You finally walked away from your home. The one contaminated with toxic mold and mycotoxins. It’s hard. I know it is. I’ve been in your shoes.
Where do you go now? Do you rent an apartment? A house? Do you try to become a homeowner again? Should you live in an R.V.? A converted shipping container? Should you just camp out forever, living life in nature?
This is a VERY difficult decision and a scary one at that. Anyone who has lost everything to toxic mold will tell you that the next steps are incredible scary. Anxiety ridden actually.
Aside from the fact that you want to test the heck out of any indoor living environment to ensure that it is not contaminated, there is no real right or wrong answer about what that living space might be. However, people with mold-related illness have a long road of recovery ahead of them and as such, need to take a rather long list of things into consideration when looking at future living arrangements.
This list isn’t a hard and firm “do as I write or you will regret it” kind of list. This is basically the ideal “perfect living environment” list. The one where you are surrounded by unicorns that poop glitter in your perfect home.
In all serious though, if you suffer from mold related illness, it is imperative that you give your body every opportunity to heal and detox. And that means making wise choices about chemical avoidance, air quality, and of course minimizing the potential for mold growth.
I have provided a list of what constitutes the perfect home based on my research and discussions with those professionals who have been instrumental in my mold journey. Let this serve as food for thought as you take the next steps and make tough decisions about your future living environments. Remember – your long term health and well-being is more important than anything.
15 Things A Perfect Home Living Environment Should Have:
- Tile flooring (carpet is a haven for mold spores and laminate and wood flooring have a lot of chemical compounds)
- Air exchange system (as opposed to a traditional HVAC. The exchange system constantly swaps indoor air with outdoor air.)
- Advanced HEPA filter system for HVAC if not using an air exchange system
- Built in vacuum system (allows mold spores to be dispersed outside instead of trapped in a bag or container)
- Air filters in every room
- Dehumidifier in bathrooms
- Whole house water filter
- Additional shower and bath filters
- Additional drinking water filters
- No VOC paint and stains on walls and furniture
- Limited “décor” and possessions (this equals less airborn particulates)
- Non fabric furniture (leather and heavy, unfinished wood are ideal)
- No houseplants (mold grows in dirt)
- Ethernet not wireless (EMFs can wreak havoc on the health of those with mold related illness)
- No Smart Meters (see above)
In addition, your perfect home will be downwind and nowhere near:
- Heavily traffic areas (freeways)
- Dry cleaners
- Agricultural sites where chemicals are used
- Golf courses
- Toxic waste dumps
- Industrial sites
The chemical burden your body must deal with is simply too much. This is also why you want to avoid using pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers around your home.
While I agree that this list seems impossible I realize that my health is worth every penny. No, I won’t be able to afford the perfect home all in one fell swoop but there is a lot I CAN do now and plenty I will need to save for.
What about you? Are you a mold related illness suffer? Please share what your perfect home living space looks like and how it has helped you recover.
Had to leave our home of 25 years when we finally pinpointed the source of my terrible health issues as Aspergillus mold growing in our crawlspace. Microbiologist’s report was 12,000 times what is considered hazardous to health. By then my illness (illnesses) had manifested from internal spread through the bloodstream to my skin. (Secondary Cutaneous Aspergillosis – Invasive) https://books.google.com/books?id=rAI25O4vYgcC&pg=PA135&lpg=PA135&dq=Secondary+cutaneous+aspergillosis+life+threatening+dermatology&source=bl&ots=FR1BXT3WDL&sig=FyxG9KUROxgWVjpnQcE1nSr26uY&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CCMQ6AEwAGoVChMIwPmWvu-xxwIVy3E-Ch2IvwF8#v=onepage&q=Secondary%20cutaneous%20aspergillosis%20life%20threatening%20dermatology&f=false) Huge ordeal to get out and re-settled. Two setbacks in the new place. Near death at least 3 times. Wish we had your list back then. Interesting that we ended up doing most of these things on our own. A few are beyond my control but you’ve brought up a couple that I can fix right away. (change internet & ditch two houseplants) We left that house 6 years ago. Immune system wrecked. Food sensitivities, chemical sensitivities, multiple allergies. Horrible skin problems. Brain fog so bad everything was dreamlike. Back then, I required daily care. Am taking care of myself now and even doing light housework! Learning about the importance of gut health. Gone totally natural with homemade personal care products, simple DIY cleaning products, Hybrid GAPS/Paleo/Clean/Organic diet. I wheel my IQ Air cleaner from room to room to be near me at all times. Skin still requires cotton fabric only, safe laundry products, and 2 to 3 times daily applications of coconut oil. The oil requirement decreases as time goes on. I’m doing better all the time. Taking short walks outdoors! If improvement continues, I may be able to lead a more “normal” life soon. Glad to have found your blog.
Lisa Hodgson says
I have a question about creating our perfect home environment, we purchased a whole house water filter, do you still recommend shower filters too? I thought our whole hous filter would take out contaminated water and chlorine?
Thanks for your time!
Hi Lisa! If you are using a whole house filter you should be just fine.
