Many of us might have dealt with a mold problem or at least heard about it. This type of fungus, if left unchecked, can significantly damage a house. Furthermore, mold also makes the entire household vulnerable to certain health issues.
These ailments include throat irritation, stuffy nasal passages, coughing, wheezing, eye irritation, and even skin irritation.
Knowing about the types of mold in homes and the proper ways to get rid of them can allow your household to live a healthier life. So, let’s start!
What is Mold?
As mentioned, mold is a type of fungus. This means it belongs to the same family covering mushrooms and yeast. If you analyze mold closely, you will notice how it grows in multicellular structures known as “hyphae” (which happen to grow in a thread-like shape).
To the naked eye, mold growth looks a mossy covering which is generally green, black, or blue. It can also be yellow, orange, or white. What the mold eats tends to influence the color. So, yes, mold is alive, and it will continue to spread as long as it gets the required nutrients and environment.
Mold spores don’t care if the house is new or old. As long as it gets a suitable environment, these spores will cause a mold infection.
Types of Molds
You might be surprised to learn there are numerous types of mold out there. Some are hazardous to your health. These fall into several different categories.
These affect individuals with allergies (as the name states) or asthma.
These can give rise to certain infections in babies, the elderly, or anyone with a compromised immune system.
These produce toxins which can lead to irritation or even long-term illnesses.
In short, it doesn’t matter what kind of mold you need to deal with, the sooner you get rid of it, the better.
Let’s talk about some specific and common types of household molds you should be aware of. Each of these belongs to one or more of the above categories and all are harmful to your health.
We are going to begin with Acremonium. During the initial stages, it appears as a small, moist mold. However, with time, it transforms to resemble a fine, powdery substance. You might notice it as gray, pink, orange, or white as well. This type can easily grow in any environment with condensation. You will typically see it on cooling coils, window sealants, draining pans, and humidifiers. It usually grows along with Stachybotrys.
Beware, because this kind of mold is very toxigenic and pathogenic. It can cause impaired brain function, various cancers, a dangerously lowered immune system, and diseases in vital organs, as well as the bone marrow. It is also allergenic, meaning it can harm people with allergies. Additionally, this is harmful to pets. Even if a pet doesn’t get an infection, it can transfer the mold to humans (especially kids). You need to get rid of it as soon as possible if you wish to ensure the safety of your household.
Aspergillus is another common household mold. It has more than 185 species, however, we don’t need to talk about them all. The important thing is realizing you need to get rid of it. This kind appears yellow-green. Similar to other types, this one too prefers spaces which are warm, dark, and damp. Some of the species of this kind are toxigenic. They produce carcinogens. Most of them cause allergies. Having it around the house means more cases of asthma attacks, respiratory inflammation, and lung infections.
You will find it on damp walls, PVC or paper wall coverings, carpet dust, acrylic paint, leather, wallpaper, shoes, unclean filters, and decomposing wood. You might even find it on old cloth fabrics. This mold produces an odor. Aspergillus spores can be transferred to humans (especially kids) through pets and cause health issues.
This is another allergenic mold you should be aware of. It is highly contagious. You can quickly experience an eye, skin, or nail infection from this mold on contact. That is why it is essential you don’t touch it with bare skin. It also gives rise to skin rashes or dermatitis. This type is usually pink in color. It can also be brown or black. Upon maturity, it takes up a dark brown color. While a variety of molds prefer an organic food source, Aureobasidium can thrive on inorganic nutrition, too. In fact, it can eat glue, which is the reason it can grow on painted walls or behind wallpaper.
This is the allergenic kind and will increase allergic attacks in the household if not dealt with properly. Indoors, you will find it on the carpet, floor, window frames, and wet wood. It likes dark and damp spaces. It can even appear in stored food products such as old cereals.
