What is a Home Mold Test Kit?

Jessica Reed

Home mold test kits are a valuable tool for the homeowner who suspects dangerous mold may be growing in her house. Though it does not replace a consultation with a professional, a home mold test kit can let the homeowner know if mold is present and what kind it is. Certain molds prove to be very dangerous to a family's health and the homeowner will need to contact a professional to have the house cleaned and the mold removed. Mold is not always visible to the eye. If a family member is constantly sick or suffers from allergy-like symptoms that continue to return throughout the year, mold may be the culprit.

A petri dish is used during a mold test kit.
A petri dish is used during a mold test kit.

Depending on where the homeowner purchases the home mold test kit, three different types of tests may be available. Many kits come with all three tests to provide the most accurate results. The first test is known as the swab test. It involves swabbing a test area on the inside wall of the home and then rubbing the swab onto the medium provided in the kit. The medium is a substance that will react within two to seven days of testing if mold is present on the swab.

An orange with mold on it.
An orange with mold on it.

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A less accurate test checks for airborne mold spores. Though the test can create false results or come up negative when mold is in fact in the house, it uses a larger sample than the swab kit and is more likely to pick up on different molds that may be growing in the home. An open petri dish is placed inside the house and one outside the house for approximately one to two hours. Then the lids are closed and the homeowner waits two to seven days to see if any mold grows in the dishes. If the homeowner finds more mold or different types of mold in the indoor petri dish than the outdoor dish, she should contact a professional for help ridding her home of the mold.

Finally, a home mold test kit may come with a vent test kit. This test is attached to one of the vents in the homeowner's house. The homeowner shuts off the other vents, runs her heating unit for ten to 15 minutes, and then waits the standard two to seven days to see if mold grows. This can show if mold is coming into the house through the vents. This type of mold may be growing somewhere completely unseen to the homeowner and the home mold test kit can help identify what types of mold the vents are carrying.

When using a home mold test kit, homeowners should understand it is only a cheap and easy way to test for mold. If all the tests come back negative, the owners likely have no mold and do not need to worry about health concerns. Even a small amount of certain types of mold can be dangerous to the health, however, and if those molds show up in the test kits, the owners should seek professional help. Often the company that sells the home mold test kits will identify the molds in the sample and provide recommendations for removing the mold from the home.

Moldy bread.
Moldy bread.

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