Can Mold Dry up and Go Away on Its Own?

Any type of mold in the home is a concern and may be linked to certain physical symptoms and/or chronic illness. Mold growth generally requires specific conditions to remain active and spread contamination.  Homeowners often ask a very good question: If we simply eliminate these conditions, won’t existing mold in the home just die and go away by itself?  

What Mold Needs

Mold is a fungus that prefers a particular temperature range, a dark environment, a little bit of microscopic food (usually cellulose of some sort) and moisture.  Of these ingredients, moisture is generally considered to be the definitive trigger that promotes active fungal growth. No moisture—no mold.

Dormant vs. Active Growth

Visual evidence of existing mold growth doesn’t tell you everything you need to know, however. Moisture-deprived mold may indeed appear dried-up and lifeless. In a sense, it is: without moisture to keep it active, the mold fungus mass stops growing and becomes inert. However, while the fungal mass is dead, microscopic spores that trigger regrowth and contamination aren’t.  In dry conditions, spores go dormant until exposure to moisture recurs. Once that happens, spores rapidly activate and begin spawning mold growth again, including airborne reproductive spores that spread contamination and may cause physical reactions in susceptible persons.

What To Do About Dried-Up Mold

  • Not everything that looks like mold is mold. Sampling and testing by a qualified mold remediation specialist is required to confirm the presence of dormant or active mold as well as determine the type. Air samples are also taken to identify airborne spores and estimate the extent of active contamination.
  • Proven mold remediation techniques utilized by professionals include physically removing active or dormant growth, then sterilizing affected surfaces with EPA-approved fungicides. In cases where mold has penetrated certain building materials, these materials may be cut out and replaced to totally eliminate growth.
  • Reducing moisture is also vital to prevent recurrence of mold in the home. Plumbing leaks, roof leaks and other moisture sources must be resolved. If chronically high indoor humidity is an issue, installation of a whole-house dehumidifier is also recommended. 

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