How to Get Rid of Black Toxic Mold

Black Toxic Mold is dangerous for homes and humans!
Black Toxic Mold is dangerous for homes and humans! | Source

What is Black Toxic Mold

Black Toxic Mold is basically similar to mildew, with both being a type of fungi. Fungi are not considered animal or plant, living in their own 'Camelot' of sorts. The world of fungi has some really dangerous (for humans as well as other living things) elements for sure—black toxic mold for instance. But it also includes some really great and even tasty fungi citizens;

  • Edible mushrooms
  • Penicillin
  • Yeast

Not too much to be afraid of with this list, but when it comes to Stachybotrys and Aspergillus-niger (black toxic mold) things start to take turn for the worse. Especially when we discover a colony has set up house within our own home!

A Quick Look at Mold on a Biological Level

When we look deep into the life of mold, we discover it has defined cell walls, no chlorophyll, and reproduces by spewing thousands of spores at a time into the environment. We know of about 100,000 species of fungi, leaving about 100,000 more still unknown. Any rotting organic matter is the food supply for fungi, which means we can't live without their help in recycling dead animals and plant matter.

Looking closer at Mold Spores
Looking closer at Mold Spores | Source

How Do I Know If I Have a Black Mold Problem

Human Senses Spot Toxic Mold

By using our sense of smell and sight, we can initially suspect we have a mold problem. The familiar "musky" "earthy" "rich soil-like" aroma tells our genetic memory that we have run upon something from the fungi family. But if you see mold—commonly a dark, slimy, greenish-black color—in a dark moist area, you can be pretty sure you have toxic black mold.

Why is Black Mold So Toxic

Mycotoxins are the answer to why mold is toxic. Mycotoxins are a compound that mold manufactures, and this compound is quite toxic to humans and many other living things. Fungi scientists (mycologists) believe that the toxin is made specifically for doing battle with competing organisms, and we humans are not excluded from the collateral damage.

What Does Black Mold Look Like (click to see full-sized)

Black Toxic Mold is found in moist humid places where almost any organic material provides a food source.
Black Toxic Mold is found in moist humid places where almost any organic material provides a food source. | Source

How to Prevent Black Toxic Mold

How Humidity Effects Mold Growth

If you can manage to prevent mold from happening to begin with, you will be miles ahead of the curve. But how do we prevent mold from growing? For mold to begin its life cycle in your home (or anywhere for that matter) it must have 4 critical and readily available elements;

4 Required Elements Needed for Mold Growth

  1. Spores for Mold Reproduction
  2. Nutrition (Food) for Mold to Eat
  3. Correct Temperature for Mold Growth
  4. Sufficient Moisture for Mold Growth

By removing any one of the four required elements, you remove the ability mold has for growth. Let's take a look at each of these elements, and discover how to do battle with this abundant organism, called mold.

High Quality Mold Screening Kit

Spores for Mold Reproduction

What is a Mold Spore

Mold spores are itsy-bitsy—3 to 40 microns, whereas a human hair measure 100 to 150 microns—that are found everywhere; literally in and on everything imaginable. No realistic way to remove them from the human environment is possible. So trying to control when, where, and how they grow is the only available approach when it comes to mold management.

Nutrition (Food) for Mold to Eat

What Does Mold Eat

Mold eats just about any organic substance found on earth (and probably beyond). Providing that the other three elements for mold growth are present, it doesn't take much food to create a big problem. Such simple food sources like human oil residue left behind by a sweaty palm, soap scum residue, or even a used tissue, can serve up just what a hungry spore needs to survive nicely. Even more difficult to contend with is the fact that what mold likes to consume most are those things that we readily find in our homes; wood, organic fibers, and the glues that hold it all together. So, getting rid of the stuff that mold prefers to eat is, at best, an impossible undertaking.

What You Think Really Does Matter!

Have you, or someone you know had to deal with black toxic mold?

