What is White Mold?

Maybe you’ve seen the stuff in your attic. Don’t be deceived by its bright white color and its somewhat fluffy appearance, white mold is bad for your health. White mold is a naturally occurring fungus that tends to colonize areas where humidity levels are higher and temperatures are warmer. Although it’s referred to as “white mold,” it isn’t all white – it’s actually partially translucent, which makes it more difficult to point out compared to other types of mold. Unfortunately, many people don’t pay enough attention to white mold growth for this reason; coupled with the fact that black mold (although dangerous too) seems to get all the publicity.

Health Risks

White mold can provoke allergic reactions, may perhaps cause chest problems, and in rare circumstances, an asthma attack. It’s always a good idea to get rid of mold in your home, the instant you spot it, but for those with family member who has allergies or asthma, this is even more vital. In short, white mold isn’t going to kill you, but nevertheless, its presence in your home ought not to be taken lightly.

Spotting It

As we mentioned above, spotting white mold can be difficult. For one, its somewhat see-through nature can make it hard to spot, but also, it’s often confused with efflorescence. For those not already aware, efflorescence is the whitish crystal-like deposits you often find on brick and concrete. While efflorescence is virtually harmless, white mold, as we’ve seen, can pose some health risks.

Only a trained mold removal or water removal expert will be able to tell you the difference between white mold and efflorescence, but an easy test you can employ on your own is to simply spray some water mist over the effected area. If the white spots go away, it was just efflorescence, but if they stay, chances are, you’ve got white mold on your hands. Another way to tell whether or not its white mold is the particular material it has colonized. If it’s on a piece of wood, you’ll know almost for a fact that it’s white mold – efflorescence is a phenomenon that only occurs on brick concrete or masonry structures.

Preventative Measures

It may be difficult to regulate the temperatures and humidity levels in your basement and in your attic, but there should be no reason why white mold (or any other mold for that matter) be present in the main living areas of your home.

If you live in a humid climate, and the moisture level in your home is generally high, try using a dehumidifier. This trusty device sucks excess water out of the air, which will help you to breathe easier, and will keep mold spores at bay. Overall, you should try to keep humidity below 60%.

If you find that a particular area in your home is too humid, but you don’t want to spend the money on a dehumidifier, simply open a window. Sometimes the simplest, most cost-effective methods work the best.

Wherever there’s a pipe, there’s a chance for a leak. Leaks mean moisture, and moisture means prime conditions for white mold to grow. Every so often, go around your home, and tighten all the pipe connections with a wrench – this is an easy preventative measure against moisture buildup.  If you’re experiencing a leak, not simply from a loose connection, but from a hole in a pipe, for instance, it’s in your best interest to immediately call a plumbing contractor.

Another way, in which moisture can enter your home, is if you have holes in your roof. Here, rainwater can easily seep through, pool in your attic, and increase the conditions for white mold to form. This is why it’s vital that you have your roof inspected annually by a reputable roofing contractor. A mere roof inspections to tell whether or not it has any blemishes, is probably something you could do yourself, but we don’t recommend that you walk on your roof.

Testing For It

In order to officially tell whether or not white mold is present in your home, it needs to be tested by a mold removal expert. This direct sampling includes tape lift, swab and bulk samples. Unfortunately, the technicians aren’t going to be able to tell instantly, whether it’s white mold – or not, their samples must be sent to a lab for analysis.

Dealing With The Problem Once You’ve Got It

So, white mold has been identified in your home. What is there to do about it?

It’s an interesting fact that, no matter what type of mold it is, you basically deal with the remediation the same way: with caution. Although we recommend large areas of colonization to be clean up only by trained professionals, you can actually take care of smaller areas on your own.

First, mix together one part bleach to one part water in a squirt bottle. Just rinse out an old bottle of window cleaner, if you’ve got it.  Shake the bottle.

Next, squirt the mixture directly onto the mold. Allow it to sit for about 10-15 minutes. If it’s still there, squirt again. After that, wet a washcloth with clean water and rub it over the bleached area. Then, take a dry wash cloth and firmly dry the area. Remember, any left over moisture will set the conditions for new mold to spawn.

Other remedies include borax, and other harmful chemicals, but there are actually a number of “green” mold removal remedies too. After all, you’re getting rid of a substance that poses health risks; why would you want to do away with that substance using other substances that cause health risks? It doesn’t make too much sense, does it?

Removing white mold using baking soda is safe, as well as “green.” Just add a quarter tablespoon of baking soda to a spray bottle filled with water; shake the bottle, and spray the infected area. Subsequently, wipe the area with a clean wet washcloth, and then wipe it with a dry one.

Perhaps a more unorthodox technique for removing white mold is using tea tree oil. Compared to all of the natural, “green” remedies, tea tree oil seems to be most effective. Harmless to people as well as most household pets, the oil contains anti-fungal properties. Upon shopping for the stuff at the store, make sure the bottles your looking at purchasing have the words Melaleuca Alternifolia (the technical name for tea tree).

To use tea tree oil to kill white mold, simply fill a spray bottle with tea tree oil at the ratio of 1 teaspoon per cup of water that you poured into the bottle. Like with all the other methods, spray the solution onto the infected area. However, with this method, there’s no need to wipe the newly sprayed area with wet or dry rags. Just let the tea tree oil work its magic, and the white mold should be gone in no time.