What type of materials can be affected by mold growth?

Mold grows well on paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles and wood products. Mold can also grow on dust, paints, wallpaper, insulation, drywall, carpets, fabrics, and upholstery. The most common indoor molds are Cladosporium, Penicillium and Aspergillus. It's impossible to get rid of all mold and mold spores indoors; some mold spores are found floating in the air and in household dust.

Mold spores will not grow if there is no moisture. Indoor mold growth can and should be prevented or controlled by controlling indoor humidity. If there is mold in your home, you should clean up the mold and fix the water problem. If you clean up the mold, but don't fix the water problem, the mold problem will most likely reappear.

Mold grows on materials that it can digest and use to spread. Consequently, it can grow on any organic material. Like insulation, drywall is a very porous surface and once mold starts to grow on the drywall, it cannot be removed. To eliminate mold growth on hard surfaces, use commercial products, soap and water, or a bleach solution of no more than 1 cup of household linen bleach in 1 gallon of water.

Mold can affect all types of building materials in almost every area of the home, but what many people don't realize is that mold affects each type of building material differently. Although mold can cause asthma attacks or hay fever in sensitized people, there is no conclusive evidence that exposure to mold in buildings causes asthma or hay fever. For example, removing wallpaper can cause a massive release of spores if mold grows on the underside of the paper. Mycotoxins are large molecules that attach to mold spores and to parts of the mold's body that are not easily transported through the air.

They point out that, while most cases of exposure to mold do not cause serious health problems, people with a compromised immune system are at greater risk of being infected by mold. Mold sampling should be performed by professionals with specific experience in designing mold sampling protocols, sampling methods, and interpreting the results. Investigating the hidden problems of mold can be difficult and will require caution when the research involves disturbing potential mold growth sites. Because exposure to mold poses a health risk to people with and without previous health problems, the CDC recommends a “common sense” approach to mold contamination.

The use of a chemical or biocidal product that destroys organisms such as mold (chlorine bleach, for example) is not recommended as a routine practice when cleaning mold. In addition to the damage that mold causes to surfaces, there are health risks associated with exposure to mold that range from mild to severe. If the mold problem under the carpet is extensive, you should contact a professional to remove the carpet. No matter how much mold is on outdoor surfaces, it's important to get rid of it quickly and thoroughly.

Brenda Seemann
Brenda Seemann

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