What is Black Mold?

Mold is a fungus that likes to grow in damp places; it’s made up of thousands of tiny organisms in a variety of colors, including black. Mold is an essential part of nature because it grows through breaking down dead leaves, plants, trees, and other organic materials and releases microscopic spores as a part of this process. These tiny particles are easily inhalable by humans and other animals. Mold is so common that it would be almost impossible not to come into contact with some type of mold every day. However, certain molds can be more harmful than others. While there are many types of black mold, Stachybotrys Chartarum is the scientific name for the most common form. This black mold typically grows on wood, paper, and cotton products. It can sometimes produce mycotoxins that can be dangerous if inhaled or eaten. 

Is black mold dangerous? 

Exposure to black mold can affect each person differently. While black mold doesn’t typically cause deadly diseases, certain people may get very sick even after minimal exposure. Some have claimed to contract “toxic mold syndrome,” resulting in memory loss, headache, and fatigue after exposure to black mold. However, there isn’t any concrete evidence that black mold causes these symptoms. Prolonged contact with black mold can result in a range of mild to moderate symptoms such as irritated eyes, nose, lungs, and skin. But for those sensitive to mold, have allergies, or asthma, the effects can be more severe. Black mold can induce an allergic reaction that leads to sneezing, red eyes, rashes, and a runny nose. In some cases, people may experience shortness of breath, which is very dangerous for those with asthma. Children, the elderly, and those with pre-existing immunity or lung conditions should take extra care to minimize their contact with black mold. If you discover any black mold at home, you should remove it immediately.


Black-mold-zoom-in-viewWhat causes black mold to grow? 

There is organic material all over homes that black mold would love to feed on. However, mold needs moisture to grow, which is why black mold typically grows in spaces where the air is humid, where water is leaking, or on damp surfaces. Black mold spores travel through the air, and once they land on a wet surface they will begin to grow and produce more mold spores. It is crucial to find and destroy indoor black mold before it spreads. Common home areas that create the best environment for black mold to thrive are basements, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and kitchens. 

How can you stop black mold from growing? 

While it may be impossible to have a home without mold spores, there are some preventative steps to minimize black mold growth.

  1. Install a dehumidifier in dark, damp spaces like basements.
  2. Check laundry and sink pipes for leaks that need repairing.
  3. Avoid leaving damp clothing or towels lying around, and don’t let wet or dirty laundry sit for long before washing.
  4. If possible, use washable area rugs instead of carpeting.
  5. Check appliances to make sure they are working correctly and wipe up any moisture gathering.
  6. Be sure to turn on the kitchen exhaust fan whenever doing dishes, cooking, or cleaning.

How can you remove black mold? 

Locating the source of moisture is essential to properly dispel black mold. If it isn’t cleaned up or repaired, the black mold will continue to return. The moldy area should be cleaned with commercial mold remover or soap and hot water and then allowed to dry completely. You can also use bleach to disinfect the area, but make sure to follow all use instructions carefully. Never mix bleach with other cleaners because it can produce a deadly gas. Try to clean the moldy item outdoors so that spores won't spread in the home. If this isn't possible, update your air and furnace with HEPA filters to catch spores. Finally, consider getting an air purifier and dehumidifier to set up in the moldy area. If you encounter a problematic case of black mold, it may be best to contact professionals so that mold doesn’t continue to spread. You may have to throw out some especially porous surfaces such as carpet, fabric, or wallboard entirely if they become covered in black mold. 


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