Looking for the best air purifier to remove mold spores in your home?
You’ve come to the right place.
In this in-depth buying guide, we are going to review the best air purifiers for mold. These air purifiers are optimized to remove mold spores from the air.
Mold spores are how mold reproduces. The tiny structures float into the air, growing into mold on any moist surface they fall on.
When breathed in, they cause allergic reactions, worsen asthma symptoms and result in allergy-like symptoms even in people without any allergies.
If you have asthma, mold spores can trigger attacks.
Read on for reviews of the best HEPA air purifiers that will eliminate mold spores from your home.
If you are looking for a general use air purifier that can tackle all kinds of allergens and pollutants, read our HEPA air purifier buying guide for the best recommendations.
What's In This Buying Guide?
Top 8 Air Purifiers for Mold & Mildew
Disclamer: All links below go to Amazon.com
- 1Best All-Around Air Purifier for Mold: SilverOnyx Air Purifier with True HEPA Carbon Filter, UV Light, Ionizer
- 2Best for Removing Mold Spores : HIMOX HEPA Air Purifier
- 3Best for Removing Asthma Causing Mold: Coway AP-1512HH Mighty Air Purifier with True HEPA and Eco Mode
- 4Best for Getting Rid of Mildew: Alen BreatheSmart Customizable Air Purifier
- 5Best Value for Removing Allergenic Mold: Honeywell HPA300
- 6Best for Removing Black Mold: GermGuardian AC5000E 28” 3-in-1 Air Purifier
- 7Best For Allergy Sufferers: AeraMax 300
- 8Best for Dust & Mold: EnviroKlenz Air Purifier Plus
- Best all-around air purifier for mold
500 sq. ft.
HIMOX HEPA Air Purifier
- Best for Removing Mold Spores
540 sq. ft.
- Best for medium size rooms
361 sq. ft.
Alen Breathe Smart
- Best large room air purifier for mold
1,100 sq. ft.
- Best value for money
465 sq. ft.
- Best for Removing Black Mold
180 sq. ft.
- Best for allergy sufferers
600 sq. ft.
EnviroKlenz Air Purifier Plus
- Best air purifier for VOCs
1000 sq. ft.
1. Best All-Around Air Purifier for Mold: SilverOnyx Air Purifier with True HEPA Carbon Filter, UV Light, Ionizer
With 5 levels of filtration, mold spores don’t stand a chance against the SilverOnyx Air Purifier. Neither does smoke, pet dander, allergens and odors.
The purifier complements its three filters–a mesh pre-filter, a true HEPA filter and an activated carbon filter –with a negative ion generator and UV sanitizer to ensure your indoor air is completely free of harmful microbes and allergens.
It’s a great choice if you are struggling with mold, pet dander or dust in your home.
The purifier can adequately cover medium and large rooms of up to 500 square feet.
- Small and compact but powerful
- True HEPA filter effectively removes the tiniest of mold spores from the air.
- Activated carbon filter removes unpleasant household odors
- Easy filter replacement – there’s even a reminder
- Includes timer, fan speed settings, and sleep mode
- Not ideal for large rooms
1. Five levels of purification:
The ion generator and UV sanitizer functions are optional. You can turn them on or off.
2. Ideal for small and mid-size rooms
The air purifier can cover rooms of up to 500 square feet in size.
3. Filter change reminder
The purifier displays how much life is remaining in your filters. When it is almost time to replace them, you’ll get a reminder.
4. Auto mode
When set to auto mode, an integrated sensor measures the amount of particulate matter in the air (essentially, it tracks indoor air quality) and automatically adjusts airflow to increase or decrease the rate of filtration.
If you start cooking something for instance, you’ll notice that airflow goes up to filter out the odor and smoke faster.
You can see the PM (particulate matter) reading yourself on the display along with the current fan speed.
5. Five fan speed settings
If you don’t want the purifier to adjust airflow automatically, you can choose manually from one of the five airflow speed levels.
The higher levels (4 & 5) are ideal when you need to get rid of something in the air quickly. The mid-level (3) is the best for everyday purification. The lower fan speed levels (1 & 2) are ideal for use at night when you want to reduce the noise level.
6. Sleep mode
Press sleep mode and the purifier automatically reduces fan noise and turns off the lights to help you sleep better.
