Small Particle Cleaning & Remediation
What are small particles?
When we talk about small particle remediation, we’re talking about microbial particles that are small enough to be inhaled. For certain sensitive individuals, these small particles have been known to promote unfavorable health effects that can be toxic or allergenic in nature. In layman’s terms, the small particles we are referring to are mold particles, whether dead and alive, that float freely and settle randomly. These characteristics make them more difficult to remove than other particulate.
How are small particles removed?
The remediation of small particles often involves a number of steps, ranging from HEPA-vacuuming to fogging a particulate knockdown and finally performing a thorough wiping of all surfaces. Once all source materials are removed, which are those materials where mold and water damage was present, the small particle cleaning can begin!
The process starts by vacuuming all surfaces within a property, in an effort to collection large settled debris. This debris often includes pet hair, dust, spider webs, dirt and other forms of particulate commonly found when sweeping or traditional vacuuming. Once all concerning areas of a property are HEPA vacuumed, preparations can be made to accommodate the next step – particulate knockdown.
The usual intended goal when applying a liquid agent to the air with an ultra low volume (ULV) fogger is to take what’s within the air and knock it to the ground. This part of the small particle cleaning process should not be confused with traditional fogging, which involved a remedial approach of applying a disinfectant to the air, with intentions on “killing” airborne particles. In this step, we are applying an odorless, water-based product that is specifically developed to evaporate slowly, allowing for ample time to perform the next step – the wipe down.
When wiping all surfaces following the HEPA vacuuming and air cleaning steps, it is very important that air agitation is limited. If air filtration machinery is being used, including HEPA vacuum cleaners, we’re at the point in the process where we no longer want to power these devices on. Using a mild cleaning solution of some kind, often grain alcohol or similar, all surfaces begin to get wiped. Unlike traditional wiping of surfaces, it is imperative that cleaning cloths and rags are not reused time and time again. The typical process is to wipe a relatively small area and to then discard the cloth and begin the next area with a new cleaning cloth.
Why is small particle remediation so important?
Especially in individuals with chronic illness and compromised immune systems, the inhalation of small particles is very common. This is even more common within households, buildings and the majority of properties where there are fluctuations in ambient conditions. In any environment where temperature and humidity fluctuate drastically, condensation becomes a concern. With condensation, often comes the development of mold – commonly known as humidity blooms. These are instances when a surface achieves dew point and the formation of mold begins as a result.
Water damage is often a major contributor of small particles that impact healthy living within a property. Homes and buildings that have had numerous water leaks over the years are at a much higher risk to occupants. As a result, different forms of testing for mold have become popular – including the most common “whole home mold testing” known as ERMI, or Environmental Relative Moldiness Index. This type of testing is an objective form of DNA-based testing for identifying and quantifying specific species of mold. Additional information relating to ERMI testing may be found at www.survivingmold.com. This is also a very good website for additional literature in association with Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS) – which is a chronic illness linked to mold exposure.