5 Common Household Molds and Getting Rid Of Them

By Tyler Kirk | Deck and Patio, Pressure Washing
Updated on: 05/05/2022

Mold is one of those facts of life that most everyone has to deal with from time to time. Either because of a forgotten fruit in the refrigerator or particularly humid outdoors, everyone is confronted with it and has to get rid of mold. While we can’t do much for the forlorn strawberry in the back corner of the icebox, we can talk about molds commonly seen on the exterior of your home. Household molds like:

  • Acremonium, a.k.a. “Orange Mold”
  • Stachybotrys chartarum, a.k.a. “Black Mold”
  • Alternaria, a.k.a. “Leaf Spot”
  • Lichens, a.k.a. “Iceland Moss”
  • Aspergillus, a.k.a. “Black Mold”
  • Ulocladium, a.k.a. “Botrytis” and “Black Mold”

Keep reading to learn more about these common types of household molds and how to recognize them.

1. Acremonium, a.k.a. “Orange Mold”

Image courtesy of Rock Environmental.

This particular mold used to go by a different name, cephalosporium. Outside of the home, it’s typically found in soil and decaying matter, like rotting mushrooms. Unless you forage for fungi or are gardening, you may not encounter it outside of your home. But, you still need to know about this potentially dangerous mold.

How to Recognize Acremonium

Despite often being referred to as “orange mold” it’s actually gray-white or a dusty rose color and looks velvety or cotton-like. For children or other tactile individuals, it may be tempting to touch. It often can be found growing with Stachybotrys, also known as “black mold”

Where to Look

Acremonium needs very wet conditions to thrive, but not too hot. Water leaks around sinks, air conditioning units, and a garden spout on a shady side of the house or other similar conditions might be an ideal breeding ground for acremonium.

Health Risks Associated with Acremonium

There are about 100 species in the acremonium spp, but not all of them pose a danger to humans and animals. About six species can cause infections on the skin and nails, in the eyes, internal infections, and osteomyelitis, which is inflammation of the bone marrow. Additionally, arthritis and cerebritis have been reported as well, making the symptoms range from mildly irritating, to dementia-like symptoms. While some of these may be minor, some are difficult to treat and it’s best to take preventative measures.

Surprisingly, cephalosporins, a type of antibacterial medication, were derived from this family of pathogens.

2. Stachybotrys chartarum, a.k.a. “Black Mold”

Image courtesy of the University of Tulsa.

Perhaps one of the more infamous molds on our list, stachybotrys is what people most commonly call black mold or “toxic black mold.” Outside of the home and outdoor living area, stachybotrys can be found in many different places. For example, a lake and a particularly humid day or two can create the perfect conditions for stachybotrys to germinate and grow. From there even if the water level and humidity drops, this mold can keep going. In nature, it’s very useful for breaking down decaying matter.

How to Recognize Stachybotrys

This mold is typically green or a very deep, dark green in color—hence being called black mold. It can even have grayish-white strands depending on the environment it’s growing in, and numerous other molds look quite similar to it. Identification is difficult without testing, but fortunately, mold testing kits for common types of household molds are easily found online and in stores.

Where to Look

Bathrooms, kitchens, outdoor water hoses and faucets, rain barrels, and any place where water might be sitting in a warmer area may harbor stachybotrys chartarum. Keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be hot and humid all the time, just long enough for this common household mold to germinate and get a foothold.

Health Risks Associated with Stachybotrys

Despite media hype, stachybotrys chartarum isn’t much more dangerous than other types of common household molds. That being said, it can be dangerous to those with respiratory conditions and when it comes to ingesting black mold in a high enough concentration, it can become a more serious problem.

3. Alternaria, a.k.a. “Leaf Spot”

Image provided courtesy of Wikipedia.

Common worldwide, this mold is sometimes called brown spot or blight, fruit rot, leaf spot, or storage rot. It’s frequently the cause of wasted fruits and vegetables both in the home and, in a more detrimental way, crops.

How to Recognize Alternaria

When examining outdoor and indoor plants, look for imperfect round and club-shaped spores that frequently appear in a chain. Some species of alternaria almost look like a brown bruise on the leaves of plants with the center being the deepest brown or gray in appearance.

Where to Look

While this common type of household mold is mostly seen on plants, it can survive and thrive in any moist environment. Much like the molds we’ve listed above, this one isn’t overly picky about where it germinates and grows.

Health Risks Associated with Alternaria

It’s more or less impossible to avoid exposure to alternaria. From 1998 to 1999, the National Survey of Lead and Allergens in Housing (NSLAH) sampled over 1,000 homes and found that 95-99% of dust samples contained alternaria. For most people, it’s a mild allergic reaction, if any at all, and the mold doesn’t pose as big of a threat to healthy individuals.