Issues & Limitations
1. Not Ideal for Extra Large Rooms
The SilverOnyx purifier is a great all-round purifier with its only limitation being that you cannot use it in a very large room.
If you are looking for a purifier to use in a large open-style living area or which can remove allergens in multiple rooms, I recommend the Alen BreatheSmart we’ve reviewed below.
Alternatively, buy a couple of these purifiers to provide complete coverage.
This air purifier is great for: Anyone looking for an affordable HEPA air purifier that can remove mold spores and other allergens from a small or mid-sized room.
Avoid if: You are looking for an air purifier that can adequately cover a space bigger than 500 square feet.
2. Best for Removing Mold Spores : HIMOX HEPA Air Purifier
The HIMOX HEPA air purifier is equipped with a medical-grade HEPA filter that makes it a perfect choice for an allergic person. This air purifier is designed to remove airborne pollutants, providing excellent air purification.
It has an advanced non-woven pre-filter that effectively captures bacteria while reducing the concentration of harmful pollutants and mold spores in the air.
- Highly portable unit.
- Quiet operation.
- Sufficient for 540 sq. ft.
- Pre-filter removes 99.97% of the harmful air pollutants.
- Built-in RGB LEDmood light.
- Suitable for removing pollen and mold spores.
- Features a user-friendly touch control panel.
- Filters are expensive to replace.
- No remote.
This air purifier is equipped with an H13 medical-grade HEPA filter that effectively captures various particles ranging from small to large sizes to make the air as clean as possible. The high-quality activated carbon filter physically absorbs smoke, fumes, and unpleasant odor.
This HIMOX air purifier mainly stands out to us for its pre-filter. The non-woven pre-filter removes 99.97% of harmful airborne pollutants, making it a suitable choice for people suffering from respiratory conditions and allergies.
The HIMOX air purifier has a coverage of 540 sq. ft. It purifies the air within an area of 500 sq. ft. for up to 30 minutes. Also, for up to 20 minutes, it can purify an area of 250 sq. ft.
It does not use UVC light to clean the air but efficiently captures germs and bacteria. With this extensive area coverage, it is an ideal air purifier for hospitals and nurseries.
With this air purifier, you can choose from three different fan speed settings as per your requirement. The fan speed can be set at low, medium, or high. As a rule of thumb, the higher the air contamination, the higher the fan speed you must opt for.
One-touch Control Panel
The HIMOX air purifier incorporates a simple touch control panel to mark ease of use. You can adjust settings on this unit with a single touch. It has fan speed settings, light indicator, and timer options.
Design and Build
With a stylish and attractive design, this air purifier complements the interior of your house. It features a compact tower design that is very space-efficient and highly portable. There is a control panel on the top for easy access. Plus, the white plastic body is quite durable.
One thing that makes this air purifier stand out from competitors is how quiet it is. Being equipped with the latest brushless DC motor, the unit is not only energy-efficient but also offers noise-free operation. The noise can be as low as 20dB in sleep mode, allowing you to experience a peaceful and quiet night with clean air.
This air purifier doubles as a night light. It features a built-in RGB LED mood light with a range of solid colors to add a whole new vibe to the environment at night.
Issues and Limitations
Expensive Replacement Filters
One of the biggest limitations of this HIMOX air purifier is that the replacement filters are difficult to find. The available ones are costly. This can be a hassle for customers on a tight budget. It can also be a tedious task to find suitable filters when needed.
Lacks Remote and Automatic Mode
Since the unit does not support remote control functionality, you have to adjust the settings manually. Also, it does not have an automatic mode to adjust the fan setting according to the room’s air quality. This may affect user comfort and convenience.
This air purifier is best for: Anyone looking for an air purifier to effectively remove allergens and mold spores from the air.
Avoid if: You can’t afford a high-maintenance air purifier as the replacement filters for this air purifier are expensive and hard to find.
3. Best for Removing Asthma Causing Mold: Coway AP-1512HH Mighty Air Purifier with True HEPA and Eco Mode
The Coway Mighty air purifier Mighty air purifier costs more than most of the other air purifiers we have reviewed.
But it also purifies the air more effectively (it has a higher clean air delivery rate), has more features and honestly, it looks a lot sleeker than the others.
(Clean air delivery rate or CADR is the measure of an air purifier’s ability to remove different types of particles from the air)
The air purifier is designed for medium-sized spaces of up to 360 square feet. It’s great for apartments, bedrooms and average-sized living areas.
