Skip to main content
mold on wood floor board

10 Most Commonly Asked Questions about Mold

What is Mold?

This is probably the simplest question of all but the most important. By asking this question we are able understand how to deal with molds. To answer this question:

Mold and fungi are terms generally used to describe a distinct group of organisms that are fuzzy or powdery in appearance.

Fungus was once considered a part of the plant kingdom, they are now regarded as a distinct kingdom of organisms. Fungi tend to absorb nutrients from dead or living organic matter in order for them to grow and survive.

At least 100,000 living species of fungus have been identified, some of which are beneficial to mankind.

Mycologists (scientists that specialize in botany that deals with fungi) have estimated that another 200,000 types of fungi may probably exist that have not yet been identified.

How Can We Be Exposed to Mold?

Exposure to molds is possible through several ways. First is by skin contact with molds. People with high allergic reactions to molds may develop rashes where the mold has made contact on the skin.

Inhalation of spores from mold may cause allergic reactions or asthma as it passes through the nose and the lungs.

Mold exposure can also occur when someone accidentally ingests food or materials contaminated with molds.

How Does Mold Affect Our Health?

Molds are probably the leading cause of airborne allergies.

Some of the most common symptoms of those that are sensitive to molds include nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, cold and flu-like symptoms, rashes, conjunctivitis, inability to concentrate, and fatigue.

Exposure to molds has also been associated with the onset of asthma.

How Do I Deal with Molds in My Home?

The most common way of treatment is to spray disinfectants in areas were fungi is present, wait a few seconds to let the disinfectant penetrate, and then wipe the area clean.

To remove fungus and its stains, commercial products that are labeled “mildew removers” can be used. But keep in mind that these products, along with disinfectants, may be dangerous if not handled properly.

How Do I Decrease Indoor Molds?

Ideally, you not only want to avoid molds indoors but rather prevent them from ever growing.

By knowing the factors on how molds thrive you can easily decrease or even prevent mold from even growing in your home.

So the best way to prevent mold growth in your home, humidity and liquid water must be eliminated vigilantly through appropriate cleanup.

How Do I Locate Molds in My Home?

There are signs to watch for if you want to find out if there is mold growth in your house. Sometimes you can see and smell mold cells that are growing on surfaces.

Its is possible that there is mold growth wherever there are water stains, standing water, or moist surfaces. Walls, ceilings, carpets, window sills, drain pans, duct work, vents, bathrooms, and wallboard should all be thoroughly inspected.

Look for possible stains and streaks on walls, on ceilings, and floors. You should also look for bubbles in paint and plaster and in loose wallpaper.

How to Get Rid of Mold

Molds can be effectively cleaned with a mold solution such as Lysol, Clorox, or X-14.

Places that are being cleaned with these solutions should be properly ventilated. If you react to molds, you should wear a tight-fitting mask that securely covers your mouth and nose to prevent any allergic reactions that may prove dangerous.

What does Mold need to Thrive?

First and foremost, like all living things, molds need food to survive. The fact that molds can feed on almost any organic material makes their food easy to find.

Next molds depend on their fungal spores to multiply. Another factor for molds to thrive and multiply is liquid water.

This is the reason why it is strongly advised to fix water leaks immediately.

And the last factor needed for molds to thrive is warm temperature and excessive humidity. Molds will typically thrive at temperatures from as low as 50 degrees Fahrenheit up to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Where does Mold Grow?

Mold can grow anywhere, be it indoors or outdoors, as long as there is enough surface moisture to keep them alive.

Fungi can be found in every type of climate and also in every social and economic condition. They live where moisture, oxygen, and other chemicals that they need are present.

They can be found on the surfaces of objects, within pores, and inside deteriorated materials.

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

Mold in Jamaica

Moisture: The Reason for Mold

With Jamaica’s recent hurricanes, moisture has caused Mold to be a major problem in the homes and lives of local Jamaicans.

