DIY Mold Remediation and Concrobium Review

fogger2

As I’ve mentioned in this previous post, getting a call from your tenant suspecting mold presence in your rental condo can quickly ruin your day.  If, in fact, there is mold in your home you are looking at potentially spending thousands of dollars to hire a company that specializes in mold cleanup and remediation.  Before you start calling these companies you might want to consider at least trying to address the issue yourself first.  The method described here does not cost much to try and can only make things better, even if you do decide to hire a company later.

After researching the available options of getting rid of mold, I decided to try Concrobium products as they’ve seemed to have great reviews from both the professional and the DIY crowd.  Per manufacturer, Concrobium contains no bleach, ammonia, or volatile organic compounds (VOCs).  This was a selling point for me because I wanted to make sure that my tenant could return shortly after the treatment was done without having to deal with any toxic fumes or smells.  When used as directed Concrobium is said to eliminate mold and mildew, preventing mold growth and killing musty odors.

You can buy Concrobium in spray bottles, one gallon jugs or 5 gallon buckets.  If you have a small area to treat a spray bottle might be enough.  However, I wanted to treat the whole apartment using a professional grade fogger so I bought 3 one gallon jugs of Concrobium. There is a great video showing how to use the fogger to treat each room along with instructions on how to calculate the amount of liquid required.

Instead of buying the fogger I rented one at a local Home Depot.  The funny part was that they had one on display but no one knew what it was for.  They were all excited that someone was actually going to rent one after I explained what I was going to do with it. The fogger was brand new and I was the first to rent it.  The rental fee was only around $20 for 4 hours which was plenty of time to finish the project.  The liquid is what was expensive with 3 jugs ringing in at around $100.

Here is a simple process I went through to clean and eliminate the mold at the condo.

  • First step is to clean the source of mold and the mold itself.  In my case, the HVAC unit had a clogged drain that caused the water to collect in the drip tray creating an environment hospitable to mold.  I cleaned the drain, the drip tray and the coil using a bleach/water solution and then used Concrobium I put into a spray bottle to clean it all some more.  The end result was a decent looking (considering its age) HVAC coil that was ready to be fogged.

coil

  • Put a gallon of Concrobium into the fogger and put the white filter provided with the rental on the machine.

 fogger

  • I started with HVAC first.  Take the air filter out of the HVAC unit, set up the fogger to shoot the mist into the intake, open all vents in the condo, turn the thermostat to FAN ON, start the fogger and run about a gallon of Concrobium through the system.  This will get it into all the air ducts to kill any mold that might be growing there.

fogger-hvac

  • Now it’s time to do each room individually.  It would be best to remove or cover up any valuables in the room, especially electronics or paintings or anything else that you would not take into a sauna with you.  The first room was empty so no issues here.  I calculated that I needed to fog each corner of the room for about 4 minutes after which you simply point the fogger to the next corner and continue until the whole room is done.  The fogger was set up in the middle of the room like so…

room1

  • Continue the same process in the next room…

room2

  • And each bathroom…

bathroom

  • Living room…

livingroom

  • Kitchen…

kitchen

  • After every room was sufficiently fogged, there was a nice layer of white residue on some walls, furniture and floors which was easily cleaned up with a wet rag.  While I was cleaning up the air cleared up again and there were no smells of any kind.  It actually smelled fresher in the apartment than before I started the process.  I wore a mask while the fogger was doing its thing, but I took it off after the air cleared up and had no issues during or after fogging.
  • I left a dehumidifier running for a couple of days after fogging to bring the humidity down to a normal level.

So here it is – a brief introduction to Do It Yourself mold remediation with Concrobium.  It’s brief because there is not much to it and anyone can DIY. I am glad I found and tried this solution because it seems to have worked as advertised. My tenant moved back in after I finished and she had no more allergy-type symptoms that she was having before the mold treatment.

