When you think of molds, images of moldy shower curtain or shoes that you haven’t used for a long time come to mind. But molds can be present anywhere in your home, as long as there are moisture and oxygen. You’ll find them in damp basements and restrooms, leaky roofs, pipes, and windows.

What are molds?

Molds are a type of fungi that’s naturally present in the environment. You can find molds in the soil and in decaying matter. These help break down wood, leaves, and plant debris. 

The typical molds can look green or black, but molds may have other colors too. They can be white brown or orange. They can be fuzzy or slimy in appearance. Molds may also have a distinct musty odor.

How Molds Grow

Molds grow at home without you seeing or realizing it. These release tiny spores into the air. When these spores land on a moist area, they start to develop and multiply. They need moisture to thrive. They feed on moist surfaces like wood or cloth. This is why it is important to dry or get rid of wet materials. Molds can grow in damp areas in just 1 to 2 days.

Are Molds Dangerous?

The risks of indoor mold go beyond the smell and aesthetics. Molds are a threat to properties and one’s health. They damage materials that they penetrate like wood and if not controlled promptly, molds can ruin the home’s structural integrity. It can make your home unsafe.

Mold growth can also be a threat to one’s health. It can trigger allergic reactions in people who are sensitive to it. Symptoms like sneezing, itchy eyes, rashes, and wheezing may be experienced by allergic people who are exposed to molds.

Types of Molds Found in Homes

Alternaria

Alternaria is the most common mold type and it is notorious for triggering allergic reactions. This type of mold has a fuzzy appearance with brown or green hair. It is important to address this quickly because it spreads fast and causes respiratory symptoms in sensitive individuals.

Where you can find it:  damp areas like shower room, sinks, bathtubs, and dark areas outside the home

Acremonium

Acremonium is a toxigenic mold that changes its appearance as time goes by. From a tiny moist substance, it becomes powdery and the color changes to white, pink, orange or gray. This type of mold is a threat to health as it can cause an immune system and bone marrow diseases. It has also been linked to cancer.

Where you can find it: humidifiers, window sealants, drain pans, cooling coils

Aspergillus

Aspergillus is a common household mold. This can trigger allergies, but in rare cases, it can also cause an infection called aspergillosis. People who are immunocompromised or have underlying lung disease are prone to get this infection, which usually involves the respiratory system.

Where you can find it: plants, decaying leaves, and compost

Aureobasidium

This type of mold is known to trigger allergies. It starts to appear in the shade of brown, black, or pink. Over time, it becomes a darker shade of brown. Aureobasidium can cause dermatitis and eye, skin, and nail infection. Avoid touching it with your bare hands.

Where you can find it: behind wallpapers, painted or wooden surface

Cladosporium

Cladosporium is a common indoor mold that is dark green or brown in color. The texture can be compared to suede. This is known to trigger allergic reactions like sneezing, coughing stuffy nose, or dry skin. These commonly grow in damp areas like attics, bathrooms, and basements.

Where you can find it: carpets, wallpaper, fabrics, walls, cabinets, paper, HVAC vent covers and grills, wood surfaces, and painted surfaces

Chaetomium

Chaetomium is cottony in appearance. It is white, gray or black in color. It is known for its musty smell. This type of mold can cause skin and nail infections. 

Where you can find it: Homes with water damage

Fusarium

Fusarium is commonly found in cold temperatures. It is pink, red, or white in appearance. It is allergenic and toxigenic, which means it can trigger allergies and cause serious infections. The toxins produced by this type of mold can cause brain and bone infections. It can also damage the nervous system.

Where you can find it: Homes with water damage, cold temperatures, food, carpets, wallpaper

Penicillin

Penicillium is an allergenic mold that can trigger sinusitis, asthma and other respiratory symptoms. This can be easily spotted because of its blue or green color. While it is popularly used for antibiotics, it should not be airborne. 

Where you can find it: Homes with water damage,  carpets, water ducts, wallpapers, mattress

Mucor

Mucor is a woolly mold that’s white in color and has a thick, fluffy appearance. Its color turns brownish over time. Like most mold types, mucor can cause allergies and make asthma symptoms worse. In people with compromised immune systems, mucor can cause mucormycosis. It is a serious fungal infection that can cause respiratory or skin infection. 

Where you can find it: HVAC systems, air conditioning 

Stachybotrys

Stachybotrys is a toxigenic black mold. Not only does it trigger allergic reactions, but it can also cause serious health problems in immunocompromised people. This is because it produces mycotoxins, which have been associated with poisoning and cancer. It has a green or black color with the consistency of slime.

Where you can find it: damp areas, especially air conditioning pipes

Serpula Lacrymans

Serpula Lacrymans is a destructive type of yellow mold as it can damage wooden structures.  It only feeds on a wooden surface. 

Where you can find it: wooden surfaces and structures

Ulocladium

Ulocladium is a black mold that can cause hay fever or asthma symptoms. This is commonly seen in homes that have experienced water damage or flooding.

Where you can find it: kitchen, basements, bathrooms, paper, areas with high humidity levels.

How to Control Molds

To prevent mold growth, the first thing you need to do is control the humidity levels at home. It should be kept between 30% to 50%. Install exhaust fans and keep your home well-ventilated. Repair water-damaged areas. Having air purifiers will help you get rid of airborne molds. Pest control companies can help you clean up or significantly remove molds at home.

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