How to Test for Mold & Mildew at Home

Mold may be growing undetected in your home.
Mold may be growing undetected in your home. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Mold and mildew growing in your home are not only a nuisance, they are dangerous. Not only do they look and smell bad, they can be harmful to your health. If you have a small water leak concealed behind a wall, mold and mildew can grow for days, months or even years without you knowing. Fortunately, do-it-yourself test kits exist that can help you easily detect the presence of mold and mildew in your home.

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Check your at-home mold test kit to see that all contents are included. Depending upon the company that manufactured your specific kit, the contents will vary, but the kit will include some sort of mold collection agent, such as a swab, test strip or vial, as well as instructions, a protective plastic bag and a return envelope for mailing the completed test to the laboratory.

Choose the areas that you'd like to test. Areas of your home that are most likely to alert you to a mold problem include air conditioner vents, heater ducts, drain pans, door ledges and base moldings.

Hold the swab, test strip or vial in your hand and scrape it along your chosen area.

Place the swab, test strip or vial into the protective plastic bag. Place the plastic bag in the return envelope.

Fill out any included paperwork with required identifying information. Deposit the completed paperwork in the envelope.

Mail the return envelope to the laboratory. Most likely this envelope is postage-paid and preaddressed, meaning that all you need to do is close it up and deposit it into an outgoing mailbox.

Wait while the laboratory receives and tests your sample. The lab will send you the results by mail or email, depending upon the company.

Tips & Warnings

  • At-home mold test kits vary by manufacturer. Follow your test kit's instructions.
  • Mold can be dangerous. Do not go near or breathe suspected mold without proper protective gear. Do not touch mold with your bare hands.


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