White mold can’t be categorized as any one type of mold because many molds start off as white, or a fairly close and light color, and then change color as they become more developed. Like any other mold, white mold needs to be removed from your home and preventative measures need to be taken to prevent any further growth of mold and mildew. Learn more about Mold Types.
- Purchase concrete sealers that help prevent the growth of mold and mildew, and seal out water and moisture.
- Purchase concrete repair products that help prevent the growth of mold and mildew, and seal out water and moisture.
White Mold or Efflorescence?
White mold is often mistaken for efflorescence because they look a lot alike – in fact, to the untrained eye, white mold is almost identical to efflorescence. In any circumstance you should use a white mold kit, or hire a mold professional, to determine if you have a mold problem in your home.
Efflorescence is a white salt residue that can occur on concrete (commonly on basement floors and walls). As moisture migrates through the concrete, it carries along with it calcium salts from within the concrete. When the salts reach the surface, they react with CO2 in the air and form insoluble calcium carbonate.
Is there a way to tell if you have white mold or efflorescence? Wearing gloves, take a sample of the “white substance” and drop it in a cup of water. If it dissolves, it most likely is efflorescence. If it does not dissolve, it might be mold. In either case, you should always purchase a mold kit or call a mold expert – just to be safe.
Getting Rid Of White Mold
Mold is caused from moisture so the first step of getting rid of white mold is to find the source. Once you find the source, it is important to check for hidden mold – or mold behind walls and under floors.
Possible Mold Sources
Mold can be caused from a variety of sources because moisture is present, or can be created, during virtually every season. In the summer, humid temperatures and drastic temperature differences (caused by hot outdoor temperatures and cool indoor temperatures), sprinklers hitting the house, rain, and other circumstances are all culprits. In the winter, cold exterior temperatures and warm interior temperatures, melting snow, thawing ice, and other circumstances are all culprits. Here are a few common places to inspect:
- Air conditioners. Check around air conditioners, air conditioner vents, and duct work. If you have an AC unit in your window, check for signs of moisture around the window frame and surrounding walls.
- Flooding and water leaks. At any time, pipes in your home are capable of leaking (or sweating), releasing water into your walls. Looks for signs of moisture (wet ceilings, wet walls, wet carpets, wet floors, etc.). It is important to remember that just because you can’t see mold – doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Mold can grow inside of walls, under floors, in the attic, and a variety of other “hidden” places.
- Sprinklers. Outdoor sprinklers hitting the house can cause moisture above and below ground. When a sprinkler hits the house, any voids in the siding, or the siding material, can absorb or let moisture into your home. Further, sprinklers introduce moisture into the ground. If you have any holes or cracks in your foundation, or if you have porous concrete, moisture will get into your basement.
- Humidifiers. Humidifiers introduce moisture into the air. Check the room where the humidifier is located for signs of “saturated” areas. Also look for water drops on the walls and floors.
- Steam from a shower or cooking. Many people think that the steam from a shower or cooking remains in one room – the bathroom or the kitchen. In most cases, that is false. Steam from a bathroom can travel into hallways and adjacent rooms – the same goes with the steam from cooking. While mold growth is often first spotted in a bathroom or kitchen, it is important to test to make sure mold is not growing in the surrounding walls or adjacent rooms.
- Dark unventilated areas. Unfortunately, this includes just about every wall in your home, your basement, and your attic. This is why test kits are so important – they can detect what we can’t see.
- Overflow from sinks, toilets, and tubs. With any overflow, moisture can be absorbed by the surrounding materials – cabinets, floors, walls. Prolonged exposure to the water (especially if an area is exposed) can trigger the growth of mold.
- Air drying wet clothes. When you air dry wet clothes in your home, you are introducing moisture. Check the room where you are drying the clothes for signs of “saturated” areas. Also look for water drops on the walls and floors.
- Plants. Plants are known to cause mold. While they are great to have in our homes, and can help with indoor air quality, they can also be a source for mold. Look for mold on the plant and the soil/rocks the plant sits in.
- Dirty and broken roof gutters. If water is not properly being transferred and emptied from your room gutter, escaping water can cause mold in the areas being saturated. This can include any area of your home surrounding your roof gutter – including the foundation or your home.
There are many other sources and causes of mold. If you have mold you need to get rid of it – if you don’t have mold, you should try to prevent it.
How To Prevent White Mold
The first step to mold control is moisture control. Mold can’t grow without moisture.
- Identify, correct, and monitor problem areas. You can’t plan when you will get mold in your home which it is important to constantly monitor your home for evidence of moisture and mold. Make sure pipes are properly sealed, run the fan in your bathroom and kitchen, don’t allow sprinklers to touch your house, make sure water is going away from your house during rain storms, seal your basement, make sure each room is properly ventilated, etc.
- Dry wet areas immediately. If you have a leak, or spilled any liquid, pick it up immediately. The longer it sits, the more the surrounding areas are being saturated and the more moisture is being released into the air.
- Make sure rooms are properly ventilated. Closed, sealed, and dark rooms are just asking to be filled with mold. Make sure rooms are properly ventilated and the air in the rooms are “controlled.”
- Seal your basement. Your basement is a great source for water – which means they are a great source for moisture. Make sure all cracks are repaired and seal your basement with a deep penetrating concrete sealer. Not only will a great sealer stop the intrusion of water, but it will help to control moisture levels.
- Monitor indoor humidity levels. Purchase a humidity monitor and check to make sure the humidity levels in your home are at the recommended levels (30-40% in cold climates, 50-65% in warm climates).
- Keep roof gutters clean. Keeping roof gutters clean and damage-free help to keep water flowing away from your house instead of into it.
How To Get Rid Of Mold
Unfortunately, there isn’t any one solution to getting rid of mold. It depends on where the mold is, they type of mold, and how much mold you have. Some molds you can get rid of with bleach, other molds can require you to replace plumbing and walls. If you are unsure – consult an expert. For more information about Mold, visit the EPA Mold Website.