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Correct Temperature for Mold Growth

The Right Temperature For Mold Growth

Mold and humans have climate temperature in common, which only makes things more difficult for humans and more likely to excite toxic mold growth. Because we prefer the same temperature as does most mold, controlling mold by temperature revisions in the home is not going to work either. The really bad news is that mold has the ability to withstand broader ranging temperatures than we do. We find this evidence when pushing our way to the back of the refrigerator where near freezing temperatures seem to leave mold growth completely unfazed.

We also find mold resilience in places where the temperature is too hot for our long term comfort, but mold is found to thrive. Steam rooms and saunas being most notable examples of hot temperature and high humidity found to be perfect for mold spore growth, while wilting humans.

Sufficient Moisture for Mold Growth

How Much Moisture Does Mold Need to Grow

Most mold needs lots of moisture to grow. This available water is referred to as "water activity" by mycologist. It is in direct relation to the relative humidity of the air, or in an object. The majority of mold needs the water activity to be at or above 77% relative Humidity (RH). Add into this high humidity a food source like long term damp and porous cellulose-type materials, and you have an increased probability that black toxic mold will find the location, set up house, and thrive!

The Good News About Humidity and Mold

Luckily for humans, 77% humidity is pretty uncomfortable for most of us. So, this means the good news is that we have some control surrounding mold growth in our home. By keeping your home below a sustained 77% RH you will create a fairly good front line strategy for battling mold growth.

Adding dehumidifiers and humidity sensors to your home will serve you well in the battle against mold.

Why is Mold so Much Worse Today Than Years Ago

Title 24 and the Perfect Mold Habitat

Title 24 to the United States Code of Federal Regulations (which deals with energy conservation) changes much about the way we can legally build homes and other buildings these days. The new rules do a good job at making sure our homes are all but air-tight which makes for an improved decrease in home energy consumption. This is great for energy use concerns, but also creates a perfect low air-flow, non-breathing, moisture enhancing mold spore super nursery.

Standards or Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) for airborne concentrations of mold, or mold spores, have not been set. Currently, there are no EPA regulations or standards for airborne mold contaminants.

Outdoor Temperature to Recommended Indoor Temperature for Maximum Relative Humidity

(click column header to sort results)
TEMPERATURE OUTDOORS (°F)  
INDOOR RELATIVE HUMIDITY  
+20°F
35%
+10°F
30%
O°F
25%
-10°F
20%
-20°F
15%
Source: Anne Field, Extension Specialist, Emeritus, with reference from the Association for Home Appliance Manufacturers (http://www.epa.gov/mold/moldresources.html)

Poorly Installed Flashing is a Huge Contributor to Mold Growth (click to see full-sized)

Poorly constructed and installed flashing can promote inner wall, attic, and many more locational problems with toxic mold growth within your home.
Poorly constructed and installed flashing can promote inner wall, attic, and many more locational problems with toxic mold growth within your home. | Source

Tips for Getting Rid of Toxic Black Mold

These are a few recommended methods that will help get rid of mold in your home. Even though there is no real way to eliminate mold all together, these suggestions can help reduce or control how much mold growth resides within the walls of your home or building.

Basic Approach For Mold Cleanup

  • Control moisture (reduce water activity).
  • Repair any water leaks or moisture problems with flashing→ (metal barriers around fireplace [see photo at right], inlets to home, and throughout home construction where water or airflow requires control), walls, A/C units, and anywhere else moisture might gather.
  • Keep home relative humidity between 30% and 60%.
  • Vent bathrooms, laundry rooms, and other moisture rich places in the home.
  • Use exhaust fans when cooking, dish washing, or cleaning.
  • Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials or furnishings within 24 hours of use to prevent mold growth.
  • Clean moldy surfaces with water and soap, be sure to dry them completely. Replacing porous materials that have signs of mold may be required.
  • Prevent condensation from forming around windowsills, exterior walls, pipes, fireplaces, roofing, and flooring (under sinks is a primary location to monitor for this).
  • Spray a 2% to 5% bleach to water solution on mold inhabited areas.

Ridding Your Home of Black Mold

If your mold problem gets out of hand, you may be best served by bringing in professional help. Reputable companies can eradicate most of the mold, and help you to better approach the unique mold problems your home may present. When it come to getting rid of toxic black mold in your life, a professional assessment can prove to be worth its weight in gold.

