What is orange mould?
Orange mould is easily distinguishable from its bright orange colour and can work its way into the home wherever there is a high level of moisture. As an organism, it is a part of Kingdom Protista, which means it’s not technically a fungus – with its only distinction being its cellular-level organisation. Nonetheless, orange mould shares many of the similar properties to fungi-grouped moulds and also thrives in water-based environments.
Rather than having a powdery or fuzzy texture like most other common moulds, orange mould is slimy, wet and often appears lumpy. If you find orange mould in your home, be careful not to aggravate it too much to avoid releasing black spores into the air. If you need to touch it, make sure you are wearing protective gloves, however it should be easily identifiable from a visual examination.
Are there different types of orange mould?
Yes. There are several strains of mould that are orange in appearance. The most common strains include:
Acremonium: Can also appear white, grey, pink or orange and is known to have a powdery texture. Acremonium is commonly found in drywall and insulation and can be toxic if ingested and be dangerous for those with weak immune systems.
Fuligo Septica: This strain can appear slimy and very similar to vomit and is often found outdoors growing on wood or in mulch. It is known to trigger allergic reactions, however, is not considered severely dangerous.
Trichia Varia: Is known to be slimy in appearance and is commonly found on wet, decaying trees.
Where can orange mould grow?
Orange mould can be found both inside and outside the home, usually finding its way onto overly moist wood, in the bathroom or even on the walls. It can also be found on food with high water content such as lemons or limes.
Shower and bathroom
Your bathroom and shower can be a natural breeding ground for any kind of mould due to its high moisture levels, especially in bathrooms with inadequate ventilation. Commonly, orange mould can grow from leftover soap residual in the showers and sink basins if these areas are not cleaned regularly or thoroughly.
Orange mould is also found in bathrooms that have exposure to weather with a high amount of acidity or mineral content (also known as hard water) which can easily attract mould growth. In these cases, orange mould is usually found within the drains.
Another area where orange mould has been known to grow is in the toilet bowl. This will usually occur after a buildup of bacteria over time if the toilet does not flush properly or regularly, causing an orange stain in the toilet bowl.
Wood with high exposure to water or moisture can develop orange mould, especially in outdoor wooden structures with overexposure to rainfall. While orange mould usually appears in wood and wooden structures outside the home, it can also be found in the home, including behind the walls after water damage or flooding.
If found outside, orange mould may appear slimy or sometimes “vomit-like” and is not usually considered dangerous. If found in large amounts it can tend to suffocate plants and will weaken structures as the mould begins to spread and is left untreated.
If orange mould is growing in large amounts throughout wood and wooden structures around the home, it’s important not to come into regular contact with it if you suffer from allergies or respiratory issues.
Food kept in a moist environment is the ideal environment for mould to grow, especially in food with higher amounts of moisture, such as fruits, bread, yoghurt and cheese. If you find orange mould growing on your food, you should throw it away in its entirety.
How to remove orange mould
Depending on the size and severity of the mould, there are a number of ways that you can attempt to remove it. Common household solutions include:
Vinegar: In a 500ml spray bottle, mix 250mL of vinegar and 250ml (1:1 ratio), shake well, spray onto the mould and let sit for at least 10 minutes before scrubbing it off.
Hydrogen Peroxide: In a 500ml spray bottle mix 125ml of hydrogen peroxide and 375ml of water (1:3 ratio), spray onto the mould and let sit for 10-15 minutes.
If attempting these removal methods, make sure you wear protective gear, including gloves and mask to avoid contact and breathing in the fumes.
How to prevent orange mould
There are also a number of ways to prevent orange mould from growing in or around your home:
- Clean and dry shower and bathroom regularly
- Clean out your fridge and remove any old food
- Flush and clean toilet regularly (repeat if necessary)
- Invest in a water softening filter for drainage
If orange mould is recurring in your home or you are unsure of its severity it is recommended that you seek out professional treatment for a safe and long term solution.
Can orange mould affect your health?
While in small amounts orange mould is not considered dangerous, if left untreated for an extended period of time, orange mould can increase its chances of becoming a health risk.
Because there is a large variety of orange mould species, its strains can be difficult to identify from a visual inspection. With this being said, some strains are more dangerous than others, so if you are unsure it is recommended to seek out a professional service to conduct an inspection.
Because orange mould likes dark and damp places, it is more likely larger than it appears and is an indication of its severity. Orange mould may be dangerous in large volumes, so if you find there is an infestation it is best to seek out a professional. If you can only see spotting on a windowsill, on the other hand, it is not considered harmful and can be removed while wearing protective masks and gloves.
Orange mould can release black spores that can be harmful to anyone who breathes it over time and can have a more serious effect on children due to their developing immune systems. Overexposure to orange mould can also disrupt the overall air quality and can cause severe reactions to those with allergies and respiratory issues. This can include:
- Allergic reactions
- Eye irritations
- Coughing or sneezing
- Rashes or inflammation
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms after coming into contact with orange mould, please see your GP or healthcare professional for further advice. It is also recommended to seek out a professional mould removalist for a long-term solution plan.
When to Call a Mould Removal Professional?
Whether it’s in your bathroom or in the walls, orange mould can be an inconvenience at the best of times and if left untreated can become a serious health risk.
If you are afraid of mould becoming a problem in your home and are looking for a long-term solution, be sure to call upon a professional team to help you. The MouldMen team will inspect, treat, and provide you with a Mould Management and Prevention Plan to ensure that your home is kept safe and free from mould. Call us on 1300 60 59 60 or click on the link below to book your free inspection today.