Among the most dangerous mold that is considered “toxic” are harmful to humans and can often be deadly. While people think that toxic mold is only one type of mold, there are hundreds of harmful molds.

The most dangerous type of mold in households is the Stachybotrys chartarum, commonly called the “black mold”. Joining this toxic mold is the Cladosporium, and the Penicillium species of mold.

Since exposure to toxic mold can pose serious health concerns, it is important to have knowledge of what they are and what you can do to help your house be free from them.

3 deadliest molds foundation at home

How to tell if mold is toxic?

Mold can be a nuisance to deal with especially when it starts to take up space in your home. They are most likely to appear when your home or property is hit by a storm, and they can start spreading in as quickly as 1-2 days.

As a clarification, you should not be terrified of the mold itself, but rather of some types of mold that pose serious health risks or worse, can be life-threatening for some.

While mold growth may appear like unassuming spots that come in various colors, their color may not be the indication if they are dangerous or not. With that, it is still important to determine if the present mold is toxic or not.

To know if there is a presence of toxic mold in your home, you can take note of these steps:

Notice the smell

  • One of the most common signs that you can look out for if you want to know if you are dealing with a toxic mold is to watch out for a musty odor.
  • You can compare the scent of toxic mold to rotten dirt or rotten leaves.
  • Often, mold spread and thrives in damp, humid, and dark environments. With that, you inspect such areas in your home if you start to suspect a foreign smell.

Visible signs of mold growth

  • Although toxic mold often hides behind walls, attics, or crawlspaces, it can also sometimes appear in very open spaces.
  • In such cases, there’s a high chance that you are to see dark spots or rings on the ceiling. If you spot some, it might be best to contact a mold inspector to help you know the proper steps to remove them.

The stain remains even after wiping the mold

  • Mold experts suggest strongly not to clean up a mold by yourself. However, if you have already cleaned and disinfected an area that has mold, and you continue to see stains, it might be best to call an expert.

Take note of the color and the consistency

  • There can be molds that aren’t toxic, and one way to distinguish them is by taking a look at their color.
  • In most cases, toxic mold can have a greenish-black hue, or grayish.
  • It can also be helpful to take note of their texture. Some toxic molds have a soot-like texture or a slimy texture. Some may even appear to have brown or orange spots that are furry.
  • Upon your visual inspection, if you see that the mold exhibits this kind of texture, you should not get too close or call a mold expert right away.

You start experiencing health effects or symptoms

  • Sometimes it is best to take matters into your hand, especially when you start to notice symptoms.
  • For example, if you observe rashes, feelings of fatigue, difficulty in breathing, or coughing, it might be smart to immediately call for someone to deal with the mold problem as soon as possible.
  • If you are to put the problem on hold, it will most likely worsen the longer you wait.

What is the most dangerous mold to humans?

Often referred to as the “black mold”, the Stachybotrys chartarum is the most dangerous type of mold that can be found in households. This type of mold is toxic to both humans and animals.

Since it is hard to differentiate black mold from other types of mold, the Center for Disease Control is recommending removing mold, especially when it is still in its early stages.

Appearing in greenish-black color, the black mold emits a rotten smell. They are most commonly found growing and spreading near water damage inside the household. Aside from that, they can also be found on damp building materials.

To avoid the growth of black mold, you should be wary if your home has been empty for months while having water damage with little to no air circulation. You should also be mindful if you have a basement that has leaked pipes for months.

As part of the very toxic mold species, black mold can cause a harmful respiratory response. Among the various symptoms that the said mold can cause are chronic coughing and sneezing, headaches, fatigue, and rashes.

How to protect your home from toxic mold?

Often, mold can grow unknown in your home’s basement or hard-to-reach spaces. This includes walls, crawl spaces, attics, cabinets, or even under your furniture. They thrive in moisture and dirty areas.

One of the best ways to protect your family and your home against the dangers and inconvenience of mold growth is to reduce moisture and keep things clean in the key areas of your household.

To resume moisture in your home, you can follow some of these steps:

  1. Invest in a dehumidifier. This helps in keeping the air in your home clean and not musty, which can lead into mold growth.
  2. After a leak or water damage, be keen on drying wet furnishings and areas immediately.
  3. In areas such as bathrooms or basements, it is best to refrain from keeping a carpet. Keeping items that are constantly moist and dirty can lead to mold growth.
  4. To improve air circulation, you can install a fan in areas such as your basement. This help keeps the spaces in your home well ventilated and dry.
  5. If you like to keep plants in your home, you ought to check where they are placed in cases of overwatering.
  6. If your home has vents, you might want to periodically maintain and clean them, or replace the air filters to further improve your home’s air circulation.
  7. Regularly clean the areas of your home that are often exposed to water. This includes the kitchen, the bathroom, and the basement. If you store standing water, it is best to remove and clean them regularly.
  8. For gutters, it is ideal to clean them regularly to avoid clogging. Stuck water flow can lead to mold growth in walls and gutters.

If you find molds that are starting to spread inside your home, it is only smart to remove them completely and quickly. You can do this by using mold cleaning products, or by contacting professional mold removal services.

After removing the mold growth, you should proceed by fixing the problem that caused it in the first place. If not, the mold will just grow or find its way back.

Benjamin McInerny
Author: Benjamin McInerny - is a qualified arborist and a DIY Home Improvement enthusiast. Ben has a extensive experience on renovation projects including, mold removal, painting, fence installation and more. Ben shares his skills with DIY and gardening enthusiasts.