19 Jan Different Types of Molds and Tips for Eliminating Household Mold
You’ve seen different types of molds in all kinds of places both indoors and outdoors. Mold is everywhere. Molds are in walls, on floors, under sinks, in the bathtub, in the shower. Mold is at workplaces, in your children’s school, in summer cottages, in antique shops. Mold is everywhere. Outdoors, you’ll find molds in shady, damp areas. You’ll find mold where vegetable matter is decomposing. In homes, you’ll find molds on pretty much every place that offers them a cozy home. Warm, damp, and humid conditions provide the best possible environment for molds to thrive.
The Purpose of This Post
Molds rarely affect healthy people. However, molds can make life really difficult for sensitive people. When you disturb mold by whatever action, spores get released into the local environment. Inhaling spores can lead to serious allergic reactions. And that’s why we wrote this post. This post seeks to uncover the different types of mold. It also aims to help you learn how you can get rid of mold.
What are Molds?
Before we discuss different types of molds, let’s know what molds are. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, molds are simply fungi that occur in indoor and outdoor environments. Scientists are yet to know how many different species of molds exist. But estimates indicate there could be as many as 300,000 species of fungi.
Molds are microorganisms, living things that grow. But while they’re living organisms, molds are neither animals nor plants! They’re simply microscopic organisms that contain enzymes and spores. Their enzymes help them digest and decompose organic matter while spores help them reproduce and multiply. And while molds require warm, damp, and humid conditions to thrive, they’ll survive dry conditions as well.
What Happens if I Breathe in Mold?
Healthy people will live in a house full of molds and never experience any problems. But some people sensitive to these organisms. Such people may see symptoms including itchy eyes, itchy skin, wheezing, and stuffy nose. Asthma sufferers and those allergic to molds may face more intense reactions.
Exposure to massive amounts of mold may lead to severe reactions including shortness of breath and fever. Handling moldy hay exposes one to tons of molds, and one may have severe reactions. While molds are for the most part harmless, they can cause illness.
People with Weakened Immune Systems Should Stay Far Away from Mold Spores
A person with a weakened immune system is highly likely to get affected by molds. People undergoing cancer treatment or those who recently had an organ transplant should stay away from mold spores. Now, the following statement is hugely important. Exposure to dampness and mold may lead to asthma.
Luckily, there are many different ways of getting rid of molds or at least reducing them in your home. You’ll very soon learn how to eliminate different types of molds from your home.
3 Broad Types of Molds
There are three different categories of molds. These categories include allergenic molds, pathogenic molds, and toxigenic molds. Allergenic molds are generally harmless and you need not worry about them if you’re not allergic to mold. People with asthma should get rid of allergenic mold fast. Pathogenic molds may cause infection. People with a weakened immune system may experience an acute response to pathogenic molds. They may have symptoms similar to those seen in people with bacterial pneumonia.
Toxigenic molds are dangerous because they can lead to severe health effects. These molds produce chemicals called mycotoxins. Studies have linked mycotoxins to cancer and suppressed immune systems. These toxins may enter the body through food. They may also affect when you breathe them in or even touch them.
300, 000 Different Types of Molds in Homes
Different types of molds exist in homes, workplaces, and many other places. Some mold types tend to be more prevalent indoors while others mostly occur outdoors. But most types of molds thrive in both environments. Under the section “What are Molds?,” we mentioned that there are around 300,000 species of molds.
There are probably more mold species than that. The figure given is an estimate, after all. For that reason, we may not be able to discuss every type of mold seen in homes or outdoors. We can only present a few mold types and hope that’ll be enough information to drive action.
