Black mold is unsightly and a hazard to your health. Also known as Stachybotrys chartarum, a type of fungus, this toxic mold grows in dark, humid areas like other varieties do. It also releases musty odors similar to rotting plants or vegetables, not to mention spores that spread throughout the air. These can be breathed in and even absorbed through your skin. Therefore, the question, “What does black mold look like?”, is important for everyone, not just high-risk individuals.
Black mold is known to cause respiratory issues. Individuals with existing respiratory problems such as asthma, are at greater odds of experiencing long-term health effects. For infants, there is a risk of pulmonary hemorrhaging. The most common symptoms of exposure to black mold mycotoxins include:
- Stuffy nose
- Nasal congestion
- Red, itchy eyes
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness
Prolonged exposure can lead to more severe symptoms such as headaches and migraines. Rashes, difficulty concentrating, memory loss, chronic fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and nosebleeds are also possible.
The Appearance of Black Mold
It typically appears as black or dark gray patches (sometimes with a greenish tint), usually growing in a circular pattern. Sometimes the pattern consists of concentric circles. However, black mold’s appearance may also take on irregular patterns up to several inches across. It can grow across walls, floors, and ceilings.
Black mold usually doesn’t have much texture, although it may appear slightly furry. Due to its moist environment, it often appears shiny or slimy. It may look dry or powdery if the area has dried up or the leak that caused the mold to grow has been fixed.
To start, black mold begins growing in fuzzy white fibers. However, this isn’t commonly observed since the fungus tends to take hold in hidden areas. It often looks gray or green in the center, with white at the edges, until it reaches maturity.
Where Can I Find Black Mold?
If you suspect you have a mold problem, check high-moisture areas. Black mold is most commonly found in bathrooms. But it can grow in any damp area with high temperatures and poor ventilation. This includes kitchens, laundry rooms, and basements.
Knowing how black mold looks is important when checking near water sources. It can grow under sink cabinets, on wooden furniture, and on wood trims along walls. On wood, the mold can grow on the surface and deep into its pores, making removal very difficult.
Black mold often takes hold in corners where there’s been dampness or flooding. You can also find it growing in drywall and underneath carpets. This toxic fungus will grow into any porous surface (not just wood). Whenever you see it, chances are it has already infiltrated many parts of your home and the problem lies deeper than you think.
How Do I Know I Have Toxigenic Mold?
Black mold can be mistaken for a stain. But it’s not so easy to clean up. Dark spots often remain after you try to wipe them away. Nevertheless, you don’t always need a professional to verify you have mold. Try soaking a cotton swab or rag in undiluted bleach and dabbing it on the moldy area. The mold will seem to quickly disappear and then come back.
However, this isn’t always the best method to use. In response to harsh chemicals, black mold will grow deeper into a porous surface and later resurface when the chemicals are no longer present.
How Do I Get Rid of Black Mold?
Spraying tea tree oil and grapefruit seed extract can help fight black mold. Let it sit for up to 10 minutes, carefully scrub the surface with a nylon bristle brush, and wipe the area clean with a rag or paper towel. To prevent mold spores from dripping onto the floor or under the trim, wipe the area as you go. But don’t rinse the area; instead, spray the tea tree oil/grapefruit seed extract mix on the mold once again as it’ll help prevent it from coming back.
Smaller stains can be treated with a solution of one-part baking soda and two parts vinegar. Apply the solution and use a brush to scrub the affected area. Just remember, attempting to remove black mold yourself increases the risk of exposure to its toxins. Therefore, it’s usually best to call a professional who has no question about “How does black mold look?”, and can effectively deal with the problem.
Can I Make My Home More Mold-Proof?
The conditions leading to black mold’s appearance may not necessarily be inside your home. Your crawlspace may be the source of the problem. Here’s a quick look at how to insulate the area to make your home less hospitable to black mold.
Insulation should be installed after water vapor barriers and vents are in place. Fiberglass batts are effective insulators and install easily between floor joists. They can be paired with spray foam insulation to provide a tighter seal against air movement and heat transfer. For small nooks and crannies, spray foam may be enough to keep in warm air and block out the cold. Temperature control in the crawlspace helps prevent mold and can also improve HVAC system efficiency.
How Do I Confirm the Black Mold Is Gone
Just because you know what black mold looks like and don’t see it, doesn’t mean the threat has completely disappeared. You can try an at-home mold test kit; but you’ll need to let it sit for several days and then send it to a lab, where it will be analyzed. Hiring a professional is the best option because there will be no guesswork or waiting. They can quickly determine the nature and source of the issue, and implement any steps to clean it, mitigate the problem, and prevent it from returning.
Contact Restorerz for Mold Remediation
If you find yourself asking, “What does black mold look like?” and have stains, odors, and moisture in your home, contact Restorerz. We provide professional mold remediation in Los Angeles. Our team specializes in safe and effective mold removal and prevention. Available 24/7, we also fix water and flood damage and offer a wide range of cleaning services. To get started, request service online or call (323) 402-6156 today.