After the Cleanup: How Do You Know There Isn’t Kitchen Mold?

A homeowner named Patricia in Wilsonville, Oregon contacted us when she needed to know whether her home had kitchen mold.

Patricia’s story, like many others, started with an unexpected event and ended with recommendations to improve her situation and assurances from the experienced professionals at Healthy Home.

The Unexpected Event

Though the event Patricia experienced may have been unexpected, it is certainly not uncommon. Earlier in the year, Patricia had an incident in her kitchen when water overflowed beneath the sink and spilled across the wood flooring of her entire kitchen.

Of course, water extraction services are often necessary in situations like this. The excess water needs to be removed, and affected materials need to be aerated and properly dried. Excess moisture in dark areas promotes mold growth.

Patricia told us that her cleanup efforts included replacing some of the cabinetry beneath the sink. She advised that all other affected building materials were dried in place during the water extraction service performed by professionals.

Kitchen Mold Feared to be the Cause of Allergy-Like Symptoms

Ever since the incident in the kitchen occurred, occupants in the home reported experiencing allergy-like symptoms. Their symptoms continued even after professional water extraction services were done and other cleanup activities had been completed in the area.

We needed to perform testing to reveal if kitchen mold was present.

Prior Testing Revealed Elevated Kitchen Mold Spore Concentrations

We had, in fact, already performed kitchen mold testing in Patricia’s home about a month prior. Our testing at that time revealed that elevated mold spore concentrations were present. After receiving the results of our initial testing and a report with our recommendations, Patricia had the ducts in her home cleaned and the house aerated.

Now, we needed to determine whether those additional cleaning actions had been effective at ridding the home of elevated mold spore concentrations.

Current Kitchen Mold Inspection and Testing Results

To do so, we performed a visual inspection and collected ambient air samples for analysis by an accredited laboratory. During our visual assessment, a Healthy Home technician looked for:

  • visual signs of fungal growth,
  • evidence of water intrusion, and
  • moisture-related issues in Patricia’s kitchen

Though all our technicians are highly trained in what to look for, they do more than just look at an area of concern. They also use an infrared camera to view a visual spectrum of thermal energy and a dual-function moisture meter to determine the moisture content of building materials.

The visual inspection did not reveal any:

  • kitchen mold growth,
  • evidence of water intrusion, or
  • moisture-related issues in Patricia’s kitchen

The technician also took three air samples for microbial testing: Two from inside Patricia’s kitchen and one control sample from outside.

Test results from the air samples indicated that the kitchen mold spore concentrations inside Patricia’s kitchen were the same or less than the concentrations identified in the outdoor control sample.

Testing to Detect High Mold Spore Concentrations

Though mold growth can sometimes be easy to see, people aren’t typically able see mold spores traveling through the air. Mold is a moisture-loving organism, and a flooding incident or any type of water leakage or spillage that is left without proper cleanup or drying can initiate excessive mold growth inside your home.

You can extract the spilled water and dry, clean, or replace the damaged building materials. But the only way you’ll know for sure that your efforts are effective is to have done the type of testing we did for Patricia. We’re here for you whenever you need us!

Dan Rouse