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What are the Causes of Air Mold?

By Tara Barnett
Updated May 17, 2024
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Small amounts of mold spores in the air is normal in any space, but when air mold gets out of control it can make people very sick. Air mold usually occurs when a source of mold gets dried and then disturbed, releasing those mold spores into the air. The mold itself forms in the way most indoor mold forms, which is as a response to ideal mold growing conditions. What causes the mold to become noticeable in the air is its concentration. It is important to get rid of air mold quickly because the negative effects on a person's health can be dire.

Air mold usually starts out as mold on a surface. This mold can form on any surface, but it is most likely to form on surfaces that are frequently damp. Windowsills, bathrooms, and other damp areas are favorites for mold. Mold can, however, form on any surface and may not even be visible. When mold forms behind baseboards, under carpet, or in walls, it may not be known to people who frequently use the structure.

Mold from these sources often enters the air because the mold becomes so saturated in the environment that it simply increases in concentration in the air. Air mold can also arise because a relatively small amount of mold becomes dislodged in some manner. It is important to remember that what is being discussed when someone talks about air mold is not the normal amount of mold spores that can be found in all air. The serious problems caused by mold in the air are caused by only extreme contamination.

While bleach is often used to clean up mold, it does not always provide a useful remedy for mold in the air. Bleach will kill mold spores, but dead mold can still make humans ill. When cleaning mold, it is a good idea to use soap and water combined with scrubbing rather than bleach.

Poor ventilation can make air mold more apparent than usual. A building without adequate ventilation may seem to have more mold in its air than a building with good airflow. This is true both because buildings with good ventilation tend to grow less mold and because the ventilation removes the mold that is already in the air. When a building is known to have mold problems, it is often possible to install additional ventilation to help remedy the existing mold in the air. Modifications like these can help prevent people who live in or use the building from becoming dangerously ill due to air mold.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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