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Today I would like to talk about one of the most common misconceptions involving mold: What mold is dormant and what mold is dead.

How mold persists

Mold is a fungus that grows in the form of multicellular filaments called hyphae. These filaments combine and become mycelium. Mold’s dusty or fuzzy look is caused by millions and millions of little spores. Mold uses spores to reproduce and survive. When mold gets stressed, it spores. Spores float around until they land on food and moisture. This process is how mold perpetuates its species. 

When water damages a home, whether by a small leak or a big flood, any mold spores present within the home will inevitably find the water. Once the spores discover moisture, they will begin to grow. The area eventually dries and then rehydrates. The mold grows during the wet period and cultivates spores while dry. It becomes stressed when the water supply diminishes and produces spores to find a new home. The cycle continues over and over again. 

Dry mold is not dead mold!

Only after millions of spores are born does the mold become visible to the naked eye. The immediate remedy is to respond to the water issue and dry out the affected area. But it is the next step where people become confused. When the mold, visible or invisible, dries out, it looks harmless. I have spoken with many contractors over the years who believe that once the mold is dried out, it is dead and the job complete.

This conclusion is FALSE and DANGEROUS! 

Mold needs food and about 60 percent moisture to live and reproduce. It needs nothing to become dormant. But dormant is not dead! Dormant mold is still dangerous, as it can rehydrate, grow, spore, and emit mycotoxins.

The Pure Maintenance Difference

Because of this confusion, Pure Maintenance prefers to use the word “denatured” rather than “dormant.” A Pure Maintenance treatment completely denatures mold and the mycotoxins in your home. In biochemistry, “denatured” literally means to destroy the characteristic properties of a protein or other biological macromolecules by heat, acidity, or other effects, disrupting its molecular conformation. The process eliminates the outer membrane, the protein loses its structure, and the entire mechanism tears apart. 

Don’t ignore dried out mold. It may be dormant, but it’s not even close to being dead!

This blog was first published on the Pure Maintenance Corporate Website on 10 September 2020 and has been edited for clarity and length by Pure Maintenance of Santa Barbara.