When it comes to a small, one-off case of mold on a non-porous surface (porcelain, glass, etc.), you can pretty easily treat the mold without much cause for concern. But for more extensive contamination (including mold growth on porous surfaces such as drywall and grout, you will need to seek help from a professional to ensure a safe and thorough removal. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends that you hire an expert for any mold growth that covers an area larger than 10 square feet.
According to Lauren Tessier, a naturopathic physician specializing in mold-related illnesses, there’s a distinction to be made between ‘killing’ mold and ‘removing’ it. “When people think of remediation, or cleaning of moldy spaces, they often think of simply killing the mold or fungus,” explains Tessier. “When remediating, it is more important to focus on the concept of physically removing the mold, and the moldy contents from the space, rather than just simply killing it.”
If you’re using a fungicide, there may be instances in which the mold (and spores) survive the fungicide. “Stressing a mold by applying a fungicide can cause it to initiate its natural defenses,” says Tessier. These defenses, depending on the species, could be poisonous mycotoxins released as spores into the air.
And when you do successfully kill mold, it’s crucial to remove all traces of the mold thereafter. “Dead mold is dangerous mold,” says Tessier. “Any mold fragments that are left behind after fungicide use can harbor mycotoxins, which can result in local irritation and even severe allergies,” she adds.