Why DIY Mold Testing Kits Are Not Accurate

There are plenty of DIY mold testing kits promoted commercially with convenient shipping. Their appeal lies in their accessibility and ease. All you need to do is set out the Petri dishes for a certain amount of time in order to detect whether or not there’s mold in your home.

However, over-the-counter solutions like these DIY mold testing kits are inaccurate. There are many issues behind them that you should be aware of before making this purchase. For this reason, many lawyers, insurance companies, and doctors do not accept the results of these testing kits.

Common Issues of DIY Mold Testing Kits

  • Lack of Expiration Dates.

It’s very common to find DIY mold testing kits that have been on display for long periods of time. There is no way to track how long they’ve been there. Their ingredients may have been subject to contaminants from sitting out too long. This is a red flag that the kit’s results are likely going to be inaccurate.

When expiration dates are not included it’s likely they’ve been exposed to external factors such as temperature and/or humidity. This results in chemical changes that will impact the kit’s accuracy in determining whether there is mold in your home or not.

  • Inaccurate Lab Results.

In relation to the expiration date issue, DIY mold testing kits often have inaccurate results. Sometimes they may come up with low readings of mold when your property really has a very high presence of mold, and vice versa. Because their results are so inconclusive, they are not a good indicator of the severity of the mold situation that your property may have.

mold test lab results

  • Shipping and Handling Risks.

When you send a DIY mold testing kits in for lab analysis, there various factors beyond your control that might affect it. These include improper handling, extreme temperatures, and how long the package has been sitting in transit. Any of these factors can skew the lab results, making the results inaccurate.

  • False Advertising.

Another common issue of DIY mold testing kits is that companies often advertise them falsely. While companies may promote them as the solution to measuring mold in your home, they often require that you send in your Petri dishes to their lab for analysis. This often means you’ll have to pay additional fees for lab costs as well as shipping costs. In this regard, requiring external analysis often means that these DIY kits are not as do-it-yourself as you may think.

  • Lack of Certification or Accreditation.

Many of the where DIY mold kids are delivered are not certified or endorsed by an accredited agency. Their procedures are often too neglectful when it comes to things like transfer documentation or lab acceptance of these kits.

Without the proper certification, it makes it difficult to track your data’s kit, which is important to the chemical process of determining whether or not you have mold. Without an accreditation body to validate the lab, there’s no proof that the techniques they’re using are safe or the results they’re finding are correct.

  • Lack of Sample Control.

Control samples are important as models for comparison for your test results. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to determine whether there are mold spores without a standard control sample from your property.

mold sample control

A lot of DIY molding kits don’t contain an extra dish to extract comparison samples from other areas. This makes gauging the actual mold situation in your property very difficult and often inaccurate.

  • No Inspections.

As a customer, you will not be able to make any conclusions about mold contamination in your property. There is no way for you to inspect for this using your eyesight alone. There are special instruments that you need to perform a successful mold investigation. These include moisture meters, hygrometers, infrared cameras, and other technical tools. Without them, the procedure is likely inaccurate.

  • Failing to Account for Dead Spores.

Stachybotrys, Chaetomium, and Ulocladium are molds that are considered water damage-makers. Your DIY kit may not pick up their traces as they are dead spores. Dead spores are detrimental to one’s health, however, most DIY kits are only concentrated on growing molds. This makes their effectiveness limited and their results inconclusive.

  • Inconclusive results basing from spore characteristics

The characteristics of mold spores are varied. They have diverse weights, density, and airflow characteristics. This leads to each having a different settlement rate. Heavier molds will easily reach the bottom of the petri dish and fill up the sample plate. Others, like sticky molds, might not be heavily present as the others if their density is lighter. This means your DIY kit may not detect their presence, even if they are lurking in your property.

How Should You Test for Mold?

You should always hire professionals to investigate in your home for you. The investigation is a complex study of airborne mold contamination that requires specialized experience, specific sampling methods, and proper interpretation of lab results. You cannot complete this process correctly without the proper scientific background and professional experience.

professional mold test

While DIY mold testing kits may seem novel and fun, they have serious limitations and should not replace the services of a mold inspection company, like Markham Inspection Services. We truly comprehend and have the depth of knowledge needed to analyze potential mold growth in your property. If you’re serious about your health and safety and want to resolve your mold problem, give us a call today at (407) 913-6363.