Can a color be used to identify the type of mold?
You cannot positively determine the exact type of mold based on the color. To determine the specific type of mold, you’ll need mold testing. However, color can be used to rule out certain types of mold. For example, Stachybotrys is always black. If you find white mold growth on a pair of shoes, you can rest assured it is not Stachybotrys. The same is true of chromium and a number of other mold types.
Unfortunately, many types of mold such as Cladosporium and Penicillium/Aspergillus come in a variety of colors. These molds can appear in everything from white or green to brown and black. This limits our ability to determine the exact type of mold by simply assessing its color. To fully identify the species or genus of the mold a sample must be collected and sent to a lab for analysis.
A tape lift sample is often the best method for determining the type of mold growth. In the photo below a sample of white mold is being taken from attic sheathing. Lab testing determined the growth was Acremonium.
Tape lift sample of white mold growing in the attic.
Tape lift sample of white mold growth.
Is white mold dangerous?
Many molds can provoke allergic responses in sensitive individuals. No area of significant mold growth within the home should be considered safe. Proper identification of the underlying cause, removal, and cleanup should be performed regardless of the color of the mold growth.
What tests are used to identify white mold?
Direct mold sampling can be used to identify the species of white mold. Types of direct sampling include tape lift, swab, and bulk samples. These samples are collected by a technician and sent to a laboratory for analysis. The lab will first determine if the suspect’s growth is mold, and if so, what species of mold.
Are there any special concerns for mold remediation when dealing with white mold?
Your approach to mold cleanup should remain the same regardless of the color. Remember, many types of molds, even non-toxic molds, are capable of causing an allergic response. Because of this, the color of the mold is inconsequential. Many non-allergenic molds are white, as are a number of allergenic molds. Confusing the issue, even more, is the fact that we simply don’t know the allergenic capabilities of the vast majority of molds. Conclusion = treat them all the same.