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Is Your Indoor Air Clean? Experts May Use a Particle Counter to Check

What you can't see can hurt you. Microscopic fragments of mold or other airborne particles can be inhaled causing health impacts, so sampling the air during and after mold cleanup may make sense to determine how effective the process has been at removing or containing these contaminants. [Note: Ad or content links featured on this page are not necessarily affiliated with The Clean Trust and should not be considered a recommendation or endorsement by The Clean Trust.]


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Restoration professionals sometimes use a laser particle counter to determine the level of airborne particles. A laser or optical particle counter draws in a sample of air, shines a laser light across the airstream inside the device, then electronically counts the particles that cross the beam path.

In contaminated environments, the numbers of particles will be quite high, whereas after cleanup with proper methods, particulates should be significantly reduced.

An optical particle counter measures the total number of particles of a certain size or range (for example, 0.3 micron and larger) without revealing what those contaminants are.  Thus, when used with direct mold or fungal detection methods, it can serve as an additional quality-control and post-remediation check by restorers and other indoor environmental professionals (IEPs).

It can also help assess vacuum cleaners and other cleaning equipment to see how well they capture dust. For example, the number of particles at the intake of vacuum cleaners is compared with the particles measured exiting the vacuum to check the effectiveness of filters. HEPA vacuums should effectively capture 99.97% of particles 0.3 microns and larger in size.

The knowledge and skills of the professionals you hire will largely determine how successful the restoration outcomes are, including how healthful the indoor environment is after cleaning. Certified technicians best understand how to use scientific measurement tools properly to ensure your home has been effectively restored. Locate a Clean Trust-Certified professional or firm by consulting the directory at


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Is Your Indoor Air Clean? Experts May Use a Particle Counter to Check:  Created on February 8th, 2011.  Last Modified on October 18th, 2011


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About The Clean Trust

The Clean Trust

The Clean Trust, formerly known as The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), is an ANSI-accredited standards setting body for the flooring inspection, floor covering and specialized fabric cleaning and disaster restoration industries. Organized in 1972, The Clean Trust currently represents more than 5,700 Certified Firms and 54,000 Certified Technicians in 22 countries. The Clean Trust, with participation from the entire industry, sets standards for inspection, cleaning and disaster restoration. The Clean Trust does not own schools, employ instructors, produce training materials, or promote specific product brands, cleaning methods or systems. It approves schools and instructors that meet the criteria established by The Clean Trust. The Clean Trust also serves as a consumer referral source for Certified Firms and Inspectors. Visit



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