Mold is a common problem in homes, offices, schools, stores, and other buildings in Tampa.
Though not every home or business owner in Florida will actually run into a major mold problem, Florida is still statistically considered the “worst state for mold” in the U.S.
Mold isn’t just a common problem—but a very misunderstood one, too.
As our name implies, Mold Solutions deals with these mold problems daily.
And here are the 10 top misconceptions about mold that our remediation team hears, as well as the truth about them.
Misconception 1: Bleach Kills Mold
Not only does bleach not kill mold, but bleach will make most mold problems much worse over time. It’s like watering the roots of mold, and dying it white, but never getting rid of it. That’s because the parts of bleach that would kill mold evaporate very quickly, while the part that sticks around—water—sinks deep into the surface of whatever you’re trying to remove mold from. We recommend our clients, friends, and family never use bleach to “kill” or get rid of mold, as does the US EPA. Dead mold spores may also still cause allergic reactions, the EPA says, so “killing it” isn’t the solution. Removing it is.
“The use of…chlorine bleach, for example…is not recommended as a routine practice during mold cleanup.”U.S EPA, “Should I use bleach to clean up mold,” Oct. 26, 2022
Misconception 2: Only Old Buildings Have Real Mold Problems
Remember the last time you drove by a new house being built? Remember the last time it rained? Many if not most of the homes built in Florida will go through at least one rainy day. That rain reaches parts of the house that it never would if the house was fully built, and had roofs and windows. If that water isn’t fully dried out (and it almost never is), then your brand-new home could have a mold problem as early as the day you move in. Sad thought, for sure, but it’s worth being aware of in case your new home causes you strange health concerns, or sneezing, red eyes, itching, etc., or if your infant child suddenly doesn’t sleep as well.
Misconception 3: Mold is Yucky But Not Dangerous
Yep, mold can be pretty yucky and ugly. But it can also be a lot more than that: It can be a danger to your own health, or the health of someone you live with who might be more sensitive to it than you are. Women, children, and elderly people are usually impacted the most by mold in a home, as well as people with preexisting conditions, or cancer. Very bad cases of mold can also cause structural damage to parts of a home over time (such as a bathroom with a mold problem hidden behind the shower stall, or inside of walls, or a mold problem hidden by wood flooring or carpet.)
Misconception 4: Mold Can’t Grow on Inorganic Surfaces
Many people think mold can only grow on surfaces that are living (like food and fruit), or that were once living (like wood and paper). This is partially correct, but can also be misleading. Mold can grow “on” metal, concrete, and other inorganic surfaces if that surface has a layer of dust or dirt on top of it. Spelled beverages can also be a good base for mold to grow on. So, it’s technically correct that mold can not grow on metal and glass for example, but in practical terms, it can grow there if the surface is dirty.
Misconception 5: There’s No Mold if You Can’t See It
Just like single particles of dust, most individual mold spores are invisible to the naked eye. If you did see them, you probably wouldn’t be able to tell whether the microscopic spec was dust or mold. More practically, mold can be—and most often is—hidden in areas that aren’t cleaned often, don’t get direct sunshine, and where water or moisture has had time to collect and sit or soak without anyone in the home noticing it. We see mold growth all the time behind walls, under floorboards, and in air ducts, and have special cameras, sensors, and meters to help us find and fix it. If you smell a musty, damp, earthy, or dirty sock-like smell, or you or someone else in the home has allergies and other physical symptoms, you may have a hidden source of mold at home.
Misconception 6: There’s No Mold if You Can’t Smell It
Just like hidden mold, there can also be mold you can’t easily smell, and usually for some of the same reasons: It’s enclosed behind walls, or other smells in the home overpower it. Mold and the mycotoxins that some mold species and subspecies produce can smell damp or earthy, but the lack of smell in a room doesn’t mean there is no mold there. Mold in a crawl space or basement is also sometimes a bit hard to smell, or people simply think “that’s how basements smell.”
Misconception 7: Mold and Mildew Are the Same Thing
Mold and mildew are both fungi, but they are not the same thing. Mildew is a surface fungus that can be pretty easily cleaned. Mold, on the other hand, has deeper roots and can cause more serious problems. There’s debate or differing points of view on whether mold or mildew are the exact same thing, but most mold remediators consider they’re two totally different problems. Related, but very different in every way that matters to us.
Misconception 8: You Can Get Rid of All Mold
Mold is everywhere: Every home, office, garden, vehicle, store and structure has some mold. You can never get rid of all mold spores, and the good news is you don’t have to. We just want to get rid of mold infestations, or major mold growth. Because that’s what impacts people living in homes. (That’s not to say that small mold problems can’t cause allergic and other reactions for people, but the reality is that mold can never entirely be removed from a regular building. People who are extremely sensitive to mold usually invest huge amounts of time, money, and effort into making their homes as close to zero mold as possible, but even then removing every mold spore isn’t possible. And, again, for your peace of mind, not every mold spore has to be removed. Only the mold infestations, or active mold growth.
Misconception 9: All Mold Species are Very Dangerous
There are thousands of mold species, and not all are dangerous. However, certain types of mold, such as Stachybotrys chartarum (commonly known as black mold), can be very harmful to your health, and certain amounts of almost any mold can also be very harmful. A “small amount” of any type of mold in a CPAP machine for example could be disastrous since a person literally breathes from it all night. Or a “small amount” of mold under a baby’s crib or in their mattress could also be a disaster. The three main things that determine how dangerous mold is are: 1. The type of mold, 2. The size of the mold colony, and 3. Its proximity to a person.
Misconception 10. Mold is Safe, It’s Been on Earth Forever
True, mold has been around since the beginning of time. But it hasn’t been growing inside your walls, or inside of your AC, or in your child’s room forever. And if it has been, it really should be removed and remediated. Again, it’s the type of mold, the size of it’s growth, and how close it is to people that matters.
Have a Mold Problem? Call Mold Solutions
If you suspect you have a mold problem at home, call Mold Solutions at (727) 276-4787 for a Free Environmental Consultation. Our mold remediation process is tailored to your specific needs. Not all mold problems are the same and we recognize that. If our consultation finds that you do need mold remediation, our process is done safely for the whole family. We pride ourselves in being the best mold remediation company in Tampa Bay and would love to help solve your mold problem for good.