Whether it’s on your clothes, in your bathroom or around your windows, mould can be an inconvenience at the best of times. While mould is not always considered dangerous, in excess it can have negative impacts on those who suffer from respiratory issues, and can pose a risk to infants and elderly people. 

Understanding the causes of mould is the first step into seeking treatment and to take action to prevent mould from growing where it’s not welcome. Let’s take a look at what mould is, and what is most likely to cause it: 

What are the different types of mould? 

Mould is a fungal organism that grows and spreads in and around areas of moisture and humidity. While they have an important place in our ecosystem, having mould indoors can cause problems to the air quality around the home. Mould will usually find areas of high moisture, lack of light and inadequate ventilation. From there, it can spread rapidly and be problematic if not taken care of. 

Mould can grow both indoors and outdoors depending on the humidity and overall weather conditions. The most common types of mould that can be found indoors include: 

Aspergillus: Green, grey, white with dark spots, Aspergillus is commonly found in bathrooms and window frames, accumulated dust and on plants and can very easily spread via airborne spores.

Alternaria: With a tendency to grow in fabrics, clothing, and wallpapers, this mould is fuzzy and white with small black spots and can also be found near windows, bathrooms and air-conditioners.

Aureobasidium: Aureobasidium is pink with black spots and is commonly found on wood, grout, and walls.

Cladosporium: This commonly grows on woods, carpets, and clothing and appears green, brown or black in colour. Cladosporium can spread in either warm and humid conditions or wet conditions such as floods and water damage.

Epicoccium: Found either outdoors in soil, or rotting vegetation, or indoors on building material such as paper or textiles. Can be known to cause allergy effects such as hay fever, skin allergies and asthma.

Fusarium: Very common in overly wet conditions and are usually found are dust in carpets, in wallpaper, damp walls and duct liner. Fusarium can cause potential allergy symptoms such as asthma effects and hay fever.

Memnoniella: Produces mycotoxin spores and is commonly found with Stachybotrys (toxic black mould). Is usually found in water damaged building materials such as wallpaper, textiles, paper and sheetrock.

Penicillium: Fuzzy, with a blue, green or yellow tinge, this mould commonly grows in wet conditions, under carpet, and even spoiled food. If you see an abundance of Penicillium around the home, you most likely have high and problematic moisture levels in the home.

Stachybotrys Chartarum (toxic black mould): This mould is green-black in appearance and is generally found in warm environments with a high amount of moisture, such as bathrooms or kitchens. It can also appear on paper, fiberboard or anything with a high cellulose content.

Torula: Usually found growing outdoors on leaves, rolls, wood and soil. When found inside it is commonly found on water damaged items such as paper, wicker,straw baskets and bathroom tiles. Torula is known to cause allergies such as asthma effects and hay fever.

Trichoderma: This mould finds its way on wood, windows and areas of high moisture content and is creamy-white in appearance, turning green when its spores are released. 

What are the signs of mould? 

Mould tends to expand quite rapidly so it can be very easy to recognise unless it is growing in hidden areas or out of plain sight. Depending on its species, mould can vary in colours, sometimes appearing white, grey, black, pink or green and can also look fuzzy or powdery. 

While mould around the house can be easy enough to identify, when mould is suspected on clothing, there are a few ways to make its distinction: 

  • It carries a musty smell 
  • The clothing is kept in a place away from light 
  • Is kept near a source of water or high moisture level
  • It expands or moves in size 

Causes of mould 

While there are a variety of mould types and areas that it likes to grow, mould needs moisture to thrive. Here are a few examples of what can cause mould to grow and spread

Water damages and floods 

Flooding, high levels of moisture exposure or excess water damage is the most common cause for mould growth. If your home is prone to moisture or seasonal flooding, this can also quickly turn into a breeding ground for mould to fester. Mould can quickly affect water damaged areas such as: 

  • Attic/roof spaces 
  • Basements 
  • Between walls 
  • Small nooks 
  • Garages 
  • Carpet/Underlay
  • Skirting boards
  • Concrete floors

Mould can also be caused by water damage and flooding caused by plumbing issues such as leaking, blocked drains and blocked gutters. If these issues are not fixed promptly then mould will begin to grow rapidly and become harder to eradicate. 

High humidity levels  

Mould is also common in highly humid regions. In areas where naturally high humidity levels are common, it can be difficult to control the amount of moisture in the air. Even in areas that have access to plenty of natural light and air circulation, if there is a high moisture content in the air, it can cause mould to grow around the home and on your clothing. 

In this case, purchasing a dehumidifier will help reduce overall moisture levels in the air. Be sure to regularly empty the excess water tank to prevent mould from growing in the device. 

Bathrooms and Kitchens

Areas such as the bathroom and kitchen are the most prone for mould to grow because both areas tend to have high levels of moisture and steam circulating around the space. If there is little ventilation in these areas, it can quickly turn into the perfect condition for mould to grow and spread. 

Because there is frequent build up of condensation within the bathroom or kitchen areas, it creates an easy space to cause mould. Making sure there is plenty of ventilation and air circulation within the space will help regulate the air flow and prevent moisture building up in the area. This can be done by opening a window to let the air escape or using ventilation systems or exhaust fans to stop the moisture from circulating around the space. 

Can mould affect your health? 

Mould can affect people differently depending on their pre-existing health conditions. Commonly, symptoms of breathing in mould include: 

  • Eye irritations 
  • Allergic reactions 
  • Headaches 
  • Dizziness 
  • Coughing or sneezing 
  • Skin rashes 

Those with underlying health conditions such as allergies, asthma, cystic fibrosis, can suffer from more serious symptoms. If you are experiencing severe reactions to mould exposure, please contact your GP or healthcare professional. 

When to Call a Mould Removal Professional? 

Understanding what causes mould to grow is the first step to working towards its removal, management and prevention, so it’s important to know what to do to help stop mould from spreading around your home. 

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. 

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