For immunocompromised individuals, however, there is some evidence to suggest that it can contribute to infections.

4. Lichens, a.k.a. “Iceland Moss”

Image provided courtesy of Minna Autio.

Technically, lichen isn’t a mold. It isn’t moss, either despite how it looks. Lichen is actually a mutually beneficial partnership between algae and fungi. The algae provide sustenance for the fungi, and the fungi help the algae survive in an environment that it otherwise wouldn’t. In nature we often see it growing alongside moss and simply mistake it for another kind, or we see its leafy growth on trees. Some people even promote its growth in terrariums or on their landscape.

How to Recognize Lichen

How lichen looks depends on the fungi and algae that it is composed of and it can vary wildly. For example, lichen can be flat and leafy, shaped somewhat like coral, a cup, or a mound of soft feathers. Or, they can look like a leafy patch over a surface. While a pretty addition on some parts of a property, it’s a potentially damaging and costly surface covering for your roof and easier to simply take preventative measures.

Where to Look

Lichen is very common in nature and around the exterior of your home. Chances are you’ve picked it off of trees, like the one pictured above, or off of rocks in the form of colorful crusts. When it comes to the home and situations where you don’t want lichen to thrive, watch the roof and decking; lichen traps moisture, resulting in damage or possibly a slipping hazard if it is growing on a deck.

Health Risks Associated with Lichen

Though often lichen is harmless to humans and animals, some lichen produces toxins that can cause liver damage if ingested. For the most part, however, instances of lichen-related poisoning seem to be restricted to larger, ingested doses.

5. Aspergillus, a.k.a. “Black Mold”

Image provided courtesy of Wikipedia.

Despite having the same common name, aspergillus isn’t the same as stachybotrys. It commonly contaminates food, like onions, and is also seen in roots, stems, and even the internal features of plants, fruits, and vegetables.

How to Recognize Aspergillus

This type of common household mold is easily recognized—at least when it’s on a vegetable. Rot, like on this onion, or in the internal part of the fruit or vegetable is very likely aspergillus. On the exterior of your home and around windows, however, it may be harder to distinguish from other dark-colored molds.

Where to Look

As mentioned above, it’s common on fruits, vegetables, and plants. It’s also common in other areas that are sufficiently moist and humid, making bathrooms, kitchens, outdoor water faucets, and anywhere where a water leak may facilitate its growth.

Health Risks Associated with Aspergillus

There are over 200 species in the aspergillus family of molds and few of them are dangerous to humans. Those that are, however, are very common and sometimes potentially deadly. For certain immunocompromised populations, infections caused by one specific species, A. fumigatus, can easily result in death. Most healthy individuals only experience mild irritation, but those with asthma or allergies may experience more severe symptoms.

6. Ulocladium, a.k.a. “Botrytis” and “Black Mold”

Image provided courtesy of Franco.

This type of household mold has numerous species, but the two most common ones are Ulocladium botrytis and Ulocladium chartarum. Originally U.chartarum was an Alternaria, like the leaf spot we talked about above, but was reclassified in the 1960s. U.botrytis is one of the numerous threats to gardeners and greenhouses

How to Recognize Ulocladium

Ulocladium chartarum is commonly called “black mold” and can grow with other black molds, making it harder to differentiate from the numerous common types of dark molds. Ulocladium botrytis, on the other hand, can be easier to spot due to its dusty appearance and appearance on plants.

Where to Look

Plants can play host to U. botrytis while building materials damaged by water, such as drywall and carpet, can host ulocladium chartarum. Like other common molds around the house, look for humid areas where water is sitting or has been in the recent past, and for signs of water damage.

Health Risks Associated with Ulocladium

In the past, species in the ulocladium genus haven’t been strongly associated with health problems for humans, but at least one instance has been reported where ulocladium was responsible for an infection in a 35-year-old woman. For months she had been experiencing symptoms of allergies, although when she went in for medical attention, the symptoms proved resistant to treatment. Ultimately, the patient had to undergo a medically necessary Rhinoplasty—a nose job—to remove the mold.

Preventing the Growth of Common Household Molds

The best way to ensure that your property remains damage-free and your health uncompromised is to prevent mold. Keep in mind that outside your home, mold is a simple fact of life and unavoidable, but you can lessen the chances of inhaling or ingesting spores by keeping up with the interior and exterior of your home.

