What You Can (and Can’t) Know By Looking at Mold

We live in an increasingly visual age – there’s just no getting around it. So much of the information we get these days is through video, infographics, and other visual cues. For many people, this is simply a more effective way to learn and engage with the world around us. That old saying – “seeing is believing” – has a lot of truth in it.

But there are some things we just can’t always see, and we have to rely on other means. Mold is one of those things. There are plenty of situations in which a mold infestation is right there in plain sight, and there’s really no doubt about it. But there are even more situations where the presence of a mold infestation – or the true extent of that infestation – is not visible to the naked eye.

But let’s say, for argument’s sake, that you notice the presence of mold somewhere in your home or business. What does that tell you?

The first thing to note is that no matter how much mold you can see, cleaning it up yourself may not solve the problem – in fact, in the majority of cases, the mold will simply regroup and continue forming. This is because mold infestations tend to go deeper than what we can see, or what we can even necessarily reach without special tools. The first instinct people have when they notice mold is to research DIY cleanup methods – or simply to hit it with whatever household cleaning solution you’ve got handy.

This is a mistake for three reasons: First, as mentioned, the mold will probably bounce back. Second, depending on the solution you use to clean up the mold, you might actually be spreading the spores around the infected area, even if it looks like you’ve eliminated the problem. And third, you may be exposing yourself to dangerous quantities of mold spores – especially if you aren’t using proper safety methods.

The type of mold you’re dealing with is another variable that’s very difficult to determine by looking. Seasoned mold professionals may be able to guess correctly, or rule out certain types of mold based on appearance, but there are countless strains of mold – and the only way to know for sure is through scientific lab testing.

Fortunately, mold testing is a common and affordable service. Depending on where you live, there may be any number of contractors in your area who will perform a detailed inspection of your property, complete with lab testing.

One thing we know for sure about mold is that it’s highly resilient, and rooting it out at the source is something that requires a detailed and systematic approach. Only the most experienced and reputable mold remediation specialist should be entrusted to assess and test your home for home – the stakes are too high for any other approach. Most of the time, you’ll find that you either don’t have a mold problem, or the problem isn’t very extensive. But regardless of whether or not you have an invisible mold problem that needs to be taken care of, it’s always better to know for sure!