To make sure your indoor air is completely clean and safe to breathe, it uses a 4-stage purification process starting with a pre-filter and ending with an ionizer.
The air quality indicator is a nice touch as is the filter replacement indicator.
- High-performance 4-stage filtration that removes mold spores and other allergens from indoor air.
- Carbon filter reduces household odors.
- Timer and filter replacement reminder.
- Silent operation especially when in eco mode.
- Not ideal for large rooms (bigger than 360 sq-ft).
- A bit pricey compared to other room air purifiers.
1. 4-stage filtration:
2. Three fan speed levels + eco and auto modes
You can select one of the three fan speed levels depending on how much airflow you want. A higher airflow means faster air purification while a lower fan speed means less noise.
You can also set the purifier on the auto mode. Using a built-in sensor, it will determine how polluted your indoor air is (by measuring the level of particulates) and adjust fan speed automatically.
When the sensor doesn’t detect any allergens for 30 minutes, the air purifier automatically switches to the eco mode. The fan completely turns off to save energy.
The timer automatically switches off the air purifier after the set amount of time. Timer options are 1, 4, 8 and 12 hours.
4. Filter change reminder
Don’t worry about adding a reminder to your calendar. The air purifier will conveniently prompt you when it’s almost time to replace the filter.
Issues and Limitations
1. Loud Fan
The main issue customers mentioned is that the fan is pretty loud when set at the highest speed. You can hear it from another room.
But this is to be expected. Most air purifiers are loud when the fan is running at the highest speed.
Luckily, you rarely need to select the highest speed. The first and second levels, which are much quieter, are good enough most of the time.
This air purifier is best for: Anyone looking for the best air purifier for mold and other allergens like smoke, dust and pollen.
Avoid if: You are looking for a budget air purifier.
4. Best for Getting Rid of Mildew: Alen BreatheSmart Customizable Air Purifier
With its 1,100square feet coverage, the Alen BreatheSmart air purifier is great for large homes.
It’s bigger than your typical air purifier but they’ve at least made it pretty. It has a boxy modern design with a customizable front panel finish.
You can go all-white or choose one of the warmer finishes including brushed bronze, rosewood or espresso.
Something else that you can choose is the type of filter you want. There are filters specifically for allergies & dust, pet dander & odors, smoke & chemicals and mold & bacteria.
- Large area coverage.
- Customizable filters.
- Beautiful design with customizable finishes.
- Quiet operation.
- Air quality indicator.
- Ozone-free ionizer.
- Takes up more space than most air purifiers.
1. Powerful Large Room Coverage
Alen BreatheSmart is one of the most powerful portable air purifiers we have reviewed.
It covers rooms as large as 1100 square feet, making it ideal for open concept living areas, open design basements, large bedrooms and any other spacious indoor areas.
It purifies air using a HEPA filter in addition to 2 or 3 other filters (depending on which type of filter package you select).
It removes allergens like pollen, dust and smoke as well as bad odors andairborne chemicals.
2. Customizable Filters
You can customize your purifier to focus on specific impurities.
For instance, if what bothers you most is allergens and dust, there is a specific filter optimized to deal with them.
If you have pets that stink up the house, there’s another filter that is great at removing odors and pet dander.
In all, there are four filter options:
HEPA Pure: For allergens like pollen, dust and dander.
HEPA Silver: For mold, bacteria and light odors. Best option for removing mold spores.
HEPA Fresh Plus: For smoke and chemicals.
HEPA Odorcell: For strong odors.
3. 4 Fan Speed Options Plus Auto Mode
Four fan speed settings vary how much air the unit sucks in. Higher speeds are louder but they clean up the room quicker. Lower speeds are great when you want to reduce how much noise the purifier produces.
But you’ll find the auto mode to be more convenient.
In this mode, the air purifier uses an infrared sensor to monitor indoor air quality. It then automatically adjusts fan speed depending on how dirty or clean the air is.
If you start cooking or someone lights a cigarette, you’ll notice that the purifier gets louder as it increases fan speed.
If the air stays clean for a while, it lowers fan speed to reduce noise and save energy.
4. WhisperMax Technology
For its size, the Alen BreatheSmart is surprisingly quiet.
That is thanks to their WhisperMax Technology that keeps noise levels down even at the highest fan speed setting.
At the lowest speed, it is almost silent.
