What is White Mold?
Mold is a common danger that can easily affect anyone in their home or workplace. Most people are familiar with black mold but fewer are aware of white mold and the threats it presents. Just like black mold, though, white mold is a toxic fungus that needs to be addressed as soon as possible if you find it in your vicinity.
So what is white mold?
Despite its name, white mold can appear as a white, grey, or green powdery fungus depending on the surface it’s growing on. It includes multiple fungal species like penicillium and aspergillus.
Regardless of the species of white mold, you’ll commonly find it in high moisture areas of a building. That means basements, bathrooms and showers, attics, and crawl spaces are all strong contenders for an outbreak. Within those spaces, the mold will typically grow on wood or drywall. It lives on the cellulose in those surfaces.
Unfortunately, white mold can be hard to detect when it is first developing. It’s not until colonies form that the mold can be seen with the naked eye. The mold spreads in cool weather when the white mold fungus releases spores. The wind then carries the spores until they reach a surface where they can grow, like the ones in your home.
Is White Mold Dangerous?
Make no mistake, white mold has its health risks, but it’s just as dangerous as any other color of mold. Continued exposure to any kind of mold can pose a serious threat to your health with symptoms including headaches, nausea, dizziness, allergies, and respiratory infections. Anyone with asthma is at additional risk for white mold symptoms.
In more serious cases, mold exposure can cause long-term issues like memory loss and depression. The more time you spend around mold, the greater the risk that you will suffer negative health effects. So, it’s important to take care of any white mold as soon as you see it.
White mold also presents a more indirect threat: compromising the structural integrity of your building. It is common to find white mold on wood in homes. The mold survives by eating away at the surfaces it’s on such as support beams or other essential components of a property.
Left alone for enough time, and the entire structure may become unstable and unsafe. Yet another reason to deal with white mold quickly.
How to Get Rid of White Mold in Basement
Once you’ve found white fluffy mold in your basement, you should begin taking steps to eliminate it immediately to protect yourself, the other residents, and your property.
Depending on the size of the white mold colony, you may be able to handle the treatment yourself but it’s always advisable to call a professional mold removal company like Jenkins Environmental Services.
A professional team will be able to assess the extent of the damage and possibly even find mold that you didn’t see. After that, they’ll use the appropriate equipment and techniques to get rid of all of the mold quickly and keeping it from returning so you don’t have to deal with a similar problem in the future.
The general recommendation is to always call a professional mold remover if the mold covers more than 10 square feet. That said, if you choose to remove any amount yourself, you should follow these steps for white mold removal:
White Mold Removal Steps
1. Put on Protective Gear
To avoid any unnecessary contact with the mold, you should put on rubber gloves, protective goggles, and a face mask that goes over your nose and mouth. This should help cut down the risk that you inhale or ingest the mold in any way while cleaning.
If possible, take surfaces affected by mold outside before cleaning them. In many cases this won’t be possible, though, so your other option is to open a window or use a dehumidifier to keep the air moving and help the surface dry faster.
3. Vacuum Any Visible Mold
To start tackling the mold, you should vacuum the area using a vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter. After doing so, take the vacuum outside and seal the vacuum bag to secure all the mold trapped inside.
4. Clean Off the Mold
Once you’re done with the preliminary steps, it’s time to eliminate the mold. Depending on the extent of the spread, you should be able to kill all the mold yourself.
So, what kills white mold? To start, you can try just mixing dishwasher detergent and warm water then scrubbing with a scrub brush. If that doesn’t work, another option is to use vinegar. Just spray some undistilled white vinegar on the mold and let it sit for at least an hour.
When you come back, wipe the area down with a clean rag and the mold should be gone. For an even stronger solution, you can use diluted bleach. Make a solution that’s 20 parts water, 10 parts bleach, and 1 part detergent and use a brush to apply the solution to the affected surface and scrub.
5. Sand Down the Wood (if necessary)
If you can still see white mold after following all of these steps, your last option is to sand down the wood to remove the deep white mold spores. Once you’re done sanding, you should refinish the wood. Not only will this help restore it to its original appearance, but it will also help protect against future mold outbreaks.
In short, if you’re asking yourself, “how do you get rid of white mold?” the easy answer is to call a professional. For those who decide to deal with it themselves, it’s important to remember to take precautions such as wearing protective gear and ventilating the area.
Frequently Asked Questions About White Mold
How do I know if something is white mold?
Many people confuse white mold with mildew or efflorescence, both of which are less dangerous. If you want to be sure you’re dealing with white mold, you just have to ask yourself a couple of questions.
First, does the substance dissolve in water? If you drop some water on the white substance you suspect is mold and it dissolves, it isn’t mold. It’s probably efflorescence, a salt deposit.
Second, where is the substance growing? As mentioned previously, white mold will typically grow on wood or other building materials.
Mildew, on the other hand, will generally grow on plants and not much else. You’ll usually find efflorescence on hard surfaces like brick and concrete. So, just by looking at the location of the white substance, you should be able to tell what you’re dealing with.
How is white mold different from black mold?
Much like white mold, black mold thrives in high moisture areas and is typically found on porous materials like wood and drywall. The most obvious difference between white and black mold is the color. While white mold ranges in color from white to light green, black mold shows up as a dark green or black color. Black mold is more difficult to remove than white, too.
Beyond that, black mold is known for being particularly dangerous. Toxic black mold is neurotoxic, meaning it’s capable of killing brain cells and causing permanent damage. Some of the symptoms of black mold exposure are the same as white mold exposure like anxiety and memory loss but it can also cause other symptoms including seizures, pulmonary edema, and aggression.
Whether you’re dealing with white or black mold, it’s a problem you should take care of immediately. And if you want to learn more about black mold and the dangers it presents, check out Black Mold: An Introduction to Prevention and Identification.
Is White Mold on Wood Dangerous?
The white mold on a wooden table or floor is potentially dangerous because it will eventually eat away at the wood and cause severe damage. To prevent this from occurring, you can wet an clean cloth in vinegar for up to three days before placing over affected area- if needed longer then just replace constantly!
How can you tell if mold is toxic?
Any kind of mold, including white mold and black mold, can be toxic and dangerous to your health. If you find mold in your house or workplace, you should do something about it as quickly as possible to protect yourself. And if you’re already experiencing symptoms consistent with toxic mold exposure (coughing, fatigue, rashes, and more), you should call a doctor and a professional mold removal company.
The longer you’re exposed to the mold, the greater the chance that you will suffer long-term health effects. That’s not a risk worth taking.
Mold Remediation Professionals
White mold is a household threat you might not have been aware of previously. It grows on wood and drywall and can present serious health risks to those exposed to it. Don’t mess around with mold. Consider contacting a professional like Jenkins Environmental Services for help.Get Professional Mold Removal and Remediation help today!