Is Black Mold Dangerous? – The Ultimate Guide to Black Mold

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Finding black mold can be frightening! What is it? How long has it been there? How do you get rid of it? Is black mold dangerous? We answer all these questions and more here, because we’re real mold removal professionals. We’re Cleaner Guys. This is your ultimate guide to everything you need to know about black mold in a five-minute read.

Table of Contents

Is Black Mold Dangerous?

All black-colored mold is bad for your health, but most species of black-colored mold are not dangerous. However, certain species can be very dangerous. There are many different species of molds, and some of them can be black in color, but with most of them, mold sickness symptoms are mild to nonexistent. However, there is one species of black mold that is considered toxic and dangerous.

Types of Black Mold

Common types of non-toxic molds that can be black in color include Cladosporium, Aspergillus, Aureobasidium, Alternaria, Stemphylium, Ulocladium, and more. These molds are not considered toxic, but all molds release spores into the air, and any mold spores can cause you to contract mold sickness symptoms. Most symptoms are mild, and they don’t even appear in all individuals exposed to mold (see next section). However, since mold is not good for anyone’s health, it should still be removed right away, even if it’s not a toxic species.

The species of black mold that is considered toxic and dangerous is Stachybotrys chartarum. It can also sometimes be dark green. Most molds don’t release mycotoxins, but this species does, and it can cause much more severe reactions than the typical mold sickness symptoms (see next section), including rashes and allergic reactions. If an individual is exposed to Stachybotrys chartarum for a long time with no protective equipment, this mold can cause nausea, vomiting, bleeding in the lungs, neurotoxic effects, and even internal or external hemorrhaging.

Thankfully, this species of mold is not as common, and it tends to grow in hidden spaces like attics, because it needs steady moisture for at least 72 hours to grow. In our experience, when water damage like leaks or flooding occurs elsewhere in a building, it is usually noticed and addressed much sooner than 72 hours, and so the risk of this toxic species of mold growing is minimal. However, since most laypeople do not know how to identify mold species by sight, if you see any kind of mold, it is best to stay far away from it and call professional mold removers immediately.

A few different kinds of mold that can be black in color, as well as Stachybotrys chartarum, the toxic black mold.

Mold Sickness Symptoms

Thankfully, most species of mold do not cause such severe and dangerous reactions in most people. For the vast majority of people, normal mold sickness symptoms usually present as a respiratory illness. This is because mold sickness is caused by exposure to or inhalation of mold spores. Some individuals may not ever experience any symptoms, despite being exposed to mold. According to the CDC, the following are common mold sickness symptoms.

  • A persistently congested or runny nose
  • Unusual amounts of wheezing and coughing
  • Red or itchy eyes and/or skin
  • Persistent headaches (particularly if you don’t have a history of headaches)
  • Trouble sleeping (especially if you don’t have a history of insomnia)
  • Severe reactions can escalate to fever, shortness of breath, and even severe allergic reactions

It is crucial to note that individuals whose health is already compromised can have severe reactions to any type of mold. If you or a loved one suffers from any disease that lowers immune response, or any kind of respiratory illness, such as asthma, you should remove this individual from the building infested with mold immediately. Infants and the elderly are also more at risk of developing mold sickness, because their immune systems are compromised or not fully developed. They should be immediately removed form any building where mold is discovered.

Is it Safe to Live in a House with Black Mold?

Staying in a building infested with mold is generally not advisable. While it may only cause minor symptoms for some, or none at all, it may cause severe and dangerous reactions in others. You should take mold infestation very seriously, and get it removed immediately.

If for some reason you are not able to stay somewhere else while you’re waiting for the mold to be removed, the best thing to do is to at least wear an N-95 mask while you’re in the building. Purchase N-95 masks online, at any hardware store, or at your nearest Walmart. In the event that you cannot stay out of the building while the mold is being removed, try to stay completely out of whatever room(s) are infested with mold. If it’s in your bedroom, sleep in a different room. If it’s in the bathroom, use a different bathroom if possible.

Is it Safe to Clean Black Mold Yourself?

We strongly discourage you from attempting to clean black mold yourself. The biggest reason is that you can’t be certain that the black mold on your property is not a toxic species of black mold. Your health could be at serious risk if you attempt to clean a toxic black mold on your own. We here at Cleaner Guys have arrived at many mold removal jobs that were made worse by the property owner attempting to clean it themselves before calling us.

Another reason not to attempt cleaning the mold yourself is that most home remedies do not work well on mold. If the mold is only a tiny patch, less than 1 square foot, AND it’s not black mold, you could attempt to soak it and scrub it with vinegar. However, in our professional experience, vinegar is usually not 100% effective against mold. It does not penetrate deeply enough to reach all of it unless the mold growth is extremely small.

We do not recommend that you try to use bleach to clean mold at all. Some publications on the internet say that bleach can be used to kill mold, but they are not mold removal professionals like we are. We never use bleach against mold. Click here to learn all the reasons why.

does bleach kill mold?

What Should I Do if I Find Black Mold?

The first thing you should do if you discover black mold is call a mold inspection and removal company. As previously mentioned, there are species of black mold that are extremely toxic, and since you can’t tell whether your black mold is the toxic kind or not, you should not attempt to clean it yourself, but instead immediately call professional mold experts to take care of it.

Wondering how to choose a good, trustworthy mold removal company? Read our guide about how to pick a good one here.

Do you want to know what to expect once you’ve called a mold removal company? What will they do, how long will they be there, and what’s expected of you? Check out our layman’s guide to the mold removal process here!

How to Prevent Black Mold Growth in the Future

  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. If you live in a rental home or apartment, alert your landlord about leaks and damaged window sealings immediately, pressing them about it as necessary. If you own your home or business, it’s up to you to stay on top of any plumbing issues and leaks.
  3. 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.
  4. Regular Cleaning. Mold feeds on organic materials like dust and crumbs. Cleaning all those away makes your home more inhospitable to mold.

If You Need Black Mold Removal in Western Washington State

If you need black mold removal in Western Washington State, we highly encourage you to talk to Cleaner Guys about it! Cleaner Guys is the only mold remediation company in the area that boasts award-winning customer service, and we pride ourselves on our honest prices and our high standards of workmanship. Give us a call today with the number in the menu at the top of your screen, or contact us on our contact page.

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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