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Comments for "How to Get Rid of Black Toxic Mold" 14 comments

urmilashukla23 profile image

urmilashukla23 4 years ago from Rancho Cucamonga,CA, USA

This is a very serious issue and could affect our health. Very well written and explained. Useful and voted up!


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

K9keystrokes,

What an impressive piece of writing this is...well-researched, well-written, well-formatted, great images, informative...important.


theclevercat profile image

theclevercat 4 years ago from Massachusetts

EEEEK! I am so thankful that I haven't had this issue. You have presented us with lots of information here and I;m going to forward to someone I know who I believe has this very problem. Totally Useful!


Laura Schneider profile image

Laura Schneider 4 years ago from Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, USA

My mother may have a mold issue... I'm forwarding the link to this article to her. And keeping an eye out on my own home humidity. Scary stuff. Thanks for the information - voted up.


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 4 years ago from Northern, California Author

incomeguru~ Thank you for commenting on the hub. Glad you will be repairing that exhaust fan! Every little bit helps in the fight against mold and mildew!

Cheers~


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 4 years ago from Northern, California Author

rebeccamealy~ Thank you for sharing your comments. I hope people find the suggested mold fighting products helpful.

HubHugs~


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 4 years ago from Northern, California Author

missolive~ Mold is a sneaky beast to say the least. Hiding behind and within sheet-rock and building materials only to surface after the building has been completed. I am so sorry to hear that you had to find such a hidden problem during your remodel. Thank you for sharing your story here, I am thrilled that yo did.

HubHUgs~


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 4 years ago from Northern, California Author

CC! Thrilled that you approve of the hub...I noticed the Hub Of The Day had your name on it! Congrats my friend!

Your mold issue seems pretty dang extensive, I am glad you have been working to keep it under control. But, it sounds like a ton of work! And I do hope the dehumidifier running constantly balances results with cost! I wish you the best.

HubHugs~


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 4 years ago from Northern, California Author

DzyMsLizzy~ Wow, sounds like your daughter's landlord was lacking the "do the right thing" gene! Glad your family moved on to a better and safer location. Thanks for stopping by today ma'am, always glad to see you in the house!

HubHugs~


incomeguru profile image

incomeguru 4 years ago from Lagos

Very useful hub on how to get rid of mold. I have learned a lot from this hub, and i've to get my exhaust fan in the kitchen working again, so that i can avoid this completely. Thanks for sharing!


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

Very nice! I like the way you included those helpful Amazon products. They are sure to get lots of clicks. People are really interested in this.Awesome Hub!voted up and useful


missolive profile image

missolive 4 years ago from Texas

Mold is such a scary issue. I live in a home that was built in the 60's. We had to take care of a mold issue when we remodeled and gutted our kitchen. We didn't even know it was there until we got behind the walls of the sink, dishwasher and fridge. Fortunately, we were able to clear it all out. This is a great hub and you have provided quite a bit of useful information - thanks for the added tables and pictures. :)


cclitgirl profile image

cclitgirl 4 years ago from Western NC

Fabulous hub!! Absolutely amazing. I am saving and bookmarking. I live in the southeast, at the bottom of the north side of a mountain. My house is surrounded on three sides by streams running down the mountain and we are ALWAYS in the shade. Can you imagine my mold problem? We run the de-humidifier and always get GALLONS of water every hour. It's crazy!! If we leave the mold uncontrolled, our REFRIGERATOR grows mold. No, not the inside, but the OUTSIDE! We have to do regular mold-remediations and if we have any leather in the house, it is subject to a mold invasion. Oy vey. I hate running the de-humidifier all the time because of the electricity required, but man, maybe I'll run it a LOT more. :)


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 4 years ago from Oakley, CA

Very well done and informative article. Luckily, I've not had to deal with this issue; my elder daughter did have a mold problem when her eldest son was a baby--at the time, they lived in an older apartment building right across from the beach. But, since the landlord would not fix the exterior contributing problems, they simply moved.

Moving is not always an option for everyone, though, so knowing how to deal with and eradicate this nasty stuff is important.

Voted up, interesting, useful and shared.

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