Can I Take An Asbestos Sample Myself?

July 26, 2019

When you suspect that your home contains asbestos, the next step to take is to get it inspected. It’s always recommended that homeowners rely on asbestos removal services instead of doing this yourself because it’s a dangerous substance. Here’s what the testing process involves, and why it’s not suitable for those without training and qualifications.

Performing the Test

1) Collecting the sample:

Before beginning, you will need to make sure that you have closed off the affected area. Asbestos fibres spread when they become airborne. Therefore, the less movement and disturbance in the area, the better. Make sure that no one can walk through the workspace because the movement can disturb fibres that have already settled. Keep children and pets out, because the dust can land on their clothes, skin, and fur.

If the area you’re testing is in a ceiling, you will need to make sure that you lay plastic drop cloths on the floor directly beneath you. The drop cloths will make cleaning more manageable and prevent fibres from settling on the floors or carpet. Make sure that you have a container available and ready to catch any debris that falls during this process.

2) Taking Safety Precautions

Even just trying to take a sample of possible asbestos not only puts other occupants of the house at risk but also yourself. You’ll need to make sure that you take precautions by wearing safety gear. You’ll need to wear the correct size respirator. A typical face mask isn’t adequate protection when working with asbestos, because the dust can still move through to your mouth and lungs. You should also wear disposable overalls and gloves, with no openings to your skin or clothing. When the job is done, your gear can’t be reused.

3) Taking The Sample

Before you break the asbestos apart, make sure that you wet the material thoroughly. When asbestos is wet, the fibres are less likely to spread. Use hand tools, such as pliers, to break a piece of asbestos off for testing. Power tools cause vibrations, which releases more dust. You can also wrap a wet wipe around the pliers so that they don’t get contaminated.

Once released, you’ll remove the asbestos sample and place it in a sealable, zip-lock bag along with the wipes. Close it carefully, and put it in a second zip-lock bag. Then, use a sealant to cover the exposed asbestos to keep it from releasing more fibres. Clean the area thoroughly. Double-bag your overalls, cleaning cloths and plastic sheeting so that you can discard it safely at a disposal facility licensed to remove asbestos.


As you can see, attempting to managing asbestos yourself is risky and potentially dangerous, and if you don’t have the equipment and experience, it’s best to call a professional asbestos removal service provider. They have the necessary experience, training, and licensing to inspect, test, and remove asbestos in your home.