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Mold, something we live with on a daily basis, even if you’re visibly unaware of its existence.

This microscopic fungus is always living with us. It’s in the air we breathe, on the surfaces we touch, and floating around pretty much everywhere. It is a homeowner’s nightmare, though, when mold is discovered in their home, and yet, it still serves a purpose.

Though mold may seem to be a natural disaster that Mother Nature just wants to impose on us, it does serve a use. Mold decomposes organic materials such as leaves, food, and other forms of vegetation. When things begin to decay, the microscopic fungus starts to serve its purpose. However, this doesn’t mean that it serves a purpose in your home.

We’ve compiled a list of the most common types of molds that can grow within a home environment to assist you in the inspection of mold growth. From non-toxic to hazardous, the following list of molds may exist in your home or could if not prevented.

What Causes Mold Growth?

You may be wondering, “How do I have mold growing in my home?!” Mold can grow practically anywhere, it just needs the right ingredients to colonize. First, it starts off as a microscopic organism that blows through the air until it sits atop a surface. If there is enough moisture in the environment, this causes the growth to stick and spread.

From small leaks to rainy days where the water sits on surfaces, mold can become present.

It typically thrives in a dark, damp environment. Organic materials such as food typically are a go-to source for mold to embark on its quest for domination in your home. Foods must decay since they are organic substances that have a shelf life. Mold seizes this opportunity to expand, taking over the environment. With ideal temperatures, mold can grow faster.

Molds don’t like extreme cold or heat, these temperatures reduce their ability to colonize. Molds tend to grow in mild-temperature climates that have enough humidity to expand. The ideal temperature for mold to grow is between 72 to 81 degrees Fahrenheit. If the environment is humid, this makes it the perfect place for mold growth.

According to the EPA, indoor relative humidity (RH) should be kept below 60%. Ideally, you would keep the humidity in your home to 30-50%. Mold will have trouble growing in an environment where it can’t thrive.

Keep the indoor area dry and you’ll be less likely to deal with mold.

How to Identify Mold Growth

You may think that identifying mold growth is as easy as peering around your home for green, slimy substances or smelling a strong musty scent. This isn’t the case. While sight and smell can play a role in the discovery of molds, mold can be (and almost always is) beneath the surface.

That’s right! Mold starts on a surface and decomposes the organic material. Drywall, insulation, windows, and pipes are all areas where mold tends to grow and thrive. Drywall and insulation are places where you’ll find mold decomposing the materials, working its way through your home.

Since you can’t always see mold as it could be further within the materials of your house, inspection devices have been created to detect mold growth. A thermo-hygrometer is utilized to help us to find the moisture in the room. This device provides us with the conclusion that mold may or may not be growing within a home. No longer do you need to wait until you see or smell mold to know that it’s growing at an alarming rate in your house.

With professional mold removal services, this becomes increasingly easier and cheaper to find all of the mold growth in your property.

Which Kinds of Molds are Dangerous?

Not all molds are necessarily dangerous. There are particular molds that are toxic, these are referred to as “toxigenic”. What this means is that the mold spores can release toxins in the air known as “mycotoxins”. These mycotoxins are unhealthy to be around, breathing in.

The following molds are considered hazardous.

Stachybotrys

Black mold growing in a home on a wall

What is stachybotrys? This genus of mold is what’s more commonly known as black mold. It has a green-black appearance visually and can cause serious health problems if not taken care of quickly. Black mold forms after roughly 72 hours of moisture affecting the organic material. It can continue growing with consistent moisture exposure in the air. Something like a leak from water damage can cause black mold to occur.

Chaetomium

Chaetomium mold growing on a wood plank

What is chaetomium? Chaetomium is commonly found in soil, plant debris, and the air. It takes on the appearance of an almost fluffy, white substance, but as it ages, it turns grey-green (like the picture). This mold can also grow on organic materials such as drywall, fabric, and paper, so be on the lookout for it almost anywhere in your house where there is moisture, houseplants included. Water-damaged materials are a go-to source of colonization for chaetomium.

Aspergillus

Aspergillus mold in a testing plate

What is aspergillus? This is a more common mold that is found in our regular air supply. Those with weaker immune systems are more susceptible to the effects of aspergillus just by breathing it in. It can lead to lung infections and cause serious allergic reactions to the respiratory system. Aspergillosis is a particular infection caused specifically by this mold type.

Penicillium

Penicillium mold growing on 2 pieces of bread

What is penicillium? This type of mold is more commonly found on food such as fruits or spices. It can, however, be found in environments where water damage has impacted the area. Penicillium is comprised of over 300 species of mold, making it very unique. Most health risks surrounding penicillium come from the ingestion of the mold. However, it does pose health risks from an airborne perspective. Penicillium is also a type of mold that doesn’t need much moisture to grow.

Fusarium

Fusarium mold growing on a plant

What is fusarium? This mold is commonly found on plants and in soil, less so on building materials. However, it can still grow in humid conditions on building materials such as insulation and drywall. The pigmentation of fusarium is described as appearing bluish-violet, pale, yellow, brown, or burgundy. This mold can cause skin infections and allergic reactions such as a sore throat, sneezing, or itchy eyes.

