Identifying Mold by Color

Mold by color

Whether it’s white, pink, red, or green mold you are dealing with – it’s impossible to determine the species without testing, but in some cases, you can narrow it down by color. For example, if you have a reddish colored mold, then you can safely rule out Stachybotrys chartarum, which is black with sometimes a tint of green. Regardless of the species (toxic or not), it should still be removed. This article should only serve as a general guideline on the different species by color.

Topics Covered

  • Identifying white mold
  • Identifying pink mold
  • Identifying green mold
  • Identifying black mold
  • Identifying brown mold
  • Identifying yellow mold
  • Identifying red mold
  • Identifying orange mold

White mold

Identifying white mold can be tricky for two reasons. Firstly, efflorescence is often mistaken for mold as they both look somewhat identical. Secondly, many different types of mold start white during its early stages before transforming colors later. If, after confirming it’s not efflorescence and it has been sitting for a while, it would be safe to assume that you are dealing with white-colored mold. Most of the white types are luckily non-toxic; however, some are. Therefore it would be safe to treat them all as if they were poisonous.

Common places it grows

Usually found in attic sheathing and crawlspace frames.

Common white mold species

There are thousands of species that appear white, but some common species are Penicillium, Cladosporium, and Aspergillus.

Pink mold

The pink variety is often found in bathrooms, but did you know that in the vast majority of cases it’s not really mold?

It’s a bacterial growth known as Serratia Marcescens, which feeds off shampoo and soap residue. This doesn’t mean you can relax and breathe a sigh of relief because the bacteria is known to cause several illnesses such as respiratory and urinary tract infections. Find out more about this bacteria and how to effectively remove it here.

Common places pink mold grows

Serratia Marcescens, which is often confused for a pink mold, usually appears in bathrooms.

Green mold

Identifying green mold by color alone is not possible as there are thousands of species that appear green – many of which are toxic and many of which are not. The green varieties come in a wide range of shades from light green to dark (almost black) green.

Common places it grows

There are no specific areas where it grows as this color variety can appear anywhere.

Common green mold species

Many species can be green, but some common ones are Penicillium, Aspergillus (can sometimes be blue), and Cladosporium (can also be black).

Black mold

People often panic when they find the black variety because most will assume it is Stachybotrys chartarum. However, this is rarely the case as there are thousands of species that are black, with many of them being mostly harmless. If a black mold starts to appear after water/flood damage, then there is a higher chance of it being Stachybotrys chartarum. If this is the case, it might be best to call in a remedial expert to assess.

Common places it grows

There are no specific places it grows as it can appear anywhere indoors and outdoors.

Common species

It can be Aspergillus, Alternaria, Cladosporium, or in some cases, Stachybotrys chartarum – especially if it has a tint of green and started appearing after a flood.

Brown mold

The brown variety can be one of many types, but in most cases, they belong to the Cladosporium category. Those from the Cladosporium family are known to be toxic to humans, and prolonged exposure has been known to cause fungal meningitis (brain infections). They can vary between different shades of brown such as dark brown (almost black) to very light brown (almost white).

Common places it grows

There are no specific places it grows as it can appear anywhere indoors or outdoors. However, it usually thrives in places that are always damp, such as laundry rooms, bathrooms, kitchen areas, and basements.

Common species

Most of the time, they belong to the Cladosporium group.

Yellow mold

If it’s yellow chances are high of it being aspergillus – a common variety which can also appear to be black or green. Most people inhale these spores each day, and it doesn’t cause any serious health implications unless the person has a weak immune system or a pre-existing lung problem. Prolonged exposure in healthy individuals would merely trigger allergic reactions while it can cause more severe problems in health compromised individuals. Another possible type could be serpula lacrymans, which is often referred to as ‘house eating mold.’ It got its name from the fact that it deteriorates houses – especially wooden structures.

Common places it grows

If aspergillus, it can be found any place, but if serpula lacrymans, then it’s most likely found in attics where there is a lot of wood.

Common yellow species

Most of the time, it is aspergillus or serpula lacrymans.

Red mold

The vast majority of red fungi are harmless, and identifying the species by color alone is not possible as there are too many possible types. Most of these varieties produce no toxins, but it can trigger allergic reactions in susceptible people. Most of the red types are robust species, as they are commonly found thriving in severe conditions both indoors and outdoors. Luckily because of its color, it’s very easily noticeable.

Common places it grows

There are no specific places it prefers since it can be found outside on rotten wood and decomposing plants. As well as indoors on drywall, carpets, bathrooms, etc.

Common red mold species

There are a large variety of these species – some of which include Neurospora and Monascus purpureus.

Orange mold

The orange type is mostly found outdoors growing on plants and trees, but some varieties are common indoors too. Some species produce toxins while others do not, so it’s impossible to tell whether or not it’s toxic without the help of a testing kit.

Common places it grows

If outdoors, it can be found on rotting wood and in some cases, even healthy flowers. Indoors it can be found anywhere where it’s damp and hot. It’s also commonly found growing on clothes, fabrics, and old food.

Common species

Some of the most common species include penicillium and epicoccum nigrum.

More Information

The dangers of black mold

The most common types of household mold

How to accurately determine mold species