Common Types of Mold and How to Identify Them
Mold sounds scary, but it’s everywhere—after all, there are over 100,000 types of it. Many species of mold don’t carry negative health effects, but it’s important to be able to recognize the different types and what they mean.
Allergies are one of the most common side effects of mold, although it does present other risks as well. The ability to name and identify some of the more common types of mold can help you to take the proper preventative measures required to keep them away from your home.
Scientists estimate that this mold contains over 100 species, the three most common being Acremonium falciform, Acremonium kiliense, and Acremonium recifei. This type of mold takes on something of a powdery texture and appears in lighter colors such as orange or white. It often occurs in humidifiers, vents, and walls.
Potential Health Risks: Acremonium is one of the more dangerous classifications of mold, presenting risks such as bone marrow disease and other attacks on the immune system.
This lushly textured mold is usually white in its youth and turns to shades of green and black with age. This species typically forms outdoors but can thrive inside your home as well. It will generally spread on old food and houseplants, though it can also affect any damp areas.
Potential Health Risks: This mold has been linked to allergies and can cause a host of sinus problems. Exposure can cause congestion as well as other breathing difficulties.
The color scheme for Chaetomium is another example of a progression from white to black and its texture is something akin to cotton. It’s common for Chaetomium to grow on materials that contain cellulose, making it a popular attic mold. Keep an eye on the walls or any areas containing wood when keeping this mold at bay.
Potential Health Risks: Chaetomium has connections to cases of hay fever and asthma. It also can cause both skin and nail conditions. This is said to be one of the most dangerous species of mold, having been linked to fatal incidents relating to the heart, lungs, and brain.
Cladosporium can grow at any temperature, which distinguishes it from many other types of mold. It can take on a dark olive complexion which can look as though it’s composed of several small dots. When indoors, it’s often found on different types of fabric and carpet. Other common locations include wallpaper and windowsills.
Potential Health Risks: This mold can lead to eye and ear infections and, rarely, skin conditions. This mold can trigger allergic reactions as well.
This mold can present serious health concerns, so if you suspect that it lives in your home, know that you need to eliminate it as soon as possible. This mold takes on a pinkish or brown appearance and grows rapidly, with the potential to cause notable structural damage to your home. Fusarium requires very wet conditions to grow, so be sure to prevent moisture.
Potential Health Risks: The health risks of this mold can heighten and be incredibly dangerous when exposed to individuals with compromised immune systems. Fusarium can also cause brain abscesses and internal bleeding.
This mold species is renowned for producing the popular antibiotic, penicillin. It takes on a green—and on occasion, blue—appearance. This type of mold has a softer texture and can occur in mattresses, ducts, and carpet. It’s another fast-growing fungus, which means that a quick identification and removal process is ideal.
Potential Health Risks: Penicillium spores are quick to become airborne and pollute your living space. The mold can induce asthma and respiratory issues and produces mycotoxins which can potentially cause cancer.
Known by many as “black mold,” Stachybotrys is one of the most commonly known types of mold. It’s dark in color, usually a mixture of green and black. It has a gummy texture and forms in areas with high humidity. There are a number of molds with an appearance that is similar to Stachybotrys, so it’s best to get an expert’s opinion if you suspect that it’s in your home.
Potential Health Risks: Stachybotrys can cause respiratory issues and hemorrhage as well as nausea and lethargy. Infants and children are at risk for neurological issues as well as pulmonary bleeding if exposed.
This green and white mold can feel almost wool-like and thrives in a variety of environments. These can include wood, paint, carpet, and filters. Its adaptability is due to its strong metabolism, so almost anywhere can be a potential living space.
Potential Health Risks: Most Trichoderma species aren’t amongst highly dangerous forms of mold, but it can trigger allergies as well as asthma.
Dangerous or not, no one wants mold living inside their home. The best thing you can do is try to prevent any opportunities for mold to grow. Keep in mind that mold can grow anywhere and can never be 100 percent eradicated, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t prevent the majority of the problems it can present. Keep a few things in mind when working towards mold-proofing your home.
Keep the amount of moisture in your home minimal by maintaining humidity levels under 60 percent.Monitor your home’s airflow. Make sure that closed off areas in your home occasionally receive proper ventilation.Clean spills immediately and don’t allow any standing moisture. If walls get wet, wipe them down. If your curtains or carpet get wet, make sure they’re dried off within a few hours.Keep an eye on houseplants and food items. Any moisture can attract mold, and there are different species of mold that are particularly fond of plants.
If you think that you already have mold in your home, it may be time to contact a professional—especially if you notice any that match the descriptions of the dangerous molds recorded above. Small, closed off spaces such as attics and basements are particularly susceptible to the damp conditions that attract mold. For basement inspections or attic mold remediation, look up trusted companies in your area and get them tended to as soon as possible.