Alternaria

Alternaria mold growing on a leaf

What is alternaria? Alternaria is another species of mold that is comprised of 300 types of molds. It typically appears to be green, black, or grey when it colonizes and grows in a sort of chain structure. This mold will predominantly be found outdoors but can also spread indoors on drywall, tile, and plywood. A common health issue associated with alternaria is asthma attacks as it affects the respiratory system.

The Most Common Types of Household Molds

As you can see, there are many different types of toxic molds that can grow in a home. Like we said previously, not all molds let off these mycotoxins, which means that not all molds are as dangerous as the aforementioned ones. The following species of mold are typically found in household properties.

  • Acremonium: Colonies of this mold grow slower than other molds and take on a moist appearance. It can appear white, orange, grey, pink, or rose in color.
  • Alternaria: Labeled as a major plant pathogen, alternaria is a mold that can be found in fabrics, carpet, windows, and other openings. It is characterized by dark colors such as black, grey, or brown.
  • Aspergillus: A common but toxic mold that is in our natural air supply daily. When colonized, it can be dangerous to be around.
  • Aureobasidium: This mold becomes black-looking as it ages. It typically grows in environments such as soil, wood, and indoor air, making it typical to grow inside houses. This mold will normally appear dark-brown as it ages.
  • Chaetomium: A mold more common to soil and plants but is also airborne. This is a toxic mold.
  • Cladosporium: This is a mold that can have an impact on your health if not taken care of. Long-term exposure can lead to asthma, allergies, and possible infections. However, it doesn’t cause human diseases. Cladosporium can look either grey-green or brown.
  • Fusarium: A mold more common to soil and plants but can still grow on building materials. This is a toxic mold.
  • Mucor: This mold is commonly found in vegetation and soil rather than on building materials. It has an almost fluffy, thread-like appearance and can be either white or grey in color. Mucor will grow in clumps and grows fast. This will typically be found near condensation-prone areas such as HVAC systems.
  • Penicillium: A mold that is more commonly found on food supplies but can grow in water-damaged areas.
  • Stachybotrys: The dreadful and toxic black mold. This can grow quickly in your house after water damage, such as a leak, affects your home.
  • Trichoderma: This mold is found in every soil and can be present in wooden or fabric materials. However, trichoderma is moreso found in soil and plants than in man-made matters. Visibly, it’s differentiated by its filamentous nature and takes on a white-cream color. As it ages and expands, it can become green in color.
  • Ulocladium: A mold that lives to decompose foods and mainly grows on plants, ulocladium shows itself when there is water in a given space. You’ll notice this mold growing when too much moisture is in a given area. Hay fever is a symptom of overexposure to this mold. However, it only really affects those who have allergies, respiratory problems, or immune illnesses. Its appearance is typically brown, black, or grey and is almost cotton-like.

Common Areas Where Mold Grows

Molds grow in dark, damp areas for the most part; they need ideal conditions to actually colonize. 

Most molds will grow in:

  • Laundry rooms
  • Kitchens
  • Food pantries
  • Refrigerators
  • Basements
  • Windows
  • Bathrooms
  • Garages
  • Attics

This doesn’t mean that you won’t find molds in places like your bedroom; you most certainly can. Just know that an area will typically need to be moist for any of the molds mentioned to colonize and spread in size.

Does Mold Die When it Dries Out?

Mold doesn’t die if it’s dry. So the simple answer is no.

Dry mold only means that the mold spores are inactive. In fact, they are still able to live once again. Think of it as a dormant time for the spores. Yes, they can still cause health issues for humans, especially those with allergies. Just know that dry mold does mean that the air and wind can pick up the spores and move them around the living environment.

What are the Symptoms of Mold Exposure?

When mold is growing inside your house, there are some usual health symptoms that can come about. These include:

  • Dermal rashes
  • Runny nose
  • Difficulties breathing
  • Sore throat
  • Eye irritation
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Lung irritation
  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Possibly infections

Can I Remove Mold Completely by Myself?

Most likely not! We aren’t saying that we doubt your skills as a DIYer, however, please realize that mold isn’t surface-only. You can’t have a mixture of vinegar or bleach and scrub the affected surface area until you visibly can’t see the mold anymore. Molds are decomposing in nature, they will eat away at the materials for which they are growing on. These are organic materials such as fabrics, wood, plants, food, soil, and can even grow in paint and your insulation.

You may not be able to appropriately inspect the situation either. Let’s say that you believe you have stachybotrys mold but what you truly have is ulocladium, one is more toxic than the other! Of course, all mold colonies should be taken care of promptly so they don’t grow or spread to other parts of the home.


We’ve seen a great deal of mold issues coming from very simple origins. Don’t let mold take over your home! Give us a call to inspect and remove the mold from any part of your home. We’ll do the dirty work so you can feel safe and healthy again.