There's power in numbers, especially when it comes to mold. In small amounts, mold is not a significant problem. But when conditions are just right, mold grows unrestrained and eventually causes serious health complications and home damage. By understanding what mold is and how it grows, you can control its blooming in your home.
Description of Mold
Mold is a fungus that always exists in the environment. To reproduce, mold creates millions of microscopic spores. These spores are airborne and easily able to be inhaled into the human respiratory tract and down into the lungs. If excessive amounts of mold spores are inhaled, health problems result, especially in those with pre-existing respiratory and immune conditions. Mold requires specific environmental conditions in order to grow.
Mold Growth Factors
There are four main requirements for mold to meet in order to reproduce. The most important requirement is the production of mold spores. Without this ability, reproduction will not occur. Mold spores are difficult to kill, and because there are so many of them in the air you breath, it is impossible to get rid of them completely. You can, however, control their levels. The next requirement is moisture. Mold needs moisture to grow. Moisture is anything from a leaking faucet in your bathroom, condensation created from your shower or humidity existing in the air. Mold also requires organic matter to feed on. Organic matter includes things such as paper, wood, oil from your skin and soap residue in your shower. Finally, mold requires a specific temperature range to grow. Mold does not typically like to grow in cold temperatures, it prefers to grow at temperatures between 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the Department of Health and Human Services in North Carolina.
Although most molds grow best around 70 degrees Fahrenheit, different types of mold require certain temperatures to grow. For example, the mold type Penicillium grows best at 34 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the typical temperature inside of a refrigerator. In contrast, Aspergillus is mold that prefers warmer temperatures of 98 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the normal temperature inside the human body.
Control Mold Growth
There are several ways to control the growth of mold. Keep your home clean by vacuuming and dusting weekly. Use dehumidifiers if your home is muggy to prevent mold growth. When showering, turn on your exhaust fan or keep a window open to prevent condensation. Keep your house well lit by opening window blinds during the day. Light inhibits mold from growing, since mold prefers to grow in dark areas. During the summer, use a ceiling fan. This creates air flow and prevents stagnant air from accumulating, where mold readily grows. If you find mold in your home, clean the surface with mold and mildew remover or bleach and water, then wipe dry. If the area is extensively covered in mold, call a professional to come in and remove the mold, as it may be hazardous for you to be near without proper protection.