Here are some tips on how to prevent common household molds:

Measure the humidity. Purchase a hygrometer ($20 or less on Amazon) and ensure that your home is below 60% when the device reads it. The EPA recommends between 30% to 60% to discourage mold and other allergens, like cockroaches and dust mites.

  • Provide more ventilation. Either with exhaust fans or open windows, ensure that your home is well ventilated. Air can hold a lot of moisture, which contributes to creating an environment where household molds can thrive and be inhaled by the residents of the home.
  • Keep the exterior clean. Clogged gutters can result in damage to your home, but they can also be a breeding ground for common types of mold in the warmer, humid months. Maintaining them and being vigilant about clean gutters—even with gutter guards—can help protect your health. Additionally, pressure washing the property to remove organic buildup can minimize mold growth.
  • Clean up spills. Whether it’s sitting water outside or a spill indoors, cleaning up sitting water will make the exterior and interior of your property a less appealing place for common molds. Dripping outdoor faucets, rain barrels, and condensation from air conditioning units can all be contributing factors to mold growth.

It’s also important to keep in mind that you may do all of these things and still find mold inside or outside of your property. Mold is a naturally occurring part of the world and it isn’t always possible to prevent 100%.

Getting Rid of Mold

If mold does inevitably develop, there are some techniques you can use to get rid of it safely. First and foremost, we recommend hiring a professional. Removing mold from the exterior of your home is fairly straightforward when using a professional. Pressure washing or soft washing, when done by professionals, is typically thorough enough to get rid of any mold and possibly discourage growth later, depending on the additives used. Professionals can also clean windows, inspect the seals and surrounds for signs of damage, and remove mold that might be harder to get to with typical home cleaning.

Getting Rid of Common Household Molds Inside

Whereas a professional window washing or pressure washing service can get rid of mold outside, mold remediation experts are a good idea inside. It can sometimes be a costly investment, but mold spores are minuscule, travel easily, and can remain dormant on a surface until the right circumstances allow them to germinate. Additionally, experts are able to find all types of household mold in places that property owners may not think to look.

It’s also important to evaluate the professionals you’ll be bringing into your home. Our blog post Hiring an Exterior Window Cleaning Pro discusses the questions you should ask window cleaning professionals, but these questions apply to any cleaning company that you’ll have on your property and will help you evaluate their credibility.

DIY Techniques for Mold Removal

Ultimately best to hire professionals, but the cost of mold removal inside can be several thousand dollars. Pressure washing tends to be affordable comparatively, but for temporary fixes to control mold indoors until a professional service can be secured, here are some tips:

  • Wear Protective Gear.

    When cleaning up any kind of mold, wear a mask that fits securely on your face to prevent inhaling spores. Also, wear goggles that do not feature any gaps. Certain types of household molds, like the first black mold on our list, can cause eye infections. Additionally, wear a protective covering for your skin and clothes.

  • Secure pets and family members.

    Ensure that loved ones of all kinds are safely away from the area and cannot breathe in the spores or cleaning agents you’ll be using.

  • Use Bleach.

    If using bleach, be sure that you do not mix it with other household chemicals. Chloramine gas, which the UN categorizes as a chemical weapon, is one possible result and can be lethal. Also, keep in mind that bleach may stain some surfaces.

  • Use scrub brushes and cloths.

    For surfaces that can be damaged by scrubbing, use a cloth. In both cases, however, it’s important to brush off as much mold as possible before wetting—not soaking—the surface and cleaning it. We don’t advise trying to reuse the tools.

  • Provide ventilation.

    Using open windows and fans, ventilate the area very well once it’s done. While exhaust fans are an option here, keep in mind that any spores that survive the bleach may find your ventilation system hospitable.

Frequently asked questions about the most common types of household molds.

Household molds are common the world over, but especially here in the southern part of the United States. Here are some of the most common questions we see regarding household molds.

How do I know what kind of mold I have?

Some molds can be easier to identify, but many species of mold look incredibly similar or indistinguishable to the naked eye. The best way to identify what kind of mold is growing in your home is by ordering a test kit and sending it to a laboratory. Results are typically quick and can help inform property owners about next steps.

How many types of house mold are there?

There are more than 100,000 types of mold, all of which can be found both indoors and outside. While most of them are benign or beneficial, some of them are toxic to humans, animals, and plants.

What does toxic house mold look like?

Toxic household molds may look furry or sooty and come in a variety of colors from gray to orange or black. It may also appear wet or slimy. Ultimately, a test is the best way to identify mold. If unsure, it’s best to avoid the area and hire a professional.

Should I worry about mold in my basement?

