Finding mold in your house is always a nasty surprise. The big question that immediately comes to mind is whether or not it’s dangerous. Not all mold is. Sometimes it’s just unpleasant.
Unfortunately, unlike identifying insects’ pests in the house, recognizing the different kinds of mold can be quite difficult for the average homeowner. We can give you a few guidelines about the various things you might find growing in your house but ultimately you will want to talk to a professional. For example, for mold removal in New Jersey, you could contact PuroClean.
Dangerous or Not?
The first thing you need to understand about mold is that many kinds can cause allergic reactions, but are not otherwise “dangerous”. They can make you sneeze, have irritated eyes or throat or other types of reactions due to the spores in the air. They do not truly make you ill.
The main mold that would be classified as dangerous is black mold, or Stachybotrys chartarum. This species of mold produces toxins and will create more long-lasting health problems besides allergic symptoms. This is the true “dangerous” mold you need to watch for. Sometimes Aspergillus mold is also classed as a dangerous black mold, though it is less hazardous for healthy adults.
Not only can black mold create a mix of the usual allergy reactions, you can develop more serious illnesses with exposure. Sinus and lung infections, asthma, and overall fatigue. Open wounds or injuries are more likely to get infected due to spores and toxins in the air, sometimes leading to critical levels of sepsis.
That said, this is the mold you need to be the most concerned about. It likes damp areas and looks like blotchy smudges on the walls or floor. Once you smell it, you can usually recognize the musty aroma.
The best way to avoid getting black mold is to make sure that there are no leaking pipes or fixtures in the house (particularly the basement) and to keep all parts of your house well-ventilated. A dehumidifier can be a great investment for this.
As we said, telling one mold from another is really not easy. When you see smudges or crusty growths in damp places that are red, orange, green, pink or yellow, you probably do have some other kind of mold, just not the dangerous black kind. If you are seeing a crust of white forming on concrete or stone, that is more likely just a mineral deposit that forms with moisture. Not mold at all, and harmless.
There are more than a dozen non-risky kinds of mold, so there is a pretty reasonable chance that it’s not a toxic problem.
Dealing with Mold
Small patches of black mold can be cleaned yourself if you wear gloves and a mask. Using bleach on smooth surfaces like ceramic or stone, but drywall or carpet should be removed outright. Once you’re dealing with a patch more than a foot or so, you should probably get a professional involved.