5. Air Quality Indicator
You can tell how dirty your indoor air is by checking the light on the air purifier. It changes color depending on the air quality.
Red means dirty, yellow means medium-clean and blue means clean.
Issues and Limitations
The main downside is the price.
The Alen BreatheSmart is one of the most expensive portable air purifiers. But it’s worth every penny.
It’s more powerful than most other air purifiers, has more features and scores more points on design and style.
One issue though that you might want to keep in mind when buying this air purifier is the size. Unlike most portable air purifiers, you cannot place this in a table or on a bedside cabinet.
But I don’t think this will be a big deal for the size of rooms it’s meant to be used in.
This air purifier is best for: Families looking for a high performance air purifier that can cover a large room.Avoid if: You are looking for a budget air purifier or you want an air purifier for a small room.
5. Best Value for Removing Allergenic Mold: Honeywell HPA300
The Honeywell HPA300 delivers a great suite of features and large room coverage for a decent price, making it our top value pick.
With an air change rate of 5 times per hour, it’s works hard to keep allergens and pollutants out of medium and large rooms.
The design is not the most attractive but it’s forgivable considering the affordable pricing. The excellent air purification performance also makes up for it.
- Great value for money.
- Good for medium and large rooms.
- High performance 2-stage air purification.
- 4 fan speed settings.
- Filter replacement reminder.
- Pre-filter requires frequent replacement.
- No auto mode.
- A bit loud when on high or turbo setting.
- Pricey replacement filters.
1. 2-stage Filtration
The purifier has only two filtration stages. This is on the lower side compared to other air purifiers includingmany cheaper ones that have at least 3 stages.
But while the HPA300 has only two stages, it actually has four filters: one carbon pre-filter and three HEPA filters.
So it purifies air just as well, if not better, than some more expensive models.
The carbon pre-filter traps large particles like dust and pet fur. It also filters out unpleasant household odors.
The HEPA filters trap smaller allergens like smoke, pollen, dust and mold.
2. Ideal for Medium and Large Rooms
The HPA300 is rated for use in rooms of up to 465 square feet. This covers most medium size and large rooms.
If you want an air purifier for a spacious bedroom, an open concept living area or any other large space, the HPA300 is perfect.
3. Four Cleaning Levels
There are four fan speed settings. But instead of selecting level 1, 2 and 3 or low, medium and high like in most air purifiers, the HPA300 uses more intuitive labelling.
The four levels are labelled as:
Germ – the lowest and quietest level
General Clean – the medium setting. Perfect for everyday use.
Allergen –the second highest setting. A bit noisy but it clears the air fast.
Turbo– the highest setting. Noisy but powerful; ideal for quick cleanup of polluted air.
Unfortunately, there is no auto mode so you have to guess which level is right for a particular moment.
4. Dimmer and Timer
The ability to dim indicator lights is one feature many air purifiers, annoyingly, neglect to include. Thankfully, the HPA300 has a dimmer button to make sure you sleep without distractions.
It also comes with a timer that you can set for 2, 4 or 8 hours.
Issues and Limitations
1. Pricey Replacement Filters
By far the most frequent complaint from customers is the price of the replacement filters. You’ll save money on the air purifier itself but spend more on replacement filters.
What makes it worse is that the carbon pre-filter doesn’t last long – just 3 months. This is probably because the air purifier doesn’t have a washable pre-filter like in most air purifiers.
2. No Auto Mode
Something else missing is auto mode, which if present,would conveniently set the ideal fan speed depending on the air quality.
The lack of auto mode also means there isn’t an air quality indicator.
3. Noisy When on High
Another issue raised by many customers is the noise level at the high (allergen) and turbo setting. Thankfully, you only use these levels occasionally when allergen levels are particularly high.
The Bottom Line
This air purifier is best for: Families looking for a powerful but affordable HEPA air purifier for a medium size or large room.Avoid if: You are looking for an air purifier that is cheap to maintain. The HPA300’s pricey filters make it more expensive to maintain.
6. Best for Removing Black Mold: GermGuardian AC5000E 28” 3-in-1 Air Purifier
If you are looking for a cheaper air purifier for a smaller room, try this 28” tower purifier from GermGuardian.
It boasts three levels of air purification: a true HEPA filter, a combined pre-filter and charcoal filter, and a UV-C light to kill germs.
