Does Fogging Eradicate Mould?
Some say yes, some say no, others haven't the foggiest... (ahem). The truth isn't quite as binary. There's a variety of fogging tecnologies, each with varying levels of efficacy in the eradication of mould. If you forced us, like a reluctant politician on Question Time, into a corner where a 'yes' or 'no' is the only out, we'd probably have to say no. Most fogging technologies don't completely destroy mould. Please note the word: 'most'. That might seem a weird admission for a mould remediation company who use fogging to eradicate mould. Well, hold onto your hats, we'll get into that momentarily.
As per the Housing Health and Safety Rating System, mould is a category 1 health hazard – the same as asbestos. This is a frightening prospect and one that feels somewhat underappreciated in the UK. Once mould has been identified in a home, it needs to be professionally destroyed to safeguard against the whole host of health problems it can cause or exacerbate. Fogging is the industry standard in the eradication of mould. It's important to clarify; there is no silver bullet when it comes to resolving a mould problem. The cause(s) of the mould will vary from house to house and will need to be identified and addressed individually. Very often, part of the process involves the prescription of remedial actions which need to be taken to mitigate against the presence of excess moisture. But, some steps within the wider remediation process can remain the same. Mould eradication is one of these.
When you pay a professional to come in and resolve a mould problem, you expect them to deliver a service that is beyond your own skill set and expertise. You could buy a fungicidal sterilant and wipe or spray it onto a mouldy surface relatively easily. However, professionals know that 95% of mould is invisible and at the point at which you can see mould on a surface, your property is likely saturated with invisible mould spores; on surfaces, in the air and hidden within and behind walls, floors and furnishings. This sounds dramatic, but consider the following from US-based fellow mould removal experts Mold Busters:
‘Mold begins to grow as soon as its spores land on a damp, fibre-rich material (wood, fabric, drywall…) and it can spread around the house within 24 to 48 hours. It colonizes in one to twelve days and grows at one square inch per day. In less than a week, it can cover surface areas of several square feet.’
A professional, therefore, would look to apply a mould treatment in a systematic and comprehensive way, in order to attain a near-total coverage of your home and it’s constituent parts.
Not all fog is created equal
You’d be forgiven for thinking fogging is fogging – that one professional mould removal expert who uses it is much the same as the next. But the reality is quite different. There is quite a spectrum of fogging techniques, each with their own relative set of strengths and limitations. Let’s take a look at the most common:
Before we turn on the fog, we just wanted to acknowledge the benefits and limitations of the DIY methods at your disposal. A quick Google search, or even intuition, might point you in the direction of that bottle of bleach sitting under your sink. But, if you were mulling that over, we’d urge you to reconsider. Bleach does not destroy mould, it just depigments it. This means that the mould is less or no longer visible but very much still alive; breathing spores and harmful mycotoxins into the airspace. As mould is a living organism which has been refined by natural selection, it has defence mechanisms. When threatened, it spores more aggressively into your airspace. If you spray it with any generic over the counter cleaning product, all you achieve is to aggravate it. Doing so inadvertently makes the problem worse. It increases the number of airborne spores seeking out new places to take root and grow as well as the harmful mycotoxins which attach themselves to them. Doing-it-yourself will probably get rid of the visible mould for a time. But, when it comes back, which it will, it will probably be worse than the first time. Most importantly of all, it also increases the risk to your health posed by the increase of airborne mycotoxins and the horror show of illnesses they cause or exacerbate.