Mold Frequently Asked Questions
Why is mold growing in my home?
Molds are part of the
natural environment. Outdoors, molds play a part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and
dead trees, but indoors, mold growth should be avoided. Molds reproduce by means of tiny spores; the spores are invisible
to the naked eye and float through outdoor and indoor air. Mold may begin growing indoors when mold spores land on surfaces
that are wet. There are many types of mold, and none of them will grow without water or moisture.
cause health problems?
Molds are usually not a problem indoors, unless mold spores land on a wet or
damp spot and begin growing. Molds have the potential to cause health problems. Molds produce allergens, irritants, and in
some cases, potentially highly toxic substances.
Allergic reactions to mold are common and include hay fever-type symptoms,
such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash. Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic
How do I get rid of mold?
It is impossible to get rid of all mold and its spores indoors,
but indoor mold growth can be controlled by controlling moisture indoors. If there is mold growth in your home, you must fix
the water problem and the mold must be cleaned by qualified professionals. If you clean up the mold, but do not eradicate
the water problem, the mold problem will return. Use of dehumidifiers can help control moisture. Maintaining and cleaning
exterior gutters, extending rain leaders and observing proper grading can help water drain away from foundation.
Who should do the cleanup?
If mold is suspected, typically air or swab samples are recommended by certified
mold technician. Only lab testing can positively identify the mold and its potential health hazards.
should choose to hire a contractor (or other professional service provider) to do the cleanup, and make sure the contractor
is certified in that field of expertise. Check references and ask the contractor to follow the recommendations in State or
Federal EPA's Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings, or the guidelines of the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists.
If you suspect that the heating/ventilation/air conditioning (HVAC) system may be contaminated with mold, consult
the EPA's Should You Have the Air Ducts in Your Home Cleaned Professionally? Never turn on the HVAC system if it has been poorly maintained or if you know or suspect that it is contaminated with mold”
- it could spread mold throughout your home. Ductwork should be cleaned or mitigated professionally.
If the water and/or mold damage was caused by sewage or other contaminated water, then call in a health professional and
or specialized cleaning service provider who has qualified experience cleaning and remediating buildings damaged by contaminated
If you have health concerns, always consult a health professional or family doctor for health screening
exam. It is not recommended to clean mold yourself unless you are a qualified service provider or technician. The best
prevention against mold is to maintain your house and HVAC systems properly to avoid unwanted water or moisture conditions
that may contribute to mold growth.
For more information, read the EPA's A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home.
The above information is provided as a public service by the Environmental Protection Agency for educational