The purifier covers small rooms of up to 189 square feet in size. If you want to use it in a bigger room, there’s a 2-pack option.
- HEPA filter removes mold spores and other allergens from indoor air
- Integrated charcoal filter removes unpleasant odors
- Bonus UV-C light function to improve air quality
- Compact and portable
- No timer
- Only ideal for smaller rooms
1. 3 in 1 air purifier
2. Three fan speeds
You can select between three fan speeds to vary airflow from the purifier. Higher airflow is ideal when you want to purify the air faster. Lower the airflow at night to make the fan quieter.
Note that this GermGuardian AC5000E doesn’t have an auto mode that varies airflow automatically. It will run on the fan speed you’ve selected.
Nor does it have a sleep mode that automatically lowers fan speed at night. You’ll have to select a lower speed manually.
3. Easy filter replacement
The HEPA filter and charcoal filter are combined into one filter. So when it comes time to replace them (the manufacturer recommends replacement after 6-8 months), you only need to change a single filter.
Issues and Limitations
1. Only Good for Small Rooms
The biggest limitation is coverage. It’s rated for rooms of up to 180 square feet. It’s not ideal for large and open-concept rooms.
2. No Timer
The air purifier doesn’t have a timer, a basic feature in almost all air purifiers. You cannot set it to turn off automatically after some time.
A couple of other missing features include auto mode and sleep mode.
3. Longevity Issues
There are also several customer complaints about the durability of the purifier. They say that it stopped working or started malfunctioning after a few months.
Luckily, the manufacturer provides a 5-year warranty. They’ll gladly repair or replace your unit if it develops issues.
This air purifier is best for: Anyone looking for a budget air purifier that can remove mold and other allergens in a small room.
Avoid if: You want a purifier that can cover a large room.
7. Best For Allergy Sufferers: AeraMax 300
All the air purifiers we have reviewed are all good for allergy sufferers. They do a great job removing allergens and pollutants from indoor air.
But the AeraMax does an especially excellent job keeping the room allergen-free. It even has a special mode for allergy season.
If you or someone at home has allergies or a respiratory condition like asthma, we highly recommend the AeraMax 300.
It’s good for medium and large rooms of up to 600 square feet.
- Powerful large room coverage.
- High performance 3-stage air purification.
- Special Aera+ mode for allergy season.
- Auto mode for efficient air quality control.
- Air quality indicator.
- Indicator lights cannot be turned off or dimmed.
- Ionizer produces an annoying high-pitched noise.
1. Two Filters + Ionizer
The manufacturer, Fellowes, labels the AeraMax 300 as a 4-stage air purifier.
Strictly speaking, however, the air purifier has only two filters: a carbon pre-filter that captures large particles and light odors and a HEPA filter that filters out allergens as small as 0.3 microns.
The third stage is an antimicrobial treatment on the HEPA filter.
However, this treatment does not filter air. It only prevents the development of bacteria and mold on the HEPA filter, which would contaminate indoor air.
The fourth stage is a negative ion generator. As with the antimicrobial treatment, the ionizer does not directly filter air. It just makes it easier for the filters to remove airborne pollutants.
2. 4 Fan Speeds Plus Auto Mode
You can select from four fan speed settings to vary the air purifier’s performance and noise level. Turbo, the highest setting, cleans air the quickest though it’s quite loud.
If you don’t want to keep changing fan speed, leave the air purifier on auto mode.
It will automatically select the best fan speed setting based on how dirty or clean your indoor air is. It uses an integrated sensor to detect the level of pollution in the air.
3. Air Quality Indicator
Using the sensor, the air purifier shows you the state of your indoor air using a color-coded light. Red means indoor air is dirty, amber means it is getting cleaner and blue means it’s clean.
4. Aera+ Mode
During peak allergy season when there are allergens everywhere, turn on the Aera+ mode to boost the air purifier’s performance.
It will work harder to purify more air and keep the room allergen-free.
Issues and Limitations
1. Whining Sound
The biggest complaint from customers is the whining sound the fan makes even at lower speeds.
The high-pitched noisecan be quite annoying especially at night.
Luckily, you can stop it but it means giving up the ionizer. Some users discovered that the noise was present only when the ionizer was on.
But even with the ionizer off, the fan is still quite loud at speed level 3 and 4.
2. Distracting Lights
Youcannot turn off the indicator lights, which is annoying if you prefer a completely dark bedroom.
