Mould Facts and Myths You Should Know
No one wants mould in their home, so learning as much as you can about the fungus can help you prevent it from growing and spreading in your home. Here are some known facts about mould to help you keep it at bay.
What is Mould?
Basically, mould is any fungus that grows on moist surfaces or food. In order to grow, mould needs three things: moisture, ideal surfaces and optimal temperatures. Leaky pipes, flooded areas and window sills with excessive condensation are perfect breeding grounds for mould. It can also grow in and on fabrics, carpets, cardboard, wood, and walls, especially in kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms.
Mould comes in many different species and colours, including white. It may smell musty or be completely odour-free. While it grows naturally outdoors, mould can become a problem and a health risk when it grows inside your home.
Mould only smells when it’s off-gassing—while it’s “feeding”. If it’s in an inactive stage, mould doesn’t produce an odour at all. When it is active, it smells like rotting paper or wood. There’s a musty, moist smell to it—sometimes like cedar or wet socks. However, the only way to find out if you have mould for sure is to call us to test for it.
Is Mould a Bioaerosol?
Yes, as are dust mites, fungi, bacteria, viruses, dander and pollen. Bioaerosols are extremely small biological contaminants that live in the air. They are small enough for us to breathe in and can cause allergic reactions, infections and illnesses. Bioaerosols that cause an allergic reaction are called antigens or allergens, and depending on a person’s susceptibility, their reaction to mould could be serious.
Health Risks of Indoor Mould
Mould releases spores into the air we breathe. How a person reacts to breathing in these spores depends on the amount of exposure, their age and their overall health. Children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are more susceptible. Those who are allergic to mould or who have respiratory conditions such as asthma are also at risk.
Reactions to mould include:
- Allergic reactions – watery itchy eyes, runny nose, irritated throat, coughing and rashes
- Asthma symptoms – shortness of breath and wheezing
- Hypersensitivity pneumonitis – a severe, reoccurring allergic reaction causing lung damage, muscle aches, fever, cough, difficulty breathing and headache
Learn more about the negative effects mould could have on your health at Health Canada.
Mould Myths Debunked by the Mould Removal Experts
- Black Mould – There is no such thing as black mould. Mould comes in a variety of colours, and black isn’t exclusive to one species. Several different types of mould have black variations.
- Bleach kills mould – Bleach doesn’t kill mould. It only strips mould of its colour, so it looks like it’s disappearing. In fact, bleach makes mould stronger by making it more resistant. An antimicrobial solution is the only liquid that effectively breaks down mould, prevents it from coming back and performs a true mould clean-up.
- Keeping the area dry will kill existing mould – Keeping the area dry will not kill existing mould. While mould needs moisture to begin to grow, once it starts, it can use moisture in the air to breed.
- You don’t have mould if you can’t see it – You could have mould even if you can’t see it. Most mould is invisible, and if you or your family members are suffering from reoccurring headaches, sinus infections, asthma or other respiratory infections, it’s a good idea to call a certified mould removal company like OMS to perform mould testing. You could be suffering an allergic reaction to mould.
- You do not need mould testing if you clean the mould up quickly – You should still get mould testing done even if you clean it up quickly. The mould you see could be a sign of a larger contamination. Testing allows us to identify the problem (e.g., leaky attic), perform experienced mould remediation, treat the areas to prevent recontamination and make your home healthy again.
- Once you have mould, you lower your home’s market value – Once you have mould, you can still regain your home’s market value if you get a certified mould removal expert like us to clean it up properly. The remediation process must be done by professionals and should include dry ice treatment as well. Applying an antimicrobial solution will only treat the mould you can see.
- All moulds are harmful – Not all moulds are harmful. The fact is, mould occurs naturally outdoors and in some cases, we even eat it. Blue cheese anyone?
- Not all homes can have mould – Any home can have mould, no matter how new, expensive or clean the house. Mould is not a socio-economical problem; it’s a matter of nature and science.
- Mould testing is messy and intrusive – Mould testing is not messy or intrusive. We will never cut up your carpet, knock holes in your walls or rip up your floorboards. We use advanced air quality technology to determine if you have mould and where it is in your home.
- A mould “expert” only uses an antimicrobial solution to get rid of mould – If a mould “expert” only uses an antimicrobial solution to get rid of mould, they’re not an expert. In some cases, applying this kind of solution does the trick, however, if you have a major mould contamination, you need more aggressive mould remediation that includes dry ice and industrial-strength HEPA vacs.
If you suspect you have mould or want to know if your home is healthy, call us. We have the knowledge and expertise only years of experience and hundreds of remediations can bring.