By Christina Rice

Editor’s note: The writer is telling her personal story with black mold poisoning and her healing process, sharing information that she has learned through the articles in this series. She does not have a medial degree, but consults her physician in the writing of these articles.

For those of you just joining this series, my husband and I suffer from toxic black mold poisoning. We found a lot of mold in our home, tried to clean it unsuccessfully and contaminated and lost almost everything that we owned.

One question people ask me is, what possessions can I keep? What if I clean it?

We kept very little.

What was lost

I tried to clean fabric items such as towels, linens, blankets and clothing by soaking them in bleach water, again with soap and let them dry in the sun. I spent hours soaking everything in tubs and I had laundry strung out all over my in-law’s yard.

  I waited a week and wore an outfit I had “cleaned.” Within two hours, I went home sick from work. I tried a couple more times before it sunk into my head that all fabric items were lost including things like couches, pillows and mattresses. I could not tolerate being around them.

The bleach may have killed the spores, but there were enough dead spores in the material to cause me to react.

Next, we tried to save wood furniture. It’s not as porous. I picked one piece of furniture that held sentimental value to me and washed it multiple times in a bleach solution and let it air dry in the sun outside.

My husband brought it into our home, and within a couple of hours, I had gone to lie down because I didn’t feel well. After awhile, it dawned on me that I could be reacting to the bench. So my husband carried it out of the house and by the next day I was feeling much better. That meant anything made of wood was lost including our grand piano.

Paper items are also not saveable; there is no way to clean them and the cleaning wouldn’t work as they are porous. So, all your tax papers, scrapbooks, photographs, piano music and so on are lost.

There is also no way to clean electronics or appliances so items including your TV, computers, stove, fridge, washer, dryer and others are lost.

What we could keep

So, what did we keep? We were able to keep glass and ceramic dishes. My in-laws washed them in their dishwasher with bleach on the sanitation cycle and again with regular soap. These things included, pots, pans, baking dishes, plates, cups and silverware.

We were also able to keep my cast iron skillets. We soaked them in bleach, scrubbed off all the finish and let them air dry. Yes, they rusted. We scrubbed the rust off and re-seasoned them in the oven and they have been safe for me.

That’s it. That is all we were able to safely keep. Dishes and cast iron skillets.

There is a chance you could keep more items than we did. Every person handles the mold poisoning differently. For example, my husband did not seem to be affected by the bench, but I was. I gave the piano to a friend who does not seem to be affected, but I could not be close to it.

Remove everything and then re-introduce one item on a day you feel well. Pay attention to how you feel. If you react even slightly, it is not safe for you to keep it. You will not get better if you keep things to which you react.