How Long Can Mold Spores Stay In The Air?
Posted in Mold, on August 03, 2021
Mold is always present in our environments, but it becomes a problem when it begins to grow indoors and affects indoor air quality. One of the most common questions asked at SafeAir is about mold spores and how long they can remain airborne. The answer might be surprising — mold spores can stay airborne indefinitely, making mold inspection in Toronto one of the best tools for early detection and eradication.
When Do Mold Spores Become Airborne?
Before we talk about how spores become airborne, let’s focus on what a mold spore is. Mold is made up of hyphae, a branching network of roots that make up the main body of a mold infestation. To reproduce, the outermost hyphae release tiny cells, called spores, that are lightweight and easy to brush or blow off. These spores are what cause the bulk of mold allergies and health effects.
Spores are easily picked up by air currently, animals, or other physical objects that brush past or come into contact with them. This contact enables the spores to spread and create new mold colonies.
In our homes, spores become airborne when we try to clean up mold or disturb it in some way. Most molds are trigger happy, and any minor disturbance will cause them to release their spores. This is a great survival trick, but not when we’re talking about the bathroom or attic. Mould’s sensitivity to disturbance is why the team at SafeAir strongly recommends regular mold testing or indoor air quality tests — catching mold early is the best way to prevent large infestations and reduce spore concentration.
How to Detect Mold Growth in Your Home
To spot a mold infestation in your home, you first need to know what mold looks like. Mold is:
- coloured (such as brown, black, green, blue, red, pink, or white)
- textured (fuzzy, slick, slimy, or velvety)
- scented (musty or damp)
These three characteristics are easy to spot — the trouble is, mold doesn’t always grow out in the open, which can make it extremely difficult to detect even if you’re paying close attention. At SafeAir, we recommend professional mold inspection in Toronto to ensure that all hidden and visible mold infestations are detected. We often find small visible patches of mold growth lead to much larger hidden infestations, and treating only the visible portions leaves the main bulk of the mold growth healthy, which results in repeated infestations that cause stress, expense, and damage. Mold testing locates these hidden colonies, helping you eradicate ALL of the mold and not just what you can see.
Mold can grow anywhere in your home, but at SafeAir, we most commonly find mold growing in the:
- Around windows and exterior doors
How to Get Mold Spores out of the Air
Once the mold is disturbed and the spores have become airborne, what can you do to reduce your risk? There are several straightforward solutions to this problem.
Open the windows and ventilate. If the season is right, increase ventilation indoors by opening your windows and doors to invite fresh air in. Fresh air helps flush out any airborne spores and improve your overall indoor air quality.
Turn on fans. If you have fans in your kitchen or bathroom, turn them on to help whisk moisture away and get air moving. Just ensure that these fans are routed outdoors and don’t end in the attic — this is often the cause of attic mold problems!
Install a HEPA filter. Specialized filters designed to catch small particles like mold are a great asset to indoor air quality. HEPA filtration systems can be added to some HVAC systems or come as stand-alone units or as part of cleaning equipment, like vacuums.
Clean regularly. While mopping, dusting, and general tidiness won’t help reduce airborne spores, it will help eliminate spores that have settled or become caught on clothing, furniture, or other household items. Pay close attention to textiles and carpets!
Control your humidity. Mold thrives in moist, humid environments, so paying attention to your indoor humidity levels can help stop mold growth — which directly prevents spores.
Preventing and eliminating mold spores improves indoor air quality, leading to better respiratory health, deeper sleep, and cognitive benefits, like greater concentration. Mold testing in Toronto is only one aspect of the comprehensive indoor air quality testing we do at SafeAir. Using professional-grade tools and testing equipment, our team can detect mold, VOCs, particulates, radon gas, lead, asbestos, and other common indoor air pollutants that lead to adverse health effects. If you’re concerned about indoor mold growth affecting your home, reach out to our team for a free consultation or book a mold inspection in Toronto.