What are they having to deal with?

— It’s necessary to deal with the problem as it can cause burning and watering eyes; nasal and sinus congestion; skin irritation and coughing. It can also aggravate medical problems like asthma, allergies, conditions which weaken immune defences and lung disease, especially in the elderly and the young.

But what of the musty smell that usually accompanies the fuzz?

“Once the place is dried up … the odour will go away,” Mrs. Hincliffe said. This might be easier said than done, judging from the little sunlight we have had since the rains that have pelted the island for so long. —

Read the rest of ‘Mold in Jamaica’ at Moisture: The Mold Problem

6 Tips for Removing Mold

1. Protect your eyes, nose and skin when cleaning mould.

2. Fix the source of the water problem or leak to prevent mould growth.

3. Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials and furnishings within 24-48 hours to prevent mould growth.

4. In areas where there is a perpetual moisture problem, do not install carpeting (i.e., by drinking fountains, by classroom sinks, or on concrete floors with leaks or frequent condensation).

5. Clean mould off hard surfaces with water and detergent, and dry completely. Absorbent materials such as ceiling tiles, carpets, linoleum that are mouldy, may need to be replaced.

6. Clean drapes and carpets when they can dry properly.

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

Source: Sacha Walters – Staff Reporter for the Jamaica Gleaner News

periscope

Find Mold, Stop Mold, Prevent Mold!

Mold Remediation in Florida

Janie Porter, a reporter from Tampa Bay 10 News, writes about a specific local mold remediation problem:

Visit Mold in Your Home to read the local story.

How to Find, Stop, and Prevent Mold

She also offers a list of steps to find mold, and then remove and prevent further growth.

Read the following:

  • Finding Mold

1. Mold is usually associated with a musty smell in the house.

2. Small surface patches of mold on bath tiles or around the shower usually aren’t a problem, unless the mold has reached the wallboard underneath.

3. To find mold, check beneath carpets and around windows. Also, check water hoses on appliances like refrigerators, water heaters and laundry machines.

Source: Consumer Reports

  • Stopping Mold

1. Use plastic sheeting to contain and prevent mold spores from spreading.

2. If the mold covers less than 10 square feet, you may be able to take care of the problem yourself.

3. Begin by protecting yourself with an N-95 disposable respirator approved by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health; goggles; and heavy-duty rubber, neoprene, or PVC gloves. Packages of N-95 respirators cost about $12 to $25 and are available in hardware and building-supply stores, by mail, and online.

4. Bag and discard any carpet, ceiling tiles, wallboard, paper, insulation, or other porous materials that have been wet for 48 hours or more.

5. Scrub other materials with a strong solution of detergent and water or 1 cup of chlorine bleach per 5 gallons of water.

6. Wood studs and exposed joists may have to be wire-scrubbed with bleach, sanded, and dried out before reinstalling wallboard and flooring.

7. If the mold covers more than 10 square feet, you’ll need to hire a professional mold remediator.

Source: Consumer Reports

  • Preventing Mold

1. Check water hoses on things like refrigerators and water heaters once a month.

2. Don’t use wallpaper or carpets in bathrooms and other damp areas.

3. Repair leaky roofs, poor or missing chimney and window flashing, missing or damaged shingles or siding, and leaky pipes.

4. Repair or replace damaged gutters and leaders.

5. Keep humidity levels in the house between 30 and 50 percent by running the air conditioner and installing outside-venting fans in bathrooms. Also, invest in a dehumidifier. For tips on buying a dehumidifier, click here.

6. To grow, mold needs about 65 percent relative humidity for three to six days. You can measure relative humidity using a hygrometer.

Source: Consumer Reports

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the Moldblogger Team

Source: Janie Porter from Tampa Bay 10 News

Mold On Clothes

What Happens When Mold Gets on Clothing?

