UCSB Science Line
Sponge Spicules Nerve Cells Galaxy Abalone Shell Nickel Succinate X-ray Lens Lupine
UCSB Science Line
Home
How it Works
Ask a Question
Search Topics
Webcasts
Our Scientists
Science Links
Contact Information
What causes Black Mold? Can we develop some sort of disinfectant to prevent Black Mold?
Question Date: 2018-10-18
Answer 1:

According to the CDC, Black Mold is not a specific type of mold, though the term is commonly used to refer to Stachybotrys chartarum.

There are more than 100,000 species of mold though, coming in a variety of colors. A black mold may be Black Mold, or something else, and a mold being black does not mean that it produces toxic substances, just as mold of other colors are not necessarily non-toxicogenic. Regardless of the appearance of the mold, it should be removed.

Black Mold is no different from others in how and where it grows. All molds reproduce by means of spores which can be transported through the air or on anything moving through their environment. These spores can grow when they land on a surface which is an acceptable food source (including most materials high in cellulose, one of the primary components of wood, paper, etc.) and excessive moisture or humidity. A disinfectant should not be required to prevent molds, including Black Mold, from growing. Instead, avoid producing conditions which are amenable to their growth in the first place.

The CDC and WHO recommend keeping indoor humidity and moisture levels low, killing existing molds, and avoiding materials which do not dry quickly.

Molds are valuable links in the chain involving breakdown of organic matter. Outdoors ("in nature") they help to break down dead leaves and trees; indoors, they break down the same materials. This is a problem because we prefer the parts of our homes which are made of wood to remain intact. Molds growing indoors can lead to various health problems, as detailed in the CDC and WHO links above. However, much of the concern over Black Mold is due to hyping by media of a possible connection between Black Mold and hemorrhages in infants; the CDC asserts that such a connection has NOT been proven. (But, molds should still be eliminated from your indoor spaces because of the other related issues.)


Answer 2:

The Stachybotrys fungus causes black mold. I used to use Chlorox bleach to remove mold, and I had to remove it every several months. Here's a recipe from the internet:
Combine 1 cup of bleach to no less than 1 gallon of water. You also need to protect yourself from the mold and the Chlorox, so I'll not try to give you a complete answer. Do a google search for 'disinfectant to prevent Black Mold', and it will give you many answers. Talk with a responsible adult to decide what to do.


Answer 3:

Molds are fungi that typically live in damp places. Disinfectants will kill them, but they will have difficulty growing where it is too dry.


Answer 4:

Black mold, or molds of the genus Stachybotrys, tend to grow in warm, moist environments where there is a lot of cellulose for them to eat. Cellulose is often found in paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles, wood, and other common materials found in homes.

The most common type of black mold found in homes is Stachybotrys chartarum. Mold spores enter homes through doorways, windows, and ventilation systems where they latch onto something in a room and, if they have enough water and food, begin to grow into mold infestations. Bleach or soap and water can be used to disinfect surfaces and remove mold. Currently, the best way to prevent mold is to keep humidity levels low, ensure there is proper ventilation in a room so that mold spores do not sit in one place for too long, and regularly examine the building for water damage and leaks.

Maybe you will invent a better solution! Perhaps by thinking of ways to make it harder for spores to enter houses, or by figuring out if there is anything mold doesn’t like to grow on.



Click Here to return to the search form.

University of California, Santa Barbara Materials Research Laboratory National Science Foundation
This program is co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and UCSB School-University Partnerships
Copyright © 2017 The Regents of the University of California,
All Rights Reserved.
UCSB Terms of Use