The only alternative is to drape a cloth over the unit, which interferes with airflow.
The Bottom Line
This air purifier is best for:Large and medium size homes with allergy sufferers.
Avoid if: You can only sleep in a totally dark room. The light on the AeraMax 300 doesn’t turn off.
8. Best for Dust & Mold: EnviroKlenz Air Purifier Plus
If, in addition to mold, you are also worried about VOCs like formaldehyde, benzene, and hydrogen sulfide in your home, the EnviroKlenz Air Purifier Plus is the best air purifier.
It uses an earth minerals filter cartridge to reduce these gaseous chemicals from indoor air, as well as microbes, mold and allergens.
- Large room coverage.
- Reduces VOCs, as well as mold, microbes, and allergens
- No ozone.
- Filter replacement reminder.
- Expensive cartridge filter.
1. 3-Stage Filtration
The EnviroKlenz Air Purifier Plus uses three filters to clean air: an earth mineral cartridge, a HEPA filter, and a UV lamp.
The earth mineral cartridge contains titanium oxide, magnesium oxide, and zinc oxide. These natural materials reduce VOCs like ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, and formaldehyde from air passing through it. They also efficiently filter out any odors, large particles like dust, microbes like bacteria and viruses, and mold present in the room.
The HEPA filter then deals with the finer pollutants and allergens, including tiny mold spores, pet dander, pollen, and fine dust.
Finally, a UV lamp provides further protection against airborne pathogens. The UV lamp also cleans the interior of the air purifier, keeping the filters sanitized.
2. Large Room Coverage
The EnviroKlenz Air Purifier Plus is pretty powerful. With a max airflow of 250 CFM, it can treat a space of up to 1000 square feet.
If you want an air purifier for an open living room, a large open basement, or a big bedroom, this is it.
The downside of being powerful is that the EnviroKlenz Air Purifier Plus is big and bulky. It takes up a lot of space, and moving it around is tedious. At least it comes with caster wheels.
Oh, it’s also not the prettiest air purifier around.
3. Easy to Use Control Panel
The control panel is super simple and straightforward. There’s a dial to select one of the four fan speeds, a switch specifically for the UV lamp, and indicators to remind you when to replace the filters.
Issues and Limitations
If you are shopping for a budget air purifier, the EnviroKlenz Air Purifier Plus is not it. It is on the pricier end of the scale.
Even the cost of maintenance is higher than average. You have to replace the main cartridge every six months. A new one costs about $100.
Perhaps because of how powerful it is, the EnviroKlenz Air Purifier Plus is noisy. At the highest fan setting, you have to turn up the TV volume and talk louder.
The lowest setting is quieter but not quiet enough for people who love sleeping in silence.
3. Limited Settings
Even though we love the simple control panel, we do wish it had certain essential features like a timer, sleep mode, and auto mode.
By the way, the EnviroKlenz Air Purifier Plus doesn't come with a remote controller. So, there’s also that small inconvenience.
This air purifier is best for: Anyone looking for a large room air purifier that can eliminate mold as well as VOCs, airborne microbes, and allergens.
Avoid if: You are shopping on a budget, or if you are looking for a quiet air purifier.
Buying Guide: Best Air Purifier for Mold & Mildew
Some people are straight-up allergic to mold and mildew, which is why getting rid of it is of utmost importance.
However, prolonged exposure to mold and mildew can irritate your skin, nose, throat, or lungs, which is why it shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Mold spores are the major cause of mold. When these spores come in contact with damp or excessively moist places, they grow and cause mold.
Air purifiers target mold spores present in the air and get rid of them to prevent mold and mildew in the long run.
There are several air purifiers in the market, but which one should you buy? This buying guide will take you through the best air purifiers for removing mold and mildew on the market.
What is Mold and Mildew?
Both mold and mildew are fungi. The main difference between the two is how they appear on surfaces. Mold appears in red, green, black or blue, while mildew is white.
They also smell differently. Mildew has a musty smell while mold has a stronger smell that resembles that of rotting wood.
Both mold and mildew require conditions with high humidity (moisture) and warmth.
Just as mold can irritate your airway and cause or worsen allergy symptoms, exposure to mildew has the same effects. Generally, however, mildew is less harmful to your health.
Mildew also does less damage to items and surfaces. Unlike mold, mildew doesn't penetrate below the surface. It occurs as a thin layer on the surface of walls, furniture and other items, making it easier to clean off.
