White Mold: What Is It?

Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, one of the most common forms of white mold, commonly infects plants. It is also known as stem rot. It typically appears as a mass of white fuzz resembling very fine cotton fibers. The spores themselves appear within the moldy area and are not necessarily white; colors range from tan to green and even black.

Where Can I find White Mold?

White Mold In Plants

White mold may be present in a number of species, commonly in the legume family such as garbanzo beans (chickpeas), soybeans, peanuts or canola. In addition they may appear on vegetables, for example peas or carrots. Weeds such as wild mustard or thistle also contribute to the spread of white mold. If you suspect a white mold infestation on any of your crops, take care to eradicate it thoroughly as it may spread to other crops via water, wind or soil.

White mold obtains its nourishment from decaying or dead plant matter. When an infestation begins, the mold will kill the plant before it begins to grow. If you notice very wet spots on your plants, or white mold itself, or the leafs become softened and take on a slimy texture, it is likely you have a mold infection. Another sign of a problem is dry leaves that have turned yellow or brown, and lesions near the base of the infected vegetation. If leaves are falling off your infected plant, take care to remove them as soon as possible, as this is one avenue by which the mold spreads.

White Mold In The Home

Within the home, white mold will appear in moist places, such as near a leaky pipe, source of flooding, or any area with high humidity. The appearance is the same but simply removing the infected item will not solve the problem. If this is the case the mold will need to be killed and the area cleaned.

The appearance of suspected white mold may not actually be the mold; it is commonly confused with efflorescence, a salty deposit often seen on concrete or other nonporous surfaces. If you are not sure which substance you are dealing with, pour a bit of water on it – white mold will simply become wet while efflorescence will dissolve and wash away.

How To Clean White Mold

  1. To clean white mold properly, you should first ensure you are taking safety precautions and wearing necessary protective items such as gloves, goggles and a dust mask.
  2. Saturate the mold with a solution of one part bleach to ten parts water and allow it to sit for approximately 15-20 minutes.
  3. Be careful not to disturb the mold when it is dry, as this can cause spores to spread and cause another infestation.
  4. Once the bleach solution has thoroughly soaked into the white mold, clean it very carefully and be sure the area is dried well.

To prevent a re-occurence of mold, keep the area well ventilated. Mold is less likely to grow in a properly ventilated, dry area.If the moldy item is one which cannot be washed, such as a mattress or large piece of furniture, dispose of it and replace it.

If the mold infestation covers a large area or many plants, consult a professional for help with removal and disinfection.