How to Collect a Mold Sample
Mold Sampling for the DIY-Inclined
If you already see a potential mold source, you may still wish to collect a bulk sample yourself and submit it to our Milwaukie laboratory. Tape lifts and bulk sampling are terrific and easy ways to sample.
Most brands work well as long as the tape is clear. Press the sticky side of a 2-3 inch piece of tape along the surface in question, and stick it to the inside of a ziplock freezer bag. Avoid using zipper bags, as they are not completely airtight. If you have any questions, please feel free >to call or contact one of JSE’s friendly staff for assistance.
Mold can be sampled by just about anyone depending upon your needs and your budget. If you suspect a problem but are not sure, contact a JSE-qualified inspector for consulting.
Tape Lift Cautions
Don’t use “Magic Tape” because it is hazier and obstructs analysis. Don’t press more than one location per piece of tape or it can overload the sample or ruin the mold structures. Don’t fold the tape on itself or the lab analyst may have difficulty retrieving the sample and the mold structures can become damaged in the process. A freezer bag works better than a regular sandwich bag because it is sturdier, making it easier for the lab to remove the tape from the baggie for analysis. Freezer bags also send through the mail easily in a regular envelope.
In some instances, it may be easier to bring in the entire material in question, rather than take a tape lift. In this case, ensure that the entirety of the sample will fit into an airtight container (such as a ziplock bag) before entering the lobby.
BioTape is a flexible plastic microscope slide that contains a pre-defined adhesive area, and is generally purchased online. Similar to a tape lift, samples are collected by placing the sticky area on the surface in question. When sampling with BioTape, ensure that you are not pressing more than one location. This can cause the sample to be overloaded, and the analyst may not be able to analyze the sample. After sampling, you may not see anything on the adhesive- that’s okay! Our analysts will be able to locate any fungal components even if they aren’t visible to the naked eye.
Once sampling is completed, place the plastic microscope slide back into its plastic container, and place it into an airtight container such as a ziplock bag.
Air sampling is a great way to measure mold spores within the air in an environment. This can often be a helpful indicator of whether or not there is a moisture problem that isn’t visible, such as within the walls or flooring.
Air sampling requires specific air pumps and cassettes. Our qualified field inspectors and consultants are equipped to conduct mold air sampling in both homes and commercial buildings. JSE’s inspectors are trained to perform the visual inspection using moisture meters and particle counters in addition to sampling! Contact us today to get scheduled.