Black mold sounds just as menacing as it is. It releases lethal mycotoxin spores and can cause neurological breakdown, pulmonary decay, immune system degradation, skin irritation, and even death. Whether you’re working to prevent black mold from growing in your home or remediating an existing problem, here are facts you need to know to stay safe.
Black Mold Facts
1. Black mold is a neurotoxin.
The spores released by black mold attach your brain’s neurons—incapacitating your mental ability. The reaction to black mold can be tremors, mood swings, and other neurological shifts.
2. Black mold suppresses your immune system.
When you breathe in black mold spores, your immune system is weakened, so on top of being sick from the mold, you can also become more easily ill from germs.
3. Black mold can kill.
If you’re exposed for long enough, black mold spores can shut down your organs, incapacitate your immune system, and damage your brain—resulting in death.
4. Black mold endangers pregnant women.
Women who are pregnant can suffer birth defects, miscarriage, and infertility later on.
5. Black mold can harm anyone—including pets.
The young, sick, and elderly are most susceptible to black mold symptoms and damage, but all living things can be harmed by black mold.
6. Black mold has a smell.
The mold smells like mildew and must, so it’s detectable even when you can’t see it.
7. Mold grows in damp, humid, and warm locations.
All molds love this combination and thrive in it. That’s why your bathroom is a breeding ground for black mold and other types of mold.
8. You’ll suffer from a number of symptoms when exposed to black mold.
Symptoms of black mold exposure include fatigue, headaches, seizure, tremors, mood swings, confusion, fever, eye irritation, sneezing, rashes, coughing, bleeding of the lungs, and sometimes death.
9. Black mold isn’t actually toxic.
The mold itself isn’t poisonous—just the spores it emits.
10. Some damage is irreversible.
Depending on how long you live amongst black mold, you could suffer once it’s been remediated. Immune system weakening and sensitivity to mold can persist throughout your lifetime.
11. Mold is everywhere.
Mold spores are all around us all the time. Only some present major health hazards.
How To Identify Mold
Before you fly off the handles, make sure the mold you’re seeing is, in fact, black mold. The easiest way to identify mold is to look at the color. Mold can be black, white, green, red, and orange. If your mold is any color other than black, it’s not black mold. Other molds can be treated with a bleach solution. However, if you’re unsure, you should call a professional rather than handle a potentially dangerous substance yourself.
💡 Pro Tip: If you need professional help to get rid of mold, check out TaskRabbit or ThumbTack. Both websites list local professionals that specialize in cleaning and mold removal. (You’ll just need to enter your Zip Code.)
Black Mold Prevention
Keeping mold out in the first place is your best plan of action. You can avoid paying a ton for mold remediation and endangering your health by doing the following:
1. Keep it dry.
Keeping your home dry is key to preventing mold from growing. Dehumidifiers in basements, ceiling fans in bathrooms, and good air flow can all improve your chances of keeping mold at bay.
2. Remove tainted material.
It’s imperative that you remove affected materials if you undergo mold remediation.
3. Keep it outside.
Never bring old wood or other porous objects in from the outdoors. Mold spores grow on everything and can go wild when brought indoors.
4. Use cleaning products.
You can use mold reducing sprays in your bathroom and damp locations. RMR-141 Mild Killer preventative mold spray is one product that discourages mold growth. It works on mildew too.
Water is key to mold growth. Don’t let your basement or home become flooded, and you’ll have waged half the battle on mold. You can do this by grading your yard to keep water flowing away from your house. You may also install downspouts that divert water from your home.
If mold creeps up on you or you buy a new house and find it hiding in the walls, don’t panic. You can have mold professionally remediated. While this can cost anywhere from $500–$10,000, you might be able to add a rider to your homeowner’s insurance policy to cover this event.
Mold remediation specialists use special ventilation masks and clothing for protection. You won’t have those products on-hand, and should avoid a DIY approach since it’s can be dangerous. In some states, it’s actually illegal (especially during a renovation) to handle the mold yourself. Inspectors will have to sign off on the remediation to ensure safety to the building’s occupants.
Black mold is an unwelcome and dangerous guest in your home, but it can be prevented and treated. You can learn more about prevention, mold control, and top water damage reducing products. But before you go, take a second to tell us about your favorite mold prevention tips and products in the comments section.
Written by Katie McEntire
Since 2013, Katie has written marketing copy, long-form posts, reviews, and blogs. She began her career as a writer and reviewer with the mission to recommend only the best products for her readers. She’s designed tests, evaluated products, and written reviews on a range of subjects such as appliances, power tools, and software. Today, she applies these research and writing skills on the SafeWise team to explore the world of home, auto, and internet security. Learn more