Evangeline Elmendorf Greene says
Hi Jennifer, after months of illness, I finally found out I was suffering from Toxic mold illness. I now am facing the loss of everything I own and looking for a new place to live. I am on a limited income and certainly could never afford all that you list for a “perfect house.” I am reduced to looking for a studio apt. Some questions I have: What do I do about all my important documents? Should I try to trade in my car? If not, how do I decontaminate my car? Would I contaminate another car just by getting into it? Also, what about my dog? How do I decontaminate her? As I am sure you well know, I feel stunned at the prospect of losing all my belongings, family heirlooms, everything, although I realize they are just things. I am worried about not being able to afford to rebuild my life, although I also realize that this is a way to start living a way more simple life. Stuff weighs people down. Thank you for listening to me and any advice you can give me would really help. Evie
Hi Evie! I feel your pain. Please don’t let my list frustrate you. I can’t afford a perfect home myself. Doing the best I can! I put all my documents into ziplock bags and then stored them in a plastic tote with a secure latching lid. I then put the tote in a garbage bag and taped it up. I keep that stored in the garage. I kept my car against everyone’s wishes. I hired a remediation company to come out and do the best they could with it. I mold tested it afterwards and it was safe. I also run a portable air filter in the car while I am in it. Do not remediate the car until you are out of your moldy home. As for your dog…have her shaved completely and then given a anti-fungal bath. That is about all you can do. I wish you well and am sending you lot of positive energy!
Is there any validity to the trick of putting musty documents/ old books into a ziplock bag and dusting them with baking soda, then placing them in a deep freezer for a week? I’ve done it with some musty children’s drawings and they had no smell when I removed them from the bag. I’m just not sure if it would kill any mold and stop their mycotoxins.
Hi Mary! This will freeze and destroy mold cells IF the temp is -18 or colder. The mycotoxins are a little more stubborn. They can withstand a really deep freeze. You also would want them in the freezer for at least 30 days. There is actually a pretty cool study out there (I need to relocate the link) and it shows what happens and mold and mycotoxins at various temperatures. Freezing has more success if done right. One key thing to do is HEPA vacuum the books and documents before freezing. Hope this helps!
I live in one of the areas recently devastated by Hurricane Harvey. While I was extremely blessed in that my home did not flood or leak (leaking that I know of), I am still concerned about the general area in which I live. I did have to have my home remediated in 2014 because of black mold, and I became ill because of high levels of tricothecene in my body. Here is my concern: I live in an area that remains highly humid most of the year. Ultimately, is the better solution moving to a drier climate?
Hi Mindi! Oh ugggg! I dealt with tricothecene and wouldn’t wish that on anyone. I am 3 years out of my home but still working on my health. Humidity is the enemy for sure! I ended up moving to Arizona and it has helped a ton. There is mold here but it is much harder for it to root since there is a lack of humidity. My practitioner told me that living within 5 miles from salt water in a non-humid climate is the top living choice followed by the desert. I couldn’t afford the California coast so the desert it was!
Laura Lee Williams-May says
First, I want to advocate the use of ceiling fans in mold control, especially in bathrooms.
When I moved into my house in California the whole ceiling was molded. This was in spite of the fact that the bathroom was large and 2 windows.
I installed a ceiling fan SET TO BLOW UPWARD.The air hits the ceiling and flows down the walls to dry them
We use a similar setup here in Hawaii and run fans 24 hours per day in the library and in our mountain house which gets a lot of rain.
Secondly, I suspect the lemon Eucalyptus oil will also abate mold. It is cheaper that others too.
Rebecca velazquez says
Hi, i just want to say thank you for your blog! It has helped as a reference point when doctors and professionals are not available for mold illness. I have had to research everything in order to start healing. It is a hard long process.
I am still healing from mold illness never quite able to locate a mold free home. My first house we found 3 rooms of hidden mold in the walls during shortly after hurricane Irma. I got very sick, we moved into a rental property. The rental home we discovered had a mold contaminated hvac (it was cold when we moved in and living in Florida we didn’t turn it on until 2 months later.) We trudged through without ac in April/may in Florida heat and returned to our home that was remediated (where I first got sick) I am not comfortable in his home with my eyes burning most times in the home. I’m not sure if it’s mold or chemical sensitivity or detox at this point.
We are now trying to move into another home (praying it works) and have been working hard to clean it up after discovering mold in the attic and hvac system. The ac has been replaced, ducts replaced, insulation removed, attic hepa vacuumed, roof is in process of being replaced because of the moldy wood. We have been very careful leaving an air scrubber on continuously and 3 dehumidifiers.
We just sent out the ERMI tests and I wanted to know what other test can we do to make sure it will be safe for me. We already went through the replace all your belongings process which was incredibaly difficult with only one family member sick (mommy) out of 5. I also cant afford to get sick again it is very taxing on the body/soul specially when I have not healed and am in constant detox.
Hi Rebecca! Thank you for reaching out and I am so sorry that you are going through all of this. Mold is really just so unfair! Aside from the ERMI, I would absolutely do a Mycotoxin test. Would you like me to email you with more information? They aren’t cheap but it is a critical test in my opinion.
Thank you for this post. I am very sick w mold toxicity. Do you have city/states you reccomend where my family should relocate? We have been thinking about Northern Idaho. Is snow a problem for moldies? And are there other features we should look for like, type of house, newly built etc…?
And how long does it take to recover?
Hi Andrea! I am so sorry that you are going through this! These are VERY loaded questions without cut and dry answers. I am going to email you so it is easy to go back and forth with questions. 🙂