White Mold: What Is It & How Can I Get Rid of It? [A Definitive Guide]

By: Diana Rodriguez-Zaba
Updated on: March 18, 2024

White mold doesn’t look like other fungi in its species, but it thrives in the same environments. The fuzzy stuff can show up just about anywhere around the house. It isn’t toxic, but it can make you sick.

Once it spreads, it damages wallboard, wood and fabrics. Do you know how to get rid of white mold in the house?

We answer calls from homeowners every day about different mold problems, and we’ve seen it all from basements to attics. In some cases, you can handle white mold removal on your own, but you need to understand the fungus before taking any DIY action.

Read on to learn all about white mold.

Why It’s White

White mold’s unusual appearance is caused by a lack of spore pigmentation. This is often a result of the type of materials where the mold grows. Unlike most fungal outbreaks, white mold doesn’t darken as it matures. Lab testing usually indicates a white mold sample to be cladosporium or aspergillus.

It’s hard to tell the difference between this mold and ordinary mildew. White mold on walls looks very similar to the less harmful mildew which only grows on surfaces. Unlike mildew, white mold permeates porous materials ruining wood, sheetrock and even furniture.

Confusion in the Basement

Chicago homeowners often confuse white mold in basements with crystalline efflorescence. Both growths thrive in damp environments, but efflorescence is actually a type of salt deposit left behind when moisture wicks through concrete. It doesn’t affect sheetrock or wood.

Two simple tests can determine whether you’re looking at white mold on concrete or efflorescence salt deposits.

1. Lightly mist the area. If it’s efflorescence, the growth appears to dissolve.

2, Pull a small amount from the wall, and squeeze it. Efflorescence breaks into a fine powder.

If a sample fails these tests, you’re dealing with a white mold outbreak that can quickly spread to things stored in the basement. Chances are good that it’s already growing inside walls and threatening the entire house.

White Mold Health Risks

Is white mold dangerous? We’re often asked that question by concerned homeowners, and the answer is yes. Like all molds, its airborne spores can penetrate eyes, lungs and skin. If you or someone in the family suffers from allergies, white mold can make symptoms worse.

Exposure to mold can aggravate existing conditions like asthma or cystic fibrosis. It can result in fungal sinus infections and bronchopulmonary problems. Even if you’re in good health, white mold in your home can cause itchy, watery eyes, persistent coughs and bouts of sneezing.

What You Can Do

Because white mold can damage the house and threaten your health, you need to clean it up immediately. DIY mold removal is a manageable project as long as you take necessary precautions. However, don’t attempt the cleanup if:

  • The affected area is larger than 3 square feet.
  • Surfaces and materials are difficult to clean.
  • You’re currently dealing with medical issues.

Follow up mold removal with a thorough inspection to make sure you’ve addressed all moisture sources. Once airborne spores settle on damp materials, mold starts growing within 24 to 48 hours.

How Professionals Can Help

how professionals can help

If you have any concerns about your health, let a professional cleaning company tackle white mold removal. A restoration contractor efficiently takes care of the problem with:

  • Independent lab testing to determine the exact nature of your mold outbreak.
  • The expertise of highly trained, industry certified technicians.
  • State-of-the-art equipment, products and techniques.
  • Repairs that address and remedy the original moisture source.

By calling in a mold remediation company with proven experience, you’re assured of complete removal of white mold on furniture, behind walls and inside crawl spaces. You also have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that professional mold remediation restores your home’s healthy atmosphere from basement to attic.

Dealing with White Mold in the Chicago, IL Area? We Can Help

Now that you have a better idea about how to handle white mold removal, making that DIY decision should be a little easier. We want you to have all the information you need to tackle stubborn fungus inside your home.

Don’t ever jeopardize your health by taking on a mold cleanup job that’s too big. We specialize in white mold removal, and we take care of both residential and commercial properties.

You can depend on ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba for certified mold inspection and remediation all across Chicago and the suburbs

Just give our teams a call, and let us put our expertise to work for you: 773-647-1985

How can I tell the difference between white mold and mildew?

Mildew and white mold appear to be very similar. However, mildew grows on organic surfaces such as plants, fruits and vegetables. The texture of mildew is powdery or fluffy. White mold has the same characteristics as regular mold and grows in the same locations.

What exactly is white mold, and what is it called?

White mold is typically one of three mold types: cladosporium, penicillum or aspergillus. It doesn’t have a specific name. White mold causes the same type of damage as darker mold. It can also be a source of health problems, including allergies and skin rashes.

Where does white mold grow inside a house?

White mold grows in the same areas where you’d expect to find regular mold. It thrives in damp wood framing, drywall and flooring. White mold can grow on wet upholstery, drapes and clothing. You might find white mold in crawl spaces, inside walls and up in attics.