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Black Mold vs. Regular Mold: What They Are and How to Prevent Them

October 16, 2023

There are many different types of mold, and any mold in your home should be removed. However, black mold can be particularly distressing for homeowners to see, and that’s understandable. When comparing black mold vs. regular mold, the main factor to recognize is that black mold can have more serious negative consequences to your health and to the structure of your home.

Black Mold vs. Regular Mold: What is the Difference?

You may be wondering, “What is black mold? Is it literally black? What does black mold smell like? What does it look like? And what’s the issue with black mold vs. regular mold?”

Black mold is a specific type of mold called Stachybotrys chartarum. Like other types of mold, it usually grows in damp environments, and it is typically black, brown or dark green. Other types of mold appear in varying colors, including green, yellow, brown and gray.

Black mold has a very musty, earthy scent, which people have described as rotting leaves, wet cedar or mud. Homeowners who have experienced significant black mold infestations have reported being unable to enter the home due to the pungent odor.

Many types of mold can cause respiratory illnesses and allergic reactions, including a runny nose, a dry cough, skin rashes, a sore throat, sinusitis, wheezing and red, watery eyes. However, black mold is notorious due to greater health-related concerns. Certain types of black mold are more toxic than regular mold due to the potential release of mycotoxins, which have been linked to serious health problems. One particular health concern is that of mycotoxicosis, also known as “mold poisoning,” although the relationship between the condition and contact with mold needs further research to be validated.

Black mold also tends to spread very quickly. In fact, homeowners who have experienced flooding or leaks have noticed the smell of black mold in their homes just a day later and have seen the black mold within a few days. However, because mold grows in humid areas – such as in crawl spaces, under surfaces in the bathroom and in basements and attics – locating the source of the mold growth can be challenging. In many cases, resolving the issue requires ripping out and replacing surfaces or structures that the black mold has infested.

A contractor wearing protective equipment works to clear mold on a wall. Telltale signs of black mold vs. regular mold include the dark color and musty scent.
If you are curious about black mold vs. regular mold, telltale signs of black mold include the earthy scent and the dark color of the fungus. Black mold also spreads and can damage structures very quickly.

Mold Prevention and Remediation Tips

Being proactive to prevent mold growth in the first place is essential in any home. Following are several tips for mold prevention and remediation:

  • If you have experienced flooding or leaks in your home, clean up and dry out the home quickly – within a couple days. Then, be sure to remove and replace any drywall, ceiling tiles, carpets and upholstery that have been soaked.
  • Keep humidity levels in your home as low as possible. Buying a dehumidifier may help, and meters that gauge the humidity level in your home are available in stores.
  • Use exhaust fans in the bathroom and kitchen, or open the windows when you are using the spaces.
  • Make sure your clothes dryer vents outside your home.
  • Fix leaks and plumbing problems promptly.
  • Clean bathrooms with mold-killing products.

Some types of surface mold or mildew can be removed via basic household cleaning methods, but black mold tends to dig deep into surfaces, especially if it has impacted a surface for a long time. Coming into contact with any type of mold, especially black mold, can irritate your skin, eyes and respiratory system, so trying to remediate the issue on your own can be dangerous without the proper equipment and safety procedures.

For these reasons, if you are seeing or smelling black mold in your home, it’s important to contact a professional mold removal company. The experts can identify the source of the mold, determine what kind of mold it is and fix the problem safely.

Contact us to learn more about black mold vs. regular mold, for mold remediation or to schedule an inspection. We are here to help.