The top 5 myths about mold you should know right now

WE REALIZE that although everyone probably has seen mold before – not many people know a lot about it. It’s one of those things that you kind of know something about, but you’re not 100% sure if what you know is right – right?

So we thought it might be useful to put up these five myth busters about mold – so you can learn what to do – or NOT to do – when you see something you think may be mold.

Myth #1: There is only one type of black mold, and it’s very bad.

Fact: In actuality, there are a lot of molds that look black. The type of black mold that made the news years ago, associated with a lot of ill health effects, was called Stachybotrys (pronounced ‘stack-ee-bot-riss’). However, there are a ton of other molds that look black, and are fairly common and generally not of concern. The take-home message here is that not all black molds are ‘bad’.

Myth #2: Only black molds are bad. Other types shouldn’t be worried about.

Fact: A lot of people aren’t even aware that mold can be white, or orange, or blue, for instance. The colour of a mold generally has to do with the spores it produces, and has no bearing on whether it is dangerous or not. There are some white molds that grow on walls and other surfaces that can be just as bad as some harmful black molds.

Myth #3: If I see mold, I should just scrub it with bleach to get rid of it.

This is a complicated myth. There are a couple of different parts to it.

Bleach: Bleach is generally not recommended as a fungicide (mold killer). It works by dousing the mold in toxic levels of a chemical.

The problem is twofold: not only are humans just as susceptible to bleach’s damaging properties, but the bleach is generally a water-based solution. In the long run, this often means that water penetrates the surface, giving moisture to the roots of the mold, which happily begins to grow again.

In the case of small patches of mold, ordinary household detergent will suffice. It is important to make sure that the area dries quickly (ideally within 24-48 hours) so that any small bits (too small to see with the naked eye) of mold left over don’t get the chance to start growing again.

Is it really gone? Mold is able to grow because it has a moisture source.

Often this means that there is or was a leak or something similar involved in the first place. Just removing the mold without fixing the water problem will usually result in the mold coming back. Also, mold can grow behind walls in addition to just on them, so it is important to determine whether you’ve only dealt with a portion of the mold, or the whole thing.

Myth #4: I can just paint over the mould to seal it up.

Fact: Actually, mold can eat the paint. Many people attempt to paint over mold only to discover that in a few months the mold has either poked its way through the paint, or the paint has started peeling off. The mold really has to be removed before painting can be done, even if you’re using “mold-resistant” paint.

Myth #5: Mould and mildew are totally different things.

Fact: Mildew is mold. It’s a word that is used generally to refer to a few specific types of molds, but it’s still all mold.

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