Photo by Rhys Burnie
What is mold exactly?
Mold is a fungus, which means it is an organism different from any plant, animal, or bacteria. (See also: What is Mold?) A fungus is a group of organisms that produce spores and feed on organic matter. Mold, specifically, feeds on dead organic materials such as wood, dust, and dirt. This means that mold can grow on virtually any surface in the home, with common areas being hardwood floors, drywall, and tile grout.
Mold thrives in damp, warm places. It requires water to grow; without it, mold cannot survive. While this may make one look for mold only in obviously damp places, it can also pull moisture from the air, thriving in humid environments with about 60% humidity or higher. It also requires temperatures somewhere between 40 and 100 degrees fahrenheit. Being a fungus means that while these are the optimal conditions for mold’s survival, they are not the only ones. Mold spores can survive in harsh environments with varying temperatures and humidity while lying dormant waiting for better conditions to grow.
Different types of mold spread the same way – through the air. While a colony of mold can grow and expand in a place that it is already thriving, it can also spread to an entirely new area through sporing. Mold releases tiny spores that can flow through the air or water and land on any number of new surfaces ready to support and sustain its growth.
Mold spores are found everywhere in our living environment – indoors and outdoors. While mold is an important part of the natural decomposition process it can cause serious problems in the home and other buildings. Proper upkeep along with dry and clean environments are key for keeping this fungus at bay.