When it comes to a small, one-time case of mold on a non-porous surface (porcelain, glass, etc.), you can quite easily deal with the mold without worrying too much. But for more widespread contamination (including mold growth on porous surfaces such as drywall and grout), you will need to seek professional help to ensure safe and complete removal. Environmental Protection Agency1 recommends that you hire an expert for any mold growth that covers an area greater than 10 square feet.
According to Lauren Tessier, a naturopathic doctor who specializes in mold-related diseases, there is a distinction to be made between “killing” mold and “removing it”. “When people think of remediating or cleaning moldy spaces, they often think of simply killing the mold or fungus,” Tessier says. “When remediating, it’s more important to focus on the concept of physically removing mold and moldy contents from the space, rather than just killing it.”
If you use a fungicide, it may happen that the mold (and spores) survive the fungicide. “Stressing a mold by applying a fungicide can cause it to trigger its natural defenses,” Tessier explains. These defenses, depending on the species, could be toxic mycotoxins released as spores into the air.
And when you do manage to kill the mold, it’s crucial to remove all traces of mold afterwards. “Dead mold is dangerous mold,” says Tessier. “Any mold fragments that remain after using fungicides can harbor mycotoxins, which can lead to local irritation and even severe allergies,” she adds.