriminate application of chemicals is not acceptable and may result in liability to the restorer.

Chemical use should never be done in place of source removal. All chemicals have limitations. In other words, there is no silver bullet that replaces the fundamental practice of cleaning. Products that are fogged into buildings have several limitations. For chemical products to be effective, they must be used at the concentration the manufacturer states. They must make adequate contact with the surface it is being applied to and must remain in full contact for the necessary time, known as the dwell time. The efficacy of any fog, gas or vapor phase antimicrobial application is compromised when sufficient concentration cannot be maintained in a space for the necessary time.

It is also important to note that all chemicals are tested for their efficacy on pre-cleaned, non-porous surfaces and under ideal conditions created in a testing environment. This is not how the products are being used in the field. Real-life performance is generally less than the efficacy claims the product label states.

The ANSI/IICRC S520 Standard For Professional Mold Remediation and the IICRC R520 Reference Guide For Professional Mold Remediation defines the fundamental principle of remediation as source removal. In some instances, cleaning the surface with a detergent and minimal water may do the trick. In other instances, it may require removal of the materials supporting the fungal growth either because it cannot be effectively cleaned or the material has deteriorated in structural integrity due to the water damage and/or mold growth.

While there are many ways to approach a mold remediation project, the contractor should follow the standard of care as outlined in the ANSI/IICRC S520. Completing specialized training such as the IICRC AMRT to understand the mechanics of containment and air flow management is critical to reduce liability for the contractor.

Stay Up To Date
Join Our Mailing List

Leave A Comment