I’d like to add that it’s definitely a good idea to test the air quality to confirm that the mold is gone after Concrobium treatment. This can be done quickly and easily with an inexpensive DIY home mold test kit – all at home without having to send anything to the lab and wait weeks to hear back.

Also, some people recommend to clean the HVAC ducts as well.  An article by the EPA might help you decide if you want to go that route or just leave your ducts as is.  After considering pros and cons I decided to leave the air ducts alone for now.

When I was researching DIY methods for getting rid of mold I did not see a whole lot written about Concrobium so I hope that this review will help those facing a seemingly daunting and expensive task of mold remediation!

2014 Update: It’s been over 8 months since I treated the condo with Concrobium and everything seems to be going fine. My tenant is happy and has not complained about any mold-related issues. Hopefully its gone for good!

2016 Update: Still no issues with mold at the condo! I had a second floor bathroom leak in my own house that created a potential mold situation in the cavity between the second floor floor and the first floor ceiling. Just to be on the safe side I treated the affected area using a spray bottle of Concrobium before repairing drywall. The last thing I wanted to worry about was mold growing in a place where I’d never see it until it was too late. Here is a link to the repair post.

19 thoughts on “DIY Mold Remediation and Concrobium Review

  1. A quick question…

    I have some fairly annoying mold in my bathroom, some is on the bath (not so bothered about this… it probably just needs cleaning more often 🙂 ).
    However there is a growing amount of tiny patches forming on the ceiling.
    What would you suggest in terms of Concrobium for this?
    I was thinking of sanding the ceiling to get most of it off, maybe apply some Concrobium from a spray bottle, then repaint the ceiling? Sound good?

    You see, we’ve always had a bit of a mold issue throughout our flat but it’s mainly due to us being ground floor so having to shut the windows during that day, and in cold winters here in the UK. So we just put it down to moisture building up in the air: to that effect, we bought a decent dehumidifier and have it running 4-8 hours a day depending on whether we’ve hung out washing to dry. It’s never been a problem since except for in the bathroom (our rainforst style shower produces a shed load of steam!)

    Would you suggest fogging the whole flat though, and ditching the dehumidifier to see if it comes back? (I worked out it costs us around £80 = $130 a year to run). Or do you think would the mold just come back as the air got more humid again, so we’re stuck with the dehumidy for “life”?

    Cheers for the useful post!

    Andy

  2. Do you have a good exhaust fan in the bathroom and do you consistently run it every time the shower is in use? That would be the first thing I’d check as it should get most of the humidity out before it gets out of the bathroom. Once that’s addressed, I would clean any visible mold with water/bleach and/or Concrobium first and then fog the entire apartment including bathrooms, closets, utility rooms etc. If there are air ducts and a forced air system, I would fog that as well. Basically exactly what I did at the condo. If the bathroom fan was inadequate or not used and it’s now fixed, I would then try to stop running the dehumidifier and see if the mold issue comes back. If the bathroom fan was fine and properly used before, I would think that running the dehumidifier might still be necessary. Either way, I would get a cheap hygrometer and keep an eye on humidity levels inside the apartment. You can easily find recommended levels online – for example like this one that takes outdoor temperatures into account. Sorry, this is in Fahrenheit.

    Temp Outdoors – Humidity Indoors
    Above 50 °F Not over 50%
    Above 20 °F Not over 40%
    Between 10º & 20ºF Not over 35%
    Between 0º & 10ºF Not over 30%
    Between -10º & 0ºF Not over 25%
    Between -20º & –10ºF Not over 20%
    -20ºF or below Not over 15%

    • Thanks for the quick reply, are you sure you’re not retired already? ;o)

      A few more bits of info:

      The bathroom does NOT have an extractor fan. We thought about it around 6 months ago but the shape of the bathroom and placement of windows, will make it extremely hard to fit a decent one. The other alternative is to put a passive fan/vent in the window but I don’t see that helping all that much, what do you think?

