A Mold Expert’s Opinion: The Truth About Black Mold
There’s something black growing on the tiles, grout, and ceiling in your bathroom. It feeds on the excess moisture, it loves the dark, and it doesn’t sleep. It’s… black mold!
Now you’re left with questions: Is black mold dangerous? Is black mold toxic? What kills black mold? How fast can I google “black mold removal?” SHOULD I PANIC?
Don’t panic! Not all black molds are dangerous. Read on for the full run down on mold and mold colors.
Is all black mold toxic? Is all mold dangerous?
Mold color isn’t a surefire way of identifying mold strain, and color shouldn’t be a cause for alarm. Molds can present as nearly any color and can even change colors depending on factors like moisture, light, and temperature as well as its age or lifecycle stage.
There are over 100,000 different known types of mold in the world. Some scientists hypothesize that there may be as many 200,000 mold strains that have yet to be uncovered or identified. That’s a lot of mold!
Not all molds are bad either. As we’ve discussed before, molds like penicillium and Aspergillus oryzae are used in medicine and cooking. You also interact with mold byproducts when you use laundry detergents, plastics, fragrances, and many more.
In high enough concentrations, all mold has the ability to wreak havoc on those suffering from breathing conditions like COPD or Asthma and exacerbate allergies. It’s impossible to tell by color which molds are toxigenic. What does toxigenic mean? Toxigenic mold is mold that produces molecular toxins known as mycotoxins.
So, why does mold color matter?
It really doesn’t. The truth is mold color is no indication of toxicity.
No matter what color the mold is, you want to deal with it quickly. Once you have visibly identified mold growing in your home you’ll need to identify the moisture source feeding it.
What Kills Mold?
Once you’ve dealt with the moisture source, which is the root of the problem, you can move onto getting rid of that mold!
The EPA advises that property owners contact a qualified remediation professional for contaminated areas larger than 10 square feet. Anything smaller than that can be taken care of by the property owner. Areas larger than 10 square feet, however, should be handled by a certified mold remediation professional.
Generally, we recommend steering clear of bleach for mold cleanups, especially on porous and semi-porous surfaces. The reasons being that bleach doesn’t penetrate porous materials like grout, drywall or wood to kill the hyphae and mycelia living deeper in these surfaces. This means that the mold can come back! Bleach is also a toxic chemical, meaning it is not safe for humans or pets. It can create a deadly gas if mixed with ammonia. Lastly, chlorine, one of the main ingredients in bleach, dries pretty quickly leaving behind mostly water which feeds mold!
Circumstances when you can use bleach would be small cleanups on non-porous surfaces like a bathtub, sink or tile.
What Should Be Used To Clean Up Mold?
For porous and semi-porous surfaces we recommend using a vinegar water solution, hydrogen peroxide, or a detergent (like dish soap) and water solution to clean up small areas of mold in your home. Always, make sure the area dries thoroughly and completely, especially if you plan to paint or caulk over the area after. You can always follow this handy step-by-step guide from the EPA on cleaning up mold.
If you have found mold in your home, no matter what color it is, the process for dealing with it is the same. So don’t panic! Call The Mold Guys for a no obligation, no cost assessment of your mold problems today.