In contrast, mold damages whatever it is growing on, sometimes requiring complete removal of whatever has been affected.
What Causes Mold In a Home?
Excess moisture is the key cause of mold in homes.
Other factors like warmth and presence of a food source (e.g. wood) also affect the occurrence and growth of mold. But since these are almost always present in most homes, moisture is the most important factor.
Excess moisture or dampness can be caused by several things including:
Mold thrives best in dark and damp locations around your home.
Types of Mold Found in Homes
There are three mold classifications.
Allergenic mold that causes and aggravates allergic reactions.
Pathogenic mold that causes various health problems.
Toxigenic or toxic mold that produces toxic substances that are dangerous or even deadly to humans.
Within these three groups there are around a dozen types of mold common in homes. They include Trichoderma, Stachybotrys (black mold) and Acremonium a particularly toxigenic type of mold.
Aer Industries, a major maker of water damage restoration equipment, has a handy list of the 12 most common types of mold and the dangers of each.
Where To Look For Mold In Your Home
Because mold thrives where there is moisture, check areas where there’s likely to be dampness. Some obvious places include the bathroom, basement, around plumbing joints and connectors and the kitchen.
Other places to check are:
How Mold Exposure Can Affect Your Health
The health effects of mold depends on your level of sensitivity to mold and the presence of other health conditions such as asthma or a weak immune system.
People with existing mold allergy will affected more by even a small amount of mold spores in the air.
The effects of mold also depend on what kind of mold it is.
Some types of mold have no effect at all, others cause an allergic reaction while others can be downright deadly.
Take Stachybotrys chartarum for instance.
More commonly known as toxic black mold, this species of mold can cause internal organ damage, mental impairment, difficulty breathing, vision problems and death.
Some types of mold produce mycotoxins, which can cause serious illness or even death.
Luckily, mold rarely causes such severe reactions.
Most types of mold cause hay fever like symptoms including wheezing and coughing, nasal congestion, runny nose, throat irritation and sneezing.
Your eyes and skin may also feel itchy.Certain types of indoor mold have been known to increase the risk of asthma in children. Long term exposure to mold can also have more severe effects on both adults and children such as memory loss, respiratory infections and headaches.
How To Get Rid of Mold From Your Home
There are two things you have to do to get rid of mold.
The first one is the hardest depending on what kind of dampness problem you are facing.
If it’s a small leak in your plumbing, fix it immediately. If the problem is too much condensation in the basement or garage, use a dehumidifier to lower moisture levels.
Also make sure there is enough ventilation around your home to prevent moisture buildup inside. Opening a window or two every morning should also help reduce condensation.
Make sure your upholstery, bedding and mattress are clean and dry. Air your mattress often to prevent moisture buildup.
Other dampness problems require calling a pro. For instance, a leaky roof or water coming in through the basement floor.
A professional will help you identify and solve the root problem.
Onto the second part.
Physically getting rid of the mold itself is easy. Spray some vinegar on it and leave it to sit for an hour then wipe the area with a moist cloth.
Note: In cases of severe mold infestation, a professional may recommend completely removing and replacing whatever is affected whether it's furniture or drywall. That's because the mold may have spread further under the surface than you can see. So even if you successfully treat one spot, mold will show up elsewhere soon.
What aren’t so easy to remove are the airborne mold spores that spread the mold around your house. Even a few mold spores can easily cause new mold growth.
You need to get rid of all airborne spores. The best way to do this is by using a HEPA air purifier.
HEPA filters are the only ones that can filter almost 100% of mold spores in the air, ensuring that new mold doesn’t grow.
How Do Air Purifiers Control Mold?
HEPA air purifiers take air from the room and pass it through 2-3 filters. By the time the air blows out of the vents, it has almost no mold spores in it, making it safe and healthy to breathe.
Air purifiers also remove or reduce a host of other airborne pollutant and allergens from the air including dust, pollen, pet dander and germs.
The first filter - called a pre-filter - targets large particles like pet hair and pollen. The HEPA filter then captures smaller particulates including mold spores and microbes.
Most air purifiers also include an active carbon filter to remove odors and volatile organic compounds from the air. The carbon filter also helps reduce mold odors.
Others include a UV-C lamp that uses ultraviolet light to kill mold spores and germs.
