Finding mould in the home or property can be an inconvenience, however, there are some strains of mould that are considerably more dangerous than others. Black mould (or toxic black mould) is considered to be one of the most toxic moulds found around any property and is known to cause respiratory discomfort and further serious health problems.

If you find evidence of black mould, it is imperative you seek out a professional mould removal specialist immediately for an inspection. Below is more information about what black mould is, the climates it thrives in, and what to do if you find black mould.

What is black mould? 

Also known as Stachybotrys Chartarum, toxic black mould is a fungus and a living organism that works to break down organic matter by releasing spores. Black mould is also known to grow and spread on damp, moist surfaces or areas that have been exposed to water damage, inadequate ventilation, or naturally high moisture levels. 

With a greenish-black appearance, black mould spores can travel airborne throughout the home and around the property, finding its way into carpets, ceilings, and tiles. The spores have the ability to release mycotoxins, causing a burning discomfort in the mouth, throat, and sinuses while overexposure can lead to more serious health concerns. Black mould is also usually associated with a lingering musty smell which can be present even if you cannot visibly see the mould. 

Where can you find black mould?

Toxic black mould thrives in warm, moist environments or damp areas that have either been subject to water damage or have naturally high levels of moisture. Because black mould spores can travel airborne, black mould can easily spread and grow around the house and property if left unnoticed or untreated. Because black mould can begin to spread within 48 hours, it can be difficult to eradicate without the assistance of a professional mould removal specialist. 

Here are a few common areas black mould can be found in: 

Black mould in the bathroom

Finding black mould in the bathroom can be common because of its high levels of moisture and condensation build up, especially in bathrooms with inadequate ventilation. Mould is usually found in between bathroom tiles in the shower, around the bath, or even spread to the shower curtain.

 It can often appear as a discolouration at first. Black mould is also difficult to remove and can reappear without proper professional treatment. If left untreated, black mould can also easily spread up the bathroom walls and on the ceiling. 

Black mould in the kitchen 

Kitchen areas have higher levels of humidity caused by cooking, washing dishes and running appliances. Without adequate ventilation black mould can grow due to a build up of condensation. It will usually be found around the taps or sink, in or on kitchen appliances, surface areas, windowsills, or behind cupboards. 

Black mould can begin to grow in kitchens when there has been a spill or a result of a larger problem such as plumbing issues or water damage. 

Black Mould in ceilings

Ceilings are the perfect conditions for black mould to spread for a number of reasons, mostly due to their susceptibility of exposure to leaking roofs and overall inadequate ventilation. Because of this, ceilings can naturally accumulate old, warm air, creating an ideal environment for black mould to grow and spread.  

Black mould in fabric 

Fabrics naturally absorb moisture from its surrounding environment and are often found in areas without adequate ventilation such as wardrobes and cupboards. Because its spores can easily travel around the home, fabrics create an ideal environment for black mould to grow and spread. 

Black mould in carpet 

Carpets tend to hold onto dust and moisture making it a common place for black mould to grow, especially in dark, damp areas with inadequate ventilation and above average humidity. If you suspect your carpet contains black mould, it is recommended to seek out the assistance of a professional mould removal service for an inspection.  

Can black mould cause health problems?

Toxic black mould is known to release mycotoxin spores into the air, allowing them to linger and travel airborne around the home or property. When inhaled, these spores can cause respiratory discomfort in the upper tract and cause more serious health problems for those with existing respiratory issues, children and the elderly. Some common symptoms of inhaling black mould spores may include: 

  • Headaches 
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Dizziness
  • Fever 

In more severe cases, black mould can also cause: 

  • Vomiting 
  • Nausea 
  • Respiratory complications 

If left untreated, black mould exposure can also cause black mould poisoning, known to cause a burning sensation in the throat and nasal passages. 

Black mould is one of the most dangerous mould strains that can spread throughout the home or property, and its greenish-black colour can make it easy to misidentify it with other mould strains. If you have found black mould, it will likely be the result of a bigger problem so it is recommended that you seek out the assistance of a professional mould removal specialist.  

Can black mould cause chest infections? 

Although digesting mould can cause infections, black mould is not usually associated with lung function and there are no studies that link toxic black mould to the onset of chest infections. 

Overexposure to black mould if left untreated, on the other hand, will disrupt overall air quality and can heighten the risk of developing or worsening health problems. This is especially the case for those with pre-existing respiratory conditions or weak immune systems and can include the onset of allergy or asthma symptoms. 

Children and the elderly are also at a higher risk of developing more severe symptoms of black mould exposure so it’s important to avoid any areas of the home or property where it appears. If you are experiencing symptoms of mould exposure, seek out the services of a professional mould removal specialist for an inspection. 

How to get rid of black mould naturally? 

Because of its toxic spores, removing large areas of black mould is not advisable. However, for small spot removal, there are a few natural remedies to remove black mould: 

Baking Soda: In a 250ml measuring cup, mix 125ml baking soda with 62ml white vinegar and 62ml water (2:1:1 ratio) to make a thick paste. Spread the paste onto the mould affected area and allow to dry. Scrub off any mould or stains and wipe down with a wet cloth to remove tough or stubborn mould growth. 

Vinegar: Using a spray bottle, apply undiluted vinegar on to the mould affected area and allow to sit for one hour. Wipe the area clean with a wet cloth and allow the surface to dry. 

It is very difficult to permanently remove black mould using natural remedies. If attempting spot removal, ensure that you are wearing protective gloves and a face mask. 

Attempting to remove black mould without a professional is not recommended and can lead to a disruption of spores being released around the home or property, respiratory discomfort and eye/skin irritations. If you believe you have an infestation of black mould in your home or property, contact a professional mould removal specialist for an inspection.

How to prevent black mould 

Black mould relies on moisture to grow and spread. Here are some of the most effective ways to prevent black mould from growing and spreading around your home and property: 

  • Using a dehumidifier, especially in above average humidity climates 
  • Ensure your bathroom is well ventilated 
  • Keep all areas of the home dry 
  • Circulate the air regularly, especially in dark, naturally damp areas 
  • Clean and dry any flooding, spills or water damage promptly
  • Regularly clean out external drainage, guttering, downpipes and eaves 
  • Fix any leaking or plumbing problems promptly

When to call in a mould removal professional? 

Black mould can cause serious health problems and is known to be toxic if left untreated for an extended period of time. If you come across black mould growing in your property, it is important to begin taking action immediately to eradicate it completely to avoid infestation and larger problems arising. 

If you are afraid of mould becoming a problem in your home or property 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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