What Happens If You Touch Black Mold? Everything You Need to Know

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Did you accidentally touch black mold, and now you’re worriedly Googling “what happens if you touch black mold”? Have you spotted black mold, and you want to know if it’s safe to touch it? Maybe a loved one touched it, and you want to know if anything will happen to them (don’t worry, they won’t grow purple warts or anything).

In this 5-minute-read article, you’ll learn what you need to know, from real professional mold removal experts. We deal with black mold every day, and we’re going to give you the rundown on what you need to know.

Table of Contents

What Happens if You Touch Black Mold With Your Hands?

In our experience as mold removal professionals of 20+ years, direct contact between black mold and your skin does not usually cause harm. Some people may develop some skin irritation, but this is not all that common. This is backed up by the United States EPA.

None of our team has ever experienced skin irritation or rashes from the mold we deal with, but according to, the best remedies to try while you wait for any skin irritation to subside include antihistamines like Benadryl, and applying moisturizer, aloe vera, or an oatmeal bath to help reduce any itchiness or swelling. But again, skin irritation from contact with mold is not that common.

You’ll learn a few sections further down what to do if mold touches your skin.

Learn about what you trigger when you touch mold here.

Can You Get Sick from Touching Black Mold?

Yes, you can get sick from touching black mold. Not everyone experiences black mold sickness, however. Only some are sensitive to it. Symptoms can vary from mild to severe, as with any illness or allergy. For example, we here at Cleaner Guys, we have had a couple of team members who had slight mold allergies. Their symptoms were so light, however, that they chose to work with us anyway, and found that by wearing gloves and a mask, they were fine to do our professional mold removal work. However, others have much more severe reactions that are not so easily tamed.

How Long Does it Take to Get Sick From Black Mold Exposure?

Getting sick from black mold exposure can take anywhere from hours to days to weeks, in our experience. It largely depends on the amount of mold exposure. If you get very close to a lot of black mold, and you touch it a lot, you may experience skin irritation or mold sickness symptoms within hours. However, if the black mold is hidden and undiscovered for weeks, and it spreads slowly, you may notice very gradual mold sickness symptoms that won’t go away.

Discover the most common places mold hides here.

What Are Signs of Mold Sickness?

Knowing how to recognize the signs of black mold sickness is something everyone should know, because just about everyone lives inside buildings that can get mold growth in them. The symptoms usually present like a cold, with a couple significant differences.

Learn about all the symptoms of mold sickness here.

What to Do After Touching Black Mold

If you did touch black mold with your bare hand, wash your hands immediately with soap and water. Keep an eye on the area of skin that touched it for the next 24 hours to see if you develop any irritation.

If you do, as mentioned above, it is recommended to try antihistamines like Benadryl, applying moisturizer, aloe vera, or an oatmeal bath to help reduce any itchiness or swelling.

What Does Harmless Black Mold Look Like?

Because anyone can potentially get mold sickness or skin irritation from touching or inhaling black mold, there is no “harmless” black mold. However, there is a type of fungi that appears to be dangerous black mold, but that isn’t black mold at all. It’s called mildew.

Is it Mold, or is it Mildew?

Mildew is also a type of mold, and it is usually black or brow, which means it IS technically “black mold”. However, it has several different features that make it distinctly different from the black mold usually found growing in places like garages, back rooms, inside sink cupboards, and the like.

You should still wash your hands immediately if you touch mildew, but because it’s not the same as the black mold we’ve been talking about so far, it is less likely to cause you any harm.

Mildew is also easier to clean off! Learn more about all the ways mold and mildew are different here.

black mold or mildew -- it makes a difference when you're asking what happens if you touch black mold
(Left image: actual Cleaner Guys job. Right image: iStock/Ileerogers)

What Do You Do Now?

Click the links below to figure out what you should do next!

If you found black mold in an apartment, read this.

Homeowners who have found black mold in your house, read this.

How do you clean up the black mold you found? Read this.

How do you find a trustworthy mold removal company? Learn how here.

Here are some things you can do to prevent mold during fall and winter.

If You Need Black Mold Removal in Mount Vernon WA

If you are anywhere north of Seattle in Western Washington State, consider Cleaner Guys as one of the wisest and most affordable choices for professional mold inspection and professional mold removal.

We’re a local restoration company, and we’ve risen to be one of the most popular and well-loved in the area, because of our award-winning customer service, our commitment to better prices than the other companies, and our high standards for quality work and professionalism.

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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