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White mold

What is White Mold? Is it Dangerous? How Do I Remove It?

White mold growth, while a general problem in houses, does not get the same treatment as black mold. This is a result of the anxieties surrounding more well-known black molds, such as Stachybotrys.

Several white molds are capable of generating adverse health effects and need to be handled promptly.

Common Places for White Mold Growth

Each kind of mold has a preference for specific ailments. By way of instance, Stachybotrys prefers highly saturated materials, such as sheetrock, after a flooding event.

Due to these preferences, mold growth is usually found in precisely the same location. Below are the most common places.


Mold growth on furniture is white in color. The mold includes a three-dimensional fuzzy growth aspect.

Clothing & Textiles

Clothing, backpacks, shoes – when mold attacks things within the home, it's usually white or light green in color. This is particularly true for leather items.

The great news? It's easier to eliminate white mold than the black mold. While the latter sometimes leaves persistent spots, white mold can often be removed entirely.

Attic Sheathing And Framing

White mold tends to rise in a high humidity atmosphere rather than areas afflicted by total saturation. This is the reason it's less frequent to see mold development on base trim after a flood event.

Humidity causes the majority of attic mold, which is why white mold growth is typical here.


White mold is found in two places in the lower parts of the floor joists soil, and a crawlspace exposed soil. In cold climates, mold growth on floor joists is rare. But when it happens, it is white in color.

In moist climates, exposed soil in a crawlspace will generally propagate mold growth. This is a result of a missing or incomplete vapor barrier. 

The mixture of a natural food source (dirt), extra moisture, and limited airflow creates the ideal conditions for mold growth. In almost all cases, white instead of black mold grows in the soil.

Does White Mold Make Wood Rot?

white mold

In short -- no. Rot (white rot, wet rot, dry rot, brown rot) are brought on by wood fungi. These are different from molds and small in number compared to molds. They require higher levels of water to grow.

The name 'dry rot' is a total misnomer, as all corrosion requires elevated amounts of moisture. If you find white mold growing on construction material, it won't morph into rot.

However, this does not mean that your wood won't rot. Eventually, wood rot fungi will take over, in case you've a high quantity of moisture. This will occur no matter whether or not you had some mold growing beforehand.

How Can I Tell The Difference Between Efflorescence And Mold?

White mold growth presents an added challenge because it's often confused with efflorescence, a crystalline growth compound found on masonry and concrete surfaces.

Efflorescence occurs when water goes through a masonry structure, making unbounded salts to the surface. After the water evaporates, there is a fluffy structure left behind. This growth, while benign, can appear very similar to mold development.

White mold can be present wherever situations favorable to mold growth are present. Regions of mold growth include crawlspace framing and attic sheathing.

A trained mold inspector can determine whether the growth structure is from efflorescence or mold. Efflorescence will usually dissolve under the application of a water mist, while mold growth won't. Other useful characteristics include the material of the substrate.

Efflorescence is only going to happen on brick, concrete or other masonry constructions. If you discover a mold-like substance on wood or sheetrock, you can surely rule out efflorescence.

Another sign is the existence of a mold odor. While a musty smell is often produced by mold growth, efflorescence is odorless.

Can Color Identify The Type Of Mold?

Penicillium mold

You cannot determine the sort of mold, depending on the color. To ascertain the particular type of mold, you will want mold testing. However, the color may be used to rule out outside certain types of molds.

By way of instance, Stachybotrys is always black. If you find white mold growth, you can rest assured it isn't Stachybotrys. The exact same is true of a range of mold types such as chaetomium.

Unfortunately, many kinds of mold-like Penicillium/Aspergillus and Cladosporium come in a variety of colors. These molds may appear in everything from green or white to black and brown. This limits our ability to ascertain the sort of mold by assessing its color. 

To recognize the genus or the species of the mold, a sample must be collected and sent to a laboratory for evaluation.

A tape lift sample is the best way of determining the sort of mold growth.

Is White Mold Dangerous?

Many molds can provoke allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. No region of mold growth inside the house should be considered safe. Proper analysis of the root cause, removal, and cleanup should be performed no matter what is the color of the mold growth.

What Tests Are Used To Recognize White Mold?

Immediate mold sampling can be used to identify the species of white mold. Kinds of sampling include swab, tape lift, and bulk samples. A technician collects these samples and sends them to a lab for analysis. The lab will determine if the suspect's growth is mold, and if so, what species of mold.

Are there any concerns about mold remediation when treating white mold?

Your strategy for mold cleaning should stay the same, whatever the color. Keep in mind, many kinds of molds, also non-toxic molds, are capable of causing an allergic reaction. Due to this, the color of the mold is inconsequential.

You can also use air purifiers to remove mold spores from the air. 

Several non-allergenic molds are white, as are several allergenic molds. Confusing the problem, even more, is the fact that we just don't know the allergenic potential of the large majority of molds.

About the Author Tom Hanson

I’ve worked as an HVAC tech in Phoenix, AZ for the past 10 years. I created to help home owners select the right portable air conditioner, cooler or air purifier for their needs & budget in just a few minutes.

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