Jacole, 11, from Oklahoma, shares her experience and some advice in dealing with mold:

Hi! My name is Jacole. My experience with mold happened with my favorite pair of pants. They were verrry comfortable.

They were in the laundry basket waiting to be washed, but they were in there sooo long (because I forgot about them in my room) that they got mold on the legs!

My mom washed them with bleach, but they were stained anyways.

A little advice :

If mold gets on clothes – IT STAINS!

Jacole – Guest Writer from the MoldBlogger Team

Further Recommended Reading :

Q & A: Should These Molds be Allowed in an Endoscopy Clinic?

Mold Types in Health Facilities

A reader asked the following question on November 10, 2007 :

Question:
I completed a swab test kit from IMS Laboratory on a ceiling tile in an endoscopy department and the lab results showed too numerous to count Acremonium sp., Alternaria sp., Aspergillus sp., Cladosporium sp. and Epicoccum ingrum.

How big of a concern should this be. My understanding of the report is that these are common molds found everywhere outside. Should these molds be showing up in a health care facility, endoscopy clinic?

Answer:

Mold Spores

Each of these molds give off spores that float through the air, looking for the ‘perfect’ place to attach, and then reproduce and thrive. Yes, these types of mold are everywhere – outside.

They need to stay outside. They have their specific place in nature, however you don’t want them in your home, your business, and especially not your health care facility.

Acremonium sp. & Alternaria sp.

Both of these though not considered the most dangerous types of mold do give off toxins that cause ill health effects or allergies in people. Also note that Acremonium sp. is found growing very closely with stachybrotys mold – the most dangerous type of mold found so far.

Asthma is a big problem these types of mold can cause and the best way to prevent is to remove the mold entirely. If people were to come to an endoscopy clinic, and then leave feeling sick with symptoms of mold exposure, the clinic would have a fairly large problem on their hands.

The employees will begin to have symptoms of “hay fever” and an ongoing cold – which just doesn’t look good to a patient walking in to be taken care of.

Aspergillus sp.

Studies show this specie of mold is the second most dangerous mold type next to stachybotrys. It carries harmful mycotoxins that cause severe illness in humans.

This is one mold type you definitely do not want growing in your health care facility.

Mold Spreads Quickly

Also remember that mold spreads – quickly. The best time to take care of a mold problem is immediately after finding. The longer remediation is put off, the more mold will grow – the bigger the job of removing mold.

Also, even if there is just a slight trace of one toxic mold type, and a large amount of a not so dangerous mold – each give off spores and both reproduce at a fast pace. It won’t be long before the area is over run with toxic mold and looking for a new area to permeate.

Mold in Health Care Facilities

When ingested, breathed in, or even taken in through the skin, mold spores attack the immune system. These mycotoxins that certain breeds carry and give off make people sick and weaken the area that fights infection. People in health care facilities are generally not in top condition anyway.

Mold exposure affects these people harder because their ability to fight off sickness is not as strong as a healthy, young immune system. When dealing with mold in a health care facility extra precaution should be taken to keep the facility clean and free of growing mold spores.

I would also recommend you read the following informative posts :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

School District Partially Responsible for Mold Problem

Severe Mold Found in The Saint Francis School District

Mold Inspectors found mold growing in 25 out of 32 of the Saint Francis School District’s portable school buildings.

According the builder’s of the portable structures, the school is atleast partially responsible for the outbreaks of mold.

The senior VP of the corporation says :

“There have been some modifications made to this building that certainly led to some issues that the buildings are encountering today,” said Kevin Bremer, the Senior VP of Operations at ModSpace Corporation.

Bremer said the district’s work on the heating and air conditioning units added to the buildings’ moisture and eventually, mold.

Bremer said the district also exacerbated the problem by cutting into the walls.

For more information on Mold in the St. Francis School District visit
Mold: Company Vs School District

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

Source : KARE 11 TV

Q & A: Mold on Food

On November 6, 2007, a reader requested the following:

Question I need to know about mold on food!

