We’ve all heard of black mold and the associated horror stories of how it destroys your home, your wallet and your health. But what about white mold? What is it? What are the effects on your home if it gets infected with white mold growth? How is your health compromised if you are around white mold? Is white mold as dangerous as black mold? Today’s blog post will give you all the answers you need should you end up with white mold in your home.
What is White Mold?
White mold may look different than other similar fungi, but it thrives in similar environments. The fuzzy white mold can show up almost anywhere other types of mold thrive and almost anywhere around your home. The white color is caused by a lack of spore pigmentation. This lack of pigmentation is caused by the type of material that the mold is growing. White mold will remain white while other types of mold get darker over time. The mold usually presents as a white powder or film, and many people will not realize that it is mold growth at all.
Sometimes it can be difficult to determine whether white mold is actually mold or ordinary mildew. Sometimes the term “white mold” gets confused or used as a synonym for ordinary mold. In some ways, it is true. Mildew is early stage mold and it can be white in color, but it isn’t as harmful. White mold looks similar to mildew, but mildew only grows on surfaces. White mold penetrates the surface of porous materials and will run wood, furniture, walls and more.
In some environments, homeowners may confuse white mold in their basement with a substance known as crystalline efflorescence. Both of these things grow in environments with excess moisture, but efflorescence isn’t a mold. It is a type of salt deposit left behind when moisture wicks its way through concrete. Efflorence doesn’t affect wood or sheetrock.
Here is how you can tell whether you have white mold or efflorescence salt deposits.
- Lightly mist the affected zone with water. If it is efflorescence, the deposit will appear to dissolve away.
- Take a small amount of the deposit and squeeze it. If it is efflorescence, it will break into a fine powder.
If your sample doesn’t pass these tests, it is likely you are dealing with white mold instead of efflorescence and should consider getting tested for mold or treated for mold. If it is mold, the chances are good that it has already spread inside your walls and can threaten the entire house.
How is your Health Affected by White Mold?
Everyone knows that black mold can be quite dangerous. But what about white mold? It is much less known, but the answer is that white mold can affect your health. Like most molds, it can go airborne. Once airborne, it can get into your eyes, lungs and on your skin. If a person already suffers from allergies, white mold can make the symptoms worse.
There are several types of white mold so if you find it, you should consider consulting with a professional in order to determine how dangerous it may be to your health. While most people aren’t familar with it, white mold can be dangerous and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Symptoms to white mold exposure may include (but may not be limited to):
- eye irritation
- allergic reaction
- respiratory infection
If you suspect that you or a family member has had long term exposure to white mold, it is always best to consult with your primary care physician or get a referral to a specialist. White mold health affects people of all age groups, and long term exposure may cause sickness to you or a family member. This sickness generally begins with mild symptoms and progresses with time as the exposure continues.
How do you Get Rid of White Mold?
Since you now know that white mold can damage your home and your health, you need to deal with the issue as soon as possible. Depending on the mold size in your home, you may be able to clean it up yourself and get rid of the mold for good. However, mold is a serious issue and should not be taken lightly. If you have doubts, consult a professional.
If your mold problem meets the following issues, you shouldn’t attempt to DIY the mold removal:
- The mold is larger than three square feet
- The material is difficult to clean
- You already have medical issues
White mold (like all molds) must be cleaned up with care because they can cause further health problems during the cleanup. Often, people make the mistake of cleaning up mold without doing their homework and they end up harming themselves and spreading mold throughout their home. Cross contamination is easy to do and can cause bigger issues than you already had. Once spores have landed on another surface, they start to grow within 24-48 hours.
If you are going to attempt to remove the white mold yourself, be sure to protect yourself by wearing goggles, a mask that covers your face and rubber gloves. Be cautious and do not allow the mold to contact your skin. You can contain the affected zone using plastic sheets and duct tape. This will help prevent cross contamination to other areas of your home. You can also buy or rent a negative air machine which will prevent those pesky mold spores from drifting around your home.
All visible mold must be removed. You can use specialized disinfectant. Mold that has grown on porous items such as carpets, drywall, insulation or fabric, the material will need to be disposed of. After the mold has been removed, everything must be sanitized with a biocide which will kill remaining spores.
If you have any concerns about your current health, let a professional mold remediation company take on the white mold removal. A licensed mold remediation professional efficiently takes care of the problem through:
• Lab testing to determine the exact specie of your mold outbreak.
• The correct equipment, products and techniques (that can sometimes be cost prohibitive to non-professionals)
• Repairs that address and remedy the original moisture source.
When you outsource your mold problem to a licensed mold remediation company, you’ll be sure that the white mold has been completely removed and will not return from the original source of moisure. You will also get the peace of mind knowing that your health and the health of your family has been protected from the dangerous mold spores.
How can you Prevent White Mold?
The good news is that mold can be dealt with and completely removed. However, it is even better if you prevent mold BEFORE it grows and takes a dangerous toll on your home and health.
All types of mold (including white mold) can grow rapidly in any area where there is moisture. The most important part of mold prevention is controlling moisture. Without moisture, mold cannot grow. Homeowners must be diligent in controlling moisture through:
- Controlling humidity levels
- Repairing leaks immediately including surfaces that have been wet
- Removing wet material
- Performing routine and frequent inspections of your home, especially the areas you don’t frequently visit (attic, basement etc) as well as the outside of your home for moisture sources.
White mold is a type of mold that is not as well known as other types of mold such as black mold. It can even be interpreted as mildew, but it can be more harmful. Homeowners should be aware that mold comes in many colors and white mold can be just as dangerous as other types. If you have white mold in your home, take the appropriate steps to remedy the problem so that your home and health are not affected.