Exposure to Mold May Lead to the Following Symptoms
Mold is generally harmless to most people. However, some people tend to be allergy to mold. Those allergic to mold may experience a range of symptoms some of which we present below. If you face difficulties after exposure, you need to find effective ways to get rid of mold. Before we talk about how to get rid of mold, let’s list down a few of the symptoms people allergic to mold see. According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, here are the symptoms to expect if you’re allergic to mold:
- Skin rash
- Chronic cough
- Sore throat
- Blurred vision
- Eye irritation
- Nasal and sinus congestion
Note: These are not the only symptoms. Different types of mold cause different types of diseases and respiratory problems. We’ve looked at different
7 Common Types of Molds
We’ve chosen to focus on the following seven types of molds because they’re what you’ll find in most homes. You may want to do some further reading on the other types of mold that we’ll not cover here. Don’t want to spend all of your spare time reading about the different types of molds? That’s understandable. Call in a professional to assess your mold situation and handle the cleanup job.
Aspergillus: Most Found in Homes and Commercial Buildings
Aspergillus is a type of pathogenic mold. That means it produces mycotoxins, and these chemicals can cause infections. Aspergillus may cause respiratory infections and allergic reactions. It may also lead to a health condition referred to as hypersensitivity pneumonitis where the lungs get infected. The condition often causes inflammation of the lungs.
Apart from that, this type of mold may cause an infection known as aspergillosis. The mold is common in places with warm, wet climates. One more thing: aspergillus is one of the components of household and workplace dust. Since you’re either at the office or home, your exposure to this mold type can be significant. You want to get rid of this type as fast as you can. At work, let your employer know about the problem.
Alternaria: Mostly Found Outdoors, but You’ll Also Find it Indoors
Alternaria really likes damp places. That’s you’ll usually find it in the shower or under sinks. Sinks with leaky pipes may see a lot of this mold type. If one part of the home has Alternaria, other parts of the house will have it pretty soon. Inhaling Alternaria can trigger allergic reactions and asthma attacks. That means Alternaria is a type of allergenic mold.
Cladosporium: Commonly Found Outdoors
Cladosporium mostly occurs outdoors, but it also enters homes to cause problems. If it gets into your home, it finds a cozy home on textiles and porous surfaces such as wood. It’s an allergic mold and cause asthma symptoms and a whole host of other respiratory problems. You’ll see it on your carpets, cabinets, and floorboards.
Fusarium: Common Outdoors but Also it in Extremely Damp Areas in Homes
This type of mold is very common in soil and plant debris. You bet you’ll also find it in very damp areas of your home. Fusarium, like Aureobasidium, is pink in color. Such places include underneath carpeting, in humidifier pans, in HVAC systems, and inside foam insulation or drywall. You may also see it on growing plants. It’s probably what you’ve seen on your houseplants. Fusarium may cause a type of eye infection called Fusarium keratitis.
The good thing is that Fusarium keratitis is rare. However, if and when it happens, it can get really serious. Since it may cause an infection, Fusarium is a type of pathogenic mold.
Penicillium: Pretty Much Everywhere. It’s Indoors and Outdoors
You may come across Penicillium anywhere. It occurs massively outdoors and your home has likely seen some of it. If you have some inside your home, look for it on wallpapers, carpeting, and decaying fabrics. You may also find it on duct insulation made from fiberglass. Penicillium is at the same time a pathogenic mold and an allergenic mold. That means it causes allergies and can get you sick.
Note that there are different species of Penicillium, and not all are pathogenic. Antibiotic penicillin is one of the mycotoxins Penicillium produces. Penicillium may also cause asthma. You want to get rid of it fast the moment you confirm you have a colony around your home.
Stachybotrys: You May Find it in Extremely Damp Areas of Your Home
When people talk of black mold, they’re actually talking about Stachybotrys. It’s among the most dangerous kinds of mold you could ever encounter. People call it “black mold” for a reason. The mold has a slimy black appearance. But you can also find dark green or grey Stachybotrys. It’s hard not to know you have these unwanted visitors around because of their musty odor.
Like Penicillium, Stachybotrys is both pathogenic and allergenic. It produces mycotoxins that can cause diseases, but it may also trigger allergic reactions. It can also cause asthma, fatigue, chronic sinus infections, and even depression.
