Under the right conditions, mold can wreak havoc on your property and, if left untreated, can lead to serious health problems. Whether it’s a minor case of mold under the kitchen sink or a severe infestation in the bathroom, the mold needs to be removed and controlled as soon as possible. Mold growths (or colonies) can start to grow on a damp surface within 24 to 48 hours.
What exactly is mold? How does it reproduce? And why is it important to control mold at its roots? We have the answers for you here.
What is Mold and How Does It Reproduce?
Molds (and mildew) are fungi, microscopic organisms that are ubiquitous within our environment. Fungi are not considered to be plants or animals. Instead, since 1969, they’ve had their own kingdom: Fungi Kingdom. Fungi are the Earth’s best degraders of organic matter. They’re also the root cause of many life-threatening diseases. Some fungi are used by scientists and manufacturers, and others are used to produce common medicines, including Penicillin.
There are as many as five million species of fungi, though only 148,000 species have been described by taxonomists. Not all types of fungi are a threat. Fungi come in many forms, from powdery coatings of mold to single-celled yeasts to mushroom caps the size of dinner plates. The largest living thing on Earth is a single fungal organism found in Malheur National Forest in Oregon. Known as the “Humongous Fungus,” this massive fungus covers three-and-a-half square miles, and it belongs to a fungi species called Armillaria ostoyae.
Fungi, including molds, reproduce via the production of microscopic spores. These tiny spores can be compared to the seeds of a plant, though they are much smaller than seeds or even pollen grains. Their small size makes them easy to become airborne and disperse by air currents. Mold spores can travel long distances by clinging onto fur, clothing, or other materials. When these spores land on a surface with the right conditions, they begin to grow. Mold spores can also survive in environments that don’t support normal mold growth and can sit dormant for a long time, waiting for the right conditions to spread.
Ideal Conditions for Mold Growth
Mold grows on the materials it can digest. All fungi, including molds, rely on organic matter to provide energy. Mold spores are everywhere and can be brought indoors by clothing, shoes, pets, or even wind gusts that carry them inside. There are mold spores present in every home––and will only become an issue when the right conditions arise. For instance, dormant mold can spread suddenly due to elevated humidity after a water damage event (including a minor drip from a leaky pipe) or a disturbance during construction or remodeling. A severe mold problem can cause decay to homes and buildings – and can lead to adverse health effects.
There are four critical requirements for mold growth:
What are the Most Common Types of Indoor Mold?
The most common types of household molds include Aspergillus, Cladosporium, Penicillium, and Stachybotrys chartarum (also known as black mold).
Molds grow on any surface from which they can get enough food. In homes, schools, commercial buildings, and other properties, naturally humid rooms like the bathroom, basement, kitchen, or attic are frequent targets for all types of fungal growth. Remember, mold will thrive in places with enough moisture from condensation, water damage, leaks, infiltration, or flooding.
Mold can flourish on ceiling tiles, paper products, cardboard, wood products around major appliances that use water (refrigerators, dishwashers, and laundry machines) and porous materials like fabric, carpets, upholstery, drywall, and natural stone. Mold can also grow in dust, paints, and wallpaper.
Related: How to Get Rid of Mold From Every Home Surface
How Do Molds Affect Human Health?
Exposure to indoor mold may cause a variety of health effects. Some people are sensitive to molds and may experience allergy symptoms such as a stuffy nose, wheezing, red or itchy eyes, or skin irritation.
In 2004, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) found there was sufficient evidence to link indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people; with asthma symptoms in people with asthma; and with hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals susceptible to that immune-mediated condition. Other recent studies have shown a correlation between mold exposure and the onset of childhood asthma.
Why is it Important to Control Mold at its Roots?
Mold can be invasive, stealthy, and very hard to get rid of. For this reason, it is imperative to use a product that can inhibit mold at its roots, such as Vital Oxide. If there is a mold infestation inside of your property, controlling the mold promptly is crucial so that it doesn’t become a continuing hazard.
Using a product that is not a mold inhibitor, such as chlorine bleach, will leave behind roots, and the mold will continue to grow. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have determined that chlorine bleach should not be used for mold remediation.
Vital Oxide is an EPA-registered hospital-grade disinfectant and mold killer that eliminates mold and mildew on a molecular level – neutralizing spores and inhibiting fungal growth – without damaging the surfaces treated. Unlike chlorine bleach and other harsh products that are only effective on hard, non-porous surfaces, Vital Oxide can also penetrate surfaces like carpets, upholstery, drywall, concrete, and wood – and destroy the roots of tough mold and mildew. Read more about using Vital Oxide for mold remediation here.
Related: 5 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Removing Mold
At Vital Oxide, we’re proud to offer our revolutionary disinfectant cleaner that is powerful enough to kill 99.9% of viruses and bacteria without harsh chemicals. Learn more about the science behind our product, as well as tons of great tips on cleaning, disinfecting, and more. If you have any questions, please Contact Us or Send Us a Message on Facebook. We’re here to help!