Note that, in addition to protecting you from breathing in mold spores, an air purifier is also an important tool for mold prevention. By trapping these airborne mold spores, it prevents new mold growth.
However, an air purifier will not solve an existing mold problem. You still need to get a professional to inspect where the mold is and get rid of it. This includes visible mold and mold hiding under the surface.
Key Features to Look for in an Air Purifier that Prevents Mold
A mold air purifier should have a HEPA air purifier. Period.
HEPA filters are the only ones that can trap the tiny mold spores. Don't fall for marketing terms like HEPA type or HEPA like filters. These are not certified HEPA filters and are not as good as true HEPA filters at removing mold spores from the air.
A HEPA filter does a great job on its own. It can capture almost all the mold spores in the air passing through the air purifier.
If you want extra protection, look for an air purifier with a UV lamp.
UV irradiation kills bacteria, viruses and mold spores.
Number of Stages
A good quality air purifier for mold should have at least two stages.
These include a pre-filter (usually a carbon pre-filter) and the HEPA filter itself.
Some air purifiers have three filters: a washable pre-filter for large particles, a carbon filter for odor and a HEPA filter for mold spores and other tiny allergens.
High-end air purifiers will usually have extra stages such as a negative ion generator and a UV lamp. These are not essential but they do improve air purification.
An air purifier that is too weak for the room you are using it in won’t be of much help. It will not be able to completely clear allergens and pollutants from the air.
It’s also not a good idea to get an air purifier that is too powerful for the room. It will waste a lot of energy, will make the room too cold and will dry out the air.
Always check the manufacture-specified coverage area before you buy an air purifier.
There are air purifiers for small rooms (under 200 square feet), for medium size rooms (200-400 square feet), large rooms (400-700 square feet) and extra-large rooms (over 700 square feet).
Filter Life and Replacement Reminder
Typically, the pre-filter needs to be replaced every 4-6 months while the HEPA filter has to be replaced annually.
But some air purifiers offer a longer HEPA filter life of up to 2 years.
However, the actual filter life will vary depending on your home’s air quality. For instance, the filter might last only a few months if there have been wildfires in your area.
That’s why it is important to buy an air purifier with a filter replacement alert or indicator. It takes the guesswork out of determining when to get a new filter, ensuring your air purifier is always performing at its best.
Auto Mode and Air Quality Indicator
All air purifiers have multiple fan speed settings, usually 3 or 4.
This lets you select the best setting for different situations. For instance, you crank up fan speed if your eyes or nose start feeling itchy and lower it when you want to sleep to reduce noise.
Instead of having to change fan speed every time the air gets dirty, get an air purifier with an air quality sensor.
The sensor detects pollution levels in the air and automatically selects the best fan speed setting. You can just leave the air purifier on auto mode and it will keep your indoor air clean 24/7.
As a bonus, air purifiers with this sensor also have an air quality indicator, a small light that changes color to tell you how dirty or clean your air is.
Over time, you learn which activities pollute your air the most, which can help you keep your indoor air cleaner.
Other Benefits You’ll Enjoy
A mold air purifier doesn’t just remove mold spores.
It will also capture other allergens like dust, pollen and pet dander and reduce smells from pets, cooking and smoking.
Even after the mold is gone, you’ll still benefit from having the air purifier in your home.
Frequently asked questions
Is an Ionizer capable of eradicating mold?
No, they don’t. The negative ions produced by an ionizer stick to mold spores and other allergens, causing them to fall on the ground and stick to walls.
But the mold spores are still around and can cause mold growth.
A HEPA filter in contrasts traps the mold spores in the filter, ensuring they cannot attach to other surfaces and grow into mold.
How do you get rid of mold spores in the air?
Get a HEPA air purifier. It will capture mold spores in the air and prevent them from causing further mold growth in your home.
Do all HEPA Air Purifiers Remove Mold and Mildew
Yes, they do. As long as an air purifier has a HEPA filter, it'll effectively trap mold spores floating in the air.
How do you tell if there are mold spores in the air?
Mold spores will typically cause allergy-like symptoms including stuffy nose, watery eyes, coughing, and sneezing.
If you've eliminated other potential sources of allergens (e.g. you don't have a pet and you experience these symptoms even when the windows and doors are closed), then it's likely there are mold spores in the air.
If you see or smell mold, you can also be pretty sure there are mold spores floating about in the air.