Mold spores: What you need to know

Mold spores in a petri dish

Mold spores are tiny microscopic seeds which mold releases into the air for purposes of colonizing other areas. If mold is present in our homes there will be a much higher than average mold spore count in our living environments and not only does this cause mold to spread but when breathed in can cause a range of allergic and other health related issues. Here we will discuss the dangers of mycotoxins, how to detect them, kill them and remove them from your home or work environment.

Topics covered
  • What are mycotoxins?
  • How to detect them
  • How small are they?
  • How to kill mold spores
  • How to remove mold spores

What are mycotoxins?

Not all types of mold spores are equal. Some trigger mere allergic reactions while others, such as mycotoxins, pose a far greater long term health risk. The interesting thing about this particular variety is that the type of substance toxic mold grows on determines whether or not it produces these toxins. We will be looking at the two most dangerous varieties of mycotoxins in the next section.

Trichothecene: A known immune system suppressant commonly produced by both the Stachybotrys chartarum and Fusarium species. Interestingly, the T-2 varieties of trichothecene has been used as biological warfare weapons.

Aflotoxins: The highly toxic and carcinogenic aflotoxin mycotoxins is mostly produced by the Aspergillus mold species. Not only do these aflotoxins pose a major health threat in our homes but also to our food crops as can be seen here on the World Health Organization website.

How to detect them

If your allergies flare up when at home or in a certain part of your house then that’s usually a good indication that you have a hidden mold problem because spores have been released and now there are an above average amount floating around. One could do an airborne mold spore test with a test kit but they are usually unreliable. It’s not to say that mold test kits themselves are unreliable because the swab tests are very reliable on the quality kits, however the airborne spore tests aren’t.

The best thing to do in this scenario is to located the mold source. If unable it might be best to call in a professional mold remediation company to locate the source and and maybe even do the removal for you. Alternatively, use this guide to find hidden mold in your home.

How small are they?

Mold spores are on average 10 – 100 microns in size. It’s extremely small considering that 1 micron is a millionth of a meter. The chart below shows these spores in comparison to household dust, radioactive fallout, human hair and beach sand.

Mold spore size

How to kill mold spores

It’s important to know that killing mold spores only solves half the problem. Once dead they will be unable to colonize and grow into mold – however, they still cause the same health issues when breathed in. Therefore, removing excessive amounts from your living environment is just as essential if not even more so. First we will discuss the various methods of killing spores.

How to kill mold spores on non-porous surfaces: Bleach is an excellent disinfectant and does a great job at killing mold spores on non-porous surfaces such as counter tops, finished wood, tiles and toilets. Learn more on how to use bleach here.

How to kill mold spores on porous surfaces: Porous surfaces are problematic compared to non-porous surfaces because the microscopic spores infiltrate the surface area through tiny cracks and holes. Bleach won’t do the trick here because its chemical structure makes it unable to penetrate the surface. A different cleaning solution such as borax or white vinegar should be used in this scenario.

How to kill mold spores on clothes and fabrics: When it comes to clothes and fabrics simply wash it in the washing machine on the hot setting. Certain types of material cannot be washed on such a hot setting and if this is the case put it on the warm setting and add any of these cleaning solutions.

How to kill mold spores in hard to reach places and general areas: Hard to reach places can include the inside of vents, air conditioner units and attics while general areas are any open areas such as bedrooms or living rooms which have a higher than average mold spore count. A mold bomb fogger is ideal for both such places.

How to remove mold spores

So how do you get rid of something so microscopically small you cannot see? The answer is HEPA filtered devices. We will show you how to grab them out of the air and how to remove them from the surfaces they landed on.

How to remove airborne mold spores: Once airborne they become a real problem for people and pets because that is when they get breathed in and start wreaking havoc on our health. Fresh air circulation is vital but to effectively remove most of them you will need an air purifier. Not an ordinary one, instead only a high-efficiency particulate air purifier will do the trick because they have filters which remove contaminants up to 0,03 microns in size.

How to remove mold spores from surface areas: These contaminants can settle on any surface area such as carpets, bedding, clothes etc. A normal vacuum cleaner lacks the vacuuming power to suck most of them up and even those they do get will pass right through the system and be re-released into your home. A high-efficiency particulate air vacuum cleaner has the suction power and filters to capture these spores and prevent them from being re-released.

Pin It on Pinterest