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Household Mold Identification

Updated April 17, 2017

You may worry that you have mould in your home. Perhaps you have had a few wet spots in your ceiling or carpet, found water leaks or even experienced flooding. There are several different types of household mould that can grow in your home. Some moulds are hazardous to your health. It is beneficial for you to be able to identify household mould.

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Check for Discoloration

Mold can be brown, grey, green, black, yellow, white or orange in colour. When you find a discolouration in any part of your home that was not there before, it may be mould. Inspect the usual places like your bathroom and kitchen where water is used every day, especially if they are not well ventilated. Mold begins as little spores, but when they find the perfect condition the fungi start to make a colony, and that is when you can see it.


Mold forms multicellular filaments that appear raised. There may be patches of mould that look fuzzy like cotton or smooth like leather. Slime mould can be found inside of fish tanks, on wood or dirty wood chips. It can look like peanut butter or even vomit. Some moulds even have a bread-like texture with some liquid areas. When some mould is mature it has a crusty, powdery texture resembling cement.


Mold has a distinct, musty smell similar to rotten food products. It can also have an earthy smell. Some compounds in mould are volatile that are quickly released into the air. A mouldy smell suggests that mould is growing in the environment. If it is left untreated, it can cause headaches, nasal irritation, dizziness, fatigue and nausea. If you can smell mould, it is probably not good for your health, and needs to be removed.

Hidden Mold

Mold can thrive almost anywhere under the right conditions. If the spores land where it is warm, moist and food is available (including dust and dirt), it can multiply. Check out places that might have leaks, plumbing problems or have been flooded. Air ducts, windows and entryways are where mould enters the home. Humidifiers and vaporisers can also have places where the humidity levels are high and mould can take hold. Book shelves, closets, drywall, cardboard and wood can all be infested with mould. Another place that mould is often discovered is on the refrigerator seal.

Mold Testing

You can purchase mould testing kits as well as air quality mould testing kits that will help you to identify what moulds are present in your home. You can also contact professionals who will investigate, evaluate and test the mould in your home to see if it is a danger to your health. Some moulds may not be health threats, but can damage your home and its contents.

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About the Author

Ruth Kongaika began writing professionally in 2008. She has been working as a freelance writer for various websites, specializing in health, travel and technology. Kongaika works for the School of Education at Brigham Young University's Hawaii campus, where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in art.

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