      No air ducts or anything to worry about! But we also hang dry washing inside as we don’t have a dryer (I’d rather do this and chin the money on the dehumidifier I think as it doesn’t ruin your clothes this way at least)

      Also I’ve had a look around and you pretty much can’t get Concrobium over here in terms enough to use in a fog machine (in fact I woudln’t be surprised if you can’t get a fog machine as well),… the only product I could find available is this:

      http://www.amazon.co.uk/CONCROBIUM-MILDEW-REMOVER-SPRAY-growth/dp/B0027RF5NQ

      As you can see it doesn’t look “official” and has a couple of 1 star reviews so I am very dubious that this is the real deal anyway.

      So I might just have to resort to bleaching the bath heavily, sanding/bleaching the ceiling, and maybe painting with mould proof paint or something. Plus I can reseal the bath with some fresh silicon sealant (and make sure we clean it more often).

      Also those humidity figs… We have a sensor on our Dehumidifier and it never gets below 40% (after the things been on for quite a while) in our house, and is often up in the 70s. Not sure if this is due to a significantly different ambient humidity level in our area of the World, as even when we have the windows open for a while it’s normally around 50%-60%.

      • With a window in the bathroom even opening it while in there should help to get some humidity out, but I would look into a small exhaust fan that can be retrofitted into the window. Of course, you’d need to balance it with any heat loss during winters. Otherwise, you plan sounds good and with clothes drying indoors I would certainly continue to use the dehumidifier! Also – I would not trust the sensor on your dehumidifier 🙂 The ones I’ve had were all way off.

  3. Hello,
    Can you please clarify what you mean by this statement, “set up the fogger to shoot the mist into the intake,”. I’m not sure what/where the intake is in my HVAC system.
    Thanks!
    Julie

    • It’s also known as the air return, the vent where your system sucks in the air inside your house/condo to make it colder (AC) or hotter (heat). In a condo or a townhome it’s usually on the air handler unit itself like in these pictures but in a bigger place like a house it will usually be in a wall or in a ceiling, sometimes in a couple of places even.

    • I can only speak from my own experience and there were no issues with the HVAC unit at all. As a matter of fact I recently had it serviced and the tech said that everything looks great for such an old system.

  4. Does the mist leave a film that needs to be wiped off on most of the walls, ceilings, etc? Or just a some of them? Once you wipe the protection is still there, right?

    • I didn’t notice much residue at all. I did wipe down a couple of areas where the walls felt a bit sticky after the treatment however. The ceilings are popcorn so I didn’t touch them at all and there was no visible residue there. Wiping the walls didn’t seem to change Concrobium’s effectiveness.

  5. I love that you’re using the Commander Fogger in your photos. I sell that fogger and about 60% of all sales are for mold applications. Concrobium is a fantastic product when applied with the Commander, or any other cold fogger. Great article.

  6. can i use concrobium inside my dryer? I see black mould on the drum inside where we put the clothes. How do i safely clean the current mould?

    • If I had mold inside a dryer I would first try to clean it up with bleach, then clean the bleach off so it doesn’t transfer on clothes, then try to spray some concrobium in there. Honestly I don’t know how it would stand up to the heat but I figure it wouldn’t hurt to spray some and then leave the dryer door open for a day before drying clothes again.

      I wonder how you’re getting mold inside the dryer in the first place? Maybe just need to clean out the vent line? I use this kit once every couple of years and never had any issues with mold. Cheap and easy to do yourself and it will pay for itself with your dryer having to run less. And of course cleaning the dryer vent is a good way to reduce the risk of fires!

      • A friend is battling mold and is very very sick. She had to get out of her house and is staying with me. We wash the things from her house (and my laundry as well) with ammonia, but never thought to wipe my dryer. How easily exactly is this spreading? She has yet to find a doctor to test her for mycotoxins, mold is growing on her skin and her tongue has turned black. Is my home at risk?
        What is a vent line?
        Should I treat my washer with concrobium?
        I understood mould feeds on bleach…..

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