This is another dangerous type of mold. It appears white or gray. Take note that this type can grow very quickly. It forms thick patches which can be challenging to get rid of if you don’t know the proper procedure. You will generally find Mucor near (or inside) ducts, HVAC systems, and window air conditioning units. It is also found in thick and damp places such as dirty carpets and mats.
This type is pathogenic and allergenic. You should know it will cause respiratory issues in humans. Symptoms of a Mucor infection are flu-like. Prolonged exposure to such mold can give rise to a fungal infection called Mucormycosis. Such an infection is capable of damaging the lungs and the brain, as well as sinuses. It can make its way into the bloodstream and damage the body from the inside. It can tolerate high temperatures. You need to be very careful when dealing with such a type of mold.
Coming to Penicillium, it is regarded as the most recognizable mold. It does save a lot of lives, but it is also dangerous. You will notice it has a blue or greenish appearance with a velvet-like texture. It appears in water-damaged buildings as well as materials. The mold that grows on bread is a type of Penicillium. You will see it in unkempt carpets, ductwork, wallpaper, and yes, even mattresses.
Having such type of mold around your house means lowered immune effectiveness in kids and the elderly. This is an allergenic type and will worsen asthma attacks, too. Even if a person doesn’t have any pre-existing condition, this mold can give rise to pulmonary inflammation and chronic sinusitis. This type of mold is easy to get rid of if you can catch it before it grows too much. Making sure your house doesn’t have unclean damp spaces or rotten food (especially old bread) can keep Penicillium at bay to protect your household.
This is the very dangerous black mold. It loves spaces with a lot of moisture. The preferred nutrient source is anything made from cellulose. This means you will find it growing on cardboard, wood, wicker, and paper. It has a dark-green color. It is regarded as the most dangerous type of toxic mold. Stachybotrys can grow very quickly. It releases millions of mycotoxins in the air to cause significant health issues.
Even your first-time exposure to this mold can make you suffer from tightening in the chest, nose bleeds, fever, cough, burning sensations in the airways, fever, and painful headaches. Prolonged exposure to this mold intensifies the symptoms and leads to chronic fatigue. Exposed people are known to experience joint aches as well as sinusitis. Children are highly vulnerable to such mold. It has caused numerous neurological issues in kids. Infants can suffer from pulmonary bleeding due to this allergenic, pathogenic, and toxigenic mold. You will require timely professional help to get rid of it.
Mold Prevention: How to Stay Safe
The good news for you is there are ways to prevent mold from growing in your house. It is always a good thing to be safe, rather than sorry when dealing with a mold problem. The sooner you act, the better.
The preventive measures mentioned below can help you and your household to stay safe from mold-related medical issues.
Using a Dehumidifier
One of the most common ways for anyone to deal with mold is by using a dehumidifier. Using a dehumidifier allows you to control humidity and ensure mold doesn’t get to grow in your house. A good quality dehumidifier (which we have reviewed below) can trap moisture in the air. It is recommended you keep the humidity levels below 60% for mold prevention.
No Wet Areas
Due to molds loving wet areas, it is important to clean up dampness as soon as possible. If there is water on the kitchen or bathroom floor, wipe or mop it all up. Leaving water in such areas increase the chances of mold growth.
This also includes making sure your house doesn’t have any leaks. Do check to see if there are any leaks in the basement for mold prevention.
Using an Air Purifier
Molds don’t like well-ventilated areas. So, open windows and doors to increase ventilation in rooms. Having an air purifier in the basement can help prevent mold growth by aiding in proper air ventilation. Certain air purifiers also have a UV light to kill germs and mold spores.
Another way to prevent mold growth is by using mold-resistant products in your house. For example, you can use mold-resistant drywall.
Mold can cause a lot of health issues as well as damage a lovely home if not kept in check. You need to make sure not to give mold spores an environment to thrive in. Using a high-quality dehumidifier and an air purifier can help you prevent a mold growth problem.
We hope our recommended best dehumidifier and air purifier for mold prevention units aid in making your life easier and your house healthier.