Can Mold in an Apartment Make You Sick? Expert Answers

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As professional mold experts, we firmly believe that the only good place for mold is cheese. It’s definitely never welcome in apartments! We know how stressful it is to discover mold in your apartment. One of your first questions is surely “Can mold in an apartment make you sick?” We’ve written this article to answer that question from a professional mold expert perspective.

Table of Contents

Can Mold in an Apartment Make You Sick?

Yes, mold in an apartment can make you sick. However, not everyone is affected by mold sickness, and the symptoms can range widely from mild to severe. Some people experience no symptoms of mold sickness at all, while others can have strong allergic reactions to it. Signs of mold sickness can include persistent coughing and sneezing, a persistent runny nose, headaches, itchy eyes and skin, and more. How do you know whether these signs are mold sickness or just a cold? Read our extensive full article on mold sickness to learn all the details of what you should know.

Is Mold in an Apartment Dangerous?

Yes, mold in an apartment can be dangerous, but it usually isn’t. The majority of mold species are just allergenic. That means they can cause the sickness symptoms described in the previous section, but they aren’t dangerous. On the other hand, there are a couple of species of molds that are extremely dangerous. The most common is a toxic black mold called Stachybotrys chartarum. Prolonged exposure to this mold can cause vomiting, nose bleeding, hemorrhaging, and worse! We have a more extensive article here that covers all the details you need to know about toxic molds, and what to do if you find them.

How Do I Know if Mold in My Apartment Is Making Me Sick?

If you know there is mold in your apartment, and you get headaches, persistent nose running, or other allergy symptoms, it’s highly likely that the mold is causing the symptoms. But even if you know there is mold, and you don’t have any sickness symptoms, you should still get it removed as quickly as possible. Mold inhalation is not good for anyone’s health. It is mold inhalation that causes mold sickness. When mold starts to grow, it releases spores into the air, like little dandelion seeds, and breathing in a lot of those spores isn’t good for you.

Is It Bad to Live in an Apartment With Mold?

Living with mold is highly inadvisable. Even though most molds aren’t that dangerous, there’s no way for the average layperson to recognize the couple species of mold that are extremely toxic. Therefore, you should treat all mold as though it’s dangerous, and do your best to stay far away from it. If you can hire professional mold removers right away and stay somewhere else while they remove the mold, you should. However, if you’re not able to do so, at least try to stay out of the room that has mold, and get someone to clean it up as soon as you can.

Not sure how to figure out where to find a good trustworthy professional mold removal company? Check out our detailed walk-through guide on choosing the right company for you.

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Can I Clean Mold in My Apartment Myself?

If the moldy area is extremely small, you might be successful at removing it yourself. Vinegar can work on patches of mold smaller than 1 square foot, or on mildew, but its effectiveness diminishes the larger the mold area is. You can also try a fungicide on very small patches of mold. However, we strongly advise against using any kind of bleach on mold (learn why here).

If the mold covers an area larger than 1 square foot, we strongly recommend that you hire professionals to remove it. In our 20+ years of mold removal experience, our motto has become “However much mold you can see, there’s probably a lot more that you can’t see.” If the mold covers an area larger than about 1 square foot, it has probably spread much farther inside the walls. In such cases, the only way to 100% remove all the mold is to remove the drywall or wood entirely, and replace it with fresh material. You need professionals to do that effectively and safely.

How Do I Know If I Have Mold in My Apartment?

The most obvious sign of mold is visibility; if you see black, green, or brown spots on your walls, it’s almost certainly mold. If you can’t see any mold, but you suspect that there may be mold hidden somewhere, there are signs you can look for. Some of them include:

  • Musty, damp, or rotten odors
  • Mold sickness symptoms that aren’t going away
  • Bubbling, discolored, soft, or peeling drywall and paint

Read our extensive guide on all possible signs of hidden mold in an apartment here.

How to Prevent Mold in an Apartment

  1. Keep Indoor Humidity Low. We agree with the CDC’s recommendation to keep your indoor humidity ideally lower than 50%. You can achieve this either with proper ventilation or a dehumidifier. Remember: mold needs moisture to grow, so don’t give it any!
  2. Take Care of Leaks Immediately. They won’t go away on their own. Talk to your landlord immediately about any leaks, and press them until they fix it. If necessary, point out that they may have to pay for water and mold damage repair if they don’t fix it right away.
  3. Check behind and under large appliances regularly. Behind and under refrigerators and washing machines is one of the most common places we have to clean up mold. Pull them out and check at least every couple of months.
  4. Ventilation, ventilation, ventilation! Try to have some kind of airflow in every room. Ceiling fans, freestanding fans, and even opening a window will do. Stagnant air encourages mold growth.
  5. Regular Cleaning. Mold feeds on organic materials like dust and crumbs. Cleaning all those away makes your home more inhospitable to mold.

For much more detailed descriptions of these prevention steps (and more!), check out our full article on this subject.

Key Takeaways

In this article, you learned that yes, mold in an apartment can make you sick, but that it doesn’t affect everyone the same. You also learned that there are a couple species of very toxic molds, and we provided resources to learn more about those. We covered whether it’s safe to stay in an apartment with mold, whether you can clean the mold yourself, and how to recognize signs of hidden mold. We hope this article has answered some of your questions! If it has, feel free to leave us a comment below; we read all of them!

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. No part of this article is medical or legal advice, and may not be used as such. For all serious medical matters, consult your doctor. For all serious legal matters, consult your legal advisor. This article contains Cleaner Guys’ experience and opinions only.

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