Aside from that, Stachybotrys may also cause diarrhea, headaches, respiratory damage, and memory issues. What happens if you see and forget (memory issues) that you ever saw it? You want to address it immediately you see it. Fortunately, borax easily removes black mold.
Stachybotrys May be Less Common than Other Mold Types, but it isn’t Rare
Stachybotrys may not be as common as the other types we’ve discussed, but it’s rare either. You may find it on cellulose products such as wood or wallpaper. It’s hard to find Stachybotrys on linoleum, concrete, or tile.
Aureobasidium: Mostly Found Outdoors
Aureobasidium is quite common outdoors, but you may also find in homes. Like Fusarium, Aureobasidium is pink in color. It usually grows on wall paper and wooden surfaces. Aureobasidium also grows on painted surfaces. The mode is very common in bathrooms. Homeowners often find this mold growing around damp calking and window frames.
Aureobasidium is pathogenic and allergic. It may cause respiratory problems and allergic reactions. It may also cause rashes, hives, lung infections and even pulmonary hemorrhage. Pulmonary hemorrhage is just a sophisticated way of saying “bleeding in the lungs.”
How to Get Rid of Mold: Fixing Moisture Issues is Where the Fight against Mold Begins
Since molds need moisture to reproduce and grow, addressing moisture problems is a good starting point. Getting rid of mold without making it difficult for it to grow and reproduce never completely eliminates it. So, fix leaky ducts and replace rotten shingles.
You may also need to re-grade your yard. Re-grading your yard makes prevents rain water from heading straight to your foundation. You sure have noted that mold and mildew love the basement.
Make sure to remove moldy materials. But you’ll have to handle such materials with care, or you’ll worsen the problem. If you don’t handle moldy materials correctly, your efforts will end up sending gazillions of spores into your indoor air. Also, make sure to get your home dry within hours of flooding. Here are other ways to eliminate mold.
Buy or Make Solutions that Kill Mold
There are different ways to kill mold and keep its spores out of your indoor environment. Some of the cleaning solutions can be quite strong, and you may be sensitive to them. It’s best to go for options that pose the least risk to your health. Here are a couple solutions that can help you kill mold.
Use Chlorine Bleach to Kill Mold in Your Washer
Chlorine bleach is highly effective when it comes to eradicating molds and removing discoloration. But the solution is harsh, and you want to dilute it before using it. Aside from that, this agent is toxic and produces harmful fumes. For that reason, you should use it with caution. Each month, put some chlorine bleach in your washer (there should be no clothes) and run a hot water cycle. Frequently cleaning your washer keeps mold from thriving in there.
Use Hydrogen Peroxide to Easily Remove Mold from Books and Papers
Like household bleach, hydrogen peroxide destroys mold and lightens stains. The nice thing about hydrogen peroxide is that it’s not as harsh as chlorine bleach. Even better, it doesn’t have the toxic fumes produced by chlorine. And just like household beach, hydrogen peroxide possess bleaching ability. Don’t try to remove mold from papers and books when they’re still damp. Dry them in the sun first before using hydrogen peroxide on them.
You can also put damp papers in a sealed container that contains material that absorbs moisture. Silica gel is a good moisture absorbent. You can also sprinkle cornstarch between the pages of a book before putting it a sealed container.
Once the papers or book gets dry, use a soft brush to brush away mold and mildew from the pages and cover. Remember to insert waxed paper between pages to keep them protected. Dip a piece of soft cloth in hydrogen peroxide and wipe down the pages and covers.
Baking Soda Prevents Slows Down Mold Growth and is Safer than Most Other Solutions
Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate can also help people manage mold in their homes. It has a high pH which helps it slow down the growth of molds. There are several reasons you want to choose this solution.
First, baking soda is inexpensive. Second, it’s not toxic. Third, it’s pretty easy to mix it with water. Finally, it is effective. Different types of molds find it hard to survive in the presence of sodium bicarbonate. Baking soda works well on both porous and non-porous surfaces.
