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So I’ve Found a Little Mold – What’s The Big Deal?

We’ve been handling mold problems for people in Idaho for more than 15 years. At On the Spot Cleaning and Restoration we have seen just about everything and people often ask us “so I’ve found a little mold…is it really a big deal?”  For all the simple-minded people like me, here’s an illustration and comparison that will help you to visualize why it’s important to handle and dispose of mold very carefully.  It will hopefully make you stop and at least think for a minute or two about what’s the best way to take care of your mold situation.

First of all, mold spores are small.  Really small.  In fact, they are much smaller than we can see with a naked eye.  They range in size between 1 and 20 microns.  And whew… that’s small.  Do you know exactly how small a micron is?

A micron is equal to 1 millionth of a meter.  And here’s my 1st comparison:  Find a hairbrush and remove one of the many strands of hair that have collected in the bristles over the years.  (If it’s not your hairbrush you might want to use some latex gloves.)  Now follow that strand of hair all the way down to its end and look at the very tip.  It’s difficult to see right?  Well, the diameter of that hair is approximately 75 microns.

So in comparison, one mold spore is less than 1/3 the size of the diameter of a human hair.  Pretty small.  And you definitely can’t see it.

Secondly, once the mold root system (hyphae) is established it will start to reproduce (sporulate) and many new spores will continue to be produced.  And the cycle will continue until its food source is consumed or its environment is disrupted.  Once everything in the molds world is working and spores are being reproduced a “colony” is developing.  Which leads into my second visualizing exercise:

I doubt that anyone reading this article has never seen a colony of mold.  Mold is everywhere and there are over 100,000 species of it.  So visualize in your On the Spot Cleaning and Restoration mold removalmind the last time you saw mold growing on something and picture it covering a 1 square inch area.  It might surprise you to know that in that 1 square inch area full of mold there will be between 1 million and 12 million mold spores.  Which means this:  By the time we can see mold growing on any surface it has produced one heck of a lot of spores.

And for my last comparison, think of this:  My wife & I hate dandelions as do I’m sure many who read this article.  These terrible little flowers plague our yard every year and dealing with them is a real pain.  Mostly because they “go to seed” so darn fast.  And when they go to seed (almost before our very eyes) they turn into what I call  “white, puffy balls of death” that become dispersed all over our lawn by the slightest breeze.

This dandelion illustration is very similar to what happens to mold spores when they are disrupted.  The slightest little breeze will send the spores into the air (aerosolization) where they will be dispersed over everything in the room.  Which, like the dandelion that has gone to seed, makes them very difficult to deal with.

So, next time you encounter a moldy situation, keep these little illustrations in mind and think about the best way to remove them.  Seek advise from a certified mold remediation professional before you make a problem worse. Feel free to call On the Spot Cleaning and Restoration if you have additional questions.