DIY meth tests have been around for the last 6 years. Their purpose is to indicate if your property is contaminated with meth, but they don’t show the level of contamination. They are simple and fairly easy to use, however they do require some knowledge to get a reliable result. We always recommend accredited testing companies over DIY kits, as testers have the required knowledge and equipment. However we understand that cost is important. These tests are popular with landlords and property managers who want a cheaper level of reassurance or an instant yes-no result.
So in response to a few questions we have received on DIY meth testing kits, we have listed a few handy tips to make sure you get a more reliable result.
Research, prepare and more research
At a minimum, spend some time researching on how you can do the meth test yourself. Watch videos, read reliable blogs, or even take a meth testing course from an educational provider. Check you have enough tests or kits for the property you want to test. If you have multiple properties, a baseline kit such as ‘Check for Meth’ is the best option. D4D kits have a capacity to check multiple properties and multiple contaminants.
This may seem like a no brainer, but you’d be surprised how often this can be forgotten about. Before you even think about opening the test kit, make sure you have a clean/unused glove on each hand. A new pair of gloves for each test is advisable.
Do the meth test as professionally as possible
Where you take your test and how you do it will affect the result you receive. Only the pros have the experience and training to know where to test, but there are some general rules to follow. You should only test on building surfaces (try to avoid contents and furniture especially fabric and porous items). A good place to test is on a window frame in a small area near the top or the top of a door frame. A painted or varnished surface such as a window or door is likely to yield a higher result when compared to a painted wall. To ensure you get a reliable test use your template, a new one on each test is a must. You need to get a good swab, so try doing 5 swabs across the area horizontally (left and right to apply the buffer solution), then 5 swabs vertically (up and down to gently agitate in the solution), then 5 swabs horizontally again to get the contamination onto your swab. Make sure to roll the swab gently as you go.
Don’t always rely on the indicated tolerance levels
Some meth tests claim to show a positive result on anything over 0.1micrograms. However, this isn’t always accurate. And just because you received a positive result, doesn’t mean you have cause for major concern. It could indicate that the property was previously decontaminated and has left some residue behind, or the contaminated levels are not high enough to be of health concern.
At this stage, it’s time to call the professionals and get a detailed test so you know what you are dealing with. If you need more clarification over the ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ result, contact Chemcare to shine more light on your test results and options.
Be wary of those ‘positive lines’
Just like a pregnancy test, you’ll get some little coloured lines showing either ‘positive’ ‘negative’ or ‘invalid’. However, when you’re unsure on the process, those lines are really confusing! Sometimes there is a faint second line which may suggest that meth is present. We recently did a test in a room which showed a faint second line, however after a follow up test, it was shown there was no meth present.
Do a dummy test (field blank)
If you’re really uncertain on your result, the best thing to do is to do a complete dummy test. By this we mean, don’t do anything with your swab aside from putting it straight into the solution (don’t touch a surface with your swab). You’ll then know if your test was a dud or the results are correct and have some comparable lines. Be careful to avoid cross contamination and mix-ups by marking your tests.
Testing is real science, and not everyone is up to the challenge. DIY meth tests have their place, but they’re just an indicator not a full result. If you’re worried with a result you’ve gotten, contact Chemcare and we will help you to interpret your test.