5 Myths About Mold You Can Stop Panicking About
We’re exposed to mold spores in the air every day, both indoors and out, and most of the time that’s no cause for concern. But given moderate temperatures, a food source (nearly any building material) and moisture, mold can grow on almost any surface inside our homes.
Myths About Mold
We’re exposed to mold spores in the air every day, both indoors and out, and most of the time that’s no cause for concern. But given moderate temperatures, a food source (nearly any building material) and moisture, mold can grow on almost any surface inside our homes. Left unchecked, that can mean real trouble. Mold can harm health and destroy the building materials it feasts on. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of misinformation about mold and how to handle it. So let’s separate myth from fact and look at solutions that work.
Myth #1: Mold Testing is Critical
Surprisingly, this isn’t the case. Testing gives you a snapshot of the quantity and type of mold present. But all types of mold (there are more than 100,000!) need to be removed, so it’s not essential to identify the type. Also, there are no health-based safety standards for mold levels, so testing doesn’t necessarily give valuable information, and it’s expensive.
The first step in mold remediation is learning how to remove mold and perform black mold removal.
Myth #2: Black Mold is Deadly
This is a popular misconception; toxicity isn’t related to mold color. Some types of mold, given the right conditions, can produce mycotoxins. It’s not well understood which molds produce these poisonous substances, and even the ones that can produce them don’t always do so. And when they do, it doesn’t amount to much. Check out our expert black mold guide.
Myth #3: You Must Clean With Bleach
This isn’t true either. Bleach does kill mold, but it’s hard on your lungs, and it doesn’t do a good job of removing mold. Scrubbing with soap and water is a safer and more effective way to eliminate mold from hard surfaces. If porous surfaces like drywall or carpet get moldy, you can’t clean them; you have to get rid of them. Bleach is necessary only if the moisture that caused the mold is from sewage. In this case, use 1/4 to 1/2 cup of bleach per gallon of water. Scrub the area and leave the bleach solution on for at least 30 minutes before rinsing it off. Thoroughly dry the area afterward.
Check out 10 expert tips for removing mold and mildew.
Myth #4: No Odor, No Mold
Wrong! Odor is one telltale indicator, but just because you can’t smell mold doesn’t mean it’s not there. Actual inspection is always best. If you don’t smell mold but suspect there may be a problem, check likely areas first. If you know of any roofing or plumbing leaks, that’s a good starting point. Bathrooms, basements, crawl spaces and sink cabinets are other likely areas.
iStock/ Heiko Küverling
Myth #5: Mold-Killing Products Are the Solution
Products such as mold killing chemicals, paints and air filters help, but they’re temporary fixes. Even if they do kill the mold, it’ll keep coming back until moisture issues are corrected.
The Bottom Line: It’s All About Moisture
Moisture is the essential ingredient for mold to thrive, and it can come from many sources. If an area has gotten wet for any reason, dry it within 24 to 48 hours, before mold has a chance to grow. The most common sources of moisture are plumbing leaks, roof leaks, wet basements, poor yard drainage, window condensation and high humidity. These myths about mold will set you on the right path for solving your mold issues.
If porous surfaces such as carpet, drywall or ceiling tiles have gotten moldy, remove and replace them. Your house’s humidity should be 30 to 60 percent from spring to fall, and about 20 to 30 percent in the winter. If it’s high, use air conditioners or dehumidifiers. Use an exhaust fan ducted to the outside when you’re cooking. Install and use a timer on your bathroom exhaust fan. It should run for at least 30 minutes after showers. Myths about mold busted!