If you can see or smell mold, it must be removed.
What is mold?
Mold or mildew are fungi that grow on the surface of objects. Mold lacks chlorophyll and therefore can not photosynthesize their own nutrients. They do not need light or carbon dioxide to grow. It derives its nutrients from dead or decaying organic matter such as leaves, wood, paper, glue, and plants. Historical artifacts and furniture are very susceptible.
Mold feeds on and into the surface on which it grows. Mold spores come from the outside and will settle on any object particularly the dust on objects. It is impossible to eliminate all mold spores from the interior of a home.
While mold is growing and germinating, it emits spores into the air. The spores find nutrients on other objects, begin to germinate and emit spores and the cycle begins again.
How mold grows.
Mold grows under a wide range of conditions. Mold grows in a defined temperature, moisture, nutrients, and pH range. Unfortunately, this range is generally found in homes.
Most spores can grow in a temperature range of 40 to 86 degrees. Growth decreases at lower and higher temperatures. Mold becomes dormant below and above these temperatures. Some molds can remain dormant for 10 years. Freezing will kill mold.
Adequate moisture for growth comes from the object on which it feeds. That moisture can come from water in the object or from moisture in the air that enters the object.
The nutrients come from the object or organic material on the object. Dust is a wonderful nutrient for mold. Thus, mold can be found on any object even if it is not of organic matter. The acid or alkaline of the surface will effect germination, color, and growth rate of mold. Spores geminate in a pH range from 2-9.
Mold is recognized by its fuzzy dark color and musty smell. It grows outward from a central point. The leading edge is often white which indicates new growth and spore activity. Mold often will hide in pores or crevices of objects. Therefore, detection is often first made by smell.
People often store their furniture in basements. Basements are a great place for mold to grow because of the conditions; dampness, temperature, stagnant air, and dust. If your basement has mold, your artifact will be contaminated. If your artifact in in a container that has mold, your artifact will become contaminated.
Mold growth prevention.
You can prevent mold growth by controlling one or more of the conditions required for growth. Reduce spore migration into the house. Keep your artifact clean and dust free. Keep the relative humidity in your home below 60%. Dry any wet artifact within 24 hours.
Since mold feeds on and into the surface of artifacts and furniture, removal from historical items should be preformed by a professional conservator. In order for mold to be removed successfully, it must be dead and cross contamination prevented. The object must be dry and removal conducted carefully to prevent further damage. Removal protocol depends on the object and its condition.
Mold is unhealthy Unchecked mold growth is hazardous to your health.
Mold produces allergens and toxins. It can cause allergic reactions, asthma reactions, and serious illness. One method of detecting hidden mold is the evidence of health problems in your family. Symptoms include; rashes, dizziness, nosebleeds, balance loss, fever, flu-like symptoms, and memory loss. The young and elderly are most susceptible. If your home has had flood or water damage, call a Mold Remediation Specialist.