Is it safe to cut off mold from food and continue to eat it?

Mold growth stems from roots that grow deep into the material they choose to thrive on. Out of these roots, grows stalks that usually tower above whatever the mold is growing on and form spores.

Mold is not only growing on the surface of food, but all the way through it, often times permeating toxicity that will make people sick. Even if the visible mold is cut off, many times the roots as well as bacteria and toxic mycotoxins will still be left growing in the food.

Trust me, you don’t want to eat toxic mold roots.

Is Mushroom Poisoning because of Mold?

Mushroom’s are a fungus and many kinds release their own type of poison causing sickness in humans.

Though some of the symptoms are the same, fungus is only a type of mold and not the same thing.

Some Molds are Good to Eat

Not all molds are poisonous and release the mycotoxins that make people sick.

Many of these types of molds are what can be used to make certain types of cheeses, and flavoring in wine.

Softer, richer cheeses, like Brie and Gorgonzola, even have a layer of white mold coating.

Mold Grows in the Refrigerator, How Can This be Minimized?

Molds grow in the refrigerator because they can deal with salty, sugary foods like bacon or jam better than other toxic invaders.

According to the USDA, there are 3 main things you can do to minimize mold growth in the refrigerator:

3 Ways to Minimize Growth in Your Refrigerator

  • Clean the refrigerator every few months with a baking soda/water solvent making sure to scrub any visible mold growth with a bleach/water mixture
  • Keep all sponges, dishtowels, mops, and cloths clean and free of a musty, dirty smell
  • Make sure the level of humidity in your home is below 40% [this is good anyway to prevent mold all throughout your home]


Don’t Buy Moldy Food from the Store

Another good tip is to never buy moldy foods from the store. Make sure you check all of your breads, cheeses, and vegetables as well as any other easily molded foods before you bring them home.

This will prevent the embarrassing event of taking the moldy food back to the store for exchange as well as saving you and your family time and possible sickness!

The USDA also advises 4 ways of handling food already contaminated with mold :

4 Ways to Remove Moldy Foods

  • Never try to smell the moldy foods, this is bad for your respiratory system
  • If you see food is contaminated with mold, put it in a bag and throw it away where the it is out of reach from children and animals.Also recommended : Do not throw the contaminated food away in your house trash can; take it outside to the dumpster, preventing unseen spores from contaminating your home.
  • Clean the refrigerator or pantry where the moldy item was kept.
  • Check the nearby items for mold in case of cross contamination

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

Source : USDA: Mold on Food Facts

Mold Causes Asthma in Children

Mold Attacks Families in NYC

New York apartments are having an over abundance of mold cases being brought forth. City dwellers were in the streets protesting against mold and demanding that city officials help these families living in these mold infested apartments. One 14 year old girl revealed that her asthma attacks are worsening and that she is afraid for herself and her mother. She said :

Espinal, 14, blamed a water leak in her ceiling for the mold that has grown in the insulation. Mold triggers Adriana’s asthma, and as a result, she’s already missed 8 days of school this year. She fears it’s only going to get worse.

“I don’t want to end up in the hospital, and I don’t want my mom to end up in the hospital either, and my sister just developed asthma, that’s serious,” said the 14-year-old.

Read the rest of of NYC’s Mold Infestations : Mold Invades NYC

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

Source : wcbstv.com

Found! A Hidden Mold Infested Room

Hidden Room Infested with Mold!

After buying a 75,000 dollar home, the homeowner moved her bookcase and what did she find? ALL kinds of mold! Listen to her story!

A secret room hidden behind a bookcase in Kerri and Jason Brown’s house was recently discovered to contain so much mold that according to a handwritten note found inside, which started with “You found it!” the previous homeowner moved because of it.

Read the outcome of the Brown’s amazing story! Mold Infested Home

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the Mold Blogger Team

Want The Inside Scoop?