Basements are particularly prone to mold due to the damp, dark nature of the area and damage caused by things like sitting water due to clogged gutters. Because of this, household molds can easily develop in the basement of homes and, if left unchecked, can be very difficult to get rid of.

Is it safe to live in a house with mold in the basement?

Most people are not likely to experience more than mild allergy symptoms when it comes to mold. For those that are immunocompromised, living with household mold can be a threat to their health. Technically about 3% of Americans meet the definition of immunocompromised, but allergies and asthma are also indicative of an abnormal immune system.

Will a dehumidifier help with mold in the basement?

Dehumidifiers may help inhibit the growth of mold, but ultimately it’s important to ensure that the environment in the basement is inhospitable for common household molds in order to prevent growth.

Would an air purifier help with mold?

Like a dehumidifier, an air purifier can help prevent mold from spreading. It will cleanse the air of mold spores, ensuring that they cannot germinate in other parts of the home, or inside who live there. It is important, however, to take preventive measures to ensure that mold doesn’t develop to begin with.

What is the most common mold in Florida homes?

Aspergillus, the fifth mold on our list, is the most common household mold found in Florida. It has over 180 species, many of which have their own unique colors and features.

call-to-action
Let's Get Cleaning!
We can take care of your external cleaning needs. Get your FREE quote today.

Hear from Our Customers

They arrived on time and completed cleaning the gutters in a safe and thorough manner. We have hired for them to wash our driveway and to clean outside windows since. These people are sharp and worthy of your consideration. They are really good.

Vincent D.Mount Pleasant, SC

The guys were efficient, arrived early and were very professional. They cleaned the gutters, blew leaves off the roof, patio and driveway. A great job!!

Judy C.North Charleston, SC

They cleaned my windows inside and out and pressure washed some of our decks. Nate was very professional and responded to my request quickly. His crew did a great job and they were all polite and hard workers.

Allison B.Sullivan's Island, SC

This was an unbelievably good experience with this company. Nate Van Valkenburg and his crew were the ultimate professionals. Came on time. Took off their shoes when they came in the house.Did all the inside of the windows at one time, so I could go run errands. Washed part of garage even though that was not part of the deal. And they cleaned up after they were through. You could not ASK for a better experience, better service and nicer people.

Roger C.Charleston, SC

We could not be more thrilled with how beautiful our house now looks, and with how professional the team was.

Suzy F.Clemmons, NC

Fence had dirt, grime and mildew growth and my siding needed pressure washing including my screen patio area. Pete and the crew arrived on time and they did a superior job on my windows as well.

Amos P.Winston-Salem, NC

Great experience. I will use them again and have already recommended them to family who also used them for window cleaning and were thrilled. Great value and care of my belongings while servicing my home.

Jerry B.Kernersville, NC

Cleaned windows inside and out and pressure washed. Great work. Will call next year.

Maria M.Advance, NC

The quality was excellent. The owner and his team were very polite, professional and did an excellent job.

Alison D.Winston-Salem, NC

Wow - three young pros, who know what they are doing, work efficiently, make sure nothing else is touched and do a wonderful job in no time. They were punctual, willing to change the dates when it seemed like it was going to rain.

Bob B.Winnabow, NC

Great job! I'd use them again in a heartbeat!

Jessica B.Ocean Isle Beach, NC

Great. They showed up on time in both the fall and spring. There was no mess. I thought the gutter mess would be on my yard or deck, but that was not the case. Everything was very clean.

Marie J.Bolivia, NC

Went excellent. Power washed the house and drive. Extremely professional, excellent job.

Garret P.Leland, NC

The gentleman than owns the business is very responsive and professional. The workers showed up on time. They were easy to work with. Cleaned our windows and gutters. They were very agreeable and worked quickly and did an excellent job.

Greg H.Wilmington, NC

Excellent service. Personable workers. Prompt communication. Cleaned windows and washed our siding. Came out great. Would use again.

Lynette C.Southport, NC

Great, they arrived on time and were very courteous. They did the work quickly and effectively. The house looks great and there was no mess left behind. Great Experience!

Chris T.Raleigh, NC

The crew was right on time. Called ahead to advise us of their arrival time. Went right to work. Used ladders to clean windows which we liked. They did a very good job and we shall have them come back in the future.

Mary J.Raleigh, NC

Excellent Service. Everyone that I had contact with was courteous and professional. Highly recommend them.

Mary D.Raleigh, NC

Loved them. Prompt, good communication and professional. Asked them to replace some bulbs in my motion sensors. Cleaned all my gutters and I have a pretty big home. didn't try and charge me extra. Yes, I'd definitely recommend them.

