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How to Test Your Home for Mold Problems

by Joslyn
house molds

Does your home have mold?

The answer is probably. Should you worry about it? It depends. There are several thousand strains of mold in existence, and each of us encounter many of them in our daily lives.


Most experts believe that except for those with asthma or other respiratory problems, these daily mold encounters are harmless. The problem arises with a particular mold called Stachybotrys.

Stachybotrys also goes by the name of black mold or toxic mold.

This type of mold is thought to be responsible for a decrease in memory and worsened lung capacity in the very old and the very young, but may even cause health problems in healthy median-aged individuals as well.

Besides health problems, black mold also causes damage to a home’s structure. For these reasons, it’s a good idea to be on the lookout for black mold in your home.

Mold & Moisture

Because mold reproduces in moist places, be sensitive to signs of mold especially after you have had any water damage in your home. You may see mold growth dotted on the walls, ceilings or furniture. Also, check underneath surfaces and in dark places.

Even if you aren’t able to see the mold, it could still be there behind walls or in the ceiling. If you become aware of a musty, dank smell or if mold-sensitive people start to complain while in your home, have your home inspected for black mold.

Hire a Mold Inspector

Hire a contractor to check the air quality in your home for evidence of mold. Although black mold is a health risk and a home safety risk, don’t expect your health or home insurance to foot the bill.

If you own your home, you’ll be expected to cover the costs of mold inspection and cleanup on your own. If you rent, you’ll most likely be able to get your property owner to take care of the problem for you.

Do-It-Yourself Mold Remediation

It is possible to remove mold from your home by yourself, but if you don’t have several days to devote to the process, hire a professional to do it for you. Expect to have to evacuate your home for a period of time so that you won’t be exposed to the cleaning chemicals and disrupted mold spores. If you’re removing the mold yourself, invest in a good respirator to keep you safe during the cleaning.


Have Your Home Inspected For Early Detection

Even if you don’t suspect mold in your home, have it inspected before you put your home up for sale. If mold is discovered during the buyer’s inspection, the deal will probably fall through and you’ll be delayed in selling your home or have to settle for far less than your home would be valued at otherwise.

If your home is sold and mold is discovered shortly afterwards, you could still be responsible for the cleanup.

Early detection of black mold in your home can drastically reduce the time, effort and cost associated with mold cleanup. Have your home inspected for mold as soon as you suspect you might have it growing in your home.

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

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Jonathan P. April 18, 2010 - 11:53 am

For those doing a DYI testing first, know that it is totally worth the investment of a few dollars for the kit. If you have a bit of growth in your test dish, then send it in to the lab. Again, it is worth seeing what you have for your next steps or just peace of mind. There’s an example of a lab report with photos I saw here: http://homerepairgeek.com/home-mold/mold-in-house/mold-in-house.html

Don’t live with this nasty stuff if you can help it. Find out what you have if you can.

Mold Inspection Nebraska February 8, 2012 - 1:58 pm

I really like this article…if you’re observant, you can probably identify the signs of black mold growth and water damage.

Me August 6, 2014 - 11:32 am

I moved into a new apartment damp Oder smell knats all over . I have asthma and allergy since I moved in her they have been set off.. Also I suffer from migraine and since I moved here they are every day. I keep buying odor eliminaters because of the smell of damp but cannot find mold.. But they told me they had a problem with mold and bed bugs here before.. Also I just discovered they reprinted this whole apartment because of mold….what can I do to check for mold inside the walls or rugs?

Jean January 6, 2015 - 2:14 pm

You didn’t tell me how to test for MOLD…

Bruce January 31, 2015 - 8:17 pm

Went to doctor with sneezing, coughing, and waking up with a sore throat that went away after leaving the house. As soon as I finished describing my condition the doctor said I have mold or should I say the house has mold, my doctor is genius! Singulair got rid of symptoms in 4 days, still trying to find the mold, any tips.

