Mold 101: What Is Mold and How Do I Get Rid Of It?

In the cold and damp of winter…

During the hot, humid summer…

In the dark places where we hesitate to go….mold grows.

We recoil at the sight of it and hold our breath. It’s a sure sign of decay. It can cause a host of medical problems for those unlucky enough to struggle with ridding their homes and businesses of it.

But what is mold, why does it enter our homes, and how do we keep it at bay?

What is mold?

The fungi kingdom includes microorganisms such as yeasts, molds (and mildew), and mushrooms. Fungi, including molds, are one of the most important groups of organisms on the planet as they play a vital role in the biosphere and have great economic importance on account of both their benefits and harmful effects. 1

Mold comes in many colors

Following are some of the important beneficial roles of fungi in the natural world:

  1. Recycling – They play a major role in recycling dead and decayed matter.
  2. Food – Mushroom species that are cultured are edible and are used as food by humans.
  3. Medicines – There are many fungi that are used to produce antibiotics and to control diseases in humans and animals. For example, penicillin antibiotic is derived from a common fungus called Penicillium.
  4. Biocontrol Agents – Fungi are involved in exploiting insects, other small worms and help in controlling pests. Spores of fungi are used as a spray on crops.
  5. Food spoilage – Fungi play a significant role in recycling organic material. Also, fungi are responsible for major spoilage and economic losses of stored food. 1

How do molds grow, spread, and thrive?

Molds form and spread on various kinds of damp or decaying organic matter.

Molds are found both indoors and outdoors in all climates, during all seasons of the year. Outdoors, molds survive by using plants and decaying organic matter such as fallen leaves as a source of nutrition. Indoors, molds need moisture and a carbon source from building materials or building contents to grow. 2

Excess moisture is generally the cause of indoor mold growth. Molds reproduce either by releasing tiny spores or fragments of colonies. Spores and fragments float through the air until landing in other locations. When they settle on wet or moist surfaces, the spores and fragments can form new mold colonies. Moderate temperatures and available nutrient sources make most office buildings ideal for mold growth. 2

It is important to understand that no indoor space is completely free from mold spores – not even a surgical operating room. Molds are everywhere, making our exposure to molds unavoidable, whether indoors or outdoors, at home or at work. 2

Where does mold like to live indoors?

You will most likely find mold in the dark, damp places of a building such as:

Cool, damp basement walls are a prime location for mold growth.
  • Basements: behind boxes, on wood, on cinder block walls, near sources of condensation (cold water pipes, AC ductwork, around windows and vents), around foundation cracks, and near leaks in the walls.
  • Bathrooms: On shower walls and tubs, in and around toilets, in drains, in walls, on floors, and on ceilings.
  • Poorly ventilated attics: On wood roofing sheets (especially around nails), insulation, near soffit vents, and around vents that come from indoors.
  • Mold likes to grow in out-of-the-way places like corners of rooms that get poor ventilation.

    Kitchens: Inside and behind refrigerators (especially old, unsealed food items), in/on/aroundsinks, in and on trash cans, on windowsills, and anywhere food is stored and exposed.

  • Bedrooms: In mattresses, on windowsills, around AC and heating vents.
  • Living rooms: In furniture fabric and cushions, on curtains, on windowsills, and on indoor plants.
  • Garages: Behind and under stored items that don’t get moved, around garage doors and windows, around foundation cracks, and close to standing water.

How does mold in a home or business affect our health?

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Reactions to mold range from sneezes to serious lung infections

Exposure to damp and moldy environments may cause various health effects or none at all. Some people are sensitive to mold. For these people, exposure to mold can lead to major health problems.

Some people, such as those with allergies to molds or with asthma, may have more intense reactions. Severe reactions may occur among workers exposed to large amounts of mold in occupational settings, such as farmers working around moldy hay. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath. 3

People with allergies may be more sensitive to mold. People with immune suppression or underlying lung disease are more susceptible to fungal infections. Individuals with chronic respiratory disease (e.g., chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, asthma) may experience difficulty breathing. Individuals with immune suppression are at increased risk for infection from molds. If you or your family members have these conditions, a qualified medical clinician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment.3


As mold grows, spores, cells, fragments, and unstable organic compounds can enter the air. They can produce allergens, irritants, and mycotoxins. Some of these can be toxic, especially to individuals who have a sensitivity to them.

These particles can irritate the lungs, nose, and throat, especially in a person who already has a breathing problem, asthma, or a chronic lung condition.

How can I get rid of mold in my home or business?

Generally, ridding your space of mold and keeping it from returning is a three-step process:

  1. Remediate
  2. Dehumidify
  3. Puraclenz

Any building with mold should get prompt remediation due to the potential for mold to cause serious health consequences. Determining whether mold remediation should be a DIY affair or performed by a professional depends on the scope of the mold problem.

Many mold problems require professional remediation.

The EPA has an excellent overview for homeowners and renters on how to clean up residential mold problems and how to prevent mold growth.


Here are some suggestions to help prevent mold growth in your home or business:

  • Keep humidity levels in your home as low as you can—no higher than 50%–all day long. An air conditioner or dehumidifier will help you keep the level low.
  • Use exhaust fans that vent outside your home in the kitchen and bathroom. Make sure your clothes dryer vents outside your home.
  • Fix any leaks in your home’s roof, walls, or plumbing.
  • Clean up and dry out your home fully and quickly (within 24–48 hours) after a flood.
  • Remove or replace carpets and upholstery that have been soaked and cannot be dried right away. Think about not using carpet in places like bathrooms or basements with a lot of moisture.

Again, the EPA has a great resource that will point you in the right direction: Flooded Homes: Drying Everything Out After a Flood

Yet, mold returns…

So, you had a mold problem, remediated the mold, and made your space less hospitable to mold growth. Is there anything else you can do to prevent mold from returning? The truth is that there is nothing that will 100% prevent mold spores from returning to your indoor space. Mold spores are nearly everywhere.

It can be very frustrating to have gone through remediation and dehumidification only to have mold rear its ugly head again. What did you miss? The answer may be “nothing.”

Mold spores can enter your home through open doorways, windows, vents, and heating and air conditioning systems. Mold in the air outside can also attach itself to clothing, shoes, and pets can and be carried indoors. When mold spores drop on places where there is excessive moisture, such as where leakage may have occurred in roofs, pipes, walls, plant pots, or where there has been flooding, they will grow. This is when mold spores will begin to form colonies. 7

Puraclenz: Your ounce of prevention!

Puraclenz dynamically deactivates mold spores mid-air and on exposed surfaces, continuously cleaning throughout a typical indoor space 24/7. Our evolved PCO process is scientifically shown by independently conducted efficacy tests to be over 95% effective at deactivating mold spores in room air, and over 99% effective at deactivating mold spores on exposed surfaces. *

This deactivation prevents omnipresent mold spores from forming new colonies. Preventing new colonies from forming is critical to maintaining indoor air quality and winning your war on mold.

Check out our Mold Page for more!

Prevent Mold, Puraclenz, water damage, bacteria, puraclenz, air filters, PCO technology
Puraclenz PCO purifiers combat mold on surfaces and in the air
Dr. Richard Mangi, MD

“In my 40-year career, I have simply never seen a product as effective in mold elimination and prevention as Puraclenz. I have used it both personally and on patients with great success eliminating mold allergies and other medical issues associated with mold infestations.”



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