Jane L.Raleigh, NC

It is a large house with a large number of windows. They were aces! I've never seen anything like them. The team was made up of 4 or 5 guys. They worked well together. It was excellent work! They were super professional. I will be using them again. It took them a day and a half to do the work.

Derek B.Cornelius, NC

Very pleased with the results. Even though they were running behind slightly, i received a call to let me know that morning. I had a rust stain they were able to remove which was a huge relief as it looked really bad. My gutters are very high and they I were able to reach them. I will plan on using them for other projects.

John P.Cornelius, NC

Cleaning window inside and outside and power washing window sills and gutter cleaning. They were nice and respectful of my plants. I will definitely have them back next year.

Patricia F.Mooresville, NC

Cleaned all gutters. Did a good job.

James L.Concord, NC

They were super-professional and did a great job, including pointing out a repair we need in one gutter. They also did our windows and will definitely use them again in the future as I was very impressed by their work.

Staci R.Denver, NC

Very professional. Provided written quote, showed up on time, he and his crew did the work the following day. No issues.

Vicky T.Summerfield, NC

My husband and I cannot say enough nice things about their diligent work ethic. The results of their labor have made us both very happy and we told everyone we know about him and his company. The crews commitment to our satisfaction made a great impression on us.

Heather K.Greensboro, NC

Very well. Used them previously for pressure washing the entire house, including deck areas. Very professional and hard working. Highly recommend Pete and his crew.

Jerry B.Oak Ridge, NC

Excellent. Took his time to ensure that the job was done right!

Chuck Y.Greensboro, NC

Very well, workers were polite and respectful. Did a great job.

Sean M.Durham, NC

Team did great. punctual answered email immediately. I bought a coupon deal and then added in additional windows. I have high peaks on my house and the team did a great job of getting all windows spotless!

Angela K.Hillsborough, NC

Had our house, deck and driveway powerwashed and our windows cleaned. Everything was great.

Tim B.Apex, NC

Windows inside and out and gutters...excellent job.

Ellen J.Chapel Hill, NC

I have used this company for several years to clean my gutters and do some power washing. They always do a good job and clean up after themselves.

Lynn K.Waxhaw, NC

Came promptly during scheduled appointment and cleaned gutters and replace security light bulbs. Very efficient. Recommend.

Ed C.Matthews, NC

They showed up on time and cleaned the windows as requested. They were very polite and nice young men.

Cathy S.Fort Mill, SC

Great service, very responsive. Washed off the mildew from our siding. Will use next year.

Patricia B.Belmont, NC

Labor Panes have cleaned our gutters and windows for years now. Their people are always courteous and professional. They arrived on time, cleaned the gutters removing all of the debris, and did their work quickly.

Tom C.Charlotte, NC

I highly recommend Tyler and his company Labor Panes (Now, The Go To Crew). He called and came out to give me an estimate the following day. Tyler and his workmen are extremely professional and pleasant to be around. Everything glistens! My chandeliers have never looked so good! I will definitely use them again....

Susan P.Charlotte, NC

They are the most professional window cleaners I’ve ever used. Everything was put back the same way it was before they started the job. Each crew that has been to my home takes so much pride in their work and they do such a great job. They are respectful, professional and overall just awesome....

Dana C.Charlotte, NC

Labor Panes cleaned our gutters. They did good work and were thorough. Very friendly and they communicated exactly what they would be doing. When there was a delay to the originally scheduled service, they were quick and fair with rescheduling.

Martha G.Charlotte, NC
Got Friends with Dirty Windows? We Can Help
Refer a friend, neighbor, or family member today.
Your Nearest Labor Panes Location

Please complete the form below and we'll be in touch asap to schedule your FREE Quote or Service.

Or you can contact us directly at the Location Phone Number Below!

YOUR INTERESTED IN:
SERVICE SELECTIONS: (CHECK ALL THAT APPLY)
Refer a Friend or Family Member

Please complete the form below and we’ll get in touch with your referral. Thank you!

I AM A: (CHECK ALL THAT APPLY)
best contact:
Franchise Information Request

Please complete the form below and we’ll get in touch asap. Thank you!

I AM A: (CHECK ALL THAT APPLY)
best contact:
LP Careers

Please complete the form below and we'll be in touch asap

Please attach your resume

I understand that if I'm employed, false statements on this application shall be considered sufficient grounds for dismissal. I agree that all persons and previous employers supplying information about me, for reference purposes, are released from liability. If a job opportunity is offered, I shall comply with all of Labor Panes policies and uniform requirements. I understand the selection of employees will be on the basis of occupational qualification, education and character without regard to age, sex, race or national origin.