Christine Cole August 8, 2015 - 5:12 pm

So let’s start off with all the messed up stuff, so my door leaks whenever it rains which has rotted and started to deteriorate the door farm and trim and causes the carpet to look black I can only imagine what it looks like under the carpet… the sink leaked which hand strong smelling black mold, the office replaced the piece of wood but left the molded with black and white molded spores. Now I take you into my bathroom, the floor introns of the tub was rotting which they fixed but did not replace the wood under the tub nor fixed the rotted trim nor sheetrock where black mold is also growing. And they never came to replace the lonulium and may I also throw in that I have a 11 month old son which crawls around the house. I started telling the two months again and I had to stay on them to get the wood under the sink fixed and just for them to fix my bathroom floor a little bit. I need to know if I have a case and how do i go about it. Because two months later I am still around the mold. They don’t seem like it’s important.

Zeaden October 23, 2015 - 3:20 am

Me and my pregnant girlfriend recently moved into our flat and ever since she has been more unwell than usually exspected with pregnancy. we discovered some surface mold on the walls in our bedroom and water all over the windowsill, we got into contact with our landlord and she came along with her “qualified” builder. they said it was just surface mold and that we should just wipe it away when it comes up….. am i being stupid for just going along with this or should i just put my foot down with them?

Rhona Glaesman January 22, 2017 - 4:56 pm

I have one closet that smells like moth balls. Could that be mold? We have found no visible signs and there are no pipes in that area.

Russell January 25, 2017 - 5:16 pm

So the article says how to test your home for mold. Umm….is thus a fake article? There is nothing that explains how to do this.

krystle January 26, 2017 - 3:57 pm

There was this statement in the article, “Hire a contractor to check the air quality in your home for evidence of mold.” -So this post could use updating to include more information… There are mold inspectors that can test for mold in the home. There are DIY tests as well which can be found at Home Depot or other places like Amazon, but some debate how accurate these really are. If you pick one of those up I’m sure there are instructions on how to use the test that come with it. I had a mold inspector come to our current house to check it for mold after we found some issues in the kitchen.

Ben Brockett April 5, 2017 - 8:33 am

You can purchase a mild test kit from places like Home Depot or Lowes. I haven’t used one myself. But you follow the directions. If mild appears on the test strip you can send it in to determine what kind it is and of it is dangerous. The kit is inexpensive. I don’t know about the testing cost.

Melody Shippers June 6, 2017 - 4:49 pm

When we moved in 5.5 years ago, we had moved our leather furniture in a few months before we did. The furniture had white all over it. The house had been closed up, I found out later that we should have used a dehumidifier. Then we noticed a black film on my closet walls which is near the bathroom. The central ac unit had gone out so we had window units, when we weren’t home the windows stayed closed. We had a roof leak and found there was mold in the attic, I have been using damp rid in all the rooms which I have to change frequently. I have noticed what looks like something coming through the paint, it appears to be yellow. Could that be mold? I will be having a new roof and central ac done soon. How do I know if I have mold besides the attic? I don’t smell anything odd and I only have the normal allergy symptoms. Is there a home test because I cant afford professional’s. Your help would be appreciated.

Lauren Jones August 9, 2017 - 8:00 am

I have heard that it is unhealthy to live with mold in your home, and I wanted to learn more about the signs of mold to be able to detect it in its early stages. It is good to knwo that mold reproduces in moist places. I like what was said about how one should be sensitive to mold especially after having had water damage in your house. We will put this information to good use, thanks.

Eve Stokes October 9, 2017 - 9:58 am

I recently moved into an apt and found in my bedroom closet my leather coats and boots have mold on them. There is no sign of mold on my walls or furniture. What should I do. Not sure my landlady believes me even though I showed her. Also the kitchen cabinets have white on them also even after I clean them off it still comes back. No windows to open and I also smell mold/musty odor. Any and all help appreciated.

Joy Butler August 23, 2018 - 2:49 pm

Joslyn, thank you for mentioning that black mold is not only a health risk but also a home safety risk! I feel like a lot of people don’t realize the risks that exist with mold I know if I ever had mold in my house, I would for sure hire a professional to come look at it.

Roz Zalowitz October 4, 2018 - 2:01 pm

I recently bought a GENERAL MM8 to test some of our walls for dampness. Well, to my surprise lots of locations mainly around windows showed 75 to 100 %. We live in a villa in Florida that was built 4 years ago. I’ve read many posts that suggest getting someone reputable out to check for mold but I want to make sure I’m not over thinking this problem. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.


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