Use Distilled White Vinegar to Remove Mold from Leather Items, Coffee Makers and Refrigerators
Vinegar is an acidic substance. Its acidity helps you by breaking down the structure of mold. In the end, vinegar kills mold. Like baking soda, vinegar is inexpensive and isn’t toxic. However, it may not be as effective as household bleach when it comes to removing mold stains. If you choose to use this solution, you’ll need to do some more scrubbing using a household cleaner.
But at least, it’s not toxic and doesn’t emit dangerous fumes. Wiping leather items such as shoes, purses, and furniture with white vinegar easily removes mold. You should then wipe such items with soap and warm water before allowing them to air dry. Once dry, treat your leather items with a suitable leather conditioner. Distilled white vinegar also helps you inhibit mold growth in and on coffee makers and refrigerators.
Remove Different Types of Molds from Glass and Tile Using Ammonia
Tiles and glass are beautiful surfaces that need to look good all the time. But molds have other ideas. They work hard, giving your tile and glass surfaces an ugly appearance. But don’t worry — you have clear ammonia. Ammonia is tough on mold on glass and tile. It easily removes the nastiest mold from these surfaces. But ammonia doesn’t work well on porous surfaces such as wood.
Use Borax to Get Rod of Mold Stains and Black Mold
Borax, like baking soda, is alkaline. It is easily affordable and non-toxic. It’s also highly soluble in water just like baking soda. Borax may not be the first solution you want to use for mold stain removal. Borax works best for removing mold stains that linger after you’ve applied used a different solution. Do you see black mold around the house? Black mold grows in damp, dark places. It looks bad, and you want to remove it. Use borax and to get rid of black mold.
Note: Wear goggles and protective clothes while removing mold.
Use a Dehumidifier
The right dehumidifier can help you keep your basement dry. Molds don’t like dry places. That’s why investing in an efficient device is money well spent.
Use Air Cleaners
Not everyone agrees on the effectiveness of air purifiers in removing airborne air pollutants such as mold spores. But according to the EPA, UVGI air cleaners have the ability to remove airborne mold spores. Such cleaners can also eliminate mold spores that grow on HVAC surfaces.
But the EPA recommends that consumers use such air cleaners alongside filtration systems. That suggests that using them alone may not give you their full potential. So, run that air portable air purifier and get better quality air. Consider researching further on the different types of air purifiers and the different types of molds they help remove.
Don’t have an air purifier? Maybe it’s time you bought one. Read detailed air purifier reviews this one before settling on any particular option. Many marketers claim that their products are among the best air purifiers for mold. However, they may not be the best option for you. So, read air purifier reviews carefully.
Consider Hiring a Cleaning Company to Help You Get Rid of Molds
Getting rid of different types of molds can be quite challenging. It’s an involved process that requires experience. There are many things to do to ensure you eliminate mold for good. That’s why you want to have an expert do it. If you’re allergic to mold, consider having a cleaning company come over and handle the problem.
Molds in Homes and Commercial Buildings May Cause Allergies and Diseases
Molds in homes, whether they’re black, green, grey, or pink molds, are a big problem. They’re also a big problem in commercial buildings. Thankfully, healthy people may not always get affected when they inhale or touch molds. Unfortunately, some people are allergic to mold, and some may experience severe symptoms. But some types of molds produce mycotoxins which may cause different kinds of diseases.
Some of the diseases such as as pulmonary hemorrhage and Fusarium keratitis can be quite serious. Some people may also get diarrhea, headaches, memory loss, fatigue, and even depression. The symptoms you get depend on the kind of disease the mold type you’ve interacted with causes. Fortunately, there are many effective ways to get rid of mold and mildew. You need to know the types of molds you have before you begin addressing the problem.
Sometimes, though, you may not know where to begin when it comes to eliminating mold at home. In most cases, and especially if you’re allergic to mold, it’s best to have a professional handle mold eradication job.